The Holidays Are Almost Over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, holidays when you're a thousand miles away from family and friends kind of suck. Holidays when only 3 people send you a present also kind of suck. Notice: 3 people sent me A present. Fortunately, it was a giftcard for Borders, so I managed 3 books once I threw in a few more bucks. By the way, giftcards to bookstores are Melinda's version of crack! One day, I want to have enough money to do a "money's no object" shopping spree through every bookstore in town. DROOL!
Anyway, my Herspanic Hottie was too broke for holiday gift-buying this year... even for the kids. So, in my best impression of a future step-daddy, I put in a little bit extra. If I'd know about this BEFORE the day before they were coming to pick up their presents, I could have done more. No such luck. (As it was, I had to pass on a REALLY great pair of boots and a few kickass shirts I'd planned to buy for myself from Overstock.com, which is the awesomest site ever for gift-buying.) But... I did good.
Judy, the love of my life and (G-d willing) future wife, has three kids: Nikki, 14; Angelica, 12; and Giovanny, 4. The girls are into horror movies and Starbucks, so they each got a 50-movie pack of horror/terror classics and a giftcard for the Den of Caffeinated Iniquity. My baby boy got a remote control dragon from the Discovery Store and some cash. (He LOVES dollar bills.) All three got stockings filled with candy of various sorts.
I rarely eat candy, so let's just say I was a bit surprised to discover the cost of filling three stockings. I'd wanted to buy them a small Christmas tree, but couldn't find one within budget in the 24 hours I had to shop between when I found out about the "no presents from Mom" issue and their arrival at my doorstep.
In an extra special moment, I even bought a Christmas present for the dog. Yeah, so weird! But the kids thought it was great and were all about letting the dog unwrap his own present when they got home.
Perhaps the greatest moment of the holidays came when I'd put the dragon together for Giovanny and he was giving it a run through, pushing all the buttons on the remote to see what they did. It was priceless. "Look, he stuck his tongue out!", he declared, a giddy look of awe on his adorable little face, as he pushed the "stick his tongue out" button over and over again. When I dropped in on Judy at the office this week, her friend and coworker Toni told me that Giovanny is madly in love with that dragon and plays with it constantly.
One of the funniest moments of the holidays came when Nikki, who's a bit of a scamp to say the least, pulled out her cellphone and called to find out how much was on her Starbucks card, then looked at her Mom with "anticipation" to say the least. "We're not going to Starbucks tonight," Judy declared, Mom's word being final as always. Asking me probably would have been quicker than calling, but seeing Nikki pull out that cell phone then clue Angelica in to their haul was too cute.
The only other great holiday moment was talking to Stacey on the phone about the gift I'd given her son Ace, an autographed copy of "It All Began with a Bean" by the awesome Katie McKy. Although Stacey refuses to admit that mine was the bestest gift EVER!, I could tell by her reaction that it was! Of course, I knew it long before she received it. I'm generally the best, hands down, at everything. (So there, Stacey Spiehler!)
Otherwise, the holidays were generally depressing. I sent gifts to all of my nieces and nephews, grandma, mom, etc. via my sister Judy who's much better at wrapping than I am. But not being able to be there to see them open them sucked. In a strange juggling act on the part of my sisters, my nephew Sean managed to coopt the Gross Magic Kit I'd sent for my niece Marilyn (the tomboy), who then got the art set I'd sent for my other niece Samantha, who was given a brand new doll on my behalf instead. Sean declared the magic kit his the moment he saw his mom taking it out for wrapping and is very happy with it apparently. In an act of unforgivable forgetfulness, I'd forgotten to send batteries. (It's traditional in my family to provide the batteries for any gift we give that needs them.)
So, on Christmas Day, I ate Chinese takeout and talked to my nieces and nephews on the phone, being told frequently that they didn't know how much they liked their presents yet b/c they didn't have batteries! And, of course, being reminded that I miss them all so very much. And that, with my health failing, I could theoretically never see them again. Very depressing.
But the holidays will pass soon and the sorrow of being separated from family and friends will recede to a low grade sadness. I'm trying to convince many of my family and friends to visit. I hope they do, but not all at the same time.