Monday, January 14, 2013

A Little Extra Something for the Holidays

The holidays went off without a hitch. And by without a hitch, I don't mean I did everything that should have been done - that could never happen. But there was holiday food bought, prepared and served. Gifts were purchased, wrapped, given, and received.

Gift Highlights:
Camille opening a Taylor Swift ticket.
She stared at it, trying to figure out what it was for a full minute. Then her eyes lifted to mine, she smiled hugely, and made a beeline for me. She hadn't expected that gift - we'd explained to her that concert tickets are expensive and it had been a Red Hot Chili Peppers year..

Jasper and his Mood Lighting and Soft Sheets.
I admit it. I have a set of wickless LED candles I bought at Costco. We have a little half-moon window right above our bed and they look pretty there. The remote control that came with them? BONUS. Didn't even know about it until I got them home. Jeff likes to hit the button and make hubba hubba eyes - and Jasper goes nuts. He fully appreciates the candles AND their handy dandy remote control. I don't know how the candles came to be referred to as "mood lighting" but they did and so for the past 3 months Jasper has been asking for mood lighting for his bedroom, much to the chagrin of his brother who shares the room. He also asked for new sheets - the SOFT KIND. So on Christmas he opened many toys and a few Lego sets but man oh man - you want to make an 8-year-old happy - give him some new sheets and mood lighting to go with it. BEST GIFT EVER. All that's missing now is the bear skin rug.

It was a bed sheets theme.
My dad also asked for sheets for Christmas. He didn't specify that they be "soft" but the old guy likes quality so I headed to Target with the rest of the 99%. They actually had some decent thread counts. I was pleasantly surprised. But the "high quality" sheets with the decent thread counts were marketed as PERFORMANCE SHEETS.

Performance sheets? That gave me pause. Did he NEED performance sheets? What did this mean? Were the sheets expected to perform in a certain manner or was he? And what would he perform? I checked to see if the sheets were possibly the official sponsor of the I don't know...PORN INDUSTRY...but found no such reference.

When he opened them we were sure to point out that they were Performance Sheets. Jasper looked a bit jealous.

Other than that, not much stands out in my memory in the way of gifts. I got my usual array of things I'd picked out and wrapped myself. Jeff did, too. The Joels received their usual gig of Dork/Geek items (including a poster of Vladimir Putin). Ellie was, as usual, delightfully puzzled by her gifts. Salt rocks to remove the negative ions from the air, thereby reducing stress? Um....okay, Mom. Sure. Thanks for giving me VOO DOO. Again.

We had friends (mostly Ellie's/Joel's friends) and family over for New Year's Eve. We snuck in a camping trip on New Year's Day. And the entire time we were camping in the COLD AND FREEZING TEMPS I was looking forward to one thing: Our Anniversary.

Our anniversary is January 4th - and we were only going to mark it with an evening out but man oh man had I been looking forward to it! The holidays are hectic - and we're always the hub of All Holiday Activity - and the camping was basically uncomfortable and had taken a lot of effort in packing, cooking, preparing, etc. So I was really, really, really looking forward to a romantic dinner out where I could relax and regroup with my husband.

Well, our anniversary turned out to be more than I'd expected. We spent the entire day in bed.  A lot of writhing and moaning took place and we didn't even have performance sheets. What we DID have was the flu. Type B specifically.

The children, like dominoes, began to succumb one by one. Only Ellie didn't fall - she has too much self-discipline, I suppose. We were sick on Jules' 15th birthday, and we were still sick the next day on Camille's 11th. We were sick when the day for her sleepover came along, and she didn't even care when we cancelled it. The Flu was The Boss of Us.

We're all just now getting back to normal. I still have that "sick smell" in my nose, and nothing tastes right. There is a lot of coughing and I imagine there will be for quite some time. But it's gone. It just left a mess in it's wake. But you know what? Please don't think I'm crazy but it had it's good points, The Flu did. It's quite astounding when you're of the mindset that you have Things to Do and the world will fall apart if you don't do them and then something slams into you and says that you're basically not at all as important as you thought you were and guess what? You HAVE TO STOP.

I don't stop very often.

It was weird - to stop. But I did. All of the plans I'd made came and went while I napped, coughed, and groaned. Camille and Jasper were in bed with me and we watched cooking shows and read books - all while the sun moved from one window to the other - until the room was orange like it gets in late afternoon - until the room cooled off with the evening air and all became quiet. Another day had gone by - and we'd somehow spent it doing nothing but being. Just being sick. And the rest of the world allowed it - because we had The Flu after all. The world looked at us and said, "Oh well, you have The Flu. I'll just keep going but you stay right where you are, just mark your place for a while. It's perfectly acceptable."

It was, at times, almost nice.

Today we're back to our usual life. The dishwasher is going and so is the dryer. I can hear the television in one room and my teenage sons messing around in another. Ellie has gone back to college - Jeff is at work. I am happy to feel well, and more appreciative than ever of what that means. But also, I'm strangely appreciative of the experience of having been forced to stop.

Maybe, just maybe, I should do it more often. Maybe I should take a day, every now and then, to climb in bed with my babies to nap and read and watch the sun go from one window to the next... and tell the rest of the world it's just going to have to wait.