Merry Christmas!

Today is a day to breathe.

It’s my first day not at work–but in town–in quite awhile. Since mid-November, we’ve been traveling at levels that seem absurd, even for our standard. And that’s saying something for two people who have driven from Boston to Wisconsin (and other ridiculous road trips) more often than I’d like to consider normal. We’ve gone to a conference in Chicago, eaten turkey with family in Valparaiso, visited friends and earned a Ph.D. (!!!) in Boston, and celebrated an early Christmas with family in Champaign. I think we’ve been in town as much as we’ve been out of town over the past month. So, it’s nice to have a day to rest.

Of course, since we’re finally resting, we’re both sick. Or really, this terrible cold has been catching up with us for the past few days, since our drive home from Champaign on Christmas Eve. And so David and I, on our first Christmas Eve as a married couple, went to the early service at our church, went home, and fell asleep by 5:30 that evening. Of course, we woke up before it was morning, so we celebrated Christmas Eve with a sleep-break showing of the ever-ridiculous Mixed Nuts (I can’t believe my father never showed me this movie as a kid! Dad, you’d love it.) before heading back to bed. The sick ones were nestled all snug in their bed, for they knew that an early wake-up lay ahead.

What? Why didn’t we get to rest on Christmas, like most normal people (that is, normal people without kids under the age of twelve who are told to wait in their rooms and not wake up Mom and Dad until seven-zero-zero)? What about last Thursday, when Winter Storm Draco/Brianna that hammered out 15 inches of snow?

Negative.

See, since I work at an assisted living facility, people still need to work on holidays. And snow days. The lovely people I serve, medicate, and care for still need to be served, medicated, and cared for on those days. I had spent about 14 hours at work last Thursday, since no one was able to come in and replace me on the floor during the blizzard (only to return ten hours later). And I had traded with a co-worker so that she would be able to spend Christmas morning with her family. So what did that mean for us?

David and I spent our first Christmas together with about 35 people over the age of 80. It was awesome.

He met the people I’ve shared in stories over the past months, and got to put faces to names. He poured them coffee, and heard parts of their life stories. He charmed the ladies (“He’s so tall!), bonded with the men (“That’s a good man you’ve got there.”), and led them in Bingo and movie-watching. And, best of all, he got to experience a real-life story from one of my favorite ladies there, a woman who I wake up every morning and who lives a world that blends reality, history, and imagination. They’re often just a few sentences in length, and normal memories that end up with a twist ending so great Agatha Christie couldn’t see it coming. So, as a Christmas present to you, I leave you with two stories rather normal to her repertoire as a raconteur:

Back when I lived in Green Lake, we lived along the golf course in town. And one day there was an animal in our yard, and we thought it was a deer, but it turned out it was a sheep. (David: Oh really? What happened to the sheep?) Well, it got buried in the snowstorm last week.

Now she’ll be as worried about who’s feeding that sheep as she is about the dog that lives on the roof. Apparently, feeding these animals isn’t an issue until they get buried in snow. But David’s reception of this story earned him her piece of apple pie, so there you go.

Be careful when you wash my nose. Back when I was a kid, the tip of my nose got cut off, and my mother sewed chicken breast on the end to fix it. 

photo

Our First Christmas, per the dry-erase-board on our refrigerator.

Merry Christmas, everybody!