I know I'm a few days late, but I did not get out my laptop the entire time I was home for the holidays. Now, I have some time to update you on my relatively Grinch-free trip.
I drove home Wednesday, my car loaded with the few gifts I bought, my suitcases, Charley and Chaplin. Oh, and Mom insisted I bring the Wii (she's a fan of Guitar Hero, Dad prefers Wii Sports - especially bowling). Packing was not fun. It was torture. But still, I knew I had to do it - even if it meant not getting on the road until noon.
I pulled up at my parents house mid-afternoon. Charley was thrilled to be out of the car. I carried Chaplin inside in the carrier, thinking my parents dog would see him and be over it. Instead, the cat freaked out, growling and hissing. I let him out in my bedroom and he hid under the bed. That became his main hideout, with occasional trips to the bathroom to eat or do his business.
By 5:30, I was hungry. I knew that if I didn't con Mom into making something, we'd have to eat the dreaded Sloppy Joe. I probably wouldn't mind that meal (a tradition on my Mom's side of the family despite recent protests - including a chili cheese dog intrusion one year). I have just decided I don't like them anymore. It's weird, I know.
Our bellies full of pork chops, we headed to my uncle's house. DISCLAIMER: My family likes to make our gatherings "spirited." We are not alcoholics. Don't misinterpret that here. The first thing we do is grab a beer and head outside. Despite the calendar saying "winter," South Texas decided to warm it up. It was in the upper 60s - not too warm, not too cold. I kept thinking how glad I was I didn't just pack sweaters! After visiting for about an hour or so, catching up with my cousins that I'm close in age to we were summoned inside. It was present time!
In case you don't know, my Grandmother is a regifter and there's not always a method to her selections. The cousins stuck together, sitting in a row, waiting for our prize. We were placing bets as to who would get the worst prize. Then, we noticed ours were about the same size. I opened mine first. Not a regift, but a BRAND NEW gift! Here I am opening mine with my uncle (right) and brother (left) watching.
Road safety kits, chosen by Grandfather at Sears. My brother and my three male cousins all opened theirs with the same reaction: "Oh. Thanks." Well, not all the same. The youngest one to get it is currently sans vehicle.
What's interesting about these kits is a few years ago, Grandfather made us accident kits. A big plastic bag contained a sheet of paper with information we'd need to get if we were in a crash. It had a pencil and digital camera. Not the cheeriest gift. Oh, and those digital cameras would surely melt in the glove compartment.
The kits are handy, though we'll need to put batteries in them for the flashlights.
Oh, and one more fun moment: my aunt had a package that was addressed to the family. After it was opened, she learned the card was to the family. The shiny nightgown was for my aunt. Still, we made my cousin put it on.
After the packages were unwrapped, we returned to my parents' house. We stayed up a little while, then called it a night. Santa was on his way.