Tuesday, November 13, 2012

'Tis the Season!

When I was a kid, the holiday season didn't begin officially until the week of Thanksgiving.  But now the Christmas decorations start going up in the stores around Labor Day.  That means we're shopping for Halloween costumes over Fourth of July.  It seems pretty crazy to me, but when in Rome.....  So let me welcome you to this year's season of family fun!  Or, as I like to call it, "The Day When Everyone in the Family Who's Still Speaking to Each Other Get Together."

Don't you just love the holidays this time of year?  Your kids are changing their minds about what they want from Santa every 5 minutes right up until 11:59 PM on Christmas Eve -- because Santa knows and he can do anything, Mom!  Ever try finding the toy-of-the-year on Christmas Eve?  You can't even find it a month earlier!  Back in the day, my Mom and I would go to Zayre's (remember that department store?) on the evening of Christmas Eve.  On the way there, we would stop somewhere and get Diet Cokes.  (Hey, it was going to be a long night!)  Then we'd go inside, find us a bench to sit on, and watch the last minute shoppers go nuts trying to find everything on their lists!  We'd make bets on who was going to collapse in tears first or which two people going after the same item would get into a fight.  It was a madhouse, and Mom and I would sit there and laugh and poke each other in the ribs.  It was better than mud wrestling!

I work for a company that is just right up the street from a shopping mall.  Oh yeah, you bet I love that.  I don't do malls except when I get the silly urge to go mall walking, and that happens about once every 5 years.  You would not believe the traffic during the winter holidays.  All I want to do is drive 2-1/2 blocks to Jersey Mike's for lunch (shut up! it's too cold to walk!) and traffic is moving about 3 feet an hour.  People are giving out the one-finger salute like it's free candy, horns are blowing, and my stomach is about to jump out of my throat and continue the trip without me.  I just want to scramble out of my car and scream at everyone that "It's the Holy Season and all ya'll ought to be loving your neighbor!"  Of course, that will have to wait until I finish my own one-finger salute!

Thanksgiving.  Isn't it great?  I'm especially loving it this year now that I'm in Weight Watchers.  For the past month, our Weight Watcher leader is telling us to plan ahead, figure out how we can make those side dishes healthier and with fewer calories, and have a plan for what we're going to eat, and for pete's sake don't forget to count every little crumb that goes in your mouth.  I'm thinking about e-mailing her a picture of me with 2 fat turkey legs in one hand, a fistful of stuffing in the other hand, and mashed potatoes and gravy running down my chin.  Count your calories??  I don't think so!  I've spent the last 6 months being fairly good about this, but on Thanksgiving I want FOOD!!  I'm not all that crazy about turkey.  What I really like is to put stuffing in a cereal bowl, top that with mashed potatoes, and then top both of those with about a quart of gravy.  Now them's good eatin'!

But then there's always the dishes.  Boo.  My sister Judy (may she rest in peace) and I always did the dishes after Thanksgiving dinner.  Let me rephrase that.  I always did the dishes after Thanksgiving dinner.  Judy would tell me, "I have to go to the bathroom.  Put away the leftovers and I'll be right back."  Yeah, right.  I could stow the leftovers, clear the table, wash, dry, and put away the dishes, and she would still be upstairs hiding behind the bathroom door.  Nowadays, I just say "I'm over 50 and I don't have to do anything I don't want to do anymore!"  It helps that dishwashers are more mechanical now than human, ha-ha.

So, the holidays are officially here.  My niece Meredith will grab both turkey legs next week and wave them in my sister Lisa's face.  (Long story.)  At least one kid will be too tired and cry.  I'll sit on my lazy butt and let the rest of the family do the clean-up.  Mom, Dad, and Judy will be looking down and smiling on us all.  Santa will be taking names.  Maybe I should let that one-finger salute rest until after Christmas!

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