Okay, it's been a while (like when isn't it? Seriously). It was Thanksgiving when last I sat down and blogged my heart out, and while I have 'meant' to....it's sorta like the Road to Hell...it's paved with good intentions that never go anywhere.
Christmas came and went here. With the little trolls all going to different grandparents and relatives' houses on Christmas day, it was decided that we would 'put it off'. In years past, I have always done the big Polish do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day itself was always low key. Jamie was in another state, unable to make it home, and the grands had other commitments, so it was just the four of us. Unfortunately, it ends up being too far to travel for some, other plans for others (a divorce in the family makes 'sharing' holidays real fun for those of us not directly involved) and others won't give you a straight up answer 'yes or no'. I have said in the past, I know I will say so again, if you don't want to come, SAY SO. I would rather you risk you thinking you hurt my feelings to have an adequate head count for dinner.....with the price of food, I don't want to plan to feed four extra people and not have anyone show up. This year, we did 'Little Christmas with Lucas and Brennan, and believe me, it was a lot less stressful for me (not for them, but that's another story).
Part of the reason I wanted to 'do' Little Christmas, or the Feast of the Epiphany, is that Christmas is soooo commercialized and trees and decorations are in the stores on Labor Day, and by the 25th you are so sick of hearing 'if you REALLY loved someone, you would go into hock for a car, a house, a ring that could knock out Mike Tyson, etc.' and sad to say it, you are GLAD that Christmas is over. Whatever happened to Advent? Christmas Eve? Christmas being a HOLY day not a day to grab and plunder and complain you 'didn't get what you really wanted, wah, wah, wah'.....besides, not to sound commercial on you, but buying AFTER Christmas is the best way NOT to break the budget. The big plus.....I got to tell the little trolls that we would be celebrating Jesus' birthday on the day HE got presents. I collect nativities, so I was able to show them Gaspar, Balthazar and Melchior and explain that the Feast of the Epiphany is when they gave Jesus HIS presents. I had a tree, with their presents under it, and I would hear, 'Gramma, we get to open ours when Jesus opened his, right?' See......I did teach them something. I was especially proud of the two of mine left at home.....they opted, even tho I did have presents for them....to wait as well until Little Christmas. Also, by waiting, not only did I not duplicate things others bought the little ones, but if you go from place to place to place on Christmas, who can remember who bought who what and they get so tired of wanting to just play with everything, they get on a sensory overload and miss out on the whole reason for doing what we do.
We did this whole magilla on January 5th, so I could 'have' my present on January 6th. I am on a big 'experience' kick lately. If I need anything, I will buy it myself, and I am trying to 'give' memories to the kids as well. I asked of Joe, and he agreed, that I wanted to go to the Farm Show in Harrisburg for my Christmas Present. So, off we went on Sunday morning, bright and early to a place I have been begging to go to for years......(other things always came up). I was a wonderful experience, but one, if we had to do all over again, would do on a weekday, not a weekend. The show opened at 9:00 a.m., at 9:15 a.m. the parking lot, the whole 28 acres of it, was full and overflow was being directed to other areas in Harrisburg and the patrons were shuttle bused in. But we had a blast.
About this blast. You may wonder why I posted the picture on the top of this. Well, just Joe and I went....the kids wanted to but my Knight in Shining Armor told me 'it's just you and me, it's your present, not theirs' and we got into all sorts of mischief. We were two 50+ year old fruit loops on a day pass. Those who know us, me particular, know that I have a 'wee bit of a digestive issue' that makes knowing where the bathroom is at all times a REALLY good thing. Well, of course, since we stopped for breakfast before we left, I HAD to stop on the way......Realize, also, that we pass the exit for Hershey, PA on the way out to Harrisburg from where we live.....do you see where we are going here? On a dare, of course, I go into the quikee mart and say 'is this Hershey?' to which I get and befuzzled clerk saying 'yup' (now realize, I have a grown man giggling like a little girl behind me). I then say 'where's the can, cause I gots the squirts'.....he bugs his eyes out, his mouth drops and he points to the generic door with the man and woman on the sign and off I go.......can this day get any better. Oh, yeah.
Sir Knight, when we get there, is as bug eyed as a little kid at the tractors and outdoor furnaces and all the freebies and nibbles and samples and things to touch and play with and well.........then we get to the animals. To those of you who have been to a fair, you know that the barnyard animals are usually facing towards you. Nuh-uh, not here. The aisles you traipsed down went between the north ends of most of the south bound animals on display. It was all inside (this is January, you realize) and it is ripe......as there are big blowers pumping heat in the buildings to keep the patrons warm.......nothing like the smell of ripe poo on a heater to make you say 'yee haw, this if farm country!'......we look at each other, look at Ol' Bossy's butt, and I say to him....'I did not ride 1 1/2 hours to have a cow poop on me and walk around the rest of the day smelling like a cow pie!' 'Cause Lord knows, when one of those bovines cut loose, it's all over but getting hosed down......they have the aim AND the distance down pat. So we go into the NEXT building! Realize, there are more and more and more people and we have to go up a disabled escalator....shoulder to shoulder with about half a million other people (yep, they DID do those numbers on the weekend days)...so guess what Sir Knight does next. That's right, peeps, he starts mooing, as we were like cattle going into a pen......he moos, and moos, and moos....then, across the room, another moo answers, then from somewhere in the middle, another moo sounds out.....I could have picked up my feet and been swept along by a bunch of grown men mooing like cattle. A woman next to us, all dyed hair and balloon hat, says to me...'watch this' and starts bleating like a goat. Then another bleat.....so the whole freaking convention hall with rodeo rings on one side and animal cages on the other is filled with men mooing and women bleating.......shoulder to shoulder....and the animals in the pens looking at each other and thanking their makers they are in cages and not in the midst of all these crazy people.
|this is the shrine to Paula Deen 1000 lbs of butter|
|Joe's new friend, the Nittany Lion (bite it, Richie!)|
|he really really really wanted this to drive to work!|
We do as much as we can physically do, and by 3:30 we are all in. We made three trips back to the car to dump off all the handouts, gimmes and whatnot that we picked up along the way and our final trek had us looking like a couple of ancients trying to climb the Himalayas....I was a cold day, but we were hot, tired and hungry. Heading back home, we stopped at Cracker Barrel. Now Cracker Barrel is as fake Southern as you can get, but we needed food and somehow, that chicken fried steak with milk gravy, mashed potatoes and collard greens chased by a Mason jar of iced tea hit the spot. We were home, dead tired by 6:30 p.m. and happy as a couple of clams. This was one Christmas present that I am GLAD I asked for.
Now, into the new year, I am approached by someone I used to work for when I worked for First Student asking 'why' I didn't come back to driving school bus. To tell you the truth, I thought I had been black balled by the company when they handed over the reins to the new company. For those who know about my history with FS, I was let go and denied my unemployement compensation. The union said fight, and you know me.....if I can I will fight for what is right, so off I go. I fought them, over and over and over before I finally got a ruling in my favor.....I explained this to the new people and they said 'come on over'....so, the middle of January found me back in driver's training classes learning all over again, how to drive a school bus. Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying I didn't need this class as I found out some of the issues I faced working for the first company would never happen with the new one.....that and I learned new techniques for old situations and found it a whole different dynamic.
Now I sit and wait, as they wait for my clearances to come back from the state and the feds saying I'm not a danger to myself or anyone else. Once that is done, we will see what the next step is. Hopefully, that will be my birthday present......if all the clearances are in by Tuesday, I'm golden. THEN I go take the test to get my permit to drive one of those behemoths again. Wouldn't that be a hoot, taking the test on my birthday! I can break out all my holiday tshirts and weird headbands and have the kids going 'what in the world is that woman wearing today!'
Hopefully, it won't take me nearly two months to get back and update this blog, but if it does, please know that I am at least 'thinking' about doing it!!!!
Til Niagra Falls,