I have no classes this week. Rome has fallen and Consciousness has been explored and the next month is filled with free time and the reading of novels.
Ah, would that that were true.
I arose this morning with the sun, checked emails and spoke to Little Cuter to ask about her comment on Tuesday's post. By 9 I was going full steam ahead, damning the torpedoes of aches and stiffness to power through the last of my elfing tasks. The tree is decorated and the detritus of that job is stowed in the third bay of the garage, awaiting the refilling and shelf stacking which will come all too soon. The Hanukah box is located and has been evaluated and the menorahs will be atop the counters come sunset. I have just enough candles to get the three of us through tonight's blessings, each with our own Hanukiah (the real name for the candelabra Jews light for the eponymous holiday).
There were dozens of brownies in snack bags awaiting their packaging and addressing. There were boxes awaiting shipping labels. There was cash to be gotten for the cleaning lady and laundry to be done to cover the boys' nakedness, but those tasks didn't fall under “Holiday Chores” and so were easily pushed aside. I was in full elf mode, and I was loving it.
I packed. I wrapped, I wrote. I padded and moved styrofoam peanuts from one box to another. Big Cuter was sleeping so I kept the holiday music to a dull roar, but Santa and Rudolph and the Little Drummer Boy kept me company as I worked.... albeit more softly than I would have liked. Little Cuter and SIR had another box of goodies to be shipped; I was less than creative with the gift tags this year. I hope they understand.
I usually amuse myself by carrying towers of flat rate USPS boxes from the kitchen to the desk where I create the mailing labels on the computer. I try to carry a taller stack with each trip, giggling as I teeter and the boxes totter as we cross the living room and turn the corner to the library. This year, sadly, my treks were constrained by my disability. Balancing boxes came after balancing myself.... and balancing myself was no mean feat.
Tree trimming and gift wrapping and house decorating have taken their toll. My hip is alive with the sound of crackling and creaking. Bending is more challenging and toting weight is becoming impossible. By 10 o'clock even reaching to the other side of the table for the packing tape elicited an expressive display of displeasure.
Still, I carried on.
The notes were already written and all the supplies were there. It was the assembly that was taking its toll. Twelve boxes and envelopes later, twelve printed shipping labels afterward, twelve stacked packages were ready to be delivered. I put the ones to be mailed into the big red bag and off I went.
I drove across Skyline and left goodies with Nancy's sister, then continued further east to Colonel Bill and Sallie. We hugged and chatted and I saw his trophies and medals and read the kind words which those who honored his heroism had written on plaques and in articles. There was laughing and story telling and many many hugs and then off I went, back to my Schnozz-sleigh. There was more to drop off.
Heading north on Oracle to Rancho Vistoso, I followed the they-all-look-the-same streets to Judy's house. There, we commiserated. Neither one of us is as healthy or fit as we were last year at this time, and that is really too bad. She's being treated and I am engaged in therapies and we both hope for the best but are aware of the worst, lurking in the distance. Neither of us can understand why others think we are remarkable; what else can we do but go on? I listened to her stories of administrative incompetence and oversights and she heard me out on family and friends. We would usually have these conversations on the hiking trail; it was a little sad to be doing it seated in her living room instead.
After inviting her to the Pity Party JannyLou and I host for those who need to whine about the unfairness of life but don't want to burden their loved ones, I hit the road again. Further west on Tangerine to a Meritage development and Donna and Ron's house. He's been ill and she went from caring for me to caring for him. I was looking forward to complimenting him on his recovery and to sharing brownies with her but, alas and alack, there was no one at home when the UPS guy and I arrived at their driveway. I left the bag of goodies inside their security gate and sighed.
I wonder if Santa feels the same way when he leaves the gifts but doesn't get to see the joy on the faces of the recipients. Poor Santa.
Then it was south on Thornydale to the post office at Magee. Unlike last Friday, when the line was out the door for both the counter and the Automated Postal Center, the scene was relatively serene. Parking wasn't an issue and other patrons held the door for me and my gigantic sack and even bigger box as we struggled through the door and into the lobby. An employee was assisting with the APC, but Randy, a fellow January 8th shootee, was there and flummoxed so I was his personal elf, explaining the screen and the prompts and ushering him through the experience in a flash.
We adjourned to the parking lot where we shared interview stories for a while and wondered when the interest in our intersection with bullets would subside. I invited him to the Stroll and Roll and agreed that January 9th cannot come soon enough and then we hugged and went our separate ways.
I should have gone to the used bookstore and the grocery store and I ought to get up and walk to the mailbox and see who sent us some more love. I should and I ought but I'm not. My gifts are mailed. My brownies are delivered. Family presents still must be wrapped, but that's a joy and not a chore. I'm going to sit here on the couch and listen to seasonal music thoughtfully provided by Comcast on my television set. I'm going to watch the sun cross the sky and remember that 11 months ago this day would have been impossible. I'm going to bask in the love I shared and received today. I'm going to smile at my son and let him rub my arm and tell me he loves me. I'm going to share dinner with my boys and not worry about a thing.
It's the holidays and I am ready to enjoy them.