Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas with the Faaaaam-ily

Last year at this time, we firmly declared that we were not going to travel at Christmas this year, with the exception of lunch in Charlotte on Christmas Day to see my 100 year old grandmother. We reaffirmed this declaration at the beach last July. You might be amused to know that I just returned today from a 3 day whirlwind travel extravaganza in which we drove from Atlanta to Greensboro on Friday, Greensboro to Charlotte, then Charlotte to SC on Saturday, and then home today. During a snowstorm. Of course, Atlanta chooses to break its no White Christmas since 1882 streak while we are running around the Southeast having the Christmas that we did not travel.

There were extenuating circumstances, primarily Mr. Pigs' mom's knee replacement in November that pressured us to guilt travel during these, the best Santa Claus years. But next year? I'm saying it here: WE ARE NOT TRAVELING FOR CHRISTMAS. There. That proclamation was as strong as the one I made on here declaring that I refused to take my children to the library for six months (still holding on, deal's up in April).

Highlights of the trip include the following:
  1. Being able to stretch my legs all the way out in my new car.
  2. Being able to put Gus in his crate in the back of the car so that he is not pelted with toys, cups, and shoes when lying at Pigpen's feet.
  3. Using heated seats. This move is glorious on a snowy day.
  4. First trip with Pigpen and Piglet both bed-dwellers. So many people in house they had to share a room. Did not go well.
To elaborate, we put them to bed in separate rooms, then moved Piglet to Pigpen's room after they were asleep with intentions of them sleeping all night.


Pigpen began calling me at 12:15, juuuuust as I had drifted off to sleep. He wanted to tell me hi. Piglet awakened at 1:59, at which time he stood on his bed and looked out the window and made heaps of racket. After three rounds of this behavior, he was evicted from the island, dragged to our room and forced to sleep on the floor. Except he did not sleep. From 2:15am until sometime around 5am, he asked questions.  He moaned about his face hurting. He mourned this pain ("Why is this happening to meeeeee?") Why, you ask? Because he had a piece of cake after dinner. Just one piece of cake sends him over the moon. Pigpen had also had a piece of cake, some candy, and copious amounts of Reddi-Whip, courtesy of my father - the man who didn't let us eat sweets until we were 12, but that's another story.

Blearly-eyed, we headed to Charlotte, where my cousin and I campaigned to have our Christmas get together moved to any day that was not actually Christmas so we could stay home and play Santa. After lunch, we aimed our car at SC and made it by 3pm. And that is when I need you to imagine a loud "Wah-wahhhhh....." sound as Christmas cheer skidded to an abrupt halt.

We had entered The Misery Zone. I mentioned earlier that my mother in law had knee replacement in early November, prompting the need for us to travel this year. Okay, fine. No problem. But it's hard to not feel Scrooge-like when you are pelted with every complaint under the sun. Complaint isn't even an accurate word. What's a word that means making sure everyone around you knows just HOW BAD you have it in case they weren't paying attention the first 52 times? The first two hours sounded like this (and I am not exaggerating, I was typing these notes as I listened):

  • "Y'all cannot imagine the misery that I am in every minute of every day."
  • "I don't know if I'll ever be alright."
  • "Maybe this time next year I'll be a little better."
At this point, I jokingly interjected, "Maybe we should just cut your leg off, since it's causing you so many problems?" My humor has never been appreciated in that neck of the woods.
  • "Pigs! Don't say that! Do you know I have to take antibiotics every time I go to the dentist?"
  • "The pain, oh the pain. I have to do these exercises, 20 of them. [does one] OHHHH!! You just don't KNOW how much this hurts me."
  • "I can't take any more of the narcotics. Advil doesn't even touch it. You just can't imagine this constant pain. Every minute, I'm suffering enormous pain."
And later, just to force me to practice keeping a straight face:
  • "Your dad makes way too many bowel movements. It is far more than is normal. And they smell absolutely foul. Do you think he has a gluten intolerance? I bet that's what's wrong with Pigpen."
I have no idea how Pigpen got dragged into that one.

Then came the snow forecast. This nearly brought the world to an end because there was NO WAY we could drive home on snowy, icy roads. Somehow this panic brought about a lively round of Who Had is Worse, in which one of Mr. Pigs' parents would try to one up the other on things like home insulation, indoor plumbing, and the like from their childhoods.

Some bold moves:

  • Breaking the ice to check the chickens
  • Milk the cow before school
  • Outhouse
  • Driving the school bus before school
  • I was just in so much pain all week. I didn't even eat until yesterday. Actually, I haven't eaten since my surgery.
Okay, that wasn't a part of the game, but it was the game point at which time Mr. Grandpigs conceded loss.

I gratefully headed to bed around 10:15 last night, still exhausted from the night before. Pigpen woke up at 12:16am to tell me hi, and I got to sleep the remainder of the night. Well, until 6:10am when Pigpen woke up ready for the day and jumped into bed with Piglet, much to Piglet's annoyance. I dozed to the sounds of the boys racing up and down the hall and Pigpen opening to door to come stare at me closely and say, "HI MOMMY!" until I heard the familiar sounds of Gus yelping, whimpering and hollering.

Mr. Pigs came to tell me that Gus had eaten a grape. I don't know if you remember, but two summers ago, Gus ate a box of raisins and suffered kidney damage (PSA: raisins and grapes are poisonous to dogs), and the vet sternly warned us that even one raisin or grape now could kill him. Well, my inlaws forgot and put a bowl of grapes on the bottom shelf of the fridge and 'ol noodle neck Gus got him one. I went leaping out of bed to spend the next hour trying to pour hydrogen peroxide down Gus's throat. I sustained six scratches and one bite before Gus first pooped, then puked in the bathtub. Finally, we gave Gus a bath and re-fed him his breakfast that he lost rather viciously.

And, THAT, my friends was my Christmas. We drove home in the snow today and made it just fine. I am very much looking forward to having a good sleep in my own bed under my electric blanket. I hope yours was just as merry.


Carrie said...

I'm exhausted and tense just reading this!  Stand firm to the no travel next year.  Your MIL sounds like a doozy.

Pigs said...

Good blog fodder. Quite a character.

Nicole said...

I cannot express how soothing this is to read after a whirlwind holiday with our families as well.

Pigs' mom said...

Other than your sleepless Piglet (thanks to your father) and the colonoscopy conversation at Christmas Eve dinner, your visit was pretty normal. Let the record show that I DID NOT join into the above mentioned conversation. Just think, you could not write this blog without all this good material :)

Katie Barron said...

Yep, no travel for Christmas for us any more, as of last year.  And I stand by it.  Refuse the guilt next year!  If they want to see you (I mean the children), they can come to YOU! 

What kind of car did you get?