I have stumbled into the new year, which, according to another bunch of crazies will be our last, because some Mayans figured that just over 5000 years should be good for one calendar. How long is a calendar supposed to last anyhow? Thank god that no one is making predictions based on our calendar industry’s output, then we’d perpetually have 12 months to live (or 16 if you bought one of the big ones with four additional months on the first page).
So, here we are now.
I last left you at the beginning of December, a day before my mom’s birthday and only a few days after I turned in my thesis draft. The gifts were all wrapped and then unwrapped to great success. In, perhaps my last year of relative financial fluidity for a while, I went all out on gifts. I got my mom a kindle touch for Christmas, my brother a kindle fire, and my dad all three seasons of Deadwood. They all liked their gifts, but I could tell that my mom really liked it. It caught her completely off guard and since she had never actually said the words “I want this” out loud, she had no reason to expect to get it. I finally got one exactly right. I found Tiff a singing and dancing Gizmo that is both ridiculously cute and kind of creepy and Meaghan a collection of stuffed Alvin & the Chipmunks. It went well.
I enjoyed the gifts that I received as well, but it’s not always about me. This year, I really enjoyed the giving.
A few days before Christmas, I went over to Tiff and Meaghan’s for our little friend Christmas. Julia and Elizabeth were there as well. I got there around 8:30, followed by Elizabeth and then the first resident of the house, Tiff around 9. I ate my dinner, we had some cocktails, and we laughed and joked around. Julia arrived and then the girls (minus Meaghan, who was still at the G having cocktails with Joe) unwrapped their gifts. Julia received Jeopardy for the Wii, so she played against Elizabeth and then against me. Sometime in there Meaghan got home. Julia left and we unwrapped our gifts. Drank some more and laughed some more. Tiff turned Gizmo on and we all appreciated the things it was preprogrammed to do. Then a short while later, she bumped it and it started singing and dancing on it’s own (it’s apparently touch activated when you leave it on) which caused her to scream out. This caused the rest of us to laugh. It was funny, you would have laughed as well.
Sometime after midnight, Elizabeth left. As she was driving away, she called Tiff to let her know that the car that was in front of the apartment’s door with its lights on when we’d arrived was still there and that she thought that there was someone slumped over in the front seat. She told Tiff that she should call the police. Tiff laughed and said that of course she would. When she got off the phone, we told her that she should call the police as well, so she did. She tried the non-emergency line, but was transferred to 911. “There appears to be someone in the front seat who is slumped over,” she said. “We think that someone should check it out and that someone should not be us.” The operator on the other end agreed (though, we think that they were a bit surprised to be talking to someone who was not hysterical on the other end of the line. They said they would send someone over.
Tiff started tidying up the wrapping paper and accidentally activated Gizmo again, sending her screaming across the room, where she said, while pressed up against the wall, “we’re taking the batteries out of that thing.” I walked over, picked Gizmo up and turned him off. She said, “Oh, you can shut him off. We’re still taking the batteries out of him.”
The cops arrived and we watched as they shined their lights into the car, knocked on the window and tried to get the man’s attention. We watched them break the back window. We watched an ambulance and a fire truck arrive, as well as more cops. We watched as they tried to sit him up in the seat, and presumably, try to resuscitate him. Around 1:30 they called Tiff and asked her to come down and make a statement. Meaghan went with her. I went down too, because it was time for me to go. I offered to stay for a while longer, but they said it was silly. I walked out the door as Tiff was talking to the cop and to the other end of the parking lot, away from the flashing lights to my truck.
I tweeted: “Christmas part one was a lot of fun. Drinks, laughter, and possibly a dead body.”
I text messaged Tiff the next morning from work to find out what happened. She called me back and gave me the lowdown on the events after I left.
I tweeted: “Update: Actually a dead body, turns out.”
So, some guy died in front of their building and sat in that car, unnoticed until Elizabeth left and we called the cops. Makes you think.
The lead up to Christmas was very busy at work, but luckily I had enough performance supervisors and enough staff that I was able to carve out a little Christmas break for myself this year–that hasn’t really happened before.
I was off on Wednesday. My brother flew into town around 1:30 and I picked him up at the airport. We got some lunch, caught Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, finished his Christmas shopping, had a good dinner and went over to Barnes and Noble and had a cup of coffee. It was a very good night. Around 11 o’clock I left him at my place watching Captain America, while I went back to the airport to pick up Jane. Jane and I know each other a little bit through mutual friends and have continued to bump into each other over the course of the last ten years. Last summer, when we bumped into each other at my friend Katie’s birthday party, we actually exchanged numbers and friended each other on Facebook, which allowed us to bounce periodic messages back and forth. We kept promising that the next time we were in the same town (she here or I in New York) that we’d get drinks. Well, Christmas has a way of encouraging one to return to one’s hometown and she came back here. Since I was leaving early Thursday morning to head North with my little brother to my parents’ house in the woods, late Wednesday night was the only time our paths were going to cross on this trip.
So, I agreed to pick her up at the airport.
Her flight was supposed to arrive at 10:30 and then it was delayed until 11:15. She finally arrived at 12:15. I got her loaded into my truck and we set off in search of a bar. Who knew it would be so difficult. The first two places we stopped were locking their doors and closing at 1. We finally made our way to the Dubliner and had that drink (two each, actually) and became better acquainted. It was fun. I dropped her off at her mom’s house close to 3am and we agreed that we should do it again soon.
The next morning, Bill and I got up and got moving (he was up before I was, but then fell asleep on the couch). I loaded everything into my truck and then woke him up so that we could get on the road. Two peppermint mochas later and we were pointed North toward Christmas.
When I say that it was an uneventful trip, I mean that in the best possible way. We just chilled in the woods. It was relaxing. It was fun. This is not to say that visiting my folks isn’t, but what it usually is is hurried. It also helped that I saw them here for Thanksgiving and that I was up by them for a day or two at the beginning of December and then I’ll be going back North in a week again. So, it was fun.
Some highlights: Christmas Day involved several naps, shooting some handguns, and an excellent Packer game. We watched A Bridge Too Far and Sherlock Holmes and Far & Away. There was scotch. There was wine. There were lots of trees and some snow. It was good.
Then I came back, worked a bunch of shows and rolled up onto the New Year, taking a stop along the way at Grumpy’s Friday night for Meaghan’s birthday.
Saturday, as 2011 was coughing up its last breaths, I worked two shows and then came home to quietly wave goodbye to the year from my couch. Best possible solution considering that the brown Christmas that we’ve been enjoying in the TC very suddenly got cold and white. I enjoyed Tucker and Dale vs Evil and then knocked off a little before 1. One might almost think that I was getting old. Almost.
Today, I met with my thesis advisor and got her notes on my book. They were largely positive. Now, as the man says:
More later …