(My apologies for the delay between parts being posted, I've been sick and remain internetless. I'm working on that though - and by "working on that" I mean, I'm working on not being so poor.)
Archer is six. We let him stay up fairly late among all the bustle and visitors on Christmas Eve, it was of no matter, he was up at eight Christmas morning and ready to open presents. As we each made our way to the living room, we noticed that Laiene had not joined us. Joseph explained her fear of the dog, and I went upstairs to tell her that Biscuit had been put in the basement for the time being. She claimed to be jetlagged and to have a headache. I left apologetically and rejoined the rest of the family downstairs.
It was a small Christmas. We’re all grown now and gifts don’t excite us the way that they once did. I got a crock pot and a waffle iron while April got a toaster. Santa “forgot” Archer’s Packers helmet and jersey, but left a letter assuring him it would arrive soon via his elves at UPS. Archer is also the age at which it’s acceptable for him to express disappointment with his gifts – he did not like the array of books and crafts I got him; he made a blatant frown and questioned them. Apparently space origami and Nate the Great aren’t cool anymore. My bad.
My thrift store finds were better received. My dad seemed pleased with his framed picture of John Wayne, and my mother unsurprisingly forced a smile upon opening the painting I gave her. August’s welded peacock hangings apparently match her bedroom theme. April’s candles and salt and pepper shakers are at use. Steven (bro-in-law) filled his Migo mug with instant coffee. Joe seemed amused by his beer mug (he brews his own).
I spent the time after present opening attempting to find someone to take Biscuit, just for the day, just until we could find a kennel. While I was holed up texting people who had dogs in the area, August lost her cool and started yelling about how Laiene was being “irrational” and how Joe shouldn’t “allow his wife to behave that way” while stomping and slamming doors. Growing up, having holes in the walls wasn’t unheard of, but we’re adults now and there is now a hole in the newly painted wall behind the door of my old room. Additionally, the new latch has come loose.
I tried talking to August, but it was about thirty seconds before I was being “condescending.” I’m not sure why I even tried, there’s no reasoning with unreasonable people.
August and Laiene later apologized to each other and we all made our way to the Kennedy Center to see Shear Madness. The show was cute, a murder mystery, the babies slept through it (thankfully), we had a great time. We walked through the building afterward for dinner at the terrace restaurant (banquet hall). Dinner was delicious and the babies managed to stay quiet – somewhere, someone was looking out for my family’s sanity that day. Lord knows what kind of drama would have occurred with impatient parents and crying infants to deal with. It was the end of dinner that caused some friction. August and my dad have very similar ways of dealing with everything, they are both impatient and loud and have a complete disregard for causing a scene in public places. FUN!
August had asked for boxes for the leftovers and my dad wanted to leave them.
“This was expensive, I’m not going to waste it.” August began.
“It’s really not necessary…” My dad continued.
“Well, we’ll eat this later.”
It’s getting heated, so I interject, “it’s not a big deal.”
“Do you think we look poor or something?” August quipped.
“Yeah, I suppose I do,” my dad said sorely. “Poor” is something my parents grew up in and have made every concerted effort to not appear that way in their adult lives.
“Well I’m not wasting it…” And she finishes filling the boxes with leftover lamb and mashed potatoes.
By the time we made it home the tension had settled, but I was close to losing my cool so I changed and made my way back into the city for a friend’s dance night – by myself. Though, I wasn’t really by myself, my friends were DJing and others had managed to escape their families too and we all celebrated the birth of Baby Jesus with shots. I spent that night
dancing spinning, literally. Play me Blur, New Order and Arcade Fire – in that order, and I will spin forever. Christmas night was like that. After such a stressful series of events I needed that, the music, those people, that venue – DC.
I crashed at a friend’s house that night, and managed to make it to church the next morning.