Friday, January 3, 2014

Home again, home again (another wordy travelogue and my New Year's Resolutions)

As I always do around the holidays, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to finish up last minute things before we headed to Savannah to my parents'. My house was bristling with post-it notes because if I don't write it down, there's not a prayer in this world that it'll make it into the car (you should see some of these notes, which contain things as mundane as underwear and jammies and as ridiculously self-evident as the dogs but I know my weaknesses and forgetting the most obvious stuff is a big one of them). After being told by my husband that for the first time in about a hundred years, he was actually driving down with us and staying the whole time thereby not taking the extra car I count on and which necessitated changing my packing strategy to fit the extra suddenly occupied seat, I managed to shoehorn everything into the car. We all piled in around the stash of gifts and luggage and with everyone except me enjoying the feeling of their knees brushing their ears (this is why I'm the driver, although the complaints I heard--as if normal people don't try to see just how much one minivan can hold, almost crowding out people and animals) headed to T.'s indoor soccer game. After a Christmas miracle (they won), we all piled back in the van and headed down the road, wrapped in the sweaty stink of my soccer boy. Amazingly no one got sick, either from the smell or because carsickness is just fun and games in our family. Of course, dosing the chief offenders with Bonine before we left probably helped, as did their inability to breathe for the duration of the trip.

Got to Savannah with enough time to not only unload the car but to shower the rank smelling kid and visit my grandmother before we headed out to dinner with some family friends. I'm sure the restaurant folks saw us coming and everyone working there wanted to call in dead as our party consisted of 12 adults, 3 college students, 2 teenagers, and eight 4-12 year olds. We managed to finish our meal without breaking anything or raising the decibel level in there by too terribly much though. Once we headed back home, I had to buckle down and get started on the wrapping. People talk about the housework gap between men and women but not one soul mentions the inequality in presents and wrapping every blasted year. And let me tell you, it's an enormous gap! Not only did I have to buy all of the presents (save my own although I might start supplementing my own stocking if I'm honest), but I had to wrap and send them to my in-laws as well as buy and wrap for my own family and for D. and the kids. D. only wraps mine. It's like the laundry inequality on a larger scale and with a deadline. So it took me two evenings to wrap (I can't start until children are nestled all snug in their beds) and I get tired but I managed to pull everything off in time to lay it all out Christmas Eve by 11 pm.  But let me take this opportunity to say that I loathe wrapping on Christmas Eve.

Christmas itself was the usual present marathon although my youngest nephew no longer has to nap in the middle of it so that helps speed the process up some. W. was unimpressed by the sheer number of car related things in his stocking this year (jumper cables, small toolset, air freshener, a dancing dashboard bacon called Shakin' Bacon, etc.), culminating in an ice scraper. We might live in the south but the kid was too impatient to defrost his rear windshield one morning before he left for school and he ran right over our mailbox. It is now horribly off-kilter, the screws in the back of it are barely holding the front of it on, and the door to it doesn't actually close completely leaving our mail sodden and mushy on rainy days but replacing it per the neighborhood HOA covenants is muy expensivo (fancy pants mailbox, doncha know). So I protected us from having to buy a new one just yet by getting that super exciting $3 stocking present. It even has a brush on it were it to ever snow and stick (completely unlikely but better safe than sorry, right?!). The rest of Christmas was rather more appreciated by the recipients. T. in particular may never have a Christmas as wonderful as this one, receiving his first cell phone and promptly becoming inseparable from it, much like his father and his cell phone. Although T. has had to endure some mocking from W. and R. about the fact that he texts with hashtags. This is apparently ridiculous (as if the whole concept of hashtags themselves isn't).

My dad enjoys socializing and parties a bit more than my mom does so she's never offered to have a Christmas party at their house despite knowing that he'd really enjoy one. Well, this year, she called me ahead of time and offered to pay me to cater a party for them and a wildly varying number of their friends so she could give daddy a party as his Christmas present. Never one to turn down cash, I agreed. And thanks to my multitude of sticky notes at home, my very best heavy appetizer recipes made it into the car and down to Savannah. I spent the couple of days after Christmas prepping for the party so all I'd have to do the day of was stuff everything in the oven. Good thing since the day of the party saw us heading to downtown Savannah and the gallery of an artist who is painting a portrait of R. in one of her dances from two years ago. The portrait is going to be gorgeous. And R.'s lovely hands are also now on another portrait as well, something that completely tickles her. As we left to head home, we got a little turned around, driving through a not so savoury part of town. About 6 nanoseconds after everyone in the car yelled at me to watch the curb (high, sharp, historic beauties down there), I ran over it and sliced my tire but good. Immediate flat.  My parents, who promptly called AAA, had visions of a mugging, a shooting, or some other catastrophic thing. Even AAA put us on the priority list because of where we were stranded.  I was less worried about that than I was about none of the appetizers being finished for the party that was only a couple of hours away.  As D. and my dad wrestled with the lug nuts and the spare, I was not very popular, let me tell you. But they got everything handled so we didn't need a guy with a pneumatic tool and we headed home.

The following day after brunch (T.'s favorite holiday tradition), we piled back into the car and headed home. Every year I convince myself that we'll be coming home with less stuff than we drove there with and every year I am stunned when I am wrong. Apparently I'm a slow learner. So everyone, except me, got to ride home with their knees nearly as close to their ears as they did when we drove down. And there was no barfing in the car either. Thank heaven! There was, however, a brown water stain on the kitchen ceiling when we got home. Seems the supply source to R.'s toilet has been leaking for months (God bless teenagers who don't think to share vital information like this with parents). Luckily it was an easy and relatively inexpensive fix (far cheaper than the wonky mailbox will be) and after it dries out we'll just paint the ceiling and call it all good.

In trying to put everything away after we got home, I realized just how overwhelmed I am by *stuff.* The fact that we've lived here longer than anywhere else, ever, means we haven't had a moving purge and I can tell by the ridiculous accumulation in all cupboards and drawers. So one of my New Year's resolutions is to go through and ruthlessly purge the unnecessary from the house.  Probably a resolution I share with 12 trillion others.  Rather than come up with other completely predictable resolutions like losing weight (yeah, I need to) or finding a better life balance (ditto), I made some easily attainable resolutions. In 2014, I will go through the backlog of magazines I have sitting around. When all was said and done and I'd collected them together, there were 103 in the unread pile (but only 72 left as of this afternoon). I will finally mend the slight rips along seams that seem to plague my boys' pants. I will write some real snail mail letters again. And I will work on clearing off my biggest clutter areas (desk and chair by the basement stairs already accomplished so far). Yes, it has taken me a long time to get my s#!t together after getting home but I am getting there and now I have goals too. And speaking of s#!t, I am only using the guest bathroom for the forseeable future. D. got a copy of What's Your Poo Telling You? (and a bottle of Poo-Pourri, which we have yet to test) in his stocking and the book is surprisingly interesting. I mean, without it, I wouldn't know that you can poo as much as three times a day or as little as three times a week and still be in the range of normal. Who doesn't need to know that tidbit of information?! Oh, and doesn't this, combined with the ice scraper, make you wish you were part of our family, if only for the incomparable stocking presents we give?


  1. Poo Pourie really works. It's just remembering to have it when you need it (when other people are around)... I had some treatments on my last cruise and they did some kind of sell you a million dollars worth of product evaluation and said you should have a BM every time you eat. I don't know anyone who does though.

    Have been loving your stories for years.

  2. I almost got that poo book for J! I totally agree about the wrapping gap and had a bit of a temper tantrum about it this year. I am jealous of your parents' party (or really any time anyone gets to eat your food and I'm not there.) Sounds like fun!


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