First, I would like to say that I really hate having this attitude about the holidays; that looking forward to them ending is a bigger part of my life than looking forward to them arriving. Maybe next year, I'll get more excited about it. This year, Mother Nature and other mysterious forces were at work to not only make me crave an IV of Cuervo, but to also run screaming in to the night like a character from a Stephen King novel. Here's the quick run down...
My BIL, who's divorce was finalized in September, wanted everyone to come out to his new girlfriend's house for Christmas Eve dinner. The Husband and I have been hosting the dinner in our home since Chickenhead was just a little hatchling. I've always enjoyed hosting it, and having the house filled with the laughter of kids and adults alike. I told BIL that I knew that this year had brought a lot of changes to his life, and that he wanted to make new traditions with his kids. This year, having everyone come over for dinner also meant a lot more to me because of my mom's passing. She hated the holidays in general, but I really do think she kind of liked hanging out with my in-laws for a bit.
My MIL, who has a big heart and means well, offered to spend the night at our house the night before Christmas Eve so that she could cook during the day while I was at work. I was fine with that, even though my eyes got a little twitchy in the corners at the thought of someone else in my kitchen, going through cabinets and drawers, putting stuff away wrong, etc. I was trying to let it go, and just go with the flow. When I came home that night, there was a sign on the front door that said, 'Caution- the floor in the hallway is slick. REAL SLICK'. I went in and sure enough, the floor was slicker than snot, but luckily, I didn't fall. The Husband and my MIL, however, were not so lucky, as both of them fell on their butts. I asked what had caused all this slickery. Turns out she was trying to marinate some aspeargus in Italian dressing, and when she was bringing it in, it spilled. Even though they cleaned up and mopped, the floor was still a danger zone. Again, my eyes got twitchy, but I just pasted a smile on my face and whipped out my Swiffer Wet Jet and had a good scrubbing session.
Christmas Eve, at last! I got off of work early, and the Husband picked me up. By this time, weather here was turning nasty quickly, and we were getting the required layer of ice that preceeds all snow storms in the Kansas City area. We got home and went inside, still stepping carefully on the hallway floor. I went in to the kitchen and my eyes started twitching immediately, so I just turned around and went back out. My FIL and Grand-FIL came over for dinner and we actually had a nice time eating and talking. MIL forgot to serve the aspeargus, but nobody noticed. It was one of the many dishes she makes and never serves, or serves but nobody eats. FIL then announced that they had to hurry along the gift opening, so that they could head out in what was now a blizzard, to BIL's dinner over an hour away. There was a flurry of wrapping paper, and before I knew it, they were out the door. I spent two hours cleaning my kitchen, and just as I finished, MIL comes in and says, 'Oh I stayed away long enough to get out of cleaning!'. Yeah, ha-ha! You funny! Actually, I didn't mind cleaning because she had spent all day cooking/decimating my kitchen, so all's fair I suppose.
I had Chickenhead take his shower and get ready for bed so that Santa could come. Actually, Santa had taken a tylenol PM, and was ready for some serious sleep. But alas, sleep was not to be. Chickenhead was bunking down in the Manhole, the Husband's TV room down in the basement. They were going to watch a movie and then crash. Nope, didn't happen. Chickenhead woke me up from my medicated slumber at 1 AM sobbing hysterically. It took me a couple of seconds to figure out if it was a dream or for real. 'Santa didn't come, he doesn't love me!!', he sobbed. I spent a good 20 minutes both trying to wake myself up, and get Chickenhead calmed down. I finally told him that hey, Santa won't come as long as he knows that you're awake. I had Chickenhead get his pillow and crawl in to bed with me. The Husband had crashed down in the Manhole, so Chickenhead got in bed and finally, mercifully, went to sleep. I did, too, and woke in the pre-dawn hours to smuggle the presents from their hiding places out to under the tree.
Christmas moring came and we watched Chickenhead open his gifts. He proclaimed it the best Christmas ever. Yeah, that didn't last long. I took the cover off of our parakeet, (re)Pete (the first Pete died)'s cage, and he was all fat and puffy and weir looking. I remembered that was how Pete I looked right before he died. The Husband and I moved his cage to a warmer spot in the room and got a heater going on his cage to keep him warm. For the rest of the day, I was afraid to go in to the dining room, for fear that (re)Pete would be lying there in his cage. Luckily, he's alive!! He's just fine, thank God.
My MIL spent Christmas Day and the weekend crashed out on the sofa in the family room. She ate an entire pumpkin pie during that time, claiming that her blood sugar was too low. I know that pie does have some restorative powers, I sure feel better after some pie, but dang. I don't think pie is a cure for diabetes. Finally, FINALLY, the MIL went home on Sunday. By then we had six inches of snow and I had a raging case of cabin fever. But it was over! My long holiday nightmare was OVER!
Even though the entire holiday weekend made me slightly crazy, I cherish the good moments. Watching Chickenhead playing with his new toys, checking out his new clothes, fixing our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of pancakes and sausage, and just spending time together. These people may make me nuts, but there's a lot of love mixed in with all the insanity. That being said, I'm really glad I don't have to do all of this again until next year!