Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Am Bad at Christmas, Take Two

So this is the entry, at least mostly, that I had meant to write before I got distracted by delicious apricot-dark-chocolate-bark.

And then the delicious version of feijoada that Jason made for dinner that night.

And then the way he made me homemade hot chocolate from our leftover dark chocolate and milk when I admitted to craving it.

Have I mentioned how awesome this man I married is?


I was going to write about Christmas. I think. And not endlessly bore you with stories about how Jason is super-cool and such.

So on to our regularly scheduled program.

I am bad at Christmas.

Part of it, of course, is the simple fact that Jason and I do not, as a routine, get to spend Christmas together. The reality of a retail-existence (which I am still living, career-wise) is that you do not plan to have a lovely three days together at Christmas; you plan to scheme and to beg for whatever time off is possible, power-snuggle for what chance you get, and then fly back to work as soon as you have to.

The other part of this is the fact that we haven't really been able to live close to both our families. My family is out in Illinois, and his is here. When we lived in Illinois, we were both working retail jobs and it was nearly impossible to get enough time for both of us to go to my parents' house for Christmas... Jason still tells people stories about how he spent our first Christmas as a married couple alone with the cat while I went to see my family.

I have a feeling our kids will hear that story. Repeatedly. And it will get sadder every time he tells it.

This year will be no exception. We will, fortunately, get to have time with Jason's family but then Christmas morning I will be boarding a plane and flying to Illinois to see my family for a week, while Jason remains here so he can keep working. I am planning next year to figure this out in a way that allows both Jason and I to be in the same place at the same time during Christmas. I will manage this, darn it, or I shall go down in flames trying.

We have never had a tree; we're both too easily distracted and bogged down by life to remember to ever get around to it.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. I'm just bad at remembering to do all of it. Decorations just don't happen, unless you count helping other people decorate their houses. I love doing that.

Shopping is happening, albeit all at once, in a horrible rush, and with much stressing out. Every year I tell myself I'll do Christmas shopping early, and every year I end up running around trying to finish it at the last second. I tell you, this is a talent of mine. Every "what kind of worker are you?" quiz I come up with tells me I am a procrastinator, and gives me helpful tips on how to fix that, and I cheerfully mark them down for future use... eventually.

 Maybe tomorrow, or the day after that. I'll get around to it.

This year is my first Christmas attempting to shop in a city of any serious size. I have been continually astounded by the sheer amount of people out in stores, demanding exemptions in price from various exhausted retail workers, lines backing up further than I ever imagined they would at 2 PM on a Thursday afternoon when everyone with a day job should be at work right now.

I stopped by a Barnes & Noble today, and when I went into the cafe to order a drink, they had one poor flustered worker there running everything herself. I was third in line. By the time I got up to make my order, there were twelve people behind me and she had already called for help twice.

I had a pile of presents with me, and asked her if she would prefer I just get my drink and head over to the other side to wait in line over there, since I wasn't in a hurry. The look of sheer, stressed-out gratitude she gave me was enough.

In any case, I am done with all but four things on my Christmas shopping list. Wait... five.

Five things. But they are not difficult things to do.

I would have finished them all this afternoon, and given a mournful sigh at my bank account and waved all that lovely money goodbye, except for two simple facts: it is nasty and cold and rainy outside, and I almost got sideswiped three times in the two hours I was out.

One of those times was a gigantic Hummer, who clearly believed that since they were very large and my little red car is very small, that they could simply run me over and no one would challenge them. The driver of the Hummer and I exchanged a long look over the course of roughly a second-and-a-half. My look was saying I took Drivers' Ed and so did you. I clearly have the right-of-way. You are attempting to do a move in traffic which could conceivably kill me and possibly the two cars behind you as well. Please cease and desist.

The driver of the Hummer's look appeared to be saying But I am in a hurry and my car is bigger than yours! This should be all the reason I need! You are a villainous woman who is keeping me from moving quickly!

We came to a truce, in so much as I continued to drive and she came to a begrudging stop. Our lives carried on.

Now I wait for Jason to wake up, write this entry, and wonder whether or not I should stop drinking a lot of caffeine before I write in my blog.

Everybody have a good day!

Roughly eight-and-a-half days until I am in Illinois for Christmas!

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