Was just drifting awake on the morning of Thursday, December 20 when my cell phone rang. It was Kid wishing me happy birthday.
"Are you at work?"
"No, I took the day off."
"Oh no! I woke you up, didn't I?"
She hadn't, really, and it was time to get going. Two hours of tossing stuff into bags and checking stuff off of impromptu packing lists, and I was on the road. Was eating lunch at Frank's in Schulenburg when Uncle John called to wish me happy birthday.
Got to Biscuit Hill Bed and Breakfast a little after 3pm. Was greeted by Deana, who runs the place. She showed me around, we settled my bill in advance, and she said I'd have the house to myself until the other couple got in the next day, and breakfast would be at 9:30. Seemed silly for her to expect me for breakfast, since I'd much rather sleep in at least the first day, and when I said this she said that was fine! And she sent me up to my room with these amazing cinnamon crumb muffins and apple juice. I ran out that night for crackers, cream cheese, salami, and wine for my dinner. I took a walk down the creek bed under the wary gaze of the four whitetail does had come up for the corn that I'd tossed out for them. The rest of the evening I spent curled up in my room or soaking in the huge jacuzzi tub, eating my crackers and cheese and such and reading. And reading. And reading.
The next day I went driving around the hills. I drove by my old home, but everything was changed. The trees had grown up and blocked the views I remember, and it didn't feel like home any more. But I saw Mrs. Schultze in her driveway as I drove by, so I pulled in and talked with her for a while, and it was great to see her.
Drove back up by the lake and stopped to take some pictures, then came back to the B&B. Was once again a lazy bum with a stack of good books. The next day I did go down for breakfast, chatted with Josh and Marlena from Katy, checked with Deana that I was good to leave when I was packed, then headed out just before 11am.
Got to Mom's and we finished cleaning and setting up the Christmas decor. That night we had Kid's boyfriend and his parents and younger sister over to join Mom and Kid and Grandma and me for dinner in honor of my birthday. It was fun. The next day Kid's boyfriend installed a new back door with a little doggie door for Abby, and I wrapped presents. Yes it took me most of the day to do that. We had the food network on, too, and then after dinner we opened Christmas presents by the tree. I don't know what's going to run out first... red kitchen gadgetry for Mom to buy me, or kitchen for me to put red gadgetry in. :-P
Christmas Eve Grandma headed on to Kerrville and we headed to La Grange. I left first, but I took my time, and I stopped to visit Dad's grave. A lot has been going on, and I miss him, but crying with my cheek against his headstone for a while felt as close as I'm ever going to come again to crying in his arms. I got tears all over the stone, and felt the way I would if it had been his shirt I'd soaked. I wish I could tell him everything, just to hear him say how proud he still was of me, and that of course I've never disappointed him. It's what I know he'd say, deep down, but never hearing it leaves me still doubting sometimes.
Kid and her boyfriend beat me to Momo's, and Mom got there a little afterwards. That evening, like always, we went to the Christmas pageant mass. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great for the kids to be the ones to celebrate the Word, but I think I need to find a new way to worship Christmas. It's too much spectacle. And choir is just horrible. No, really. And the congregation doesn't join in very loudly, even though everyone knows the words. So it just kind of hurts. I guess I shouldn't be such a snob; it's about worship, not performance. But kids reading through the scripture as fast as they can and a choir that never starts at the right time and parents snapping pictures... I needed something more this year. Something deeper. Oh well. I'm also going to start booking a hotel room. With all the kids and grandkids and spouses and great grandkids and significant owners, the house is getting kind of crowded. And kind of noisy.
We had Chinese Christmas that night like always. The Crown Royal was a popular item, and my cousin Shane and another cousin's boyfriend worked out a strategy where they both managed to get and freeze the two bottles up for grabs. It was highly amusing. And fairly brilliant. I'm ashamed to say the only miffed feelings this time were mine when Brooke stole the neat faux leather storage footstool I'd got, but most of that was for show. Still, Greg stole a tool set from Mom to freeze it for her, and then Mom stole the footstool back for me, and Brooke ended up with colored cordial glasses that she really likes, so it all turned out okay.
Anyway, today we had a big dinner, and I drove home, and so now I'm watching my new CSI Las Vegas videos. No more red wine in the apartment, though. I spilled my glass, which wouldn't be so bad, only then I mopped it up with a green wash cloth that bleeds. Red and green. Merry Christmas!