Merry Christmas

I can't believe that Christmas Day has arrived (and is almost past) already. Being away for half of December certainly didn't help matters, I'll tell you. But the whole year seems to have just up and disappeared without me knowing it.

The last two days have been a great big blur. Screwed up sleep patterns and activities outside of the regular routine are the cause. I took Christmas Eve off from work (just like 99% of my office.) My plan was to sleep in, run some errands, do some chores and then head to my Mom's house for Christmas. It sort of, kind of worked out like that, only I woke up at 4am, wide awake. For no good reason. Sure, I feel asleep early the night before, but not early enough that my body should wake up at 4. I tried going back to sleep, but had minimal success. I ended up getting out of bed sometime after 5 and went online for a little bit. Then I decided that if I'm up and no one else in the world is, I should go to the mall and walk. So I did. I ended up doing 8 laps of the mall, which took me 90 minutes. And I felt really good about it. Got home and Ken was still sound asleep, so I let him sleep until his alarm went off, at which time I got back into bed and fell back asleep. I slept for maybe another hour or hour and a half before Ollie decided he didn't want me sleeping anymore. Got up and got ready to go run some errands. I had a couple of last minute things I wanted to pick up. This is a first for me. All my years in retail taught me to stay as far away from anything retail oriented on Christmas Eve. People tend to be complete touch fucks because no one told them that Christmas was the following day and they have all their shopping to do. They get so pissy when you're all sold out of everything they need or you can't tell them what their mother likes and what you should buy her. But I said "fuck it" and went out anyway. First stop was Target. I wanted to get the cats new cardboard scratch boxes. They need new ones desperately. Their old ones are pretty warn and they've been caught scratching on the furniture again. My thought was that if Target did have them, the pet store was nearby. But Target had them (as well as a toy for me!) Next stop was the mall. Mainly because I wanted to Gowalla the hell out of it, but also because Ken mentioned to me (after I'd finished my shopping) that he needed new socks for work. Found the socks and headed out to my final stop... the grocery store.

What frightened me most about my travels on Christmas Eve was the traffic volume. It wasn't too bad. The mall was busy as hell, but there was ample parking available. Target, the same thing. I was surprised by this because Christmas Eve was ALWAYS the busiest shopping day of the year in all the years I spent in retail. In half the number of hours, the business would be well above what Black Friday's sales would be. Always. But then I understood what was going on with the traffic. The grocery store was beyond mobbed. Crazy mobbed. It was harder finding parking there than it was at either the mall or Target. I'll try to remember that for next year. I needed to go to the market because we didn't have anything for Christmas dinner. I really had no idea what to buy either. I was just going to wander until I found something that seemed good. But as I was walking in to the store, Ken called. After a quick conversation, a meal plan was made. We were going to have a very traditional Christmas dinner. Chicken quesadillas. And for health's sake, a big ol' salad. So I bought the fixings, I bought some ice cream and I headed home to take care of my chores.

Ken got home a short while later and we headed down to my Mom's house. My uncle was there when we arrived, which sent me into a small panic because I'd completely spaced on him for Christmas. I had an idea that when I had to go pick my sister up from her job, I'd stop and get him some scratch off tickets or something, but he had to leave before that. Actually, he had to head out just before my mother put dinner on the table. And as soon as she did, the phone rang and my sister was ready to come home. Naturally.

After she got home and ate, we exchanged presents, I got to hear my parents' political views (which is basically them repeating everything Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly says verbatim), and we had dessert (I way overdid dessert, too). I did pretty well with the gifts. I tell my family every year not to spend the money on me because they don't have it, but they do anyway. A few years back I set up an Amazon wishlist because if they insist on spending the money, I want them to get me something I want, not something I don't or something that's close to what I want. Almost my entire life Christmas was all about getting something kind of close to what I wanted, but not quite. So this year, I got 9 trade paperback and hardcovers off my wishlist, as well as 2 dvds! I did get one thing not on my list and I appreciate it. When I was home for Thanksgiving, I recounted a story from when I was little. I caught a frog in our yard. I decided to make him my pet. I kept him in a bucket so he wouldn't get away. At one point, I took him out of his bucket and let him hop up the driveway. My little brother got right behind the frog and started hopping. Hop. Hop. Hop. Until he caught up to the frog and hopped right on it, squishing it. I, naturally, had a meltdown. My mother didn't remember this story and almost peed herself when I told it. Well, the first present I opened was a little glass frog!

A little later we packed it up and headed home. The thing that makes it hard spending time at my folks' place is the air quality. Between my mother, father and uncle, I'd guess three packs of cigarettes were smoked. Although I grew up in that environment, I just can't handle it anymore. After a typical visit to the old homestead, my head is usually throbbing, my throat is scratchy and sore and my eyes are sandpapery dry. Oh, and I stink of smoke. The clothes I wore there last night still reek of smoke. We never go to my folks' house anymore without Ken bringing his inhaler, because he suffers. It kind of surprises me because Ken was a heavy smoker for years. He kicked the habit just a few months before we met.

When we got home, we decided to exchange gifts instead of wait for the morning. We didn't get either very much, but we both went over the limits we set. For Ken, I got him a bunch of World of Warcraft shirts he wanted, some Starbucks coffee and the socks. He got me a new external hard drive that I wanted, some iTunes gift cards and a birthday card he got me five years ago that he misplaced and forgot about. Until now. He's a funny boy.

All in all, it was a very nice Christmas. Today was mostly a lounging day. We moved a little furniture, cleaned a little, but for the most part, just lounged around. I tried sending Christmas wishes to as many people as I could, but I know I missed a lot of people. The high point of my day came late this morning when I found out that I was better than Santa.

I'm hoping tomorrow is another loungy kind of day. I want to get up early and go walk off some of the Christmas sugar I've ingested. If I time it right, I could hit a store or two as they open for some post-Christmas shit I don't need. Tomorrow night the new Doctor Who Christmas Special makes it's US debut and I'm very excited for that. Because I'm a nerd. Otherwise, that's Christmas 2009 in a nutshell.

Here's hoping everyone who reads these words had a fantastic holiday, too.


wcs said...

Merry Christmas weekend to you and Ken, from Walt & Ken in France!

erik98122 said...

Well we survived another holiday!! Now if only we didn't have to head back to that evil reality called work!
le Sigh