Christmas 2004

Christmas of this year has come and gone. I just couldn’t get into the mood this year. Perhaps it snuck up on me. Perhaps I’m getting older and grumpier. Anyhow, it’s over and I wanted to write about it before I have to get up from here to run out and purchase lights, gifts, cookie ingredients and greeting cards for Groundhog Day.

We woke up at the crack of dawn last Thursday, drove to Dallas (stopping at the Czech Stop in West – as always) and caught our plane to Chicago O’hare. We had an hour layover and we were both hungry. Seeing how I’d never been to Chicago or spent any significant time in O’hare, we decided it would be fitting to find some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Our on-foot scouting led us to no deep dish pizza. So we settled for a cup of soup and a sandwich.

We finished watching Napoleon Dynamite on the iBook as we flew to Des Moines. Elise’s mom and dad picked us up at the airport. We made our way out of the terminal into the blistering cold to load our luggage into the van. Luckily the weather wasn’t as cold as I was expecting. It was only 5 degrees outside. It wasn’t the 1 degree that I was expecting. Whew – what a difference that made!

Joanne made a 7 layer dip and chicken breasts with black beans and stewed tomatoes for dinner. Steve and I went up to the office and I cleaned up their computer. Eric came over later that evening and we all chatted for a while.

On Friday we woke up had breakfast and went our separate ways. Steve and I did went to Walgreens and to the local computer shop. Elise and Joanne went Christmas shopping, picked up some groceries from the Italian market and picked up Grandma T. Steve and I made it back to the house a lot sooner than the girls. Steve had to iron his shirt before lunch so I took a nap.

The girls came home and we were soon off to church.

I go to church once a year (assuming there are no weddings or funerals) on Christmas eve. I had recently considered becoming a Catholic but ultimately decided against it. My reasoning: Catholics are greedy.

I’ve been with Elise for almost seven years now. No matter how politely I ask, every time we’re in church and it comes time during mass where the congregation goes up to get nachos and cherry Kool Aid, Elise never brings any back for me.

After church we went back to the house where Joanne made tortellini soup with focaccia bread. After dinner we drove around Des Moines for almost three hours looking at Christmas lights.

Saturday was Christmas. I called my parents and then built a Texas-sized snowman (everything except snowmen are bigger in Texas).

Eric and Kim came over after spending time with Kim’s family. We had a great prime rib dinner with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. We opened presents late in the afternoon.

Ingrid came over later that evening. Eric and Kim went home shortly after. Steve, Ingrid and I stayed up for a while before Ingrid left and the rest of us went to bed.

Steve, Joanne and Elise went to church on Sunday morning. I stayed back and finished working on Steve and Joanne’s computer and hooking up their new DVD player. Steve and I drove over to Grandma T.’s to hook up her new computer monitor and to install a crossword puzzle game. Steve and I then went to CompUSA and Best Buy to scope out printers and scanners. In the meantime, the girls were returning gifts and doing more shopping at Younkers. We met up for at a local Chinese buffet for dinner. It was shortly after dinner that the cold Elise had been fighting had been passed on to me. We all went home and watched Rudy on DVD.

Sometime during the night, I had a nightmare that didn’t leave me with much sleep. Steve and I went to Dahl’s for candy ingredients and Alka Seltzer. Eric and Kim came over for lunch. Eric and I went to Felix and Oscar’s while Kim and Elise went to Burlington Coat Factory. Eric and Kim treated us to a nice dinner at Greenbrier Restaurant & Bar where Heather met up with us for a nice visit. After dinner the four of us went back to Steve and Joanne to watch the Blue Collar Comedy Tour on DVD.

We woke up at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday so Steve and Joanne could take us to the airport. I was still very much under the weather. We had breakfast in the Denver International Aiport and caught our next flight to Dallas. We watched Heat on the iBook to pass the time. Luckily all of our luggage arrived and we made our way home.

We stopped at the Czech Stop again for more kolaches and finally made it home to Austin. We unpacked and I took a nap for a couple hours. I woke up, called my boss and told him I wouldn’t be in to work on Wednesday as I was still sick. I went back to bed around 11 p.m. and didn’t wake up until around 12 today. And am I glad I took the day off. I’m still feeling under the weather but should be better tomorrow.

So, Christmas is over. I’m beat and ready to take on 2005 with a fist full of nachos.

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