Thursday, December 15, 2005

Awaiting the proverbial shoe

Those of you who read the JPC board have already seen the majority of the first few paragraphs of this post. My apologies for the repeat. It is still weighing heavily on my mind.

As far as Christmas goes, I am as done as I can be at this point. All Christmas cards have been sent, all presents have been bought or ordered, and all the ones that have arrived already have been wrapped (still waiting on several shipments), even if we can't put them out yet due to cats and kid. They are currently sitting in my closet. Most of the out of town packages have gone out; if Amazon would just hurry up and get my boxes to me, I'd be done with that, too! I've even packed the stockings already (we're using buckets this year, but they're cute), so all I have to do is set those out Christmas morning.

The Christmas menu is set, and I've started buying the groceries. Dry goods/non-perishables were last week, this week is cold stuff that will keep (cheeses, frozen meats, etc), and next week is fresh meat, dairy, and produce. Most of the decorating is done, sans tree, and we're waiting as long as possible on that one to allow for minimal destruct... I mean, temptation for four cats (who have never seen a Christmas tree before) and a 14-month-old. Will probably go up around the 20th or so. Can't make any of the goodies this far ahead, so must wait on that. Actuall, I think I just decided not to put the tree up. Might go hunt for a small inexpensive one tomorrow, but the thought of putting up a huge tree that would take up most of the foyer, which Luke likes to use as a play area, just doesn't seem fair. So, no tree. Guess that means all I really have left to do is clean the bathrooms and vacuum the house from top to bottom (as opposed to those "spot clean" type jobs I normally do).

Trust me, I'm not always this prepared. Even DH can't believe we're so far ahead of the game. That means something catastrophic is going to happen, and it will probably wait for my family to get here to do it. ::sigh:: Just waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop. I hate feeling like this. I wish that whatever it is that is going to go wrong (and there will be something), it would go ahead and do it, so I could stop worrying about it.

I'm worried about everything this year. I had no idea hosting Christmas would be so stressful! It shouldn't be. Even if something goes wrong, my family won't care. But it's still niggling at me. We've spent the last 15 Christmases at my parents' house in my home town, from high school through last year. It is kind-of exciting to do it somewhere new, but I gotta say, it's rather nerve-wracking for me personally, since it will be at *my* house! What if no body likes the food? What if my brother doesn't get any sleep since we have no bed for him? (He'll be on the couch, though he swears he doesn't mind.) No one will enjoy themselves because it doesn't look Christmas-y enough, since all we'll have up is fake stockings (it's a table runner; it can't actually hold goodies, thus the buckets discussed earlier) and no tree. It won't feel like Christmas because we can't put gifts under the tree due to cats and baby. What if no one likes what I got them? What if everyone goes home and says they wish we'd had it at my parents' instead because it was the worst Christmas ever! Okay, so I doubt that last part, but I still don't want people feeling sorry because it was "missing something" being here instead of at "home." ::sigh:: Ten more days, and I'll be put out of most of my misery.

Unless the catastrophe waits for everyone to get here before occurring, in which case I have yet more worrying to do.

Currently feeling: restless

Friday, December 09, 2005

Major holiday shopping rant

You'd think I'd have learned better. Every year, I swear I'm only going to order from catalogs or online, and I will be done shopping by Thanksgiving. Paying the shipping is (usually) worth not having to deal with people and parking and standing in line. I have never managed the only catalogs/online part, and only one year that I can think of have I managed the Thanksgiving part. I am, however, usually done by December 10, and I have made that this year, granted with only 8 hours to spare. I finished up this afternoon, after venturing out to the mall.

First off, it is now mid-December; only 16 shopping days are left. Then please explain to me WHY I had to go to four different registers at Macy's to find one that had a cashier?! This was only downstairs, by the way. Upstairs, they had them coming out of their ears, with no customers, but they couldn't ring up my purchase because they do make-up counter stuff only (yes, I know they are usually employed by the make-up company, not just the store). This is a store; last time I checked, they were in the business to sell stuff and to make money while doing it. I should not have to put serious time and effort into trying to give them my money! If it hadn't been for the fact that I could only get what I wanted at this store or at the one half-way across town (at a much busier mall), I would simply have left.

And while I appreciate the customer service aspect of allowing returns at any register (most definitely convenient if you are trying to return or exchange something), it is decidedly NOT convenient for those of us who just want to give you our single item, give you our credit card, and leave. When every register (well, those who have cashiers who don't say "sorry, I'm not open, please go to the next department") has 3-4 people in line trying to do major returns, that takes an incredible amount of time. Could you please have *one* register open for people who just want to pay and leave (and that does not take checks!)?

Oh yes, other customers please have your method of payment out and ready to go by the time they finish ringing you up. If you're using a check (and I'd really rather that you didn't), have it filled in and signed, and have your ID out and ready; you *know* they're going to ask! If you're using a credit card or cash, have it out and ready. PLEASE DO NOT wait until after your purchase has been rung up and bagged to then pick up your purse and start rummaging around in it, looking for your wallet, debating whether to use cash or card or which card to use. What, did you think they were going to ring it up and then say "it's on the house"? NO, they're not. You are going to have to pay for these things. So act like it! Be ready to pay once they're done ringing you up.

And by the way, if you see a car half-way pulled out of a space, please DO NOT block that car in while waiting on a space that is two slots closer to the door. That is just plain flat out RUDE, and if you hadn't moved when I honked my horn, I would have gotten out of the car and given you a piece of my mind. That parking space is not that important, and you clearly knew I was there and partially out of my space when you pulled up, because you swung your car out to go around me and then stopped directly behind me. If it hadn't been because I can't afford the higher insurance or the damage to my car, I probably would have intentionally backed into you, just to make myself feel better!

Currently feeling: supremely aggrivated

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Menu Happy Dance!

Well, after several weeks of agonizing, I finally have the Christmas week menu selected and set, and I've even made up a grocery list with items that can be bought over the next few weeks (so we don't have to spend $500 on food all in one shot a few days before Christmas). I tell you what, it's hard to come up with three meals a day for 10 days without falling back on the "boring" stuff that all of us tend to eat frequently. Granted, I slotted in a few leftovers and eat-outs (take out or dine out, as we feel like it), but it was still hard. I have at least two new meals to try, though one of them has been vouched for by my brother, which makes me feel better. Even then, I had to slot in one "usual boring" meal of Ritzy Chicken Casserole, but I needed something quick and easy for a lunch one day, and I had looked at recipes until my eyes were bugging out of my head. So, Ritzy Chicken it is!

I also ordered the last of my Christmas gifts today. Between today's spending spree (carefully planned, of course) and yesterday's mammoth trip to Best Buy, I think I only have *one* gift left to buy: Godiva chocolate for my grandmother. That is her annual gift, and while I don't think I will be getting her the usual mixed box (she's having trouble eating things that are too much effort, like caramel), I know she would be disappointed if she didn't get any. I'll probably do an assortment of their chocolate bars, since she can break off as much or as little of them as she wants at a time. Besides, the nurse keeps saying she needs to gain some weight. I know this will help! LOL

So, food is set and the gifts are set, assuming they all arrive on time. Just need to clean, wrap, and decorate. (Oh, is *that* all?) Oops, and mail gifts to distant recipients. I may yet pull this off!
Currently feeling: exuberant

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Christmas Miracle

Okay, so it is an extremely minor one, but it certainly warmed my heart all the same. For any of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you probably know of the great passion that DH and I share for a capella music in general, and Rockapella in particular. Well, we were in the grocery store, and what should we hear playing on the speakers but Rockapella's "Little Mary Snowflake." I was floored! I have never ever ever heard them played on any kind of radio station, and there they were. We were probably the only people there who recognized the song!

I hope it is great exposure for them. They've been making music for over 15 years now, they have had national television exposure in commercials and twice on PBS, and they're still virtually unknown in this country. (OTOH, they're huge in Japan, the way NSYNC was a few years ago here.) They really deserve some success. Perhaps some radio exposure for them, even if it's just at Christmas, will help.

Currently feeling: in tune

Saturday, December 03, 2005

If I only had a brain

Well, DH just made me feel stupid. They're showing The Wizard of Oz on TNT right now. I love that movie! I can't tell you how many times I've seen it. I know most of the dialog and songs by heart. So, we're watching the Tin Man introduction scene, and it comes to the line "I'd be friends with the sparrows, and the boy who shoots the arrows." And DH looks at me and says "I don't know how long it took me to figure out who they meant by that." Who they meant by what? "The boy who shoots the arrows." Well, he lives in the woods; I always assumed he meant a neighbor or something. DH just looks at me like I'm a loon. "It's Cupid!" he says. Oh. Can you say DUH? Man, I feel like an idiot. He's absolutely right, and I can't believe I never caught on before. It's just one of those things that I know so well, I don't even think about it anymore.

Currently feeling: stupid

Friday, December 02, 2005

If it ain't broke....

Don't fix it. Just redecorate it! LOL Thus, you will notice that this new (temporary, of course) color scheme looks remarkably like my old one, at least in style. It's the easiest one for me to manipulate without really knowing what I'm doing. One day, I'll sit down and learn CSS and create my own template. But today at 1:30 AM was not the time. (I'm great at modifying CSS code, just not so much on creating it.) I wanted something festive and cheery, and this one struck my fancy last night. Hope you like it!

Currently feeling: cheery