Saturday, December 22, 2012
A couple of years ago, I discovered that, if one waits until late in the month, Lowe's will have their remaining cut Christmas trees on sale for half off. Their trees aren't that expensive to begin with, and cheap is one price that appeals to me greatly.
So, for the last two years, we have gotten a tree - admittedly, a pretty ugly tree, but hey, that really doesn't matter once it's decorated - for around $10-$15 at Lowe's. I don't mind waiting, anyway, because I don't do the decorating in the first place - my 22-year old does, and he doesn't get home from college until around the 15th. And we do do Advent, which I have come to appreciate more and more through the years, and which makes Christmas even more special when it comes.
So that was the plan again this year. However, this year, it seems I waited just a little too long. Yesterday (the 21st) we headed out to Lowe's, only to find that they were totally out of trees other than the artificial kind. We are a 'real tree' kind of family, so that wasn't going to cut it. We tried two nurseries, but all they had were live trees in large pots. I would have been OK with that, and we did get a live tree one year (it lives on in our back yard), but the nurseries wanted over
$100 for tiny little trees, and that is not within budget. All the freestanding tents full of cut trees were also sold out/closed.
My poor son, who really, really cares about such things, far more than I do - because that isn't really what Christmas is or should be all about - was in despair. "Be not afraid," I said to him. (Well, not really, but I wish I had said that.)
Thinking creatively outside the box, I sent him to the Internet and told him to search on Christmas tree farms. The first two he found had both closed on the 16th. How completely unfair of them! However, the third one was a WINNER. They cheerfully advertised that they are open every day right up until Christmas eve. Definitely folks after my own heart. The fact that their farm is over an hour away was not a deterrent. We mounted our trusty steed, er, car, and headed out.
We reached their very nice tree farm, grabbed a wagon, and started looking. Some spirited disagreements about the relative virtues of various trees ensued. After about another hour, we managed to agree on an acceptable tree, ruthlessly sawed it down, stuffed it into the back of our car, and headed home. Damage done - $30. Not my usual super-duper deal, but an acceptable price.
So, after some hard work by my wonderful son, here is the result:
And here are my amazingly fantastic children:
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Well, I didn't think I would have anything worth blogging about today. I guess one never knows. I did have to work today, which is unusual since I work very part time. Today I was watching kids whose parents were at a school music programme.
Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal at all. There weren't all that many kids, and some of them I know quite well, because I have babysat for them many times. But it was just one of those days.
One little girl, who is never any trouble at all, had evidently been drinking a bit too much. Drinking water, juice, or milk, mind you. At all events, she peed a LOT. She not only filled her pull-up, she overflowed it. There was urine down her pants, soaking her socks and shoes, and there was a huge puddle on the floor. In all the years I have been babysitting, this is the first time I have had a puddle of pee on the floor.
What was worse was that I was just in a fifth-grade classroom - no sink, no toilet, not even any hand sanitizer. Luckily there were Clorox wipes, plus of course a clean pull-up and baby wipes. We wiped down the floor with paper towels and Chlorox wipes, I changed her pull-up, and pants, and crisis number one was over. Though we had no place to put the resulting trash...
Next, her little brother, who is not used to being away from his mom, decided it was time to start some serious crying. My son, who was helping me, is totally grossed out by snot and drool, and this little guy was producing copious quantities of both. I took him, did what I could to console him, and started using equally copious quantities of Kleenex to wipe up the snot and drool.
Meanwhile, a mom dropped off her little boy, who was really no trouble compared to the others, but who was fast - amazingly fast - and who was into absolutely everything, so he required a lot of watching. I got pretty miffed when his mom, after leaving him for over half an hour (of a one-hour concert), took him out without bothering to pay us. Sadly, not so very unusual. The rates were clearly listed, everyone knew what the cost was supposed to be - but my son and I were too busy to go chasing after her to try to force her to pay. I'll admit it makes me not all that willing to do it the next time I'm asked.
Then, while the unhappy little guy was still crying and producing bodily fluids, another (very sweet) little guy created, shall I say, a rather bad smell in his diaper. I don't mind changing diapers, but it is kind of hard to do while holding and cuddling another child. And did I mention that the same son who dislikes drool isn't all that fond of poop, either? But he decided that, of the two, he'd rather deal with the drool, so I got the diaper and he got the unhappy baby.
By the time the concert was over - and the whole thing was just under an hour! - I was wilting. My son and I cleaned up, the janitor was informed that new trash can liners were needed in the fifth-grade classroom, and we headed home. I'm not sure I've ever had one hour with that many crises before. And I got paid...$12. Definitely not sure if it's worth the trouble.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I am soooooo tired. This evening all my kids drove off to visit their dad, and I decided it was time to wrap presents. Oh, my goodness....I feel as though I wrapped about six hundred of them. It was never ending. I was wrapping things I had bought, but also things my siblings had bought and had sent here directly, mostly from Amazon.
And just when I thought the end was finally in sight, I went out to the car to get one last present...and there were two more boxes sitting on the front step! Boxes from Amazon, full of more presents waiting to be wrapped. I am about ready to strangle my brother and his wife, who seem to be singlehandedly keeping Amazon in the black this year, and who didn't have to wrap a single present themselves! (Just kidding)
So, I did all this wrapping, cleaned up the mess, put all the wrapped presents away, brought down tons of dirty laundry (after all, I was coming downstairs anyway), and sat down to get online and rest for a few minutes...when, boom, the kids got back home. Sigh.
I have to work tomorrow and Thursday, but I am really looking forward to Friday. I think I just may make some truffles!
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Christmas has been sneaking up on me. I am definitely losing my focus. I thought I had bought all the presents I needed to, and I thought I had wrapped all the presents that needed to be mailed out of town, wrapped, packed in a box with lots of styrofoam peanuts, sealed, addressed, and mailed said box. And I did do that. But as I was patting myself on the back for getting it all done, I remembered two or three more presents that should have been wrapped and mailed in that box...but weren't. Grrrrrrrr.... Now I either do more wrapping and packing and mailing, or I just let it go, figuring that they were small gifts and I can send them next year.
Except for the fact that they are little jars of hand creams and lotions, and I very much fear that they won't keep for an entire year.
Meanwhile, my house is a wreck, even though I had extensively cleaned not that long ago. It is a wreck because my son came home from college, and he just dumps everything in the middle of the living room, where he leaves it until I either move it myself, or we have a big enough fight about it that he decides it isn't worth the grief. I just don't know why it always has to be this way. I love my son. But he is a complete slob, and I just HATE fighting and arguing and yes, screaming at him to get him to pick up his stuff. Nor do I think it is right for me to clean it all up, especially since he will just be angry with me for putting it in his room. Why? Because his room will then be so crowded with stuff that he won't be able to walk across it.
Where is the Christmas spirit in all that? Hiding, for sure. I also very much fear that I have put on extra pounds already, when the month is barely half over. I have GOT to get on track. Today I bought tons of healthy veggies and fruits at the farmer's market, but even with those I need to be careful not to overdo it.
OK, gripe over. I am glad, glad, glad that my two college students are back home with me. I am glad that my shopping is over. I have even written the rough draft of the Christmas letter I put in with my cards. So things have been accomplished. We will probably buy a tree tomorrow. If you wait until close to Christmas and buy your tree at Lowe's, they are marked down to super cheap. I think we paid less than $10 last year. Now, it wasn't a very pretty tree, but once it's decorated, it doesn't matter all that much.
And I am planning my meals for the week, and there will be lots and lots of veggies in them - beets, kohlrabi, eggplant, sweet potatoes, small red potatoes, carrots, cabbage - all from the farmer's market. I also bought some local grapefruit, and my orange tree is just loaded with pretty oranges. If I get to them before my son does, that is.
Now I am starting to feel a little better about Christmas. The first party is tomorrow (Boy Scout party), and I just need to focus on my goals and then I won't overdo the food.
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