Christmas in the Fatherland: Day 4

I started writing this blog for my kids.  Isn’t it strange, then, that I just now realized (6 years in) that I begin almost every post with the word “I”?

That’s because at the end of the day, it’s still MY blog.

Cheers to Christmas Eve and family!

I thought about running this morning.  Then I thought about doing some tabatas.  Both ideas firmly crushed in my mind I thought about doing something of real value.  So I poured coffee and fixed breakfast.

It’s Christmas Eve, one of the most glorious days of the year!

In my mind I began juggling several tasks that absolutely must be accomplished today, prioritizing each one so that I could order them for minimum driving time.  I have found that the roads are, oddly, not too packed on this day if you hit them at the right time.

Even this dog got into the spirit.  I don’t know who her master is.

First up was a trip to the liquor store.  I have a sister who enjoys a stiff drink.  Going through the list of gifts we had purchased, packed, and wrapped; we realized we didn’t have one for her.  A niece and I headed out.

The Liquor Store

So the roads were clear but the parking lot was anything but.  Apparently we aren’t the only drunks in town.  I found what I was looking for and proceeded to the checkout.  Now, don’t judge me, but I have a club card to this particular liquor store.  What?  I like a discount.  The man in front of me, however, did not.  Or at least he didn’t have it with him.  The clerk asked for his name so she could look it up.  “Last name: Collins,” he said.  “First name: Tom.”

No he did not.

My niece, when we advanced to the counter, blurted out “We don’t have our card but the name’s “Harvey…  Harvey Wallbanger.  Look it up.”

We took our 96 oz bottle of rum chatta and bolted.

The Perfumery

On my wife’s list was a fragrance.  Again, don’t judge me.  I had already done most of her shopping.  Just wanted a little something extra because I love her so much.  And I love how she smells.  Totally turns me on.  You didn’t just read that much as I didn’t just write it.  Let’s move on.  There’s a place called Ultra or Ulta or some such thing.  If you’ve ever driven Route 3 in Clifton, NJ, you can skip to the next section safe in the knowledge that I survived.  For everyone else, I survived.  Barely.  Again, the store was not packed but the parking lot was insane.  I walked in with my niece and found the thing I wanted.  Or did I?  There were four different varieties — eau de parfume, eau de scente, eau de whatever, and something else.  Thank God I had a companion.  “Come here,” I said as she turned around.  “Just gotta’ spray these things on you.  Hold still!  Dammit, lady, it’s just perf – you know what?  It wouldn’t get in your eyes if you’d stop squirming.”  I found one I liked.  As I pulled the box off the shelf I realized that this brand has another line on the shelf right below.  Rather than having a nervous breakdown I asked my niece to spray the others on her and make a decision.   After chiding her for complaining about her “bullshit sensitive skin” we approached the counter.  Surprisingly I have a club card to this place too.  Regardless they would have given me the discount just to get me to stop singing.  Niece and I were caroling while we shopped.  Apparently Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It isn’t a Christmas standard.

Bacon-wrapped mozzarella sticks.  Just because.

The Cemetery

Had to stop off and say hello to my sister and brothers.  It is Christmas after all.

Home Again

We pulled into the driveway, unloaded the car, and headed over to another sister’s house because… my brother had come home from the hospital!  He didn’t look great but he was comfortable and he wasn’t in the hospital.  I can’t imagine a worse place to be if you didn’t have to on Christmas.

We got changed and headed off to mass.  Our kids had been begging us to go to the vigil mass.  They assumed that this would be the same as the Easter Vigil, after which we took them to IHOP as a treat.  It’s not.  Mass was, of course, beautiful.  Afterward, my headed over to the firehouse so that we could include my nephew (a fireman who happened to be on call) in a family shot.

I don’t want to wrap anymore presents.

And then it was off to bed for the little ones.  Hahaha…  Looking at that sentence, it seems so peaceful to believe a parent could get his kids to bed early on Christmas Eve.  I certainly couldn’t.  But they weren’t too bad.  They got a visit from Santa in the form of another nephew in a padded red suit.  The virus seemed to be gone so we didn’t have to worry about that.  Tucked them in.  Then my wife and I proceeded to wrap a million presents.  My night was far from over but I’ll stop at midnight and resume on tomorrow’s post.

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2 responses to “Christmas in the Fatherland: Day 4

  1. Are you sure “We’re Not Gonna Take It” isn’t a Christmas standard? How does something become a standard? If you sing it often enough until it gets stuck in everyone’s head and they start singing and pass it to other people, over time it becomes a standard.

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