Clearly I am not one of those bloggers that documents every teensy detail of the holidays. Because I haven’t even logged into my blog since before Thanksgiving, which is about the time work started to get batshit crazy and Claire started getting all moody-teenager on us and it seemed like a lot of work just to make it to the next day.
As of now, though, I have been off work for 13 days and I’m feeling pretty damn good. Looking back, ya’ll didn’t miss much.
We hosted Joel’s parents for Thanksgiving, and even though it wasn’t the big family event I was hoping for (one of his brothers outright declined and the other up and moved to Florida on us), it was lovely. I made entirely too much food. Like, so much that it was maybe more sad than funny, looking at it all spread out with almost no one to eat it. Joel took a picture for me to Instagram, and then we both promptly forgot it until about an hour ago.
I had my first pick-the-kid-up-from-school sick day. Poor Claire was running a 103 fever and my schedule had a freak opening in it, so I’m the one who ended up in the nurse’s office and picking up the ginger ale and making the soup and grilled cheese. It’s one of those milestones you would never even think about until it happens, and when it does, it brings up all sorts of childhood memories and kicks those maternal instincts into overdrive. Turns out, Claire isn’t that interested in soup – though she does like the IDEA of it, or maybe feels like she’s supposed to want it when she’s sick – and I kept getting hoodwinked into making it only to have her take a few sips every time before setting the bowl aside. I made at least three KILLER grilled cheese sammies, though.
Joel and I went to my work holiday party, which was way less awkward than last year, when I had only been working there for about seven days and felt like I was an interloper. I was all set to wear the exact same vintage dress Christina Hendricks wore in an issue of InStyle in 2009, but the zipper crapped out at the very last minute. (The curse of vintage.) Instead I got to wear one of my favorite vintage gowns, which I have never had the occasion to wear before. You can get just a hint of it in this selfie Joel and I took, before we found the room where they were doing bourbon tastings. Any photos after that were simply out of the question.
My best friend came to visit and it was entirely too short but just in the knick of time before my batteries completely ran out. I got a heinous sinus infection while she was here and blew my nose the most ever, but it didn’t even matter. We did what we do which is: The X-Files, pajama pants, a puzzle, bourbon drinks, and entirely too much rich food. It was perfect. I mean, I feel that way. I hope she wasn’t too disappointed that my disgusting sinuses kept us from getting out more.
I also learned something about myself and Christmas. I like to pretend it doesn’t matter and I don’t care about being around family but it’s a big, fat lie. Claire was with her mom in Tahoe for a week, including Christmas day, so Joel and I hemmed and hawed about putting up a tree. We ultimately decided not to, but a few days before Christmas my BFF and I were in a Michael’s picking up something from the frame department and I ended up snapping and buying two light-up, glittery, animatronic reindeer for the yard. I have never, ever owned lawn ornaments, but there you go. I also bought a small olive-green glittery Christmas tree, and then covered all the flat surfaces of our living room with lights and ornaments and nutcrackers and stockings. Mister Toberson was incredibly pleased with Christmastime.
We decided not to join part of Joel’s family in Chicago for Christmas thinking it would be nice to relax at home, but when Christmas Eve came around and we didn’t have plans – not even something fancy to make for dinner – I ended up crying on the couch about everything under the sun (such as my ex’s grandma dying, Cooper have fatty tissue tumors on his sides, both dogs getting old, not seeing my mom at the holidays & etc). On Christmas day we did stockings in the morning, made a great meal, had presents in the evening, and talked to family on the phone. It was an awesome day, but still sort of lonely in our big house all by ourselves.
Next year, we’ll figure out how to be with family (or friend-family, which is just as good) and I will not make the mistake of lying to myself about it not being important. I’m going to put lights on the outside of the house to go with my glittery reindeer, dammit. And I am going to make a spreadsheet’s worth of food to make every meal feel special.
And that brings us to today, New Year’s Day. I know it’s cliché to say it, but I cannot freaking believe 2014 is already behind us, my first full year in Minneapolis! A whole year in a new job. A whole year in our new house! I can no longer say, “I moved here last year from California.” I’m no longer the newcomer. Weird.