Is there anything more ridiculous than paying me to "work" today? I understand not declaring today a holiday because they'd have to pay all of the essential workers holiday rates, but this is ridiculous. Alas, I offer you a 1,500+ word blog entry. Enjoy.
What a great Christmas we had! This is not going to be a Jack-centric entry, but I will say that he was better (attitude and behavior) than I could have ever wished. He didn’t cry or have a meltdown in the midst of any of the insanity and chaos at my granddad’s house, my parent’s house, Bull & Toots’ house, or at our house yesterday. His Christmas present to us, other than his sweet little smile and laugh, was that he slept from 7:30 last night until 6:00 this morning. Ahhh, a silent night indeed.
There were several firsts this year. It was, of course, Jack’s first Christmas. Although it looked like Toys-R-Us exploded at our house, he didn’t seem to get too overwhelmed by it all. I was also the first (only) time in 35 years that I didn’t go any where on Christmas Day. I mean, I took two bags of trash out to the garbage can, and that was the only time that I walked out of the house all day.
My granddad’s Christmas lunch, our traditional 12/25 visit, was held on Saturday the 23rd this year. He wanted his family (his grandchildren and great-grandchildren mostly), instead of showing up late and leaving early because they have a dozen different places to go for Christmas, to come early, visit with each other, and enjoy the meal for a change. That was nice of my Paw-paw. He’s a nice man. I appreciated his kindness, but in retrospect, I missed seeing him on Christmas Day.
After Paw-paw’s, we went to my mom and dad’s house to exchange our presents. I visited their house with Jack a few weeks ago, a visit that was marred by 5 hours of almost nonstop crying. He cried as soon as the singing reindeer on the front door started singing “Jingle Bells” and he didn’t stop until he took a nap. He cried the entire time unless I was holding him. It took me 3 hours to hang a ceiling fan that day – that's normally a 30-minute job tops.
So, I was a little worried when we walked in to their house Saturday evening and Jack, immediately upon seeing the singing reindeer on the front door, let out an ear-piercing scream. I thought we were in for a long night. Alas, after that moment, he was fine. My cousin and his wife brought their 4-year-old daughter (Lauren) and their 2-½ year old (Mary Kate) over to my parents’ house and Jack and Mary Kate played together all evening. Then, as we were giving him a bath in front of an audience that included my 5-year-old niece and Mary Kate, he stood up in the tub and peed. It was if he was saying to them, "Let's see you do that! Didn't think so!"
He’s a good boy.
On our way home Saturday evening, Leah and I took my great aunt back to her assisted living apartment. WOW, that lady needs a blog of her own. She went 23 years without seeing her husband. It’s a true story, but I’ll have to save it for another day.
Sunday, Leah and I got up and decided we’d go to church if we could get Leah’s mom and/or dad to keep Jack for us. Not taking Jack to church was going to be our present to the nursery workers. Leah’s dad told her that he and Leah’s mom, who was still asleep, were planning on going to church too. Leah talked to him for a few more minutes and then hung up the phone. We started debating whether we should go to church and take Jack, or if we should just watch Mountain Top on TV. We were kind of at a standstill when the phone rang. We looked at each other knowing good and well who was calling. Leah’s mom doesn’t miss a chance to keep Jack. It was actually her dad, but her mom had awaked and the two of them had been arguing over who would stay with Jack. It sounded like her mom was winning. We didn’t know who was going to keep him, but one of them would, so we got ready for church.
At 9:45, Leah’s mom and dad came by. Leah’s mom had her Bible in her hands, and her dad was wearing his Crocs. He won! He was staying with Jack. Before I could compute that in my head, Leah’s mom gave me the answer to the question when she said, “I was going to stay with him, but your dad made me feel guilty when he said that he never gets to keep him because I always keep him.” Wow. He won on a guilt trip. He won on a guilt trip? I haven’t the words to express my amazement, or bewilderment. A guilt trip?
The service was brief. It started and 10:00 and we were out by 11:00. The preacher even made the remark that he’s never been to a bad SHORT Christmas service. He’d been to some bad LONG services, but never a bad short one. For those family members that we all have and we all hope they don’t come to Christmas dinner, he prayed that they get the flu. Yes he did. “Or a flat tire or something, Lord.” Then he said, “Don’t look at me like that. You’ve all got one of those family members. I got ‘em too.” It was funny stuff.
Fast forward, Bull and Toots’ was good. Two bottles of wine were consumed, not that Leah’s uncle really needs prodding to get in to one of his rare moods. It was a fun time, except that EVERYONE brought CRAP for Dirty Santa. I mean ABSOLUTE CRAP. I ended up with wind chimes and Leah got a CD of Christmas melodies. People have just started using Dirty Santa as an excuse to clean out their closets. Look, if the gift limit is $10, don’t bring CRAP that you paid $39.99 for and think that you’re doing something special. You’re supposed to donate that kind of stuff to charity.
Okay, Christmas Day. Jack slept until 5:00 and I went upstairs and rocked him for about another hour. He napped off and on before he awoke for good. We went downstairs at 6:00 and I put him in bed with Leah. He likes to “woller” around in the comforter. I went out and got the camera, and then Leah opened our bedroom door and let him out. He started to go back up the stairs, but then Leah guided him to where he could see his new play table. He ran over to the table, pulled out one of the drawers, took out the toys that were in the drawer, and then started crawling in to the drawer. That’s about right. He seemed to enjoy it though, so it was all good.
Leah’s parents came over for breakfast and to exchange presents, and then my parents came over for lunch. While this situation, the blending of the families makes me so nervous that I start washing clean plates and putting them in the dishwasher, I always like the interaction between my parents and Leah’s parents, especially between the dads. People say the same things about them both, “He’s a good man”, but they are really two different creatures. Leah’s dad is quiet, and somewhat stoic. I still have trouble with it some times because I’m not sure if he’s ignoring you because he’s mad or because he’s just being quiet. On the other hand, ever since my mom took away his Nintendo Gameboy, silence is my dad’s archenemy. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, but there better be words flying around. Big, loud words are better and, apparently, scare the giblets out of silence. They’re like Jay and Silent Bob when they get together. It is really a sight to behold.
A few other family members filtered in and out throughout the afternoon, but everyone had pretty much come and gone by 5:30. And that was our Christmas weekend. Leah had almost all of the interior decorations down and ready to go back in the attic before 9:00 last night. And Christmas was over.
Or was it?
When I got to work this morning, the red light on my phone was illuminated. I immediately cussed all of mankind for leaving me a message over my Christmas holiday and ignored the light as I went to get a cup of coffee and put my salad in the refrigerator. Once I returned, I had to find out who called with some “major crisis” that had to be resolved RIGHT NOW.
The caller was one Dwight K. Schrute from Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton office telling me that they received my resume and thought that I was qualified to sale paper, unless I was in wheelchair or was a guy (they were looking for another girl).
Y’all know there ain’t no party like a Scranton party.