‘Tis the season, friends.
I’m writing to you from my favorite spot in the whole house—three and a half feet from a tree that looks like it stepped out of a Macy’s window to spend the season with us—wearing jingle bell earrings and a jingle bell bracelet and a jingle bell necklace,* because if you don’t jingle all the way you’re not Christmassing hard enough and you don’t get eggnog shakes with cookie dough vodka in.
Them’s the rules.
But, because I am Christmassing so hard, I feel it would be unkind of me to glop syrup all over everyone. I mean, some of you are about to face family and I, of all people, know that’s not necessarily the best part of the holidays. Plus, some of you may be thinking bah humbug thoughts, and I want to give you something to lift your spirits without overworking your pancreas.
I confess, I was at a loss for inspiration, but then.
Don’t laugh. Not yet, at least.
Husband decided he should call… his parents.
I, naturally, snarked so hard at this idea I almost put him off it. But Husband is a good person and every few years he takes it in his head that they can be brought to behave like civilized, adult humans if only he begins the conversation and gives them few opportunities to misbehave.
HIM: Fine, I’ll call my parents.
ME: Do not tell them about the blog.
HIM: I won’t… can I tell them you’ve been writing?
ME: (sighs) Tell them I’ve left you. They’ll be thrilled, and you won’t have to say anything about me.
HIM: I’m not going to lie.
ME: Well, I am leaving in a few…
HIM: I’m not going to mislead them, either. I don’t want to play that game.
ME: The “what will make my parents happy” game?
HIM: That one either.
ME: Fine. But you know they’d be thrilled.
HIM: I’ll go see if I still have a number for them.
ME: (sweetly) Look for the one with a 666 exchange.
HIM: It’s 207.
He had to leave a message, which his father returned first… and that’s how we got The Updates:
- They got rid of the landline, except the one they keep for their dialup internet. Yes, dialup. They love it. No, I can’t explain.
- They use only cell phones now, but never keep them nearby, so it sometimes takes them a day or two to notice they’ve missed a call, or that it’s gone dead. I know. I KNOW.
- His (older than I am) sister is living at home—that’s not news, but her boyfriend** moving in sure is. This is a whole ‘nother post I probably don’t have permission to write, but let’s just leave it at… interesting. I wonder what ever happened to the condo they bought her and she refused to live in? (I could turn this into one of those Gah! Let me tell you ’bout my in-laws! blogs so easily… but the competition is stiff)
We were content to stew on The Updates forever. Family Comedy camels, us, and the thing with his sister… But, alas, father shared mother’s cell number so Husband could
call leave a message for her as well. Why couldn’t he just hand the phone over to her? Well, you have to understand—these people are so awful they don’t even like each other. They claim to be very much in love even after all these years, but when they both worked they were careful to keep opposite schedules so they were together as little as possible.
Take from that what you will.
ME: That was quick.
HIM: She… thought that was a nice conversation. We hit the weather almost immediately.
HIM: She asked about our son.
HIM: She thinks he “must be getting big by now.”
ME: Oh good lord. He’s an adult!
HIM: Yup. (angry pause) She didn’t ask about you.
ME: I hope you didn’t bring it up.
ME: (stomps foot) If you tell her about me, it makes it much harder for me to write about them!
HIM: Oh! I should have told her there wasn’t a reunion!
ME: No. Trust me. The existence or lack of a class reunion would not have impacted her plans for your trip in the slightest.
ME: You’d have brought it up and she’d have pivoted to how you could have come out just for a visit with faaaaaaamily.
HIM: But not you.
ME: Well of course not me. I’m not family.
Now picture the preceding conversation with him sitting at my desk,*** exactly where I am now, and me decorating to bouncy Christmas tunes. Because that’s how it went down and I’m reading over it now and it seems like a much more serious, emotionally fraught conversation without Dominic the Christmas Donkey to lighten things up. Plus, I was covered in glitter and about as happy as I get all year.
And he, poor man, is now thinking he could probably do this faaaaaamily thing once a month.
I’m gonna need a lot of trees.
* It does not light up, because I felt that would be overkill. Also, I was unable to find one that jingled and lit up, so I had to make do with one of each. I don’t wear them together because it seemed tacky. Plus when I tried, my husband refused to go to the same place I was going and our friend threatened to cancel her party altogether.
** Not the same one from before. No, this winner is fresh off his drug conviction. Don’t worry—my father-in-law promises they’re both clean and sober now. Of course, his definition of “clean and sober” still allows for a number of controlled substances…
*** Wearing no bells or lights at all, but covered in secondhand glitter. He still resists, bless.