So yeah, it’s been a while since I wrote something. Anything, actually. This is because I had to use the vacation I earned at work or lose it. So you know, ‘we will conditionally allow you two weeks of vacation – you earned them. They’re yours. Just as long as you use them before December 31st.’

Sucks, because I was actually hoping to use them next year to drive to New York and see my family, while still having a little ‘wiggle room’ for later in the year. But no worries. My family is awesome, and when they heard I was taking a week off in October my folks decided to drive down here and see me. Awesome on a lot of levels. My folks pretty much rock. I didn’t have a magical fairy-tale childhood or anything, but I did have a happy one with parents who love the hell out of me and that’s something I never take for granted. It’s also something I worry about losing, especially with the genderfluid thing. They don’t really understand it, and we don’t talk about it a lot. I think they’d get it if we sat down and chatted but I’m not going to push it because I’m still sorting a lot out myself.

Long story short(er), my parents are pretty great and I wanted to make them a special dinner before their long drive home (and my unfortunate return to work) tomorrow. We’d just watched a cooking show where they made homemade pasta. I thought, why not? Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been cooking like crazy the whole time they’ve been here. My mom and I love to cook; my dad and I love to eat. Food happens in our family. It’s a bonding thing. I generally cook to show people I care. I’m an emotional eunuch otherwise, but I make a mean ‘I’m sorry’ cupcake.

I figured, why not do homemade pasta? How awesome would that be? I have a pasta roller for my mixer, I can totes do this.

It took me three hours. THREE HOURS. To make homemade pasta. Seriously. This shit is tough. There’s a reason we get it in boxes. I made the dough, kneaded it, let it rest, sectioned it, and started rolling it out. Everything went pretty smoothly until the part where you supposedly cut it into neat little strips which then roll up to make adorable little nests of pasta.

Hell no.

My pasta didn’t do that. It just sort of stuck to itself in a big old mess. So, fine. I threw it back into the pasta roller, re-rolled it, re-stretched it, re-cut it, and floured the SHIT out of it. I did this for over an hour (with a little help), separating and flouring each individual damned noodle.

At least while I did this I had time to get the sauce going; this I do regularly. I know I make a mean pasta sauce. My DNA is half marinara. I also had time to do a really nice ricotta blended with olive oil, fresh basil, and roasted garlic. While cutting. Each. Individual. Noodle.

The final result, I will admit, was pretty damn good. Of course, when I placed it in front of my dad he had to ask what kind of pasta it was. It was sort of wide, not uniform, a little wonky, and kinda amateur-looking. Mostly because by the end I was all, “Fuck it, I’m just getting this crap MADE.”

I smiled cheerfully at him and said, “It’s fuckaccini.”

I have not had the pleasure of seeing my dad snort tomato sauce before, but it’s quite the sight.

Dinner was consumed over a lot of laughter. It wasn’t perfect but it was delicious, and we had even more laughs to remember (my mom was my official fuckaccini flourer). I know tomorrow we’re going to hug and kiss each other good-bye. We’ll do it quickly, like ripping off a band-aid. No one in my family lingers over good-byes because we’ll cry and we don’t want to. Saying good-bye to my parents is like ripping my heart out all over again. I wasn’t supposed to live this far away. I wasn’t supposed to be the kid who moved away. I was always the homebody, and now I’m sort of lost in a life I didn’t want in a state I dislike.

But you know, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I know I want to get back home. I can’t quite manage it yet, I need a job. I need finances. I know where my heart is though. It’s up in the middle of nowhere, New York State, pretty far from the city, close to the mountains I grew up in. I’m gonna get back there someday. For now I’m going to see all I can of my parents, and every meal we make together, every road trip, every phone call, will motivate me and remind me of where I want to be.

In the meantime, however, I’m looking forward to resuming my usual activities – reading, writing, and bitching about my day job. You know, the usual.