Thursday, December 17, 2009

Revisiting a Christmas Past: O Holy Crap

Some people wonder why Doug & I have started our tradition of leaving town for Christmas.  Our standard answer is "If you knew our family, you'd understand!", & it's so true.  Now, we love our family, of course, but seriously - just seriously.  We'd talked about bailing on Christmas for several years, but the following story (originally written 12/26/06) sealed the deal.  So, for the next few minutes, kick back & be grateful...

I realize that I may be in the minority here, but boy, am I glad Christmas is over. Anyone who has read this blog has probably picked up that both sides of our family are a bit off, & this year only added to the proof. In the interest of keeping this as short & as easy-to-read as possible, I'm going to break it down. So, without further adieu, here are the "highlights" of our Christmas...


* For reasons that we don't know (it's just less painful to not ask), my (divorced) parents were 30 minutes late. We weren't upset about it, but we knew that at least my dad would be. Yay, let the good times roll...

* Rather than bring my mom's very cute but very rambunctious dog Poppy in first in order to secure her in the kitchen with the other dogs (both Poppy & Charles are runners) & then unload the car, both of my parents had their arms full of presents while my dad had the dog on a leash. This is bad because neither of them are too steady on their feet, & it also made the situation much more hectic than it needed to be. As a result of this chaos, my dad became very frustrated & (unintentionally & briefly) hung poor Poppy. I ended up yelling at my dad, which always gives a great feeling.

* During breakfast, my dad almost made my mom cry by asking her to tell us news of her brother (who has cancer & is having a difficult time). The news wasn't horrible, but it shook her up. Greeeaaat timing there, Pops. (My mom later cried in the driveway.)

* Also during breakfast, my dad, as usual, talked over everyone else & asked the same questions over & over again. I began to think of spiking my coffee.

* My mom had a hard time opening up one of her gifts. Always ready to assist, my dad threw an open pocket knife at her. Yes, I did say the words "open" & "knife". Thankfully, it landed on the floor & not in my mom's chest - right between 2 dogs & Doug's bare feet. Whew, disaster averted....

* Apparently, my mom doesn't know me. She bought me this sickeningly cute sweatshirt with an appliqued puppy on it that said something like "Dogs aren't our whole lives, but they make our lives whole". Awwww...obviously, I agree, except I don't do cute, & I definitely don't do appliques. Oh, & she has one, too. Mine's way too big, but I'll keep it because I hate returning gifts. It can be my housework sweatshirt or something. Oh well, I really don't care about the gift, it's the thought that counts...this was really just amusing.

* After my parents left (!!!), Doug & I headed to Sugar Creek Winery to meet our friends Lisa & Jason. We were having a great time until an old man in the next room collapsed at the table. The family started to freak out - understandably so - & Lisa ran over to him because they said he wasn't breathing & she knows CPR. Yay, Lisa! When she got the man on the floor, she told the family that he was indeed breathing. It turns out that the old man rarely drinks & he passed out as a result of drinking too much. At 84, I guess that can happen pretty easily! The ambulance came & took him to the hospital. The family went with him, & we were alone in the winery. After we recovered from that incident, we ended up having a lot of fun & stayed past closing (we know the owners & a few of the employees). After that, Doug & I went home, had some drinks, & then went to bed. What a bizarre day.


* Doug & I spent a much-needed relaxing morning at home. Since we were headed to Doug's sister's house way up in "Da Hood", we decided to spike some eggnog at around 10:30. We left at noon & stopped for beer along the way. I called my mom to wish her a Merry Christmas. She was hanging out with my dad, who was playing with Poppy. (Good thing Poppy forgives quickly!) A few minutes later, she said "I don't know if your dad's coming or going", to which I replied "What else is new?" - turns out, he went to the car to get something, & then got in the car & left. I assumed he was running to QuikTrip or something & then got off the phone. I then called Monica to talk to her about that evening's plans.

*My phone rang when we were about 20 minutes from my sister-in-law's house, & it was my mom. She was crying. She said that a man called to tell her that my dad had been in an accident not far from the house, & she was leaving right then to see what was going on. I told her to calm down before she left, that we didn't need 2 accidents. Thank goodness I can think rationally - I told her that since he gave someone her phone # (he doesn't carry a cell or an emergency card) that he wasn't dead & was most likely still conscious. That worked. She said she would call me back.

*As we were pulling up to my s-i-l's house, my mom called again. My dad crashed into a telephone pole, & no other cars were involved. I asked if he'd had a heart attack or a stroke, & she said that it didn't appear that way. My dad had some cuts on his face & a burn on his arm from the airbag & the paramedics were checking him out. His car was totaled. She told me she'd call me back.

* We walked into Misty's house to sheer mayhem. My nieces were shrieking with delight over our great-niece & great-nephew (both under a year old). They were making those stupid faces that people make at babies, & the babies started screaming. Well, duh! Why don't people think before they do that??? It usually scares the tar out of the baby. Anyway, we plowed in, frustrated, & headed to the kitchen to load up on chili cheese dip & beer. Babies at Christmas.  Again. Shit.

* A few minutes later, my mom calls back to let me know that my dad refused to go to the hospital to be checked out & was going back home with her. Fabulous. Apparently, his blood sugar dropped & that's what caused the whole episode. Tremendous. The good thing was that he seemed to be ok. I have talked to him several times since, & he's fine (so far), & had full coverage, so he'll be back on the road soon enough. (Those of you in The Lou, beware.)

* By this time, everyone had found out about the accident & the details of it. My mother-in-law then decided that my dad needed to go to the hospital, & that I needed to make him go. Well, that's like making the weather change & she knows it. I explained to her that my mom already tried that to no avail, & that I wouldn't do any better. She agreed, however, that didn't stop her from telling me several more times that he needed to go. Between that, the babies crying & puking, shrieking preteen girls, embattled nephews, & horrific grammar, Doug & I simultaneously agreed that it was time to go. And we did.

* We decided that neither of us were in the mood to go to Monica & Cory's house, so I called to let them know what had happened. Cory's parents were in town from Canada & are very "normal" & polite, & I couldn't guarantee that we wouldn't be dropping F-bombs left & right. Monica thought that sounded like fun, but we didn't want to offend her unsuspecting in-laws. We stopped off to rent movies & went home.

So there you have it, our little piece of Christmas Heaven. In retrospect, most of this was actually pretty damn funny - hence the writing of this blog - & the parts where people were in danger turned out fine. So people, laugh & appreciate the story for what it is. It could've been so much worse.
We told both families that we would not be participating in next year's Christmas, except for maybe a phone call from Mexico or a cruise ship or something. One side was ok, the other side wasn't. They'll get over it - we're DONE. In fact, I'm sending off an email to our travel agent right now.....

And so started our tradition.  The first year, we went on a cruise out of Puerto Rico that hit St. Thomas/St. John, Dominica, Antigua, Barbados, & St. Lucia.  Our ears burned the whole time - Doug's side didn't believe us when we said we were going.  The next year, we went to Jamaica, & hey!  We drive to Memphis tomorrow & leave Saturday morning for Jamaica again.  We're so freakin' stoked. (Why Memphis, you ask?  Because St. Louis doesn't have direct flights at decent times, so we're driving to Memphis because they do.)  So, on Christmas, think of us, hanging out on the beach or at the swim-up bar, drinking Dirty Bananas & whatever else strikes our fancy...

Stop hating - it's the holidays!