My sister-in-law needed to leave town for two weeks. Since she's the only family member who lives near my parents-in-law, they'd be alone with no one to help them. (He has Alzheimer's, and she's developing some form of senility.)

Since we're the only other family in sight, Eri and I got two days to prepare the house for them.

Our house is legendarily messy. Essentially, we needed to babyproof the master bedroom and bath, then get all the projects and mail off the kitchen table. We also needed to clean up anything Opi could see from his chair, since he'd just forget about having complained only minutes ago.

Naturally, these are not free weeks for us: we've got lots of obligations to meet.

We managed to get the rooms swapped around and minimally acceptable. There's way too much mess everywhere: Opi keeps pushing stuff around with his cane and telling us, "Schmutz." (It means "mess" in German.) Eri jokes that she's going to put a broom on the end of his cane.

Originally, I was really upset about this, but determined to make it work out. And yes, it's been quite difficult, but things are working out. We're managing to fulfill all our obligations, thanks largely to friends like Jim & Melissa. And we're having some fun, too. Omi is even helping me prepare for The Amazing Race by teaching me some German.

Only a week and a half to go! We'll have everything back to normal in no time.