Happy Friday, everyone, and merry Christmas. You know for as chaotic as December can get between decorating, buying gifts, and organizing time with friends and family, I forget about how wonderful Christmas day is. For that, I have our family tradition to thank. Every year, we go out of our way to ensure we have no social obligations on Christmas. We stay in our pajamas all day. We open presents, watch movies, and eat junk food. If this terrible year has been good for anything, it’s doing just that. That just sounds like a regular day in quarantine, huh?
“What a wonderful day,” said Marissa. “It’s kind of funny how this felt like a normal Christmas.”
We all slept in today. While digging our coffee pot out of the mound of dirty dishes in the sink, I noticed a six pack of beer sitting on our deck. Our neighbors Mark and Tracy left some Spotted Cow next to a card, and by the time I got to it the winter chill had seductively frosted the bottles, making it nearly impossible not to partake.
“Aww, that’s the most Wisconsin gift ever,” said Marissa. “What does the card say?”
I picked up the card to read it aloud. “It’s nice having good neighbors - short and sweet… you know I could totally picture Mark saying that.”
Santa was good to us this morning. At our hearth stood a tall bottle of tequila, bags of candy, matching Dude Perfect shirts, and even more Paw Patrol paraphernalia to help Rodney sink even further into his week long Paw Patrol Mighty Pups haze. My favorite sound byte of slipped out when he was ripping open one of his gifts under the tree. Seeing hte bright blue label and smiling dog face, he blurted out “OPE! I think it’s something mighty.”
I think it’s something mighty would be the catch phrase we echoed to each other the rest of the day.
Marissa opened up her gift from us boys. Inside the humble wrapping job was some paints, a paint brush mount, and a card with a collage of Marissa’s favorite things. The “favorite things” collage was a technique that my sisters and I used to use on the birthday cards we made for each other. All you do is copy paste a bunch of images into a Word document and space things out so they can be seen all at once. The end result, unfolding a single piece of paper with your favorite music, hobbies, snacks, sports, and tv shows, produces a really fun unexpected dopamine rush. Marissa’s collage bore representation by everything from Kanye West, to goldfish crackers, to Bob’s Burgers.
I opened a new food processor from Santa. “I told Santa that it had to be small,” said Marissa. “He understood how stressed about space you were in the kithen.”
Marissa handed me one final present. It was a square present, and unbeknownst to her I had been mentally sizing up the present all week, trying to imagine how my wishlist-topping Thinkpad X250 laptop would fit inside. Marissa’s lips curled in a knowing smile as I opened the box. A bottle of cognac sat inside.
“Oh wow,” I gasped. “This… looks really nice.”
“Turn the bottle around,” said Marissa. There was a piece of paper taped to the bottle that read look inside the ottoman.” Shocked, I rose to my feet and flipped open the ottoman I was sitting on. I squealed. Inside was a new laptop and charger each wrapped with a red bow. Suddenly, I took on the same blissful look that Rodney had in his eyes, the two of us wanting to do nothing but delve into our new toys.
“So there’s something I don’t get,” said Marissa. “If this is an old computer, how does it look so new?”
“Well, what happens is that companies will buy these in bulk, and they don’t always get a chance to hand them all out before it’s time to upgrade again. So these companies just sell the old models that were never used, and thus the market is always flooded with old Thinkpads in perfect condition.”
To the untrained eye, my new laptop is identical to my last Thinkpad. It was probably even the same price. But there are new loving details to explore. The screen is newer and brighter. The trackpad is more spacious. And the machine is so much lighter. I spent pretty much the rest of the day setting up my new machine. I’m blogging on it right now.
We heated up fish stew for a quick lunch. Rodney finished up by himself at the table, and Marissa told me later that he tried to prank us.
“We left our drinks at the table,” said Marissa. “And I saw something floating around. Rodney told me it was a crunch.”
“What’s a crunch?” I asked.
“I thought it was a bug, but it was just an almond. And he put a tiny baby clam in your water.”
For dinner, we appropriately made a Sicilian Christmas pizza. After letting old Christmas movies run all day in the living room through napping and playing, we capped off the night with a new movie, spinning up Disney’s new Soul. It looked promising, but things took an odd turn halfway through the movie. Rodney was so disturbed that when given the choice to stay up and keep watching, he chose instead to just go up to bed.
“This movie makes me feel kinda weird,” said Rodney.
“Yeah?” I asked, tucking him into bed. “What was the weirdest part?”
Rodney shot up in bed, undoing the covers I had just tucked in. “It was REALLY WEIRD when the blue guy fell…” Rodney whistled and mimed the scene where the main character fell to earth. “And then he fell into a cat,” shrugged Rodney.
“It is a weird movie,” I laughed. “Don’t worry about that one, dude, we’re probably not going to be watching it again.”
It was a wonderful Christmas. Hope you had a great Christmas too. See you tomorrow, everyone, and enjoy your weekend.