Time to welcome the in-laws.
They will arrive at an unspecified time, several hours earlier than expected, bringing, along with multiple dogs, enough presents, junk food, unwanted produce, and various other bags, packages, and trappings to fill up our previously tidy kitchen and living room.
My in-laws are Baptists of the fundamental flavor. Before they arrive, I must drink all the beer (I finished it last night), and wife must hide all the wine (she will need a good supply to get her through).
Shortly after their arrival, I become the intruder in our home, which, when they are here, is no longer my home, but my father-in-law’s home, as he is king of all domains and does not recognize any man’s right to a domain. Mother-in-law, not to be outdone, makes up for my having no adult supervision since her last visit by commenting on my appearance and finding tasks for me to do. That is, if I have not found my own tasks.
Yes, holidays are a time for me to stay busy. I’m who volunteers to work on Christmas Eve, just so I can, well, be at work. Some customers remind me of my mother-in-law. Especially that farmer’s wife. If she comes to my office on Christmas Eve, then my schemes are for naught. But that’s a chance I’ll take.
There are days, though, when I can’t volunteer to work. Christmas Day. President Bush’s burial day. Furlough days. Why, oh why must I be furloughed when the in-laws are here? Or when the President decides that Christmas Eve is also a holiday. There goes that plan.
Those are the days when I become not just a fitness enthusiast, but a fitness obsessed over-enthusiast. My normal four to five-mile run becomes ten. One hour, or two, are no longer sufficient spans of time in the gym. Poor puppies—you need another walk so soon? We’ve only been back for five minutes. Oh, well, can’t keep the puppies waiting.
I realize my children need rescued, too. It’s a good time to go, no, to sneak, off to the park to practice basketball. Let’s break out those skateboards and go to the skate-park. Or make several trips to the grocery store to buy items we might need next week, one item per trip. I’ll buy another bottle of wine for wife and keep it hidden in the pickup until tonight.
Those damn leaves aren’t going to rake themselves; better get to it while I have a day off.
It’s evening, and I get a sick feeling when I see that everyone is wearing Christmas Eve church service clothes. Good God, why can’t I be at my parent’s house, where dad is sipping craft whiskey and mom is baking cookies? I need no more sermons, as anytime I’ve failed to find tasks sufficient to keep myself safe, I’m held captive by various, non-stop speeches on the evils of strong-drink and democrats.
Christmas morning. Matt Damon awakes at 5:45 to excited children, but we don’t have that luxury. My in-laws arise with a vengeance much earlier. Better get that first cup of strong coffee before mommy-in-law dearest dumps out the entire pot to make her own, yellowish one scoop per ten cups and then tears the kitchen apart looking for sugar. Even the kids get up looking irritated.
One noisy, screechy, blinky present after another. This one needs assembly. “Your daddy can do it.” This one needs programmed. “Daddy can do it.” This one needs loaded with a Google play card. “Daddy, daddy, daddy.” Where the hell’s the football, or even a simple Red Rider BB gun? No, everything either comes in some zillion damn pieces (which means there will, within a month, be some zillion separate pieces in the toy-box), or it requires computer skills beyond my own. Daddy loses it and blurts, “Bull-shit; I didn’t buy it, and I’m not putting it together.” For the first time in two days, there is complete silence. Wife gives the look. The disapproving, disappointed look. Daddy knows that he will never, as long as he is alive and in the presence of women, be a grown-up, but will always be the wayward boy who needs correction.
In-laws wear the smug, “See, dear daughter, what a loser you married?” look as they unsuccessfully try to mask their satisfaction at my true evil coming through.
I could go on and on and on and on, because that’s how the day, and the next, will surely go.
“So, what’s your favorite part of Christmas?”