So um, guys? Where did 2013 go? Who ate it? It feels like we’re just getting warmed up, but here we are, getting ready for Christmas. Exactly how did that happen?

I started writing this yesterday when we were in the middle of one hell of an ice storm, in which the cops are telling everybody to stay the hell off the goddamn road. Sir, yes sir! Thankfully we have power, because some of us in this area aren’t so fortunate.

This year is a Steve’s family year, so I get to do the four Christmas festivities hop. Woo! At least one of them will be a non-turkey affair, so it won’t feel like deja vu all over again. It will be a good time with lots of good memories, I know the last one I went to sure was eventful. Only this time, let’s keep the power on, whatcha think? Hay, Tansy and Trixie will have to fight over the tree skirt! Sadly I never got that picture from Steve’s mom’s camera.

I was worried that Christmas shopping would be a disaster since I’m working full time and it always takes me longer to get things just because bus rides and bugging store employees to help me find items always takes longer than tooling around in a car with a buddy going “hey! That looks so like a Steve gift!” Plus, working full time doesn’t leave me a lot of time for inspiration to hit me, so I thought the idea well would be dry. Luckily, I was able to find enough easy ideas that it worked out well. I had lots of people taken off my list in a couple of trips!

But I shouldn’t say it was all easy. Remember howI said last year that the theme of Christmas shopping was adventure? This year, it was “hey genius, you know that brilliant idea of yours? Well, you can stuff it because either it doesn’t exist, or in practicality, it becomes impossible!” I had lots of gift ideas that had to die on the vine because they just didn’t work, even though I thought they were the best ever.

For example, since Ro was getting some teeth pulled, I thought she might want some soup. Since moving to Kitchener, I have learned of the greatness of Zoup. It’s this restaurant that makes different soups each day, and they’re really really good. So I thought I’d get her a gift card since Zoup does exist in the states. Then I looked to see if she had a Zoup in her city. How about no? Luckily she liked what I got her as a second choice.

Next, this one friend, like us, has friends all over the place. Sometimes it’s hard to get visits in. So I thought it would be awesome if we could get him a Greyhound gift card. Then he could cash it in and go see somebody and it would be on us. How about no? Check out this ridiculous procedure you have to go through.

Gift Ticket Orders (GTO) are available for purchase on this Web site. GTO allows you to purchase a ticket online for another person. This ticket is delivered to the departure bus station, under the following criteria:
The buyer pays a non-refundable gift ticket fee (plus GST) at time of purchase, regardless of number of tickets purchased.
Tickets may not be sent outside the Canada.
Both stations must be open at the time of the transaction and of ticket pick-up.
Buyer and recipient should allow three hours from time of purchase to departure time to complete the transaction. Appropriate ID or a password is required to pick up the ticket.
Only the purchaser may cancel the ticket or apply for a refund.
Call 1-800-661-TRIP (8747) for information.

Excuse me? Why can’t I buy a card that’s like money and then the person can put it towards any ticket purchase? Why do both stations have to be open? We do have this thing called the internet and email nowadays. So no, I could put that idea in the can.

Then, we thought we’d get Steve’s dad a gift box from this yummy place that sells peanuts. But all the gift boxes had heaps and heaps of chocolate, and Steve’s dad is allergic to chocolate!

Then I thought I’d get somebody on my list some chocolates, but they’re seriously allergic to peanuts. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get goddamn chocolates if you’re dealing with a peanut or tree nut allergy! Holy Hannah! It’s actually harder to get ’em if you go into chocolate stores with the higher end stuff. They all say that they can’t guarantee that the chocolate that doesn’t have obvious nuts didn’t touch some peanut leavings in its trip through the creation process. Holy hell! I knew living with a nut allergy made things nice and complicated, but I kind of experienced it hunting for nut-free chocolates!

Next I went to get a bunch of little things for Steve along with the big purchase I got him. One of those little things, I had to go to like 5 stores before they had it…and this is not an uncommon item!

At any rate, I had to work hard to get all my Christmas gifts, but man did it feel easier than last year’s crazy town experience.

So like I said, it feels like this year has just started. But when I think about it, it really doesn’t because we have come a long way in our understanding of this great big city. We’re by no means masters, and people who can see tell us that they even find this city confusing…but we’re starting to grasp relationships between lots of stuff, and even our own neighbourhood is starting to open up more, all thanks to Groupons and Wagjags and Blindsquare, oh my! We’ve gotten so that running errands isn’t an epic chore, and when we call places, people can give us basic landmarks and it’s a way bigger clue than it was last year. It feels good. This place is really starting to feel like home base, and when we go back to Guelph, the ability to move around easily doesn’t only happen there, making us wish it was that way in Kitchener. It’s starting to change, and that’s awesome.

A simple example of how much things have changed is this Christmas tree they put up in the apartment building lobby. It sings bits of Christmas carols, and little sparkly things are around it. When they put it up last year, it was a super huge clue for us and helped us learn a lot about the lobby. If you were near the tree, you were near the rental office and the mailbox for rent. Elevators were in another direction. This year, when it went up, all we thought was “ah, there’s that singing tree again.” It didn’t have to serve its purpose of helping out the new lost souls anymore.

But the singing bits of Christmas carols often put the songs in my head for hours, and they got me thinking this year. Is it me, or do a lot of the Christmas carols have this undertone of “please, God, if we sing about your awesomeness, will you not kill us anymore? Please?”
Here are a few examples:
“Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake, at the sight.”
Quaking? It’s a baby in some straw!

“Haste, haste to bring him love…”
Or I’ll smite thee!

“Peace on earth, and mercy mild…”
Mercy? Why mercy? It’s a baby. Maybe his mom asks for mercy, like “stop kicking my uterus!” but the rest of us? Come on now! Or is it that we want mercy from daddy dearest, and we hope to get it by kissing his baby’s feet?

“Joy to the world, the saviour reigns, let men, their songs, employ…”
You’d better sing so I can hear you from above! Siiing! Tell it on the mountains or the mountains will crush you like bugs. Bugs bugs bugs! I’ll see to that, they are my mountains after all.

Maybe I’m crazy, but sometimes I think about the songs we hear about North Koreans singing, the ones about their best leader and best Korea, and wonder if these are along the same lines.

And then there’s “Little Drummer Boy.” Why didn’t I think of this before, but if the kid’s playing a drum, why are the ox and lamb keeping time? He’s playing a drum! You know, a thing that keeps time!

This realization came to me as I was bringing Tansy in from her nightly pee. I told Steve, but he was half asleep, and kinda didn’t say much about my joke. I started to think it wasn’t that funny…until I realized how sleepy he was. He has this weird way of talking and sounding like he’s awake when he’s actually completely out, so much so that he won’t remember the conversation in the morning.

When I told him when he was more awake, he laughed, and said “You’re not alone in this, there’s a skit all about that.
I didn’t know how to feel. Happy that I wasn’t completely nuts, or sad that someone had beaten me to that joke. Either way, that’s a funny skit. And I have a strange mind, thinking way too much about Christmas songs.

So what else has this year been for us? Well…there have been lots of close calls for friends and family members. Thankfully for the most part, things worked out well. And of course, Tansy bounded into our lives and filled them with her crazy energy. I am so happy that she just sort of plunked into our lives and I didn’t have to turn things upside-down to make it work. People told me that’s the way it would be, but since Babs and Trixie were such a shock to my system, I was sure it would be even worse, now that I was working full time, in a new city, and running all over who knows where. But she went along, and was her usual trooper self.

But this year couldn’t end without yet another close call. I just got the news on Saturday that my stepgrandpa is in the hospital, and they don’t quite know what’s wrong with him. Since he’s 94, that’s scary. But Mom and Dad have been visiting him, and he seems to be stable, so for now, we’re carrying on with Christmas plans as usual. We scoot off tomorrow, so it’ll probably be quiet around here for a few days…but that tends to be a regular thing lately anyway.

Merry Christmas or whatever you happen to be celebrating, and I hope 2014 is an awesome year.

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1 Comment

  1. I don’t know how business make money the way they treat the public.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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