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Monday, December 27, 2004

Survived the Holidays

The holidays always feel like an odd sort of headlong tilt, running as fast as possible towards the goal of Christmas. Fair came and went and was truly the best part of my year. Then I headed to Sacramento to do family things. We went a day early so that Rick could do some work at a site up there. The car was packed to the brim with computers and monitors and our stuff and the cat and the cat's stuff. We arrived really late on Wednesday, unloaded, and fell into bed. Rick had previously said that taking one car would be fine and that I could use the car during the day because he wouldn't need it once he got to the site, but that night he said that he might need to make a run to Fry's during the day, so I arranged to go do my last minute Christmas shopping with my mom. Last minute Christmas shopping was had, mostly without incident (save for the odd woman in the Best Buy parking lot running her stroller into the side of my mom's car, and some tired feet). I also made a stop at Three Women and an Armoire to look for a new dining room table since mine is too large for our dining room, and one of the chairs is broken. It turns out, their old store is now the clearance center and they've got a new store on F Street. It really is a fabulous shop, and I was mentally underprepared for the prices at the clearance center. So, I'm the proud owner of a beautiful 1930's English walnut wardrobe, which will replace the armoire we currently have, being smaller, more functional, and stylistically extremely similar to my buffet. At just $90, I failed to resist. We got home and I started to set up my mom's Tivo. I gave it to her for her birthday, but the first one was dead on arrival, and then we shipped that back and got a replacement and that whole process took a couple of months and then in the end, my mom hadn't remembered that she wasn't supposed to send the accessories back, so no remote, no cables, no ir device. Le sigh. I called Tivo and they're resending all of that back, though not before giving me some measure of grief about it. Granted, my mom messed up on this one, but who returns a product after removing items from the box? It's just not done. So, she dutifully did what every consumer is trained to do: put everything back in the box and return it all for a complete exchange. Only Tivo just wants you to send the main box and nothing else. D'oh! There is a problem in the process there that leads to this sort of outcome. Anyway, Tivo for my mom is on hold, still.

Christmas Eve was the normal affair with a glorious dinner of turkey and ham and cornbread stuffing. Many presents were had, and everyone is getting much better about buying less and being sure that what is bought is appropriate to the recipient. Grandpa and Grandma gave us all "U.S. Government Gift Certificates" (a.k.a $100 cash) that is much appreciated. I showed everyone the game of Hoopla and had a nice evening whereupon I did not stick my foot in my mouth on religious or political grounds. Whew. I would very much like to avoid repeating last year's affair whereupon my beloved grandmother ended up crying. My grandparents and I live in very different worlds, both of which are valid, but have competing and mutually objectionable world views. There's no getting over that, and it doesn't alter how much I love and appreciate them and view them as great examples to learn from, but it does lead to some uncomfortable moments. C'est la vie.

Christmas Day was less leisurely than I'd hoped, but ended up being fine. We ran out to my Aunt Debbie's place for Christmas lunch with my dad's side of the family. My dad is still the all time master of thoughtless gift giving. He got everyone almonds. It's hard for me to imagine his mindset. I put a lot of effort into finding just the right gift for a person, knowing them for all these years and knowing what would make them smile/laugh/glow. But my dad knows he's supposed to have gifts, so he gets a gift. This year it was a Blue Diamond almond gift pack. Oh well. We're finally getting along on some terms, and he's really been helping me with this house, which I really do appreciate, and I'll have to keep that thought with me during this time of year.

We left Debbie's and raced over to Rick's dad's house where we found the family engrossed in "Welcome to Mooseport". I'd had a small interest in seeing that, so curling up on the sofa and watching that for 2 hours wasn't so bad. They've got a little pug puppy named Otis who thought us new people were the bee's knees. Rick's dad had found a tool set, so now he's got a sander and a rotary saw and a bunch of other stuff he's itching to try out.

We left there and headed towards the finish line: Ian and Sara's annual Christmas night gathering. Good friends in a very casual setting. It really is one of the best things about Christmas. We settle in for a long evening of hot drinks and good conversation. Christyn and Brian were there when we arrived, and Lisa and Acorn, Nicole and Dougie, and Ann and Mario, and Suzi and Sandy, and Terri, and Kimmie, and oh, heck, I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch, but y'know, the Sac gang. We made pagan soup out in the hot tub and Sandy brought us all paperweights and ornaments she'd made in her glass blowing studio. It was so incredibly relaxing. We watched the moon with it's ring in the fog looking up from the hot tub while Suzi rubbed my feet and all was right in the world.

The next morning we blasted out again to meet Christyn and Brian and Lisa at the Fox and Goose for breakfast. A British omelette, crumpet, and coffee were a nice break from holiday turkey. We handed over keys to Frank and Janelle's place so that Christyn and Brian could check in on the kitties. Then we picked up the wardrobe and decided not to brave the weather to drive it all the way home in an open pickup. Rick took the truck back to my grandparents and set up grandma's new scanner. I stayed home and watched Delovely with mom. We made quiche for dinner. Today, Rick headed back to the site to finish the computers, and I slept late for the fifth day in a row. It's amazing how good I can feel after a lot of sleep. We headed home about noon, and then I cleaned the bathroom (because my life is so glamorous). And now, I must be off to the Plough since it's my last chance to dance there for a long time.

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