December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve day

 My daughter Jennifer, Christmas Day, 1988, in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

 Me holding Jennifer circa 1978.  I don't know why this photo scanned small, but enlarging it hasn't worked out so far.

A quick post because I'm off to bed (at almost two a. m.) so we can be up bright and early in the morning to pack the card and walk the dogs and pack the suitcases and the dogfood and gifts before heading north to see my mother and brothers for Christmas.

The trip is 300 miles, plus or minus one percent, but naturally will take longer traveling with dogs.  We're building a nest in the back of the Jeep so Koko can stretch out; and Laramie will sit on my lap, because that's just the kind of little dog she is.  I'm so excited I've had trouble getting to sleep for two days -- but that may also be because I've had numerous places to be and numerous interactions; and so when I get home late in the afternoon I'm dead tired and have a nap -- usually four or five hours.

Jennifer's box to me and mine to her are surely going to arrive tomorrow.  I paid for Priority Mail without even gritting my teeth to be sure Jenn's would arrive on time.  Something's wonky about the mail deliver in and around Greenville, North Carolina; it takes days longer than mail delivery anywhere else.

Monday I spent an hour in the post office and made many new best friends.  I had four huge boxes with me, and one of my new friends recommended I go to Big Lots, where she'd just bought a dolly for loading boxes.  Not industrial strength, but hefty enough for serious work.  So off I went and there spent two hours looking at everything in the store.  I did get my dolly; and then I got Michael's Christmas present:  a rug cleaner.  Steam heat, and the rug dries in half an hour.  Amazing, don't you think?  I'm pretty pumped about it and may ask if I can use it first.  : )

He's been in six weeks of classes in his transfer to the technical department at work.  Yesterday was the final exam, and he got a perfect score.  Today was graduation, which included statements by several people in leadership positions regarding the strengths of the new techs.  Michael's worked really hard; and he very much loves the work he's doing now and is looking forward to the next step (and has the policy and procedures manual on the ironing board even as we speak).

I'm going to get to see my mother for Christmas.  This will mark the first time I've seen her on Christmas Day since 1966.  After that, I was grown and gone; and the island is not a place to which you can easily return for a holiday -- especially when you live, as I did, in South Carolina.  One year my brothers went home for Thanksgiving and were two days late to work because the weather changed, and they couldn't get off Middle Bass.  That took care of that.

After an hour in line at the post office on Monday, I was back there today with three more boxes -- small ones this time.  The line was shorter, too -- maybe 15 people ahead of me.  And then I went to the drugstore and then to get my hair trimmed and then came home and lay down with Laramie for a nap. I woke up nine-ish and buckled down to clean the kitchen and wash four loads of clothes.

So we're virtually ready to go.  The gifts are all wrapped, and I vaguely know what I'm going to wear.  It's far too cold for me to worry about elegance, so I'm going with red, which looks great on me and which my mother loves.  I'll be wearing my University of Louisville sweatshirt if it turns up before morning.

I'm leaving a number of things half done that I'd like to have completed  before heading out; but that's always the case.  They'll be waiting when I come home.  And I've packed the crystal paperweight I got from the local chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists for Best Essay of the Year so that Mother can see it -- or at least hold it.  Her vision's deteriorated; and I'm not sure how much she'll see of it but I can read the inscription to her.  She's always been very happy when her children get awards.

Six hours up tomorrow and six hours back on Sunday; and lots of happy faces in between.  I just love Christmas.

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