Chaos Attraction

Christmas Wrapping

2004-12-19, 11:18 p.m.

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As predicted, the weekend was tiring and frustrating. But with one really good Saturday night.

Friday night Mom picks me up and she's rattling off an infinite list of things she has to do: mail packages at the post office (I hadn't the heart to tell her it was too late to ship anything for Christmas by now), go buy MORE presents that apparently she hadn't bought yet, take Dad to the doctor tomorrow, put the tree up, wrap presents, blah de blah and this all has to be done before we meet Aunt Susie and co. for dinner at 5 tomorrow. I was thinking, "Yeah, right, THAT early timing's going to bomb out right there." Then she throws out there that the PITA aunt and uncle are coming by tomorrow morning to put our Christmas lights up, but she doesn't want them to because they won't listen to her about anything and she really doesn't want them to put more nails in the house. I'm all, um, they're going to get REALLY offended and give you tons of shit if you don't let them put our lights up (they used to run a business of doing lights around town), and it's too late now, and she goes, "I was hoping we could get up at 7:30 and put them up ourselves before they came at 10..."
I was all, "NO." For one thing, ain't neither of us getting up that early on a weekend, and for two, they'll still show up and bitch us out for doing it. After stating that, she shut up about the idea.
She did, however, veer into the first outlets she found to do Christmas shopping. Mostly at Big Dogs, where she went insane buying stuff for most of the relatives. (Incidentally, boxer shorts at Big Dogs are really damn dirty. All kinds of naughty innuendo on the crotch. Wowee. No, Mom didn't buy any of those- she suggested buying some for Les (cousin-in-law) and I was all, "NO. That is not something anything but his wife should be giving him.")
Here's what to me got stupid: she already bought presents for Alicia, Kristen, and Cassie awhile back. To be precise, that's what she was doing during Black Thanksgiving Weekend. But she saw a pair of pajamas that said "Not a morning person," and she HAD to get them for Kristen, the one non-early-bird on that side of the family. Then she insists on getting them all pajamas. Admittedly, they are a pajama-loving group, but ahem, you already GOT them presents, Mom. "But I really want to get them pajamas!" she said in a little girl voice, and I almost expected her to stomp her foot at that. Clearly, reason and logic and saving money and making things easier on her wasn't what she wanted to do, and then she sweated bullets trying to guess their sizes... and by the time she got Aunt Susie on the phone to ask what their sizes were, the store was closed and she'd made every guess wrong. Gah.

In general, that's what helping Mom is like. She gets bugs up her ass that things have to be My Way Or Else, she does things that'll give her a LOT more work to do, and she can't prioritize worth a damn. She told me several times during the weekend that she thinks she has ADD, and I'm starting to agree with her. She'd go fold clothes, do laundry, go help Dad, go wander around the house, go make a phone call, do every other errand BUT the holiday ones. Meanwhile I'm nagging her at every turn to get me some more boxes or more presents or get the tree out.
At one point in the conversation about gifts I mentioned that Julian has a pinball machine like I have- a kiddie-sized one. Mine broke ages ago. Well, little did I know that (a) it's still in the house, and (b) Mom decided RIGHT THEN AND NOW was a good time to go fix it so I could take it to my apartment. I was all, "Mom, this is not a priority you should be worrying about today, is it?" Like herding cats, I swear.

Much to my total annoyance, I found out that the 24th, i.e. Last Ditch Day To Get Christmas Crap Done, Such As Wrapping The Presents, has been totally wiped out by my famdamnily. We must have a Christmas brunch with Ron and Laurie this year, with all the famdamnily, including PITA aunt and uncle. Normally I get out of seeing them because Ron always has to work Christmas, but nooooooo, not this year. And then after THAT, it's Christmas Eve Chinese food with the PITAS, who have also invited us to 10 p.m. Mass (and if they think we're actually going to their church over the Methodists, they can think again)- at least the 10 p.m. means there's an ending time to that hell, unlike last year when they went before having us over and we had the whole night ruined. And then of course, the usual on Christmas Day. Oh, joy, everyone can ask me three times in a row why I'm not married and pregnant yet! And plus my entire day is spent with the family jerks! Happy fucking holiday!
I told Mom that I wanted to make a general announcement to the entire clan at brunch that no, I'm not seeing anyone, nor will I be seeing anyone in the near or far future, nor are there any remote prospects on the horizon, plus I'm surrounded by dingbat 20 and 21-year-olds all the time, and really, there is no romantic news whatsoever to tell them. You know, just to fend off the stupid questions ahead of time. She said, "No, don't do that. They'll think you're being snippy." "I AM BEING SNIPPY." I think I'm kinda entitled to be snippy when they're going to ask over and over again, like I managed to pick up a boyfriend between 11 p.m. Christmas Eve and 3 p.m. Christmas Day. (Yeah, I found him under the tree, wearing nothing but a candy cane, baby.)

Why am I offered all this "free" time off AFTER Christmas, when what I need is time off BEFORE to get all the shit done around the house?
As you knew would happen, Mom reneged on the "Aunt Susie will bring you back Saturday night" thing. I started hauling my stuff out to the car Saturday afternoon and she was all, "Why are you doing that?" Turns out she never ASKED Aunt Susie about that. Then said, "Oh well, I guess you can pack your stuff along anyway." Then said, "Never mind, we still haven't put the tree up yet. I'll just bring you back." Later when Aunt Susie did offer to bring me back home, I didn't have my stuff for it.
But then again, big surprise. And I was definitely needed there another day, since I can't do anything else much before the holiday to get ready.

So because there will be no time whatsoever to get anything done Christmas Eve Day, I spent Saturday and Sunday wrapping gifts. Lots and lots of gifts. Gifts, like the tree, are something that just doesn't get done unless I do it. I asked if I could help put the tree up, but nobody can help her do that, oh no, and she doesn't have time to get the thing out, blah blah blah...so I did presents all day. That's what I did straight up until about 7:45 p.m. on Sunday. Plus I managed to wrap Grandpa's gift as one of Dad's, so I got to go unwrap and rewrap a bunch as well, oh joy. I also got into an argument with Mom about how she'd bought every single member of the family yo-yo's. The yo-yo's were something she asked me on Black Weekend if she should get them WHILE SHE WAS PAYING FOR THEM, mind you. I finally gave up and told her that nobody on either side of the family was going to give a damn if they got a yo-yo, with the possible exception of the lone six-year-old and me. "Well, maybe those would loosen them up," she muttered. I was all, "This crowd? I don't think so. They wouldn't get it at all and would think you were weird." She kinda pouted there, but at least she got the point.
The tree is up, because Mom finally put it up in a corner, but we haven't decorated it yet. Frankly, I don't see the point of decorating any more. Mom was all, "Don't you have any Christmas spirit?" and I was all, "Um, no, it's too tiring to do decorations any more, nobody comes to the house, what's the point? Just so we can say we have a tree up so the PITAS don't rag on us for having a tree?" (Ever since they found out we didn't have one up for a few years, nothing but nagging on that one.) The tree was my #1 favorite thing about Christmas décor and now I just don't care enough any more to bother. Bleah.

I can't help but notice that I'm being well, snippier with her, but...she seems to be getting it. Or at least she's not incessantly arguing with me when I use logic on her. I have to say that I'm enjoying THAT.
In the long run, I did good work this weekend. I got every present I could find wrapped that she had done/bought/whatever, so she won't be having a meltdown about that, at least. I felt bad about leaving, but oh well. It wasn't actually all that heinous this weekend, and we didn't have too many screaming matches (at least, none lasting over 15 seconds), so that was pretty damned good.

Saturday night, however, was great. It wasn't boding well from the getgo, I must admit- Mom wanted to cancel on it and Aunt Susie didn't want to, everyone got late and lost finding the restaurant, Mom made me stand in a parking space for 20 minutes to hold it for her until a dude finally decided to run me over instead and I started swearing at her that I was NEVER doing that shit again, especially if she didn't show up with the car after 2 minutes- she found a parking space on her own in the end :P By this point I was so far gone pissed off as to tell Dad that I wanted alcohol, and he thought it was funny.
But when we got to the restaurant, all was well.
I can't recall if I mentioned this around Thanksgiving or not, but Kristen (and Cassie) are raising a guide dog puppy. They just got her- her name is Delcey, like Kelsey, but I keep thinking of her as "Dulcie." gah. I don't normally think Labs are the cutest dogs in the universe- they're okay- but man, Delcey is one cuuuuuuute puppy. Very calm, very sleepy, spent most of the time in Kristen's and/or my lap asleep and snuggling. Sooooo cute. You bring that dog into a restaurant and everyone is SWOONING. Whoever gets her in 18 months will be very lucky!
We all mostly had a good time chatting. Aunt Susie actually invited us to her place for New Year's Eve weekend, to which I was yelling, "YES! YES, YES YES, WE ARE COMING! IF THEY DON'T, I WILL!" before she'd even finished the invite. Did I mention that PITA Aunt had already invited us for her New Year's party? Mom is now trying to think of a way to get out of the party, or just go to it late since it's New Year's Day, but I was all, "I do NOT want to go spend more time being asked about my marital status, THANK YOU." And I do like going to Aunt Susie's house. So I'm actually pleased with my New Year's plans, something that's only happened occasionally since I moved out of the house. And since Mom never told Auntie Dolores "yes" on my behalf, I'm free to stay and stay until I have to go back to work. Hah.
But the main thing was...I was extremely impressed with Aunt Susie that night. She and the girls were getting on Mom and Dad to get a guide dog for Dad (Kristen had him visit with Delcey, and she was licking him. Aw.), and they were saying that part of why they were doing this was to encourage Dad to get one, and they're free. Mom said they'd talked about it, but Dad doesn't want to go do two weeks of training to get one. Aunt Susie was all, "I'm sure they can have some kind of training thing he could handle. Quadriplegics have guide dogs, after all." While on my part, I think they need someone who can pick Dad up and haul him to the toilet all the time more than a guide dog, the dog wouldn't hurt, and he/she'd be company for everyone. Aunt Susie said they're going back to the guide dog school in February and would pick us up some information.
Even better, Aunt Susie told me (semi-privately- we were muttering to each other in trench coats, acting like spies or something) that she'd been looking up health care stuff for Dad off the Internet, and she is totally willing to work on Mom to get someone to come in too. She's actually worried. I was supremely impressed, and relieved to have someone on my side in this that IS worried about what's going to happen. (Hell, when Mom picked me up Friday night, she'd managed to pull some muscle in her foot while picking Dad up, and she was walking around in a back brace for half the weekend. Nervewracking.) I told her to send me stuff she finds whenever she can.
After that, Mom said this had been one of the best nights of her life, and she said she thought she had misjudged Aunt Susie on this stuff- apparently she's having hell on earth go on at her job right now and that's why she's been all distant.
Anyway, it was a big relief.
And to top all of that off, we hit the Barnes and Noble and did some major book shopping afterwards. But more on that later...


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