Chaos Attraction

Elfland House Tour

2012-12-19, 9:08 a.m.

On Tuesday, we had group therapy with my shrink again--huzzah! This time I made sure that we focused on the Aunt Susie situation, as Mom had gone off and left her a message a few days ago (I was really ticked about that) because she felt guilty and wanted to apologize. I kind of suspect it was a move to get attention. I wanted this to be discussed with the shrink before Mom talks to her for real. Mom has called my cousin Alicia and talked to her for awhile, but Alicia is wisely staying out of this, only saying that her mom was out of town last weekend.

Anyhoo, we went into the "she may be your sister, but she is not your friend" territory again. We did some roleplaying (shrink and I playing the role of Aunt Susie--this was actually pretty amusing comparing my version to the shrink's, who hasn't met her) in order to get across that confrontations or trying to force an uncomfortable discussion was not a good idea. My shrink said to say, "I feel bad about my behavior" and then change the subject rather than dwelling on this stuff.

Mom wants to ask, "What kind of relationship do you want to have with me?" to her, and I was all, "That's not going to fly, she won't be honest with you about such things." (Who would be with a relative, who normally you're at least obligated to pretend to like?) So Mom needs to deal with the obligatory invites despite knowing that well, we're not their kind, dear. So the plan, alas, kind of boils down to "do what you feel like, if you can handle them acting like that and your feeling rejected, then go, otherwise don't go." *sigh* Whatever. It will be interesting to see if we get invited to the traditional pre-or-post Christmas get-together this year or not, given how fed up Aunt Susie probably is with this shit. She still hasn't called back, btw, as of this actual entry posting (12/23).

After that appointment, we did a little bit of downtown shopping--I went into the hippie store and had a good time. When Mom finally came in, she ended up liking it too and buying me a book on callings and a tarot deck, and some stuff for herself.

Then we drove back to the olde hometowne, dropped stuff off, then went off to have dinner with Mom's various friends that she was bringing along with us to a private tour of Deacon Dave's house! Now, we went on this four years ago, so you may want to read that entry before finishing this one. The pictures from that year start there as well. This year's pictures start here.

Mom arranged for the folks on the tour to be all "train people" so they could (a) gossip about trains, and (b) see Deacon Dave's train room (the "Whistle Stop"). This year's theme, "Elfland," is my favorite ever. The giant stars are sooooooo pretty. The businesses were funny and done cutely-- my favorites were the waterfall spa and the movie theater showing "It's A Wonderful Life." I wish we could have had more time to go look at them closer. It was really gorgeous.

Amazingly, this year he no longer allowed pictures (though I did sneak a few shots in the yard, in the train room, and from the windows) in the house. This disappointed the crap out of me....but I still have my shots of the inside from 4 years ago, so you get the idea. I took notes during the tour, here's the stuff that I didn't mention from last time.

Things I learned on the tour:
* He has a wine loft area (the house is custom built) with a wine-themed tree. There is a spiral staircase leading to the wine loft, and I was all, "I dunno, wine plus spiral staircase...?" He was all, "I know, every time my mother goes up there..." There is also a giant freaking Santa up in the wine loft.
* He has 44 trees now, at least one in every room. Including the laundry tree. And bathroom trees, one of which has Q-tip packages, toothpaste, cotton balls, mouthwash, and soap hanging on it. And a closet tree, which has Christmas ties and socks hanging off it. "The nuns got a kick out of that last night," he said. I own one of those ties and nearly wore it over there that night--I said this, but he was unimpressed by that.
* There was a patriotic tree up for the election this year. Bill Lockyer came to the house this year and Deacon Dave (shocker, he's a Republican) was glad he had ornaments from both sides on the tree in those circumstances.
* He has about 500 people come on tours a year.
* He has 150 doves, 3 chickens, and one duck named Aflac. And at one point he had a lamb.
* The snowman tree, Daffy Duck, and Donald Duck trees all came from people giving him a lot of those kinds of ornaments.
* One tree is "Little Women"-themed (though Deacon Dave hasn't read it-- seemed like a chick book), done by his mom. She made handmade dolls for the characters and put them on the tree.
* He has a private chapel, where most of the contents were either thrown out by a church and restored, or donated.
* He went to the world's largest Christmas store in Rothenburg, Germany, for 4 hours. He had one cash register designated for his giant amount of purchases, and the patrons were assuming he must be some movie star to be able to shop like that.
* This is his 30th year of being a deacon and doing the house like this.
* The pantry has a collection of Santas, and a music-playing Santa tree.
* Deacon Dave is a Pepsi-only guy. One person pranked him for 6 years running by sneaking a Coke ornament onto a tree. Eventually he was caught--it was Deacon Bill.
* The giant library tree has the first 4 feet at the top decorated, then 4 college students help him install the bottom layers of tree. They're decorated at each layer before more layers are added.
* "That sound in the bedroom is my PG&E meter."

We were there for an hour and a half. I think he was having fun with us. The folks really enjoyed it.

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