So… it’s December 31st and as 2014 quickly fades away and a bright sparkly new year awaits me, I finally find myself with a day off and the chance to update my Diary here at the Litterbox and fill all my gentle Visitors in on the details of our Holiday trip to visit the family.
“The family”. Our family… They love us and want us in their lives. No matter what. As the frosty “cold war” between Carolyn and her Mom continues, they’ve been till now acting pretty much like neutral Switzerland, bridging the divide between East and West…. figuratively speaking. But not anymore.
Unhappy that Carolyn hasn’t crumbled, Mrs. Simms upped the ante this Thanksgiving by deciding to try to cut us off from Sandra and the clan by going out-of-the-way to impose herself on them for Holiday visits… trying to intimidate Carolyn in some stupid effort to hurt and punish her further. But it’s not going to work. Sandra put her foot down and basically told her Mom that even if Mrs. Simms wanted to break up her own family with this, we were always going to be a part of hers. Sandra loves her “big sister”… and me too, it seems.
How could we not want to hang out for the Christmas Holiday with loving supportive people like her and her family? Wanna hear what we got up to this time out? Hehehe…. then by now, you know the drill… 😉
This nasty bit of business hadn’t sorted itself out till well into mid December, so up till then we had been planning on being all cozy and comfy at the apartment, just the two of us this year. Trips out to California to see my folks again are out of the question at least for a while, especially given the beating we gave our savings doing it twice this last year. Hearing from Sandra that things were clear for us to come was a definite sigh of relief we were happy to receive as our first gift of the season.
So we went about the last-minute hasty stuff you have to do when your plans change quickly at the last moment. Since she handled the trip so well last time and was such a big hit with the kids, Ting-ting came along with us again too so Sam wouldn’t have to watch her over Christmas for us. Not that she wouldn’t have, but it was nice to give her a break from it this time out.
Our winter weather was as psychotically unstable as it’s been throughout winter this year, and when we set out, the snow hereabouts had just about disappeared in a freak unseasonable thaw leaving us with very little snow to actually go dashing through as we made our way to Sandra’s. We hit a couple of areas of lake effect down towards her place along the way, and they actually did have a few inches of the white stuff on the ground to make it look a wee bit for like Christmas once we got there, but nowhere near the butt-load of snow we usually encounter this time of year.
I wanted us to stop off and pick up a few last-minute things to bring along, but since we got going later on Wednesday than we originally planned we figured it was best to just get our butts in gear and hurry down so we could have as much time with everybody as we could. Even so we didn’t really get there until late afternoon, but at least it meant we’d get to have dinner Christmas Eve and spend a nice relaxing first day settling in and coming up to speed with what’s been happening with all of them of late. They were all super happy to see us, and even though we’d seen the kids at the wedding this summer, it’s amazing just how fast both of them are growing up. Maddy was happy to see Ting-ting again and still remembered how to do the “kitty whisperer” sound that had Ting-ting scampering over to see her and get some serious kitty worshipping cuddles. Yep… it’s official. She’s definitely a “cat person”. 🙂
The next couple days were just as nice too and just as relaxing as always… even if Mrs. Simms was somehow always hovering in the background. Still, we didn’t let it ruin things and the only time it came up was early Christmas day. I had woken early that morning… well… it’s fairer to say Ting-ting made certain I’d wake early by sneaking up into bed with us and nuzzling me with that whole “Feed me!! I’m staaaarving, momma!!” thing guaranteed to see you just can’t linger in bed toooo darn long. So I hopped out of bed as quietly as I could to see to fixing her a dish of food when I heard somebody moving around downstairs in the kitchen. Figuring that it was almost dawn, I assumed the kids were prowling around the tree waiting for the gift unwrapping frenzy to commence. One sneaky trip downstairs and I found Sandra instead, busy in the kitchen getting ready for everybody to wake, making cocoa on the stove.
Seeing it was only me, she waved me in to help and get the first cup of the pot and it gave her and me the chance to actually sit down together and talk about the situation between her Mom and Carolyn. It was then she pretty much confirmed my suspicions about Mrs. Simms sudden desire to spend so much quality time at Sandra’s this last holiday. Our wedding this summer had convinced her our relationship was now going to be a permanent thing alright… and it had also made her twice as convinced she needed to try her darnedest to sabotage us any way she could. It was deliberate… it was calculated… and she and Sandra had a very ugly discussion about it right before they left at Thanksgiving.
“So… anyways… at the moment now Mom’s not really talking to me either. I don’t figure that’ll last forever, she’ll miss the kids too much for that to be the way of things. But I told her she’s not going to be coming between me and Carolyn anymore. She’s my mom, but I love my sister and that’s that. She’s going to have to learn somehow to accept it.” I felt terrible that Sandra had been forced to choose like that, but she assured me it wasn’t anything she couldn’t handle. That and that she was happy for both of us and liked us as a couple. “I can scarcely complain since I’m the one who originally told Carolyn to stop secretly mooning over you and actually say something to you about how she felt. She told me over and over all about you and your friendship constantly for years, and I just knew, of all the women she’s been with since High School, you were the one she wouldn’t be able to live without.” She smiled, reached over and hugged me and added, “And I’m happy to say I honestly think she made the right choice. I really like having you as a sister-in-law.”
I have to say…. ever since I first met them, I’ve always felt very happy around Sandra’s family… and she didn’t have to say it, but it was certainly sweet to hear it put into words. Of all the gifts we exchanged this year, that the one I think I like the best. It’s certainly the one I’ll always remember. I have an honest-to-goodness Sister-in-Law…. and a Brother-in-Law… and the most darling niece and nephew who all think of me as family. They really… really… do!
So… for the rest of our visit, that whole mess just went away, and we just carried on like we have every other time we visited. Gifts were exchanged…. I provided a big ol’ pile of foreign DVD’s that I’d personally selected for the All-region DVD player we’d bought them. Some horror movies… yes, silly… but also some action films, comedies, musicals, and children’s films I thought would be more their style. Carolyn gave her sister a lovely silver necklace and matching earings. Allan received a very nice wristwatch from us both, one of those nice stainless steel manly ones with all the extra do-dads that we figured he’d like.
We got…. of all things… a cute matching set of silk pajamas, perfect for lounging on the couch together in. The kids bought me some DVD’s… both seasons 1 & 2 of the BBC TV series “Orphan Black”. (Which I conveniently didn’t have yet… thanks to an early warning from Sandra that I might want to wait to buy them myself…. 😉 ) They bought Carolyn the nicest vintage leather sling bag for going back and forth to work with all her essentials. Very “Indiana Jones” looking…. Reminding me that she wanted us to go camping again soon, Carolyn bought me what she called “an adorable little army surplus camo pullover” from a vendor at the college. Little did she know her adorable pullover was… in reality… a WW2 Waffen SS camo sniper smock, brand spanking new and probably made for military reenactors. It’s a tiny size, but still a little baggy on me… apparently made for some wee little Nazi… and I imagine that’s why it made its way to that army surplus sale. It’s reversible… one side spotted and speckled in shades of green and the other side a mix of autumn brown colors with elastic cuffs, big patch pockets, and foliage loops. I recognized it instantly… and didn’t have the heart to tell her what it really was. Mind you… it is a gorgeous camo pattern… and it does fit me pretty darn well and ought to make a nice anorak for the purpose she intended… even if it does make me look more than a bit like “Catgirl Princess Miyuki, She Wolf of the SS” than likely is “politically correct”. Probably not something I’ll feel comfy wearing as casual everyday clothing… too much “evil” baggage for that, but I’m thinking it might be a great item for next years Halloween cosplay. Obviously I’ve got to find a few WW2 war movies for us to watch to bring my sweetie up to speed on things like this…. 😉
Now me… I surprised Carolyn with a lovely creme colored wool sweater she’d admired at a store we’d visited a while back. It was a bit pricy, and that’s why she’d passed it up… but I decided that was just the perfect excuse to sneak back later and buy it for her. Yep. Sneaky aren’t I? 😉
So. I guess that’s pretty much how things went this time out. It’s New Year’s Eve here…. we’re all back home safe and sound… the wind is blowing cold and miserable outside, but wifey and I are here all cozy and comfy in our new christmas jammies waiting for midnight and the ball to drop. Hmmmm? Guess we’ll have to think of something to do to pass the time while we wait…. Hehehe!!
My birthday rolls around in a couple of days, and I’ve actually got that day off too so hopefully we’ll get up to some sort of shenanigans to celebrate. Nothing tooooo crazy…. and hopefully I’ll get back with some reviews soon as well. I’ve just about worked my way through the last bunch of DVD’s to find their way to our mailbox so, cross your fingers, I’ll start posting those in the next couple of days. Till then… here’s hoping you all had a great Christmas of your own, and I look forward to seeing all my Gentle Visitors in 2015. “Meow, meow for now!!”