2009-01-07 / Loose Ends

Collateral damage

Loose Ends
Susan Nienow

The holidays come with built-in mini explosions. They can be as simple as news that company is coming unexpectedly or as inconvenient as the car needing a new battery three days before Christmas after stranding me at the mall. Sometimes they occur when I'm right there watching, and sometimes they happen when I am not looking.

The first one hit when I looked for the Christmas cards I bought last year and realized I hadn't bought any. A week before Christmas, and my Christmas letter wasn't done.

So, already running late on this, I made a quick trip to the "cheap supply of good Christmas cards" store and confirmed what I already knew - the ones left were the ones other shoppers didn't want. Fortunately, I have a quirky gene and managed to find cards picturing stockings hung from the mantel with a frog poking his head out of one.

I rushed to get my Christmas letter done, so I had to leave out the parts about the national award my fruitcake recipe almost won, and the best garden in the region designation I missed by a whisker because we went out of town for three weeks, and I forgot to have someone water. I couldn't include the latest updates on our granddaughter - she's not quite a year old and well on her way to Harvard.

No one got the details about my dental work or my August fender bender. But another explosion occurred when we got news that family was passing through town and would be spending the night. This would not usually be a problem, but the guest room has a crib, a vaporizer, a jumpy thing and a baby bathtub, not to mention a box of toys. And it is the staging room for gift wrapping with boxes of ribbon, gift tags, gift bags, tissue paper and holiday wrap.

So we moved the baby things to my other half's office - he loves sharing space with a crib. The wrappings went into the closet. And I cleaned. About two hours after I finished, we got a phone call. Change of plans - not coming. So we moved the baby things back into the guest room. Then two days later we got another phone call. Coming the next weekend, so back into the office with the crib.

As of this morning, they are not coming. I pushed the crib back into the guest room and in an act of defiance, took all the wrapping stuff out of the closet and dumped it on the bed.

The house was decorated for the holidays and reasonably clean. It was time to invite people over for dessert and coffee. Then I got a bug. So we not only didn't entertain, we celebrated Christmas four days late. The kids quarantined me. Can you imagine? Our granddaughter didn't mind. She isn't really into presents yet, and the adults thought her Dr. Seuss book was much funnier than she did.

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