Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Start of Another Fine Year and How I Spent My Holiday Season


Though this post may seem a little bit late, it was originally scheduled to go up on Monday.  Instead, I posted a link to the slowly growing fame of a young lady battling cystic fibrosis.  I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already.

Some personal business first:

When it boils right down to it, I believe that everything turns out all right in the end.  Maybe that’s just because I’ve been raised on a steady diet of North American media, in which good always triumphs over evil, love conquers all, and you should always root for the underdog.

I’m not what you would call an optimist though.  I don’t think that everything is always good for no reason whatsoever.  That’s the Presbyterian in me – good things come to those who wait… and work hard for it.  I hope that I’ve been able to capitalize on the success I had at the end of 2011 and that I haven’t squandered too many opportunities (there are only so many hours in a day!).

I did pretty well with keeping a daily update going for a few weeks before allowing it to relax a little.  I’ve moved to a schedule that works for me – updates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  That gives me a chance to actually have a regular life and work on other projects, and also means that I’ll be able to make genuine eye contact with My Lovely Wife instead of just casual glances from over a monitor. 

January is going to be a tough month – my new role at work officially starts when I return to work on Tuesday.  Based on the feedback and training I’ve been getting, I’m walking right into one of the two busiest and most time consuming periods of the job.  I’m expecting to feel like a zombie when I walk out of the office, but I’ve been finding writing to be more and more relaxing as I’ve been doing it so there’s at least a chance I’ll be able to keep my schedule up.

How I Spent My Holidays

My Lovely Wife and I grew up with very different ways of celebrating Christmas.  We always spent Christmas at home, I imagine as much an aspect of my father being a minister as my mother not relishing the idea of four hours in a car with children who were both hyperactive from over indulging in chocolate and candy canes and suffering the effects of sleep deprivation from staying up late waiting for Santa.  The very idea of going somewhere else on Christmas day wasn’t just foreign, it was entirely outside of reality.
"Hey kids, we’re going to spend Christmas with Grammy and Grampy this year.”
“Sure, Mom.  And I assume that Robocop will bethere dressed up like Santa Claus and handing out Nintendo’s and VCR’s?”
On the other hand, My Lovely Wife spent almost all of her Christmas’s traveling.  Her Christmas tradition always involved driving to her Nanny and Grampy’s.  I think that because she is an only child she may have rationalized the travel as the way things were to ensure that the rest of the family was given maximum exposure to her perfection and to give her gifts as was her due, but that’s just my theory.  As a middle child, I can only imagine what life must have been like when you were the first person to wear your clothes in your family (I sometimes think that my parents cut my hair different from my brother’s so we’d be able to sort out who was who in family pictures years later – my parents were forward thinkers like that).

This year, we spent Christmas with my folks in Saint John, NB, and New Year’s with My Lovely Wife’s Parents just outside New Glasgow, NS.  Like most newlyweds, we used to divide all our holidays equally between our parents – and by that, I don’t mean alternating spending Christmas between them each year.  I mean the much more fun seeing both of our families on Christmas Day, a challenge since our families lived about 5 hours from each other.  Eventually, like all couples who want to get some sense of holiday cheer back into their lives, we determined that trying to cram three days of visiting and traveling into one day was not exactly promoting marital harmony and welfare. 

We moved to the much more sensible one family gets us for Christmas, the other gets us for New Year’s.  This offered up such benefits as having real conversations and relaxing with family instead of just slowing the car down and chucking presents at each other.  I do miss that sometimes, and remember fondly choosing gifts for my brother based solely on weight and aerodynamics… for top speed and accuracy, I recommend snow-globes, particularly of Niagara Falls or the Pyramids of Giza (I do not recommend Mount Rushmore, as Roosevelt’s head tends to throw off the balance). 

The major drawback to the Holiday Switcharoo is that eventually you realize that you own a house and are looking at building a family of your own, but you have no holiday traditions of your own.  If we had continued down that path, I’m sure that if you asked our future children what the meaning of Christmas was they would say:
“Christmas is when you drive all the time and Mommy and Daddy drown out the silence of the increasing credit card balance by fighting over the relative merits of having to listen to one more Christmas carol and whether or not we should just turn the car around and that’s it Christmas is cancelled and keep your voice down you’re upsetting the kids no you’re upsetting the kids oh great now they’re crying no Christmas isn’t cancelled and Santa is still coming and good news kids starting next year you get two Christmases.”
To avoid this, we broke the news to our parents a few years ago that we were introducing a new Holiday event called “Christmas At Home”.  Held once every three years, Christmas At Home is a time for reflection on how wonderful is that we don’t have to go anywhere.  It also gives us a chance to catch up with friends who had already established this tradition.  We get together, eat, exchange a few small gifts and remark on how relaxing it is to spend Christmas in your own bed. 

Eventually, when we have children of our own and aren’t just borrowing them, we will institute the tradition of “You want see us, you know where we live”.  We’re probably a year away from that, so we have time to work out all the details. 

At Christmas this year, the highlight was by far my nieces entertaining us with the two Christmas carols they knew and the five that they didn't.  I would also like to thank my Aunt Betty for the socks.  Aunt Betty has given my brother and I socks every Christmas for as long as I can remember.  There was one year that she decided to give us Tim's gift cards instead.  That was a very sad Christmas indeed.  Without the gift of socks, I cannot do the Annual Sock Purge.  Such a magical time, Christmas is.

New Year's Eve found us rocking out to a live band at a bar in New York!  No, wait, that was someone else that wanted to be with a crowd of people.  We ate Chinese food with my in-laws (which is ironic, as we had no Chinese with my parents), then watching a movie and forgetting to watch the clock until we had almost missed the grand finale of the evening.  At 12:02, I was in bed.  I am a wild man.

By the way, have you noticed how popular Chinese take out has become on New Year's Eve?  When did that start?  Has that always been a thing, and I just never noticed it because we never did it?  We waited for over 3 hours for take out - yes, we actually waited for it and felt lucky to have gotten it.  Is that really a thing?  Because that doesn't seem like a good thing unless you own a Chinese take out.

In conclusion, I just want to say thanks to everyone that helped make this a wonderful Christmas and New Year's.  It also turns out that we had a decent Chanuka and an acceptable Kwanzaa without realizing it.  Good times.  

Oh, and one last piece of news: my next ad will be coming up soon.  Without giving anything away, I was contacted by an individual looking for some assistance in selling... well, in selling something that I felt was the next logical step to selling my snow blower.  It's coming soon, watch for details!

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