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A Christmas Story

I’m battered and bruised but I survived Christmas.

The SO picked up the kid on Christmas morning and we headed up to my parents’ house 3.5 hours away. Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we went with a kid and a dog and a trunkful of luggage and gifts.

The kid was high on presents like only a kid who had Christmas at mom’s and then at dad’s can be. There were no presents out at my parents’ and she was in withdrawal. They had my brother and SIL and the SIL’s parents over for dinner.

On Saturday morning Mom and Z and I went tubing. I like going tubing at ski resorts because they let you ride the tubes up the hill on a special lift. The laziness of it is most of the thrill for me! Last year when I took Z tubing we had to drag her around in the tube because she was too small to pull it herself. When we got to the top of the first lift I pulled her to the top of the run. We went down holding onto each other’s tube. At the bottom she jumped off her tube and ran off pulling it behind her. From that point she was on her own.

At the top of the lift there was a sign that said Prepare to roll of tube. Then a bit later there was a sign that said Roll Off Now. Z couldn’t read the signs so she jumped off at the first sign and ran beside her tube until it was pulled off the lift by the worker. A nicer person might have told her to wait until the second sign but I believe in wearing out kids by making them run up a hill over and over.

My mother came down the first time and told me that they spun her at the top of the hill. She recommended that I try it. I think this was payback for putting her through labor. The guy would give you a little push to get you moving and then do a move like a discus thrower to send you spinning down the hill. I lost my hat both times I did it. (Yes, I did it twice. I’m a slow learner.) The next day both Mom and I had very sore necks. I’m sure it is mild whiplash. Mom also crashed into me once and flipped out of her tube onto her head. That’ll learn her to tell me to sign up for whiplash.

Z was revelling in her independence. She could get off the hill, run over to the lift, and get back to the top of the hill by herself. The guy at the top of the hill would slow her up until I got to the top of the hill. I’m sure he probably said that she should wait for her mom because I heard her telling him her version of our life story. The one that goes, “This isn’t my mom. That’s my dad’s friend Heather. She lives with us now.” I want to train her to add in the fact that I met her dad three years after the divorce so I don’t look so much like a homewrecker.

Saturday night we did the big Christmas dinner and gifts. We had a chat with Z first. If she opened something she didn’t like she wasn’t shy about saying so. I told her that even if someone gave her brussel sprouts she was to say, “thank you very much.” She did well. In fact you could judge how much she didn’t like something because her thank you got very enthusiastic when she didn’t like her gift.

Freckles scored the major coup of the weekend. She is a couch dog. She thinks it is her god-given right to sleep on the furniture. My dad is not an animal person. She would not be allowed on the furniture. On Christmas night she stayed on the floor but clearly she thought it was stupid. But she bonded with Dad because she chases cats and he hates cats and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. She got to sleep on the couch for the rest of the time. The whole family was in shock.

Then I came home and got a cold and slept. I also tried to hook up the Wii that my mother got me despite telling her that my TV is too old to use it. It hooks up but then you need to go to the menu of the TV and tell it stuff. The menu on my TV has tint, color, and sharpness. It ain’t sophis-tee-kated like the new fangled tvs the kids have these days. A new tv is in the “maybe someday” category of new purchases not the “yes now” category. Of course my mother told Z that she could play with the Wii “every time she goes to Daddy’s house now.” Great.

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