Saturday, December 26, 2015

There Are No Do-Overs

Well, let's see about a Christmas update. I was late enough with one of the presents that I gave up. It was the photo book for my mother. Who has time to sift through grainy photos before Christmas? I didn't. It was satisfying to finish Mike's calendar, but the photos were overwhelming to think of beginning.

Then, it got closer and closer and later and later and -  boom - I talked to my family on Christmas morning and never even mentioned the photo book to anyone. I gave her plenty of gifts. The photo book can be a Valentine gift, or Mother's Day. Good plan! Mother's Day is a real possibility or a birthday or maybe even next Christmas!

I'm early, not late.

Then, there were a million little things to do. On Christmas eve, I shopped for ingredients for our classic Christmas dinner, a spiral-cut ham, cauliflower and cheese sauce, russet potatoes for mashing, sweet potatoes for roasting in butter and brown sugar, greens for a salad, flour, butter, and pumpkin for pie, and two cans of whipped cream because the day would surely involve eggnog mochas with extra whipped cream and jimmies sprinkled on top.

Here's a hint, folks. Sprinkles are tiny bits of candy in all colors. Jimmies are chocolate ones, way better for mochas and whipped cream. I learned that from living on the East coast. Nowhere but on the East coast do people discriminate between sprinkles of different colors.

It's hard to talk about food here. It really is, but I'm going to persevere.

Mike's birthday headset wasn't the right one, so we sent it right back and I had bought the one he added to his wish list on Amazon. I admit that I may have a problem. It's gotten too easy to order stuff from Amazon and save the gas, energy and time running around to different stores. The new headset came in on Christmas eve. Can you believe that?

I'm hoping these delivery people get paid pretty well. They are running, literally running up my hill and back down to deliver my packages. My postal worker has lost weight. He doesn't actually look quite healthy at his new weight, but I'm hoping it's just leanness and not stress. But that last present was delivered and I was ready. I began to relax.

I was on track, if you didn't count the photo book. Don't mention the photo book. We had our annual negotiations about what hour Nick could wake us up. I sang at church, though Mike said he couldn't hear me apart from the other two who sang with me. That should have alerted us that something was wrong. You can always hear me when I'm singing.

On Christmas morning, we got up at the negotiated hour and opened presents. It was fun. It was sweet. Nick was happy and appreciative. Mike found that he couldn't use his new headset because it wasn't compatible with the PS4. Bummer. But Nick was happy to take it. My new TV was too far from the router to get any channels, but Mike gave me the DVD player he got because his wasn't compatible with his TV. That man is so generous. I guess I know what I'm getting him for Valentine's Day - a new TV and DVD player. Or maybe I'll have to wait until our anniversary, but I'm going to aim for Valentine's Day.

And then, before I could put together the egg strata that I intended to make for a late breakfast, my stomach revolted.

I could not cook. I could not stand in my own kitchen. The thought of food did something wrong in my stomach. Things didn't smell right.

I went to bed, to the bathroom, to bed, to the bathroom and so on for the next twenty-four hours. I haven't yet made Christmas dinner. Mike has cooked and cleaned, but he's left those Christmas duds alone. I think he's waiting.

He's been patient. I'm upright at least.

I ate rice an hour ago and it was okay.

I'm hoping to make Christmas dinner tomorrow or at least the next day. I want that time in my kitchen. Can I tell you that when I'm in a groove with my cooking, it's almost sacred, feeding my family something that I formed with my hands, something made from the best ingredients I could buy. It could explain why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, why I make soup and frittatas and salads for myself, and why I have been able to reclaim Christmas after the stress of buying just the right presents has overwhelmed me. Not this year.

I asked Mike for a do-over.

Mike informs me that there are no do-overs. Christmas won't come back. So, this is the first Christmas I haven't cooked for Nick. It's the first Christmas I spent most of the day in a different room from my family. It's the first Christmas I didn't bug them to take a walk out in the weather after dinner. It was the first Christmas that I didn't say goodnight to Nick and ask him if he was happy. It was the first Christmas I didn't kiss Mike and tell him 'Thank you' more for the life we have together than the thoughtful gifts he bought.

Oh, I'll cook all that food eventually. I promise I will. But it's not going to be a Christmas dinner. It's going to be a meal that I make for my family because of the love that goes into putting together good food. That can happen any day. 

Thank you for listening, jb

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