Christmas was absolutely wonderful this year.
I was worried about finances, as a combination of much lower income and a payment withdrawn in error by a creditor, who then refused to take responsibility, put my account in the negative. But I felt prompted to take a withdrawal from a retirement account to pay for my teacher certification classes and my expenses for the month I can’t be working. The money came just in the nick of time, and I was able to buy a few Christmas gifts, as well as clear up my overdraft, buy a new computer monitor, pay off a few debts, and still have plenty of money to put in the savings account for my educational and financial needs this summer.
We had an absolutely lovely evening Friday night with our friends, Pat and Clover, and their kids, Alannah, Kyle, Chase, Sam, and Tate. As we left the house to head their direction, Joe said that he’d always wanted to buy someone a ham. So off we went to Kroger, to buy them a ham (along with a few other Christmas delectables), before going over to the house. Being the English literature geek that I am, I always buy the kids books for Christmas. I always sweeten the blow, though, by including a $5 bill with the books. This year they were commenting on how I could give them a lot more money if I ever get rich. I laughed, and promised that instead I’d give them a lot more books, and still only $5.
Getting to watch their kids grow up has been such a treat. Kyle, the oldest son, is just at that age where he’s not quite interesting, but getting there, but also not young enough to go off and leave his mother and me alone to talk. Instead he joined in, being just as obnoxious as he possibly could. It was fun. And Alannah, who was 2 or 3 when I first met her, is now a very lovely 14-year-old. Tate ate cupcake after cupcake after cupcake, smearing his face with lurid hues of green and red. I joined him in the eating, turning my tongue a lurid hue of green.
It was just a lovely, pleasant evening.
I spent Saturday finishing up some shopping, before going home and taking things easy for the rest of the evening. I hung up Molly’s clear plastic toy-stuffed stocking early Saturday afternoon, and she spent the rest of the day keeping vigil over her toys. As Joe and I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I remembered how my parents used to allow us to open just one gift each Christmas Eve. Being the wise parents they were, and knowing that things too easily obtained aren’t always appreciated, they used to pretend like they weren’t going to let us open a gift on Christmas Eve, with hours of begging on our parts ensuing. I have no children to whom to pass on that tradition, but I do have an adorable dog. So I let her pull a toy out of her stocking, and was she elated! She squeaked it for a few minutes before chewing a hole in the end and gleefully pulling the stuffing out.
On Sunday morning, Liz came over for the ritual looting of the stockings and gift opening. We had cinnamon rolls and warm apple cider for breakfast. Joe, despite my request that he not buy me any chocolate until Valentine’s Day, got me vast quantities of chocolates, along with two kinds of perfume. He also (the angel) got me a bunch of office supplies, as he insists he is taking away any excuses I have to not write. Liz and I got Joe the DVD of the Firefly series, the DVD of the movie Serenity, and a tee-shirt proclaiming, “Joss Whedon is my Master Now.” He was most happy with the gift, and has already worn the shirt twice.
We spent Sunday afternoon at my father’s and stepmother’s house for dinner. We always have a pleasant time with them, and this was no exception.
I’m not sure what happened between Sunday night and Monday morning, but I woke up raring to go. I went out and bought some plastic storage boxes, trash bags, a new bedside stand for the Egypt room, and then came home and got to work. I decided to box up all of the books except those that are needed for my writing/research, school, and sanity. We ended up taking two truckloads of books and furniture and assorted other items to our storage unit. The Egypt room is completely clean now, and needs only to have the wallpaper border put up (Joe promised to do it this week) and the mirrors and wall art hung as they arrive at the house. I worked so hard that I ended up the day with muscle spasms in my back and a lot of pain in my knees.
Over the rest of the week, I’ll be working on accomplishing the same goals in my home office. I’m going to move my computer from the Egypt room into my office, and have all my books that aren’t going into storage (except the Egyptology books) in the office. I want to paint the office a nice warm red, and move the armchair from the living room into the office. That will give me a nice comfy place to read when I need to do some research or want a break from the writing.
I moved the Dali print that was in the office into the hall, and just need to get a small stand to go underneath, and the hall will look beautiful.
So life is progressing apace. It is so wonderful getting the clutter out of the house. I’ve been telling Joe for years that our problem is that we have too much stuff for such a small space. That’s why it’s been virtually impossible to keep it clean. I’m glad that he’s been so cooperative and helpful now, as I’m determined to get the clutter out and get our house clean!!!