Friday, December 24, 2010

Better living through slacking

Having teenage children has certain benefits. For example, they no longer believe in Santa. When Grace asked me if she could wrap the Christmas presents for her siblings, I thought, "Why not?" So Grace wrapped Ian, Brigid, and Seamus's presents, and then Brigid wrapped Grace's presents. Guess who won't be wrapping a heap of presents at midnight on Christmas Eve this year.

The teens were bugging me to put up the tree, something I usually do with Jon's help, but Jon was out of town, so we managed without him. We dispensed with "making a fresh cut in the trunk" and I also dispensed with putting any water in the tree stand.

Q: But Patience, won't your tree turn into a dried out stick and drop needles everywhere?

A: It turns into a dried out stick and drops needles everywhere even if I do water it, and now I won't slop water everywhere when I drag the tree out of the house next week. And I didn't have to wrestle with a tree saw and a six-inch diameter trunk that won't stay still. Awesome!

Yesterday, December 23, was the day I had designated to do my grocery shopping for the big Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners, which I am cooking for guests. But I woke up with a headache and rapidly felt worse and worse until I could hardly lift my head off my pillow. After napping for a few hours, I managed to achieve a vertical position, and still feeling rotten, went off to Whole Foods with Grace, her friend Sophie, and Seamus. It had been my plan to get there at 08:00 and beat the crowd, but due to feeling so sick, we didn't get there until after 11:00.

During the drive, I started feeling worse. "Feliz Navidad" was playing on the radio--the worst Christmas song of all time. I used to think "Grandma got Run Over by a Reindeer" was the worst Christmas song, but no, it is definitely "Feliz Navidad." Especially where he sings, "I wanna wish you a merry Christmas." I felt outraged, insulted, even. Why can't he go ahead and wish her a merry Christmas instead of whining about 'I wanna.'

Whole Foods was a zoo, of course, and I was feeling so sick that I thought I should just turn the car around and forget about shopping. But then Grace suggested that she and Sophie go into the store and do all my shopping for me and I could just show up at the last minute to pay for everything. Seamus, meanwhile, would keep me company and be in touch with the girls via cell phone to answer any questions. An excellent plan!

My shopping list was sophisticated and I had to explain the meaning of several items. Sophie said, "It's so exciting to go shopping by ourselves!" (Oh honey, just wait until you are married with kids.) Soon after the girls left, I felt worse and worse and worse and then threw up into a beer bottle carrier bag--the only receptacle in the car. I threw up three times. A car alarm went off right next to me, and at first I thought, "really?" but I was too sick to be truly indignant.

Q: Wow, wasn't that embarrassing, throwing up in public, in your car, in the Whole Foods parking lot, of all places?

A: Surprisingly, no. Being sick enough to actually vomit is like being in childbirth. You just don't care.

I felt much better after that, and then I remembered that we needed more wine and that it would probably be frowned on for two fourteen year old girls to be unsupervised and pushing a shopping cart full of wine, so I braved Whole Foods. I spotted Grace in the produce department deep in conversation with a complete stranger. This was a very surprising sight. "Who was that man?" I asked. He was helping her find the chives. She had asked him if scallions were chives and he had told her, no, they weren't although they were in the same family, and then he actually found the chives and gave her a package of them. It turns out my sophisticated list and the pushing crowds were a bit much for the girls and Grace coped by saying, "My mom is sick in the car and we're doing her shopping for her, " and then several people helped her. Christmas brings out the best and worst in people. Thank you to the anonymous scallion/chive man in Whole Foods yesterday and the other people who helped Grace & Sophie.


  1. Wow, I did a very similar thing yesterday-- we headed into town to pick up the last 3 things on the Christmas list, and I spent the whole time standing around in parking lot flowerbeds on the verge of barfing, while my husband did the shopping part. On the way home I made him pull over and I left the whole contents of my stomach in the ditch in front of someone's house. And no, I was not remotely embarrassed. I just felt much, much better.

    Whatever that bug is going around... yech! Everyone's got it around here-- I was really surprised I didn't have company in the flower beds.

  2. That is hilarious Ghost. Thanks for giving me a laugh. I hope you are fully recovered today.

  3. It is the kindness of strangers and the help of children that gets us all through Christmas. I hope you're feeling better--and I hope your day is merry!

  4. Patience: Thanks. I was fully recovered for Christmas :)-- I hope you were too!