My sister's house has got to be one of my favorite places in the world. She and Tom live in this cozy, top-of-an-old-Victorian-house apartment in one of those fun villages at the end of a T line in Boston.
They have skylights, a big tub to soak in, a lightning fast Internet connection, and the kind of office-turned-guestroom that you think only exists in Pottery Barn catalogues. It's homey, and safe, and welcoming. There's a lot of napping on Egyptian cotton sheets.
My sister, being the most generous person I know, always lets me borrow socks or t-shirts or whatever I forgot. She also has an endearing, border-line obsession with bath and body products, which means that you can not only sample that fun, exfoliating fountain-of-youth never-tested-on-animals body butter you've been meaning to get with your next gift certficate, but she's probably already fallen out of love with it, moved on to the latest "On Sale at Sepphora" version, so she lets you take it with you.
Amanda also lets me bring my dog, who- with no hyper 90lb puppy to compete with- spends a great deal of time lolling around in cuddly canine princess mode. The other thing, too, is that my sister's house is organized a lot like our mother's. Forget your toothbrush? Here are five to choose from, still in their original Oral B packaging. Need pots and pans? Bottom cabinet next to the stove.
My own home is also organized partly like my parents' house. But I also adapted some of Amanda's organization ideas when I set up my apartment, so essentially- I can put my hands on bandages, Zip-loc baggies, etc in seven seconds or less.
I guess I love going there because it feels like a vacation, but it also feels like home. I was in a big hurry to leave for Boston on Christmas Eve. I grabbed a mug of tea out of the microwave just before it was done heating up, leaving 5 seconds blinking on the clock. My hands were full, my arms were full, I even had something tucked under my chin, so I didn't clear the time.
Hours later, when I finally arrived at Amanda's house, she and Tom were in NH celebrating with his parents. I found the hidden key, settled the dog, put the presents I brought under the tree, moved all my bags into the guest room and went to grab a can of the omnipresent Diet Coke from the fridge. The kitchen was extremely tidy, only a glass or two in the sink. But as I popped open the can of soda, I saw it. Instead of the time, the microwave displayed 12 seconds blinking on the clock.
Thanks for having us, Manda. :)