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The Fire Hose Has Slowed...For Now




Just days before Christmas the rush of holiday work that my catering colleagues and I call the Fire Hose has slowed to a trickle. It'll pick up again in a few days, but I'm glad for the short respite to visit friends and family and sit on the sidelines panting, trying to catch my breath. Z-girl and I have already had our exchanging of gifts - I gave her a Nook and upgraded mine which was the result of a rugged bargaining session with a store manager that likely destroyed her holiday spirit, but left significant coin in my pocket and a new e-reader to boot. I also bought Zoe some gift cards, two t-shirts (one with the iconic "Great Gatsby" book art on it and one with Totoro on the front) and a snood. A snood's like a combination scarf and hood thing you can wear around your neck. I got some aromatic bath salts for my foot bath (my feet thank you, Santa), my favorite brand of socks, and a couple different sizes of Moleskine notebooks.


Today we're traveling a few hours down to Indy. The weather looks like it's going to cooperate, which is a big plus. Driving through blizzards or ice storms between here and Indiana is a stress-fest I no longer tolerate well. Too many years of driving in white outs, crawling along at 20MPH for hours on end clenched over the steering wheel. We're hanging around here for a little while, waiting on the mail to come. Zoe has some diabetic supplies coming and I hope they get here or our holiday trip will have to be cut short. I've relinquished a lot of the responsibilities for Z-girl's health needs in order to get her used to doing it on her own. It drives me crazy that she waits until she's almost without the essential things she needs for survival before she orders more. But it's part of her learning the consequences of independence with diabetes. Better to learn the lessons now when her safety net (me) is here rather than later on when she'll likely have no one but herself to depend upon.

We've visited with friends the last few days which is always my favorite holiday thing to do. Most of my friends are in the service industry and have the same hours I do, so as a result, we end up getting together at odd hours. Couple nights ago Z-girl's boyfriend and her best friend came over at 9 for dinner. My buddy Steve came over just after 10 and finished off the rest of the spaghetti and meatballs I'd made. We sat around the kitchen table listening to music, talking gossip, politics and music until late into the night. Lots of laughs. It felt so good to have that release of tension. Then last night I was invited over to Ryar's (Zoe's beau) parent's house for dinner and Christmas festivities, which this year they called "Craigsmas" in honor of their house guest Craig who works with Ryar and for complicated, but mundane reasons needed a place to stay for a few months while he saves money for his own place. I'd never spent much time with Ryar's parents, but I found them utterly delightful. They are both artists who own a shop which does custom glass etching for everything from casino doors in Vegas to coffee tables at Panera Bread. They are ten years older than I am and are on the fast track to retirement, which for them, means that they will shut the business down and devote time to their own personal art work. They are looking forward to being able to totally follow their own artistic directions and have already set up studio space in the garage in anticipation. Their house, with its ramshackle charm and labyrinthine floor plan, reminded me of the Weasley's house from Harry Potter. The place has a great history. During Prohibition it used to be a Blind Pig - one of many here in Holland during that time. They are in the midst of re-habing the lower floor so everything's stripped down to the wall studs revealing many hidden nooks and crannies. There is a small room off the front parlor the size of a walk-in closet that is behind a pocket door disguised as a full length mirror. It holds an easy chair, ashtray and small fold out bed. A love nest. The basement features a fruit cellar with shelves that flip down flush with the wall to facilitate the quick disposal of illegal liquor bottles should the police raid the joint. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of rolls and freezer jam, roast chicken, Brussels sprouts and potatoes with scratch-made lemon meringue pie for dessert. Nightcaps of coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream.

A family friend stopped by and was immediately given a seat and a plate of food. The apparent custom for the family is to talk about anything and everything at table. The favorite subjects being sex, poop and racism. No reason for this combination other than they have discovered that for a while now this is just the way conversations seem to naturally flow. So we got around to talking about poop and racism, but the sex subject was left alone owing much to the awkwardness of my presence sitting in between my daughter and her boyfriend. The family friend, Bruce, was rather quiet all evening until he piped up out of the blue that he had once shit himself while shopping at the Gap. Our heretofore lively conversation about North Korean racism/xenophobia came to a screeching halt to allow for Bruce to elaborate whilst I recovered from nearly laughing myself into a hernia. Bruce's story not only included relating his unfortunate explosion in the Gap changing room but his covert adventure in escaping the store without leaving any "evidence" and his bow-legged, hobbling journey through the bowels(!) of the mall and across a crowded parking lot in search of a quiet restroom in which to perform toxic waste removal. And this was only the beginning of the scatological salon of low-brow humor that night. Yet another night of laughter and relaxation. Two great nights in the space of a week. It has been a long time since I've had that much fun around people. It almost restored my fondness for the holidays which died off many years ago. So we'll see how the rest of the holiday weekend goes. Maybe I'm on a roll of holiday positivity.


Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
mallorys_camera
Dec. 24th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC)
Bruce's story is too-oo funny and I wish I'd been there to heat the details.

Ryan's parents' house sounds wonderful.
crookedfingers
Dec. 25th, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)
Christmas Eve
hope you are having a nice Christmas-peace Jonny
markmc03
Dec. 25th, 2011 08:45 am (UTC)
That Christmas kitty tree decoration is incredible! So lifelike. But are you only putting one on your tree this year?
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )