“Did you have a good Christmas?” People ask me in all innocence, then back slowly away as they see my eyes glaze. So our holiday was no Norman Rockwell print. At least I have recovered sufficiently to talk about it now.
Our son Greg planned to come straight to our house after work Christmas Eve, then we would all go to my mother’s for an early dinner. What Greg may not have known when he agreed to this is that we had my mom’s old drop-leaf dining table stuffed into the back of Brent’s SUV. We needed Greg to help us move it to her apartment after having “borrowed” it for around thirty-two years. Since our slave labor has all moved out of the house, we have to be sneaky like that.
The table was a snap to move, especially compared to getting rid of Mom’s old Futon. She no longer had room for it and we didn’t have a truck to move it to storage. The manager let us take it to an unoccupied apartment for later disposal. Greg earned his dinner that day, as the thing weighs about as much as a baby grand piano.
Back home, we packed for next morning’s trip to see Brent’s mom and brother in the Houston area. Both his sisters were coming with their families, too, for the massive present-opening extravaganza and a delicious Christmas dinner. Since we expected sub-freezing weather most of the day after Christmas, we asked Brent’s mom if we could bring the dogs along and she graciously agreed.
Dogs–check. Dog beds, food and dishes–check. Suitcases–check. Presents–check. Off we drove, south toward Houston. Aggie can’t jump up into the car any more, so we had to pick her up like a calf and put her in. She’s a great passenger, just mellows out in the car. Tipper, on the other hand, shivered and panted in Greg’s lap the whole time. I drove starting out, and she and Greg rode shotgun, so I could see her out of the corner of my eye, just vibrating and clicking nonstop. It nearly drove me nuts.
We had been on the road for an hour when Brent’s mom called. “You’ll never believe this, but our power is out again.” The neighborhood had already experienced power outages during two visits earlier in the year. She thought most of the town was affected this time. Apparently we are the jinx.
The weather was still pleasant when we arrived. We didn’t miss having electricity. Gift wrap flew everywhere as usual and settled knee-deep across the living room.
A neighbor stopped by on the way home from work and reported that the outage was indeed widespread. Probably nothing would be fixed until some time the next day.
So much for cooking Christmas dinner.
My sis- and brother-in-law offered to move the party to their house an hour away, and we could all spend the night. What else could we do? So… Groceries–check. Dogs–check. Dog beds, food and dishes–check. Suitcases–check. Presents–um, we can get them tomorrow. Off we drove, west through Houston. Brent’s brother stayed home despite the lack of heat because he had to go to work first thing the next morning. This time, both Aggie and Tipper seemed perfectly calm.
Once at their house, Sis and her daughter did a marvelous job whipping up dinner as the cold front moved in and wind howled around the house. I helped where I could, between jaunts outside, trying to make the dogs as comfortable as possible. Meanwhile, everyone else was hauling suitcases upstairs and down, trying to figure out where we would all sleep.
After scarfing meat, salad, veggies and more rolls than I am prepared to admit, I helped wash dishes. It was the least I could do. Then Brent’s mom called home and learned that the power was back on already. We could tell she really wanted to be back in her own house. Time to move the chaos back across town and get out of our poor sis’s hair.
I felt like Star Wars’ JarJar Binks. “We-sa goin’ hooooome!”
Here we go again: Dogs–check. Dog beds, food and dishes–check. Suitcases–check. Leftovers–what leftovers? Off we drove, east through Houston. The dogs cuddled together beside me in the back seat, sharing the space equally even though Tipper is only half Aggie’s size, even with her fur fluffed out. Back at Mom’s house we reveled in the miracles of electric light and central heating, then settled down for a good night’s sleep.Next day after lunch, we loaded up the car one last time. Dogs–check. Dog beds, food and dishes–check. Suitcases–check. Presents–check. Again I got in back, with Tipper sprawling luxuriously beside me and Aggie wedged in the far corner with her muzzle jammed under the door handle. Three guesses which is the Alpha dog. I barely remember getting home.
So that was our Christmas–or, as Brent calls it, “that 60-hour Chinese fire drill.”
Let’s just say we did NOT start any new holiday traditions this year. I hope.
Your turn, friends: what was most memorable about your Christmas celebration? Do tell!
Thanks for reading,
PS: I am linking up with Rachel Anne and the Company Girls today.