This morning I got up at what I believe was 4:50 a.m. because the dogs are not yet on CST and because there was probably a leaf blowing outside by the window causing Dixie to feel the need to rush outside to investigate...and bark incessantly. When I came to consciousness, I realized that the room was about 42 degrees F with a window wide open and me huddled into a ball in the center of the bed on the spot that Big Dave had recently vacated. That man totally radiates heat. It is a blessing in the winter when I am having my ongoing feud with Alabama Power because they jack up our utility prices to kingdom come in the summer and I feel that this is my only chance to get back some of my money.
But when I'm up...I'm up. Fortunately, I went to bed early and only woke up once for my customary trip to the bathroom...making my way through Riley's "Obstacle Course" of shoes, underwear, and whatnot that he gathers to put in the path every night. Last night it was a tennis shoe and a black plastic strip that was awesome to step on.
I love my dog. I love my dog. I love my dog. Yeah, I really do. Except sometimes I don't.
(But I really do.)
Bless his heart, he was just banished from the kingdom for pulling down a comforter from the couch and having the audacity to recline upon it in sight of Big Dave. After, of course, he dragged three pair of my underwear to the washing machine (okay, FINE, the middle of the kitchen) because he can.
Yes, currently, I am doing marathon laundry after the Great Sheet Mishap that has since been straightened out and rectified. I'm also trying to get this out of the way and keep my schedule straight because there are a lot of things that I'm supposed to do this week and weekend and next Monday is a holiday for me. There are a number of "shoulds" that are going down this week because I am having people at my house in a few weeks for Thanksgiving and I'd like it not to look like Larry the Cable Guy lives here.
Oh, you caught that "holiday" reference? Yes, I'm happy to be off for one of the three banker holidays where folks go, "Really?" And where I want to yell back "UH-YEAH!" But I don't, because that's tacky. Thank you Columbus Day, Veteran's Day and Presidents' Day every year for sort of making up for working the day after Thanksgiving. Every. Single. Year. And Christmas Eve. (Although we DO get off half a day for that.)
Part of what I want to do involves a project that will either happen or not happen based upon this weekend. Time will run out or it will work out. Ever been there? Where you want to do something to bless other people but you can't figure out exactly how to pull it off? I have something in mind...but I'm not sure if it is something that needs to be worked out or something that needs to be pushed to the recesses of my memory to be thought through a little more carefully...when I have time, of course. Which may occur again in 2015.
You see, after Halloween every year, I immediately jump to what I call "The Holidays." It is helpful to just let that center around Christmas because the decorations are already out everywhere you go. But I also consider that the Veterans Day Holiday and Thanksgiving...followed by some vacation days that I have held off for this purpose. There will be a brunch to attend, parties already on my calendar, and visits that I need to make. Since I can only take three days in December (banks don't like people being all off and such around the end of the year for varying reasons)...cramming a whole bunch of activity cannot occur...so I usually back all my planning, acquiring and dealing with stuff all up into November.
And why not? Seeing as I inherited the planning gene from my Gammy. Except it morphed into something a whole lot bigger than it ever was with her two generations later. I am proud to say that I have finally quit crying and pitching a fit when things don't work out as planned like I did when I was nine. Most of the time anyway. (There was that three year period of "personal summers, unexplained tears, and total irrationality" that Big Dave, my relatives, a a few select friends lived through. Barely.) My mother (bless her heart) had to live through all 50 years of "this" and still considers me to be somewhat "Our Lady of Perpetual Disappointment" - a nickname that a co-worker once gave me because I didn't handle disappointment well due to high (unrealistic) expectations. (Yes, my friend is Catholic.) It comes from actually being an optimist. So much so, that I can see how it should work out and then I get upset when it doesn't. Except it hasn't worked out so many times that I just quit worrying about it and I let it fly and act like that's what I expected to happen. Or I laugh about it as it crumbles. Because I am the poster girl for "When we plan...God laughs."
Okay, maybe I haven't completely outgrown that tendency. Sometimes I still try to make it happen. I suppose that I always will.
Several years ago, I did the Advent Bag Project for family and then followed that two years later for friends. It has now been two years since I did that...and I'm feeling the need to do something this year. I won't go into what the Project is...because I do plan to do it again...but part of the joy of Christmas certain years is doing something that people aren't expecting. On the off-years, I just bask in the knowledge that I did something fun last year.
But it has been two years...and it is time, must be started this weekend, and must not cost a fortune...because that goes against all of the rules. Actually, so does telling anyone about it...but whatever. I'm feeling the pressure. Big time.
However, should nothing materialize in my brain...it will be okay. This weekend will pass and I will let it go. I'll keep thinking about it until next year. No, I won't throw a crying fit over it. I don't think so anyway.
But I do so love Christmas. Always have.
For me, though, Christmas has evolved. I have moved up a generation in the hierarchy of things...into the "grandparent" stage although I don't have any of my own. David's brothers and sisters-in-law have grandchildren...and we will have five children three and under at the Mixon Christmas this year.
One of my "babies" is working and can purchase for herself whatever she wants and needs. The other one is pretty content with his situation except for the fact that he keeps rambling on and on about a new monitor for the computer that he made himself. And a tablet. And other things that he can do without and probably will. Our parents really enjoy gift cards more than actual presents, and we draw names on Big Dave's side of the family and primarily give (you guessed it...) gift cards. I have a few friends that I give something to and I've already bought those gifts.
Yes, you read that right. Which means that I can only really enjoy doing "Christmas" by catching people off guard. You know...glorious surprises.
To me, the spirit of Christmas is giving something that draws attention back to where it should be (Jesus' birthday) and away from where it shouldn't be (massive commercialism). But there are only so many hours in the day...and only so much that I can do (financially). But because the desire is there, I'm going to keep praying that God gives me the inspiration to do something wonderful of his choosing to bless other people.
And not in the usual way.
Let the countdown for the planning begin. I have four days. Which shouldn't be too hard, right?
Guess we'll see. :)