Too Late For That! Maybe next year I’ll read the multi-part series that promises sanity.
It’s time. I can’t put it off one more minute (but I am by blogging). I MUST finish what I started. Company is coming, the turkey has to go in the oven, and that kitchen is not going to clean itself up. It’s time for OVERDRIVE!
My dear friends, I must tear myself away from the computer, pull out the cooking and cleaning supplies, and get to it. I HATE this feeling. I HATE that I procrastinate. I do it all the time, and it causes me so much stress and negativity. I’m not a negative person. I don’t need the stress.
If only I had used the tips for a Stress Free Christmas!
“It’ll all get done,” are words that fall from my lips far too often. The thing is, it does. Mostly. But it doesn’t get done with the same quality that I might prefer. Take my health. Sure, I’ll lose the weight. Someday. Surely it won’t be today with the menu I have planned, unless I forego everything but the green beans. And exercise? It’ll happen. Eventually. Sheesh.
I can’t spend too much time mentally beating myself up. It interferes with overdrive mode. Positive self talk is far more effective. Now I’m off to do all that must me done. Merry Christmas all! And may you have a happy, healthful, peaceful, and restful celebration.
Next to me, my fiance’s computer set up so that we can keep tabs on Santa as he makes his journey around the world. A short while ago he was in Zimbabwe, now he’s in Serbia headed for Hungary. Santa has a job to do and he gets it done. In spades. Maybe his list is what helps him.
I have a list too. It’s about a mile long and filled with things I ought to be doing. I have company coming tomorrow. I have a trip planned (more about that in the future). There is cleaning and cooking and wrapping and packing to be done. Yet for some reason I can’t quite make myself do it. I’m overwhelmed. I want to shut down. I want to sit on the couch with a steamy mug of cocoa and watch White Christmas. Under a blanket. With my dog. And my sweetheart. Doesn’t that sound lovely?
The ought to do list is too much. I have to simplify. I need to be kind to myself. My family will be fine if I do, or they won’t. The happy people won’t care, and the grumpy people will find fault regardless, so I might as well calm down about it.
Here are the must do’s:
2. Set up the guest room
3. Clear off the kitchen table
4. Wrap gifts
5. Finish cleaning the main bathroom (i.e. son’s bathroom- ew)
Here are the should do’s:
2. Wash the floor
3. Fold and put away laundry
4. Set the table from tomorrow
5. Work on schoolwork (always schoolwork)
You already know the want to do’s, but there are more:
2. Play Candy Crush Saga
4. Sip cocoa
5. Watch Christmas movies, on the couch, under a blanket, with my dog, and my sweetheart
Maybe I can find some balance? Do a must do, followed by a want to do, followed by another must do, then an ought to do? Mind boggling. Here goes, I have to do something, those lists aren’t going to take care of themselves, and I don’t have an army of elves to help. Ho ho ho, away, I go.
Here we are, December 23, and in spite of all the wonderful experiences I’ve been enjoying, there is a tiny, dark place in the back corner of my mind waiting for the bad news. December brings a heightened sense of everything to me. Highs are higher, lows are lower, and there is an assault on the senses. This isn’t all bad, not by a long shot, but it does take me off my normal path a bit.
Let me explain, if I can. First, it’s the end of the first semester of school. As a teacher, it’s a time to push to the halfway point, wrap up the testing, freak out over the data (why oh why didn’t little Abigail reach her midyear score in math, and why is little Derrick slipping backward in reading?), and prepare report cards. Oh, and clean up the classroom before break (and unplug everything and fill in the energy conservation survey) and make sure the lessons are ready to go on January 6th, and write out the thank you notes for all the sweet and generous gifts. And don’t forget to make that last phone call to that concerned parent and fill out that field trip form and complete the paperwork for additional services and a few other things. Ok, that’s just school.
Then there’s the assault on the senses. I love the smells of Christmas. Pine reminds me of when we used to get real trees (my allergies are thankful for the artificial one, but the aroma from a candle just isn’t quite the same). The smell of cinnamon and baking cookies can’t be beat, but my favorite Christmas candle scent is cranberry. They make the house so inviting.
There is also the music. Concerts from the school auditorium to the symphony hall give us live music to enjoy, and the radio, tv, shopping malls, drugstores, and even restaurants all pipe in Christmas songs. By the end of the season I will have heard “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” approximately 862 times, but oddly I haven’t heard the Bruce Springsteen version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” even once yet. Maybe today will be the day.
There is also more to see at Christmas time. My house is fuller, what with a fake tree in the living room and decor strewn about here and there. There is so much more color, and so many extra lights, both indoors and out. We go out of our way to see these beautiful displays, and admire the effort that people put forth to create them.
Then there are the tastes of the season. Diet and good health be damned (I will pay dearly for this attitude come January, I already know that). The sweet cool peppermint of a candy cane, the rich warmth of hot cocoa, and the smooth cool deliciousness of a glass of eggnog are all tastes I associate with Christmastime. There are the more grown up pleasures too, like the bubbles of the champagne or the tangy cocktail sauce on a tender shrimp.
Finally there is the feel of Christmas. There is the cold night air and the warmth of cozy pajamas and fuzzy blankets on the couch while we watch old movies. There is the snuggle from my puppy (although, really, she snuggles year round) and the snuggles from my family (ok, they do too, but somehow it seems a little sweeter at Christmas). Cozy scarfs are brought out, and earmuffs and gloves are pressed into service as we brave the outdoors on cold nights. Of course it’s nothing like the snow and cold of my childhood, but it’s enough for me.
These are the good Christmas time feelings, but there are some that aren’t so great. There’s that feeling that I will let down my loved ones somehow if I don’t get the perfect gift. I’m getting better about this one, as my gift list has dwindled way down, and my son is older and has pretty specific requests that I am normally able to fulfill. I know this is more a result of listening to the endless messages of advertisers than the expectations of my loved ones. Seriously, at what other time of the year would you ever even consider giving someone a beard trimmer, a twinkie maker, or a desktop bowling set?
I also don’t like the feeling of rushing or being pressured. I don’t like the feeling that Christmas is some sort of competition with a deadline. I have to remind myself that my family will have a good holiday whether I forget the rolls or not, whether there are two types of vegetables or one, whether there are six stocking stuffers or five. I have to let it go.
I also have to let go of that little dark niggling feel of impending disaster that I mentioned earlier. Two unpleasant things have happened in Decembers past, and they both haunt me. The first was a minor traffic accident. My former husband and I were two blocks from our apartment stopped at a red light when the big red pick up truck behind us crashed into us. It caused a great deal of damage to our car, but no injuries, thank goodness. It was two days before Christmas. It made me fearful and I had many bad dreams about running into other people after that.
My Mooie looked like this when I found him abandoned in the desert.
The second December disaster was the loss of my beloved fur baby Mooie. Mooie was Mozart, a little tiger kitty I had since he was abandoned in a desert wash as a tiny kitten. He was psycho and beautiful and I loved him. When I was pregnant with my son, Mooie would burrow under the covers with me and curl up against my belly. I think that is the sweetest memory of my pregnancy. Anyway, the following year, my son’s first Christmas, he was being a maniac. Worse. A complete pain in the ass. He would run across the bed in the middle of the night and wake us up. We tried closing him in another room. He destroyed the rug. We tried closing him in the garage. He kept us up crying all night. Finally, in exhausted desperation my former husband insisted that we put him out for the night. I didn’t know what else to do so I reluctantly agreed. He was an indoor cat from the day I found him. I was sick about it.
The next day we went off to work, figuring he would be home soon. Late in the afternoon I got a call from the ex. “Come home, there’s something terribly wrong with Mooie.” The guilt. The anxiety. The terror. He was under the coffee table and wouldn’t come out. His eye. Oh no, his eye. We wrapped him in a blanket, got him in the carrier, and cried all the way to the vet. She believed he had been hit by a car. His jaw was broken. He was bleeding internally. His eye… I can’t talk about his eye. I was heartbroken. We did this. We allowed this poor creature to be horribly injured because he was being an inconvenience. We had to let him go. He couldn’t recover from his injuries. But somehow he came home. Somehow after being hit by a car he climbed over the wall into our yard and came home to us, the people who put him out.
I will never forgive myself for letting that happen. I will remember that sweet, crazy, little grey cat every December for the rest of my life, and I will always look over my shoulder in December, even as I enjoy the season.