The Grinch Who Stole Christmas… aka Karma

How were your holidays in 2013?  I’ve had a lot of time to think, probably too much time.  Forgive me if this post gets too philosophical.  Every year I end up having a melt down around Christmas, either before or after.  I know what it is.  I am waaaaay too tired and way too stressed out to have a level head.  I used to think it was just me, but this year I saw it in so many others.  I vowed to myself that this Christmas was going to be different, that I wasn’t going to over do myself and that I was going to just enjoy the holidays, no matter how much does or does not get done.  If it doesn’t get done, I figure, what’s the worst that can happen?  With this attitude, it was easy for me to see how taxing the holidays can be on each of us – it’s not just me!  😀

I coined a new term… the holiday hag… how easy it is for me to fall into that description, and how easy it is for others as well.  I do have to admit that I did try to get too much done.  I set myself up for this all the time, and even though this year I didn’t try to get as much of the usual holiday stuff done, I still worked on other stuff that just added fuel to my inner hag.  How many of you do most or all of the shopping, wrapping of gifts, decorating, making food, cleaning, etc.?  And we wonder why we get so exhausted when we add that to our “regular routine.”  Beware of the Grinch (short temper) that steals your holiday cheer… the angry customers, the aggressive drivers, and the other rude people who don’t normally behave that way but are just as stressed and tired as the screaming kids waiting for Santa.

So, this year I put most of the gifts in bags, saving time on wrapping.  I only made 1 pie and 1 batch of cookies.  I did all the shopping online.  But… my daughter was coming in for the holidays and I wanted to finish a woodworking project before she got here.  In my last post, I promised I’d share pictures, so here they are.  This is the computer armoire that I built all by myself.  I got the plans from ana-white.com here and adapted them to make an “office” for my quilting business.  I needed a place for my computer, printer, forms, my quilting samples, etc.  And, I wanted to be able to close the doors.

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Here it is open, before I put the doors on.  See the green bag down on the lower right?  That has my quilting samples.  Since I live out from the city, I tend to go TO my customers instead of them coming to me.  The blue “storage clip board” has my forms, prices, etc. in it as well as my mileage page.  You can see that the backing of this is made of pegboard.  I wanted the electronics to have ventilation, and I also thought I might use it for hanging stuff from it in the future.  There are 2 drawers and a slide-out for my keyboard.  I ran out of paint while working on this, so it doesn’t look finished, but it’s as finished as it’s getting for now (until I’ve had a GOOD LONG WINTER’S NAP!!!).

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Anyhow, I am happy enough with how it turned out, especially since this was my first furniture project from scratch.  And, no, I can’t just ask my husband to make it for me, because he hates (and fears, I think) any kind of “handyman” work.  The reason I HAD to finish this before Christmas (by the way, “HAD” is a figment of my imagination) was because I was rearranging rooms to accommodate the Christmas tree in its new place.  I’ve been wanting to move the stereo into the dining room, which is where the tree has been in the past, and put my new “office” where the stereo was in the living room.  This would also leave a nice space for the Christmas tree, where it “should” have been all along… in the living room.  Ah… perfect!

Needless to say this armoire is very heavy, too heavy for me to be lifting and moving by myself.  But, I did.  And, I also moved the furniture around in the dining room, all by myself except for a couple of last moves that I just could not do.  My husband asked me how I was able to move stuff since he couldn’t (he’s had a herniated disk and has lost a lot of strength).  I used those furniture sliders and a lot of determination – this word will come back later in my philosophical “ramblings”…

So, here we are at Christmas Eve when both my daughters and one’s husband can be here for Christmas dinner and our gift exchange.  You may remember that my mother-in-law passed away in October.  We are still sorting through her stuff and trying to get her house sold.  I brought out some quilts for the girls to look at and my oldest says she gets dibs on anything purple.  I made the mistake of pointing out that the younger daughter likes purple as well.  That’s when the oldest said in what sounded to this mother like a 2-year-old’s voice, “She got first choice of the rings and took the one I wanted, so I get first choice now.”  Well, we didn’t know that at the time.  The younger one said that she could have the ring if she wanted, that she could have it all.  At this point, I just dropped what was in my hands and walked out of the room.  The Grinch was in the room with us and I left before the Grinch took hold of me, too.  My poor son-in-law just sat there, caught in the middle.  I think I felt worse for him than anyone.  All I wanted was for my family to get along and to enjoy the holidays together for once without the Grinch stealing our Christmas.

Is this how family holiday gatherings are everywhere?  My husband was crabby and being a jerk, my kids were jealous of each other and being crabby, and I was on the ragged edge of being sucked right into the “poison” with them.  We all ended up having a good time and a nice (enough) Christmas, but later in bed I thought about my own mother.  She had 5 kids.  How did she do it?  Wow!  Deja vu.  Karma jumped up and bit me in the butt!  I think all 5 of us kids were jealous of each other, each of us wanting to be Mom’s favorite.  My mom rarely ever got on to me, but I will never forget the time she chastised me for being snotty about my siblings.  I am sure I was painting a negative picture of them so that I would look like a shining light in her eyes.  I was stunned when she got on to me about it.  Good grief, here I was on the other end of this with my own kids.  Mom’s been gone for almost 5 years now, and I know she wanted all of us to get along and to be close.  Funny how we’ve all worked on that since she’s passed and how we all now see ourselves as having more similarities than we do differences.  We’ve all gone our separate ways, with 8 years between the oldest and the youngest of us, but our “roots” are the same.  And, we find so many quirky things that are unique to the 5 of us that we don’t see in any one else.  I know now that Mom loved each of us.. the same and, yet, differently, and with all her heart.  I feel the same way about my kids.

The point of this message?  My hope is that each of us will realize that life is short, too short.  My wish is that future Christmases for all of us will be magical, full of Christmas spirit, and that we remember that Christmas is not about things but about the moments of this holiday that we will take with us in memories.  Let’s aim for good and happy memories.  Don’t work too hard but DO play hard.  Don’t worry about perfection because we all have our own individual definitions of perfect, so when you’re trying to make it perfect for everyone, it won’t be, no matter what, and that’s okay!  And, above all, try to laugh.  It’s a great stress reliever.  Happy Belated Christmas to you!  I hope you have lots of fun memories of 2013!

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