Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Life: Holidays in Review

I've concluded that I've managed to survive another holiday season.  I'm referring to that segment of the year between December 20th and January 5th which comes around every year and slams into me like the Southbound Orange Blossom Special recycling a 1967 VW stalled out on a railroad crossing at four in the morning.  I think my problem is that I lack adequit preparation.

Skipping right past the futility of Christmas shopping and subsequent package wrapping, I'm going to write about the real meat of the situation - critters, relatives and road trips.

Mom has morphed into the cat lady.  You know, the eccentric elderly lady that every neighborhood has who keeps 16 cats in her house but who otherwise is nice to the neighborhood children.  That lady.  Experienced cat people can tell you that oftentimes cats and Christmas trees don't always produce ideal results, and Mom's happy home is no exception.

Zeus the Cat

Mom's Christmas Tree

Some assembly required

Damage was very light, which was nice.

Christmas Cheer!

We had a smaller crowd than usual this year.  Main Lady had to stay home and care for her mother, Centenarian, who was unable to withstand the noise and confusion brought on by happily stressed out people under the influence of Mad Jack's manhattans (nobody can drink just one!) seeking to enlighten each other about politics and religion.  Our guest list included Uncle Sardonicus, Auntie Annie, 88, Chatelaine, Big Mike, Mom, California Dave and me, Mad Jack.  Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Que Bee One all stopped by for happy hour.  When I asked if they'd like a drink, they declined.  Repeated invitations got an assent from Mopsy, who had never sampled a perfect manhattan before, but which condition was soon rectified.  The others followed suit, with Que Bee One bringing up the rear.  As I remember this, I think Que Bee One spilled something or other and when he apologized for his clumsiness I responded by offering him a manhattan, which he accepted and said he enjoyed.
The original plan for Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Que Bee One was that they'd stop and see Mom and I briefly, then continue to visit their biological father (Main Lady's ex).  Half way through the first manhattan they were having a very nice time and didn't want to leave, and so were late arriving at their father's house.  Mopsy, the responsible one, was supposed to keep them all on schedule and finally appealed to me for help.  Hey, they're all having a good time and it looks like the party is getting a glow on, so what's the rush? Have another drink! They finally had to hit the bricks and Mom put dinner on the table.
Christmas Dinner Table
The gold table service and china belonged to my dear old Grandma Bourbon.  The service is gold plated and was reserved for special occasions; this is the first time we've actually used it.  The china is very delicate and will chip easily.

And so, when desert was finally finished I stepped up to the sink and washed every single cup, dish, saucer, pot, pan, kettle, knife, fork, spoon, ladle, platter, meat rack and container, and then I cleaned every single surface in the kitchen.  Auntie Annie and Chatelaine dried the dishes and put things away, and believe me when I say that I was grateful for the help.  What I did not know was that a disaster of the first water had taken place during dinner and was belatedly discovered by my brother Big Mike.

You see, we cook the turkey on a smoker, so we enjoy smoked turkey for dinner.  This year Mom wanted to add two pork loins to the smoker because people enjoy the smoked pork roast and because you get extra drippings in the pan to make gravy with, which Mom did, in fact, make and which caused me to gain seven pounds from one dinner.  Anyway, when the dinner was served we started running short of counter space in the kitchen, so Mom placed one pork roast, still on the rack from the smoker, on top of the clothes dryer.  Just temporarily, you understand...

After dinner the pork roast was still there, but it being a nice, juicy pork roast a good portion of the juice had leaked onto the top of the clothes dryer, then pooled along the edge and finally overflowed down the front and dripped onto the seal.  Since the door wasn't locked, the juice made its way inside the dryer and into the drum, so that casual observation would only reveal a little spill that could easily be wiped away.  The only way to discover the real damage was to open the front door and explore the dryer.

So while I washed dishes, my brother Big Mike discovered the spill, explored the dryer and found copious amounts of roast pork juice hiding in the drum.  Mike set to with a will, taking the dryer apart and cleaning everything thoroughly, so by the time I was finished washing and we had put everything away, Mom's clothes dryer was clean and ready to use.

Imagine running the dryer with a load of clothes in it and discovering all that grease the hard way.  My thanks to Big Mike for his thorough cleaning of Mom's clothes dryer and averting a natural disaster.

And, speaking of disasters, Main Lady had her very own mess to clean up on Christmas Eve.  Behold Centenarian's cat, Angel.
Angel the Cat
Centenarian's Christmas Tree
Busted Star

I didn't get a picture of the box of ornaments that require some repair, but as you can see the star at the top of the tree doesn't quite shine like it used to.

The day after Christmas I spent on recovery, then the next day California Dave and I turned our honkers to the South and put Dave's Avenger under us.  We arrived at Big Mike's home in good time and enjoyed his excellent hospitality for several days.  Our first excursion was a trip to Nationwide Arena to see the Columbus Blue Jackets play.

Blue Jacket Ice Bunnies
We lost against Calgary, but it was a good game none the less.  Next on the agenda was a trip to Black Wing, where we put some lead in the air.

Shooting at Black Wing
I got this score right out of the box with my Ruger Mark II at about 25 feet and using a two handed grip.  Mine is the target on the right, and before anyone comments the answer is No, I didn't shoot it at six feet and lie about the distance.  I think the difference is in the amount of light at the range.  The Bullet Stop (where we usually shoot) is dimly lit, likely for purposes of realism.  Black Wing has good lighting.

We went out to dinner at Hyde Park, and Big Mike was generous enough to pick up the bill.  No small thing, that - see the review and a picture of the bill here.  After dinner I took a very short nap while Mike and Dave played with Mike's stereo system.  Then we decided on a board game.

Arkham Horror
We played Arkham Horror, an engaging game but a tad depressing in that players seldom win.  In this case I remember distinctly looking at my watch and comparing the time to the state of the game before suggesting that we call it a night.  It was 3:00 AM and we were not going to win this one.  Big Mike agreed, but California Dave wanted to keep going.  A part of this was that Dave really is from California and as such it was only midnight for him.  Sanity prevailed and we broke up for the night.

The next day Dave and I headed North for home (me) and the Detroit Metro Airport (Dave).  The holiday season was half over and I was still alive.

On the home front I learned that when they came to town Cottontail and Que Bee One brought their two hounds with them, Banana Nose and French Pig.  Excellent Rachmaninoff likes the company and has a great time playing with the two dogs, but Banana Nose invariably tears up Rachmaninoff's favorite toy, his stuffed ape.  We found cloth and stuffing all over the place.  This isn't the first time this has happened either, and if Cottontail and Que Bee One would teach the dog some manners these two dog pound runaways would be a lot more welcome.  Anyway, Mopsy provided Excellent Rachmaninoff with a brand new ape which he really likes.
Excellent Rachmaninoff and his new toy
Main Lady and her Three Little Darlings gave Mom a flower around Thanksgiving which is now in bloom and which Mom enjoys.
Mom's Flower
A few days back I wrote about censorship and the availability of undesirable media to minors (click here), and mentioned Lane's Drug Store.  I got a real surprise at Centenarian's the other day when I was mixing my afternoon manhattan.
Collector's Item?
What a coincidence! I wonder if this is a collector's item?
I thought about making a few New Year's resolutions and discarded the idea as being a good way to become depressed.  I think I'll take next year one day at a time and see what develops.

1 comment:

Stephanie Lorée said...

I also played Arkham Horror over the holidays. Not really my favorite game, but a good time nonetheless.