Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas Day 2012

Like so many Christmas Eves of years past, the "eve" lasted into the early morning hours of Christmas Day.  We were working on freshly baked goodies for neighbors to be delivered on Christmas morning. As with many parents our late hours on Christmas Eve would be spent "helping" Santa set up all the new goodies for our son.  Some years found us on highway 69 heading for north Texas and my family Christmas Day.  Yes, Christmas Eve salmon soup and gift exchange with Gene's folks then a 400 mile trip to be with my family Christmas Day.  We were young and foolish as well as hard pressed to find open gasoline stations along the way.  But we did it and have the memories to savor.
Christmas Day, full prep mode and a little fuzzy.

In bed by 4:30 AM on Christmas day and back up at 8:00 AM had us both a little slow on the up take as we assembled the potatoes au gratin, shaped the hot rolls for our dinner, set the table, assembled veggie trays, dips and crackers. The sewing machine had the last item assembled and sewn about 9:20 AM.  The ham was placed in the oven along with the potatoes.  The new table cloth had to be ironed before it could be used.  All this needed to be ready by 11:00 AM when our dinner guests were scheduled to arrive.  It was now 10:15 and neither of us was showered and dressed!  Oh, yes, the neighbor breakfast rolls for 8 homes were to be delivered with the short visit at each home.  And there was still the beverages and coffee to prep along with last minute details on the table like flatware..

Excuse the expression, but holy crap!!!!  So, I put the breads in a basket that almost held them along with the newly assembled table runner.  Yes, the one I finished about 45 minutes before.  I was in my yesterday grunge clothing with no mammary support.  I threw on a heavy sweater coat preparing to head into the 20 degree weather to deliver Christmas Cheer in the form of a sweet roll.  Just one check with Gene before I left.  Gene, who is THE BEST HUSBAND AND HELPMATE EVER, was busily clearing cabinets, pulling out glasses and making the two kinds of coffee, one regular, one decaf and other last minute details.

In order to appreciate the impact of the following events you may wish to read my blog from July 12, 2012, How to Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee.  Ok, if you have read this now you can understand that when I walked back into the kitchen to let Gene know I was leaving, I saw coffee all over the counter top and almost to the edge.  Gene grabbed one half of a paper towel.  I assured him he need the nearby squeegee that I have had to use in the past in a similar situation.  Now it was 10:20 and I still had 8 houses to visit as neighbors had already told me they look forward to the Christmas cinnamon rolls.

July minor coffee event.
I left Gene in mop up action and I sprinted as much as a 200 lb, 66 year old, 6 days out from a bladder lift surgery can sprint.  It was probably more like a fast shuffle.  I had one slight mishap where a couple of the larger platters fell off the basket but appeared undamaged for the most part.  But never the less I was back in my home by 10:45 with only 2 of the items not delivered.  Those neighbors had already left for their Christmas dinners.

Gene had just finished the coffee tsunami cleanup with a new full pot awaiting our guests.  We thought he had finished until I walked around the breakfast bar.  One of the bar stool's two inch thick cushions had a pool of coffee in it.  There was a large puddle of coffee on the floor.  10:49 and still a shower and makeup to apply and now a coffee soaked chair.  I grabbed the cushion and headed for the sink while Gene headed for paper towels.  Nope, need more than paper towels.  (Please, note, I have experience in the area from previous coffee brewing episodes.)  Tossing the cushion in the sink I headed for the already stained towel stack in the utility room.  Thank God, we have a small, one story home.  Gene mopped up the floor puddle and the drips I made with the cushion.  I ran a little cold water over the outside of the cushion and squeezed out as much liquid as I could.

10:51 AM with coffee soaked towels beneath the coffee soaked cushion I head down the short hall to the utility room.  Washer opened, towels thrown in and cushion wedged on its edge to continue draining.  I strip down to my birthday suit since the clothes hamper is right there and head for the shower. It is in another room, but again a small house.  No hair washing, just clean the essential places, grab a towel and jump out of Gene's way as he heads in for his shower.

Gene was dressed and had managed a roaring fire in the fireplace when the first guest arrived fashionably late at 11:07 AM.  I had thrown on my makeup while combing & spraying my hair.  I was putting in my earrings as the guest was putting our gifts under the tree.  Three relatives arrived around 11:30 and the final guest arrived around noon.  Unlike in years past, guests were asked to help set the table with the flatware and other essentials like plates.  There were other little things that these dear friends and family assisted in finishing up so we could enjoy a Christmas day dinner.  Some where along the way I noticed the water container in the window near the dining table.  The ledge was where I put it when I was ironing the table runner gift and my new table cloth around 10:10.  I wondered to myself when Gene had the presence of mind to take down the iron and ironing board.  He is good.

We did have to wait a little longer to make sure the ham and a casserole were done.  That gave us and our guests time to munch on the spicy crackers, veggies and dips.  But mostly we talked about our families, listened to Uncle Pete's stories and soaked up the pleasure of each other's company.  Dinner was eaten.  Food was covered and refrigerated as needed.  Dessert and dish cleanup would wait till later as we moved the group to enjoy the fire and comfy seating.  Before the visits ended around 7:45 PM there had been gifts exchanged, desserts eaten, "to go" bags of cookies, fudge & crackers filled as well as heartfelt thanks complete with kisses and hugs.  A call from our son rounded out a busy and wonderful day.

The day following Christmas?  It looked a lot like two old people wearing pajamas in recliners acting like babies.  We would wake up long enough to go to the bathroom, eat something and go back to sleep.  That was all we were good for after our crazy but joyful Christmas Day, 2012.


And, yes, it is a penguin manger scene with baby penguin on mama's feet.

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