Friday, December 22
We are scheduled to leave Sunday after church. We both sing in the choir and I am trying to figure out when in the hell I am going to learn the new song we were given Thursday night. Naturally, 2/3 of the choir that sang it last year, thinks this is an easy song. However, it has odd little repeat sections ... at the end of page four go back to the middle of page 2. At the end of page 8 go back to the middle of page 5. At the beginning of the song, tenors sing alone for 16 measures, then rinse, lather repeat, but this time with the altos joining in.
Work is a little goofy. None of us want to do anything. Those who aren't taking vacation time are looking forward to the three day weekend. Those of us who are taking vacation time are looking forward to ten full days of no work.
The boss emails us around 11 to say he's leaving at 12:30. Emails again a few minutes later to tell everyone to work six hours and then leave ... or until you've got everything done that you have to get done. I leave at noon. (Hey, I got there at 6 a.m.) I begin wrapping presents.
We spend a nice evening at home.
8:55 a.m., Saturday, December 23
I am playing on the computer for a while, getting the present for my mother finished.
The phone rings. It's A's mom. She wants to make sure we know that she's really looking forward to seeing us on the 26th and that Aunt "Jeanette" and Cousin "Kevin" will be here for a while as well.
The 26th? WTH???? We're not leaving my aunt and uncle's house until the 27th or 28th. I'm confused, but do NOT tell my mother-not-in-law that. We are leaving after church on Christmas eve ... we should get to my family's gathering around 5 p.m. ... have Christmas day ... then turn around and leave?
I wake up the other half to tell her that her mother called. And then we begin the ever-popular ... "when are we leaving my family's house to go to yours?" game. This did not bode well for the start of the trip, but the end result is a call to the choir director and the decision to leave the house at 5 or 6 a.m. on Sunday. That will put us there at least a half day ahead of schedule and then I only miss about a half of a day that I thought we were going to be there.
We take the dogs to the kennel about two. And immediately we run into the oddest construction I have ever seen in this area. Just outside the airport, they have built two roundabouts for no apparent reason whatsoever. And, naturally, the kennel closes at three. This is a 20 minute drive or so ... and now we're beginning to wonder how we're going to get there since this is the only road we know to take ... and the second roundabout is finished ... except for the road we need to take to get to the kennel. That one no longer connects up.
As it turns out, the new way is much faster.
We return home and begin the serious packing, wrapping, laundry ... I am sent to the store for nutmeg so that A can make the jelly. (And so I can pick up the presents I forgot but had been intending to buy for ... umm, prolly over a month. All picked out. Totally forgot to pick UP.)
Jelly is done.
Bedtime without the lickle doggy-wogs is odd.
Sunday, December 24, 4 a.m.
Alarm goes off. A does not wish to open her little peepers. I am up and putting the labels on the now dry jelly jars. Begin hollering at A about 4:30. I wanna get on the road and get going.
One the road, with a planned stop on the way out of town at the choir director's house to leave their jar of jelly ... and, apparently, to pick up our tub of chocolates. Then, on the road we go.
We arrive a full two hours before anyone expected us. Yea!!!! for us.
The mayhem of my family then ensues. My cousins are both a good 6+ feet tall and built like linebackers. They are loud and silly and fun and I love them to pieces. My mom is picked up from the airport around noon ... and then the last minute shopping sprees begin. My cousins, A and I are in one vehicle. "Da Women-folk" in another. We go to the cool stores. The closed action figure store in which I drool like an idiot despite the locked door and posters which covered most of the window. The five and dime slash Halloween crap store in which we bought stocking stuffers. The comic book store in which A and I were both going to buy one thing ... but then the boys yanked those out of our hands and said, "We needed to know what to get you." LMFAO
I see that I have left out the fact that for every store we had to visit (including the trip to Bed Bath and Beyond), my cousin made a wrong turn. He also attempted to drive into the construction walls. And back into a car. And generally attempt to get me to laugh hysterically for the entire trip. (They forget that they can get me to laugh easily.)
Time to put up the tree. And decorate it. And attempt to decipher the odd scrawls that my uncle has used to mark the boxes. Usually we just have to open it up to see. No one really figures out "x-mas decpr things." (Well, yes, but who makes a "typo" whilst handwriting something???)
Then comes the battle I've been nervous about. Due to a million and five reasons, I decided to not go to Mass with them this year. I just can't do it this year. Everyone is surprised, but they let it go without really a question. Whew ... instead, A and I finish up the tree, the vacuuming, the skirt under the tree and putting the presents out. I am SO looking forward to opening presents on Christmas Eve like always.
Sadly, I am mistaken.
My favourite Christmas tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve and then doing Santa stuff on Christmas is dashed. We'll be opening all presents on Christmas day. Ugh.
The boys are supposed to be over by 9:30 a.m. They arrive around 10. Then we have to eat breakfast. WTH is wrong with these people????? It's PRESENT TIME!!!! *sigh*
We FINALLY get around to present time. It's utter and complete chaos and cacophony despite the fact that we open presents one person at a time. The crowning moment that most of us have been waiting for, though, comes at the very very very end.
Cousin "Topher" opens a smallish box with a nice, green apple in it. Thinking this is a promise from his family to get him a laptop computer later on when they can get the money together, he acts silly like always. He frantically starts eating 'round the apple, trying to get as much into his mouth as possible.
My aunt and uncle try to get him to stop being silly for a moment (whilst laughing our butts off, all of us), so he can see the new box that's been pushed into the room.
He looks at the sticker from Apple Computers and he honestly does not believe that's what's in the box. My cousin "Teo" and I have done a stellar job of misdirection. (Okay, most of it was Teo. But I helped.)
I thought Topher was going to actually burst into tears. A 15" MacBook Pro. Nicely tricked out with extra RAM and the like. Definitely a happy and very very very grateful boy. Was much fun to see how happy he was. His computer's been dead for a while, and was putting along on hamster power for 2 years before that. When he was sent to another museum to do some research, poor guy had to do everything with paper and pencil because he had no computer to take with him.
Great time was had by all ... Christmas dinner was fabulous as my aunt, in addition to being a stellar academic, is a great great great cook. Mmmmmmmm.
I wake up a bit on the early side (again) and wait for A to get up and the boys to come back over again. We're supposed to be leaving at noon.
We get most everything into the car in plenty of time, but my aunt is running around the house, sad, because she can't find their record collection. I was planning on taking some of their records and converting them to CDs for my aunt and uncle for their Christmas present. They finally find them and there is MUCH oohing and awwing over the various titles they have. Some original Beatles pressings. Kingston Trio, TONS of Cat Stevens, Crosby Stills & Nash (& Young).
We finally get this all loaded in the car, directions to the highway back in hand ... and we're off to A's family by noon, as planned.
We arrive. Exhausted beyond belief at this point. Go in, visit with her sister and her husband, her brother, her cousin, her folks, her aunt. It's a quieter family gathering without my rowdy and beloved cousins there. As an introvert, I am grateful for the quiet whilst missing my cousins terribly, all at the same time.
We eat dinner late-ish and then head into the living room for presents. It seems highly odd to be over at their house without our doggy-wogs, but we didn't have the time to snag them on the way over if we were going to meet up with the aunt and cousin. Again, a good time was had by all, but immediately upon finishing presents and a few minutes of chitchat, I am gathering presents into piles and setting them by the door so we can go soon.
We almost can't get everything into the freaking car.
We drag everything into the house, grateful the dogs aren't here for the moment since it is always a hassle to get things in with them underfoot. There are suitcases and bag of loot everywhere. I set up the animals' new pump water bowl. Veg a few minutes in front of the computer ... and it's off to bed.
I would not have missed any of it for the world, but why we had to smash it all into 3 days, I have no idea. Never again will we squish it into 3 days. Never never never.
But I'm glad we did get to everyone this year. Best family visit ever.
Posted by Red Monkey at December 27, 2006 9:02 AM |
People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken
Sounds manic, wonderful crazy and so worthwhile - glad you had a wonderful time.December 27, 2006 10:58 AM
Glad you had a nice Christmas and made it home safe and sound.December 27, 2006 11:35 AM
Wow...you packed a lot of visiting in, in a very shrt time. Sounds overall like a good time though.December 27, 2006 4:52 PM