The Morning Before Christmas

It’s December 24th, around 5:30PM. I’m at the grocery store, fighting my way through the small legion of people who have apparently left all their Xmas dinner shopping until right then. I’ve been sleeping poorly (well, moreso than usual) and I’m cranky, and irritable, and ready to slap somebody upside the head just out of general pique.

See, I’m here for children’s cough syrup, acetominiphen, and a six pack of ginger ale. The Skeezling has gotten a cold as an early Xmas present from Mrs. Skeezix. Both of them are dealing with a dry cough that won’t quite go away, stuffy heads, runny noses, that whole bit.

Inexplicably, I’ve managed to avoid it, for the three or four days this has been going on. Apropos of nothing except the IMS part of this fora, let me add that I am a reformed quitter of smoking, (four times reformed, actually) so I’m usually the first one sick when colds/flus/bugs in general come along. This time, it’s Nurse Daddy for me.

Being the only “healthy” member of the family, I’m getting no sleep, as I fetch late night tissues and cough syrup and cold glasses of water and warm washcloths, and, well, you get the idea. In addition to all of this, there’s the usual money/home maintenance/car problems/in-laws/holiday time stuff that wears on you from day to day. I’m not bitching about this part, just setting the mood for my frame of mind, honest. Most all of you have been there at some point, I’m sure. Part of a Billy Joel tune floats through my head at odd times:

Yeah, a watertower is fixin’ to play an important part in my immediate future, given my state of mind. So I’m going through the rack of cough and cold rememdies, being bumped into every so often by passing shoppers unaware of anyone around them, searching for this stupid box I can’t seem to find, and cursing the stockboy in my head for not laying this stuff out on the shelf in a more orderly fashion, and then…

Out of absolutely nowhere conscious, I think of Naomi, and roadwalker, and poopah_chaloopah and a slew of other who’ve bared their souls and agonies on these boards, and all this crap is suddenly no big deal. Yeah, I’m averaging two hours of broken sleep all night for four nights running. Yeah I’ve got to navigate a store full of ill-prepared last minute shoppers, wait in line at the checkout for half an hour to get three things (turned out to be four, as I remembered that we also needed more tissues at the last minute) and then drive home on a road jammed with more last minute lunatics, desperate to get to whatever store to buy whatever it is they’re after, and then listen, unable to do a damned useful thing, as the only two people I really care more about than myself hack and sneeze and wipe sore noses, and…

Y’know what? I do get to go home to 'em, and they both get to be there when I get home. And we all get to be alive on Xmas morning, and open presents together.

And then, I go on with the day, and dwell on it no more.

Then, after I get a whopping hour’s sleep on Xmas Eve, I get up and get the Mrs. another dose of the red syrup, and some cold water, then have to immediately head for the little one’s room to wipe her nose, and get her a drink, and get her back to sleep. And now, at this point, I’m waiting for my worthless ISP to handshake with my stupid modem, so I can read the boards for a damned hour or two before everyone else gets up to do the holiday morning stuff.

And I remember. And the dull rage (and for a pleasant surprise, the headache that accompanies it this morning) scatters, and leaves me slightly drained, and grateful.

So I felt the need to share this tale of yuletide reform. Scroogelike, I await the day with something more than my usual dread and disdain of the long day spent with my inlaws and parents, and the nonstop barrage of commercialism.

Religion? Nope. I ain’t got religion, and I seriously doubt I ever will, but I got me the Spirit this year. And I’ll be thinkin’ of y’all who’ve got it worse than me today. And hoping things turn, at least a bit, for ya.

Happy Holidays, one and all. Y’all take care, now, y’hear?

i hope your day went well.

how do the mrs and tyklet fare?

Thankee kindly, rocking chair. Hope yours did, too.

The universe, it seems, is not without a sense of humor.

We arrived at the in-laws’ place, to discover that Mrs. Skeezix’s step-brother had turned up with his wife and son in tow. Any other year, this would not have been surprising. This year, however, for legal reasons I’m not comfortable discussing in a public forum, we all really expected him to be a no-show. In fact, we’re expecting him to be a no-show for the next 10 to 15 Christmases. Say no more.

Let us say this made the morning awkward, at best. Although, he did leave fairly quickly after “dinner” (which we had around 1 in the afternoon.)

The Skeezling had herself a good time, though getting her to take her cough medicine is somewhat reminiscent of trying to pour flaming castor oil into the nose of a rabid octopus armed with sonic weapons and various blunt objects. Yeesh.

I managed to screw up that highly difficult, high technology task of reading the clock properly. As a consequence, I took my meds waaaay too early, and by the time dinner rolled around I was practically stoned, and wanted nothing more than a nap on my plate.

Mrs. Skeezix got to open most of the little one’s presents, as she’d see what was under the wrapping, and decide she needed to play with that toy right now, and lost all interest in the whole gift exchange bit. But we all fully expected this, so it was more amusing than anything else to watch mommy opening presents aimed at a two year old.

I fell asleep on the living room couch, after the Skeezling went down for her nap, and woke up wondering for a moment what day it was. Not entirely unpleasant, but a bit confusing.
“When the hell did we get a big-screen TV? Oh, right, nevermind.”

I slept through the ice-cream cake, though, so that was a bit of a bummer. I’ve got a big ole hunk of it in the freezer at the moment, callin’ me name, however, so balance is restored to the Force, I guess.

Through it all, I never once got fed-up or seriously annoyed. And don’t think my MIL didn’t try. But with a bit of perspective, my life just ain’t that bad at all. The woman loves my daughter to death, so she can’t be all that bad, right?

The ladies of the house have both been sound asleep for 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 hours respectively, and nary a cough or sneeze to be heard. Think I’ll go raid the freezer now, and see if there’s any egg nog left while I’m in the kitchen. After a bit o’ pig-out, it’s rack time.

Oh, and I finally got that hot gift item of the season, from my loving wife and daughter.

<Achoo!> <sniff> <wipe> <cough>

[sub]Aw, poop. At least I don’t have to go out at this hour for cough syrup and tissues and such, seeing’s how we’re stocked up already.[/sub]