Friday, December 26, 2014

An Uncomplicated Christmas, and Other Complications

Jim and I decided to make this an easy, stress-free Christmas.  Neither of us wanted to be running around like crazy people, buying stuff that no one really wants.  We did a lot to the house in the past six months, and we have some other things in the pipeline, so we decided not to buy for each other at all, and keep the shopping for others to an absolute minimum.

I say we agreed not to buy for each other, but as I told Jim, I had already pre-bought a couple of things for him -- small things -- so he would be getting a couple of gifts, but seriously, I didn't want anything.  I had, after all, ordered myself a new laptop at the beginning of the Christmas season, since mine was on its very last legs.  Come Christmas morn, Jim was happy with the Badpiper CDs I had gotten him (who can't love the only punk rock bagpiper, anyway?) and his book -- "If History Was Scottish".  We got dressed and headed out to see the boys.

We had gifted them money so that they can go to Florida to see Jill, so the shopping was minimal.  Thomas was SO surprised to receive the only book -- indeed, the only thing -- on his Christmas list, but I totally surprised him with a tiny Blue Power Ranger button that he wore proudly all day.  Seth got a button that said "Oh snap, it's an onomatopoeia!"  and a two pound container of Kraft Parmesan cheese, because it is a joke -- or not -- in our family that Seth LOVES Parmesan cheese.  As in, there's generallly more Parmesan on his plate than spaghetti.  I'm not sure if he was appreciative or annoyed, but he and Thomas agreed that it would be gone in short order.

Jill's gifts were a bit more complicated.  She had sent me a short list of things that she wanted, so I ordered her the Kitchenaid mixer that she wanted.  In icy blue, no less.  I was trying to figure out if that was going to be it for her, because I had bought a bunch of other small stuff, and I was trying not to overdo.  The decision was made on Sunday -- her birthday -- when she called and said that Michael had bought the same mixer for her AND she had already used it.  Oh dear.

So I thought to myself, oh, I'll go to Bath & Body Works and get her some shower gels and such on the day after Christmas, because that was on her list, and the boys are taking her presents to her when they leave this weekend.  I didn't even talk to her on Christmas Day, because she had gotten the flu the day before, and spent her whole day sleeping.  Apparently she woke up later, because some time in the evening, she texted me and asked for the recipe for my stuffing -- alas, there IS no recipe, because it's in my head -- but at least it meant she felt better.

Today, I went to work figuring I'd stop at Bath & Body Works on the way home.  Then my phone rang and who should it be but the Bratty Gurl, announcing that she was on her way to work, and guess what?  She was going to Bath & Body Works for their $3 sale first.  Oh. My. Gawd.  Is it not possible to shop for this girl without it getting complicated?  I didn't say a thing, figuring it was a message straight from God saying not to worry, I'd already shopped enough.  I just laughed and went back to my work.  

Then the phone rang again.  This time, The Brat announced that she had gotten a full bag of stuff, only to find that the line was too long at the checkout and she would've been late to work if she'd stayed so "please please please can you go to Bath & Body Works and get me some stuff?"

"I'm at work."
"Can you have Jim go?"
"Jim's at work."
"I thought he retired."
"He has a little part time job with a friend."
"Well, would he stop by on the way home?"
"Not likely, cause he has to go to the grocery."

"I don't know what kind you want.  And you know I can't smell anything."
"Oh, I don't care what kind.  I love ALL their stuff."

Do you see why she's the Bratty Gurl?    And so it was that I found myself in Bath & Body Works buying numerous very, very cheap shower gels and lotions at 5:30 this evening. I have NO idea whether they smell like flowers, the great outdoors, perfume, or stinky feet, but she'll be happy.

Next year, I'm giving her money.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Date Night

Tonight was date night at the Smith house, and we did a throwback to our early days.  On our second "official" date (according to my husband, cause I'm not sure what makes it "official"), we went to the Butler University Rejoice concert with my mom and dad.  It's a wonderful free concert, and it includes many of the musical groups that Butler has to offer.  We missed it last year, so we made sure to get tickets this year.  Well, not exactly.  We made sure to ask Seth to get us tickets this year, since he lives on campus.  Seth, of course, forgot/procrastinated/ignored his mother, so his wonderful lady friend, Elaine, got them for us.  She's a keeper, that one.

No seriously.  We worry how Seth will function in the real world, should his lady friend wander off.  I may or may not have a secret account in Wisconsin where I hide the funds that keep her from wandering off..........but I digress.

Our friends were so excited to go to the concert with us.  They are usually headed to Florida for the winter by now, but decided to wait till next week, so we were excited that they could go with us.  That is, until Mary was diagnosed with the flu today, and Fred started showing signs as well.  So much for that.  We were all pretty bummed.  I called Elaine to see if she and Seth wanted to double date.  Yes, she was excited to go.

Apparently, Seth was not equally excited, because he ended up backing out when work offered him some extra hours.  Elaine, however, was still excited about going with us, which is great, cause when the mother gets alone with the lady friend, she gets the real scoop, like "how clean is Thomas' bathroom?", "how filthy is Chris' room," and "did you see Jill and Michael's last SnapChat, cause I'm thinking Michael didn't realize his mother in law was on the distribution list."  Informative session, it was.

It was a slightly different concert than in the past, because the Indianapolis Children's Choir wasn't there, and the audience didn't sing with the carols.  New additions:  I was sitting next to Sheldon Cooper's doppleganger.  A Middle Eastern lady sitting in front of us kept videoing instead of living in the moment, and when it finally got to be too much for me, I leaned up and said "excuse me, but my daughter here has seizure disorder and your phone is messing with her -- she's not feeling well at all.  Could you please TURN IT OFF?"  I'm not sure the lady understood English, but it worked.  Boom.  That sucker was off for the rest of the concert.

And then there was our personal favorite.  Jim remembered a particular conductor from the past who really loves his job, because he is like a three ring circus up there.  The energy he has, combined with the wild facial expressions, are something you have to see to appreciate.  But when Elaine leaned over and said "I didn't know that Butler let Austin Powers conduct," it was all over.  I could NOT unsee it.  The guy is just awesome.

The best part of the evening though, was watching Seth's roommate.  He is third chair violin, and he is awesome in just about every way.  He's quite the sharp dresser, with a penchant for bow ties -- I had really hoped that this particular element would rub off on Seth, but alas, he's still a Tshirt and jeans guy.  But the love that Travis has for music is just so evident when you watch him.  When the symphony stood up to take their bow, all that was missing was the royal wave, because the boy looked just plain proud.  My favorite part, however, was when he joined the chorale to sing, because they sang a German song, and Travis was INTO IT.  You could tell that he was just plain having fun.  It's a wonderful thing to see someone who really loves music.  Add to this that Seth's other friend Wojtek, who is Polish, was up there having just as much fun, and it just made me smile.

Probably the funniest thing was that they had a high school choir from out east of Indianapolis sing with the chorale.  We stopped at Applebee's on the way home for appetizers (half price, dontcha know), and when we left, there were those same kids, loading onto the school bus still in their concert clothes.  It's all about the timing, folks.

So now, I've been exposed to the flu, kicked Seth out of the will, saw a Pole sing German, and had a margarita with Asian tacos.  How was your day?