Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas, Cutting Boards, Floods, and Blood

So, another Christmas has come and gone. 2008 is upon me. Tonight I sit in my beautiful office, surrounded by shrapnel...bits and pieces from the rest of the house strewn about, listening to the sounds of what appears to be an industrial-sized wind tunnel. In actuality, it's about 8 industrial-sized fans dispersed in the house, along with two huge dehumidifiers. I don't even want to know what my power bill will be next month.

A feeder pipe in our upstairs bath busted on Christmas Eve morning, about two hours before fiance's family was to arrive and I was to play domestic parter. About 25 towels and a wet/dry vac later, we got the verdict from the insurance company - resistance is futile...our four-month old house would undergo a massive dry, dehumidify, and rebuilding of walls, floors, and a ceiling. Merry Christmas.

In the midst of the screaming over the stadium fans blowing in the house (which will be here a total of five days, mind you), I got up this morning to let my 6-month old pup out, bent over to get something in the dark and wham! I got nailed in the chin by an excited Great Dane. I bit my lip, and when I finally woke up and looked in the mirror, it was as if I had eaten the head off a dove a'la Ozzy Osbourne. I wasn't sure if I knocked out a tooth...I was glad I didn't - my teeth are the only attribute that seems to not age as much as the rest of me these days. My teeth remained intact, but I do have a huge, red and painful lower lip now. Fiance' offered to drive me to the ER if the bleeding didn't stop and I may need a stitch or two. Then, he got me ice and started calling me "Rocky." I passed on the ER thing. I figured I'd look like a whiney little girl if I did that. So, I sucked it up, waited for the blood to subside, went back to bed with an ice pack on my face, and looked for the silver lining - maybe I'd wake up with Angelina Jolie lips.

Yeah...not so much. Yo Adrian.

With all the hoopla, this has still been one of the best holidays I've had in a few years. I can't even remember the last three, to be honest, but exactly four years ago, I spent Christmas alone in a Waffle House. And, although I may bring that subject up every year in my blog for the rest of my existence, I don't do it for any other reason but to remind myself of how far I've come. Four years ago, I had 50 bucks and a lawn chair to my name. Not to mention a mountain of debt. Sure, the debt still looms, but it's not nearly as bad. And the lawn chair has been replaced by a beautiful home in the country, surrounded by horses, Danes, a boxer, two soon-to-be-stepkids, and a fiance. The weirdest coincidence? I paid off my couch today in full. Huh.

As for Christmas loot, I wasn't really into it this year. I get a little more "bah humbug" every year, I think. I mean, I don't know why we all just don't give each other a check for like $250 and call it a day. Yeah, I know it's not Christmas-politically-correct, but the holiday gets so stupidly stressful from gift giving, in my opinion. Way too much pressure for a chick who can't wrap a decent gift to save her life.

Despite my bah humbug stance, those in my inner circle are still big believers in the capitalist spirit of Christmas. And, that's cool. Whatever gets you feeling happy. And, because of all the generosity in that inner circle, I got a lot of cool stuff that did make me smile. A Nano, my Coco Chanel, a new handheld video camera that's smaller than my phone, a pretty bracelet, a really neat frame with an Emerson quote from my sister, and even a crock pot and an espresso maker. I've become the breve latte queen. Fiance' and I even gave each other a Wii, fully aware of what we bought ourselves, but wrapped it anyway and stuck it under the tree. I rock at tennis, by the way.

But, when all was said and done, and when asked what my favorite gift was by fiance', it wasn't one of his, and it wasn't even the Nano (although the Nano was the single thing I asked for under Christmas-list-duress, and it's glued to me constantly now). My favorite gift was a piece of wood, formed into a cutting board by a 14-year old. Now, let's just reiterate...I don't cook. I don't cut things or do anything really domestic-like in the kitchen, really. Once in a while you'll see me chopping celery or something, but as a general rule, I clean my kitchen and say, "wow...what a pretty kitchen." That's about it. Needless to say, I don't ask for things like a Rachel Ray fondue set like my sister does. I'd much rather have the Nano or the Chanel.

However, the soon-to-be stepson made me the most beautiful cutting board from a single piece of ash wood. One of those thick kinds with a handle and a rectangular groove that you see in Williams Sonoma for 90 bucks, only this one has a slight flaw at the left corner that stepson-kid called his "signature." He made it with his own hands in woodshop, and he told me it took him about 5 days. Considering the fact that keeping his attention for 5 minutes is a monumental feat, this was sort of a big deal. What was a school woodshop project for him is a truly touching gesture for me. I realize that he could've done nothing. Or made it for someone else, for that matter. I'm just the stepmom-to-be, I subject him to 80s music in the car a lot, and I talk too much. But he chose to take the time to make something for me. I guess this is why those horribly-fingerpainted pictures show up on fridges in homes with kids. I was honored by his sheer brilliance. And, I'm not even his parent, so go figure.

So, there you go. My Christmas blog entry. It's come and gone, for sure, just in time to make room for my favorite holiday of the year - New Years. Two days and counting...

Cut me, Mick.