I say Winter Holiday not to be politically correct, but because there were two (for me): Christmas and New Year's. Well, and Kwanzaa. I always wish people a Happy Kwanzaa on December 26th; it's the first day, you know.
I had a really really lovely visit with my family over Christmas. After recent endeavors, I'd been in need of a palate-cleansing couple of weeks of just good clean family fun. And family fun there was. We did all sorts of outings, eatings, and hangin at my parents' house. The kids got together and built a rather elaborate jumps course in the back yard, where they spent HOURS pretending to be horses and, well, jumping.
Refusal!" and then skitter sideways, giggling.
My nephew got a remote control helicopter for Christmas. It looked like this one (but I suspect it was a cheaper version).
"That's an OUTSIDE toy," said my mom.
I wrapped some of my gifts in Flip & Tumble bags, and some in pretty scarves from the flea market. I thought they looked very festive.
I went out with Jenny and a couple of her good friends on New Year's Eve Eve. It was probably my favorite New Year's celebration of recent memory. Because: whenever I have gone out on ACTUAL NYE I've always come back semi-disappointed. It has always felt like it should be a bigger deal and more FUN than it really was. And it's hard to find a bar that is cool but that isn't overly crowded or charging a ridiculous cover. And it's a pain to get there and to get home afterward. Anyhow, going out the night before solved all of those problems-- it was lots of fun and I didn't have unrealistic expectations, it wasn't overly crowded or expensive, and it was easy to get there and get home. We had a fantastic time and Jenny managed to make some guy who was trying to hit on her cry. In her defense, he did have a chin-strap beard. A CHIN-STRAP BEARD. One of the international signs for douchebag.
On actual NYE I spent the evening at my parents' house, eating Chinese food and playing board games with my nieces. By midnight I was in a bubble bath, book in hand.
I have finally found a game I can beat my nieces at. Good old TABOO! Every other game they wipe the floor with me. They have this one game that's about the states and capitals and whoever has the most cards at the end wins. They all end up with fifteen or so and I'm over here with my sad four little cards. They even beat me at Fact or Crap and they didn't even know how to pronounce most of the historical occurrences or famous people that the game references.
After New Year's, I took a two-day road trip with my sister and her kids to help her move into their new house. After many hours of (me) driving we arrived at the house to find that there was no hot water. My bro in law was out of town, but he kept sending his friends over to 'fix' the water heater, which involved them doing things like... flipping the circuit breaker while I watched and exasperatedly thought I TRIED THAT. WHAT ELSE YA GOT? Other things I tried to get the water heater to work: flipping the circuit breaker multiple times, breaking into my bro in law's tool box to find a wrench and opening the panel on the water heater and pressing the red reset button, glaring at the water heater, cursing at the water heater. Two days of this and then we finally had a professional come out. He did a satisfying amount of work on the water heater-- yanking out hunks of metal and scary-looking charred bits-- so my sister and I felt justified in having a professional come look at it instead of just waiting for her husband to get back into town on Friday (aka, the day before the weekend, when they probably would have had to wait until MONDAY to have a professional come out).
My sister also ordered a new fridge, which arrived on Tuesday. The delivery man heaved the thing all the way from the truck and into the kitchen and then he told me "Oh. It's not gonna fit." Apparently my sister and I neglected to incorporate the baseboards into our measurements of the fridge's space. I had no way of reaching my sis or her husband (they were both at work) and the delivery man was about to leave me with a fridge standing in the center of the kitchen and an extension cord running to the wall, AND there wouldn't be anyone to accept the delivery of different fridge on a different day, or pick out a new fridge for that matter, since they live in a wee tiny town and stores tend to close early. So I made an executive decision and, well, nobody needs to know what may or may not have happened to the baseboards but let's just focus on the fact that the fridge fits now. It FITS.
I participated in Doing My Best's Crappy Day Present Exchange, which was super fun all around: I had fun answering the survey questions, I had fun shopping for my little gifties and sending them off, and I had fun receiving CDPs and opening them when I had a crappy day. Apparently I was not so good at chronicling the buying, wrapping, sending, receiving, or opening of the CDPs like a good little blogger, but FUN. It was fun. And I still have one CDP that I'm holding onto for a particularly crappy occurrence.
Bowie is an indoor cat all around, but for some reason at my parents' house he THINKS he wants to go outside. Maybe it's because he sees the birds and whatnot, maybe he's jealous of the other indoor/outdoor cats, who knows? But I can tell you that he doesn't ACTUALLY want to be an outside cat because (1) he currently lives like a king and I'm certain he doesn't want to give that up, and (2) whenever he does get out he mostly hides under the porch.
The kids have gotten better at keeping the doors closed, so Bowie hasn't gotten out at my parents' house in a year or so. On the day that I was about to leave he apparently snuck out the one screenless open window in the house and I didn't even REALIZE it until two of my nieces ran into the house and shrieked that Bowie was outside, headed for the ravine. We all leaped into action; the kids grabbed flashlights and ran out to corral Bowie before he made it to the (full of coyotes and poison oak and who knows what else) ravine, and I stomped out to front door to get my sweatshirt from the car because if I was going to be hunting for my cat all night, I was at least going to be WARM. I got my sweater out of the car, turned around, and THERE WAS BOWIE just sitting under the open window (I think he had run away from all the shouting and flashing lights). I took a flying leap at him, missed as he ran into the bushes, but did manage to bruise up both my knees and twist my ankle. He ran out of the bushes, toward the porch (of course), and I grabbed him by the tail.
As a poison oak precaution (and the girls' reward for helping retrieve him) Bowie got a bath.