…and what have we done?
Gods, I hate that song.
I have to say, I’ve had a lovely Christmas! We finished work/school on Thursday the 19th, a day earlier than usual, which gave us the Friday to do stuff. I was pretty much finished all my Christmas preparations, and on Friday evening we drove through wicked fog to see Tom in London. We had a nice visit at his new apartment, then went to Pizza Hut for dinner, followed by a drive home through even more wicked fog and torrential rain.
That rain turned to freezing rain overnight and through Sat, which gave Toronto its worst ever ice storm, but which didn’t affect us all that much. Everything was covered with a layer of ice, and the trees looked so beautiful. I was very apprehensive about working on the Sunday, driving two runs to Buffalo for Jetways, but the roads were fine – once I got out of my neighbourhood! It was a beautiful drive too, as the scenery with the ice coated trees and bushes along the highway was simply gorgeous.
Stephen got home Sunday night before I was finished work, so he was here when I got in. Unbeknownst to me, he and Brianna had been collaborating on secretive Christmas stuffs before I got home…more on that later.
And so on the evening of the 22nd, I curled up in bed, snuggled with my trucker, and thought – well, that’s it, I’m all done for Christmas, I can relax and just clean the house over the next couple days. Boy, was I wrong! The morning of the 23rd, Stephen pretty much leapt out of bed all wired and eager and announced – “Let’s go Christmas shopping!” Sleepy girlfriend looked at him like he had ten heads. Come to find out, he wasn’t done! And he wanted me to keep him company while he finished. Sigh. But like the wonderful girlfriend I am, I trotted along with him and kept him focussed on what he was supposed to be doing. Last place I wanted to be two days before Christmas was the mall, but oh well, he was happy, and we were together, so that’s all that really mattered in the end.
That evening we had made plans to take the kids to Niagara Falls to see the fireworks over the falls. It was advertised on the Tourism Niagara website and sounded like a pretty big deal. So we took Brianna’s boyfriend along and had a wonderful dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. The waitress was hilarious. When she was taking our orders it somehow came out that James was B’s boyfriend, so she started referring to him as “the boyfriend”. I made some joke about Stephen being a boyfriend too, and she made the connection that Sean was the only one alone. She said something to him to that effect, then told him she’d be glad to be his girlfriend for the evening if he wanted. His eyes bugged out and he got this serious deer-in-the-headlight look and ever so politely said, no, he was fine. She came round to his side of the table and asked if he was sure about that, because she’d be glad to sit down beside him and hold hands with him. By this point poor Sean was frantically trying to claw his way behind Brianna, seeking protection, but to his credit he was also laughing. He was quite good natured about it, and didn’t seem to mind that the rest of us were nearly falling off our chairs, we were laughing so hard.
After dinner we dropped the lovebirds off beside the falls, (that’s Brianna and James, not Sean and the waitress!) and the rest of us – minus the waitress – went up to a roadway above the falls which Stephen and I had discovered last summer gives an excellent view of the falls. We watched the fireworks from a bus shelter, out of the wind. It was a bitterly cold night, so perhaps it was a good thing that the fireworks were disappointingly short. I guess we’re just used to the 10-15 minute displays at Canada Day, because we had just settled into enjoying these ones and they were over after only four minutes. Yep, four minutes. Rather a letdown, we all felt. Though I will say we were glad to pile back into the car for a drive along the parkway to look at the pretty light displays. By the time we picked Brianna and James back up and headed for home, it was well after 10. Despite the brevity of the fireworks, we really did have a lovely evening.
The 24th was a wonderfully quiet day. Stephen and I went out to pick up a couple very last minute things, then spent the day lounging around watching movies. We had planned a lazy dinner of veggies, fruit, cheese, crackers, kielbasa and cookies, and while we all munched on that we watched the Jeff Dunham Holiday special. Our Christmas Eve tradition involves the kids being allowed to open one present which, oddly enough, every year turns out to be new pajamas. Not sure how that works, lol, but they get a kick out of it, and I take their photos in their new jammies in front of the tree. I have done this since Brianna was just tiny. They opened their jammies, I took loads of pictures, and eventually the kids vanished into their rooms to pretend to be asleep in hopes of catching Santa, and Stephen and I and the cat went off to our bed. At some point overnight Santa showed up, as he always does, leaving presents and stuffed stockings behind.
On Christmas morning the kids managed to stay in bed till around 7, but before Stephen and I were fully awake, there they were, knocking oh-so-politely on the door to see if we were ready for presents. I followed everyone out to the living room, reached over to turn on the light behind the couch, and turned back to see the other three looking at me expectantly, like they were waiting for something. I stared at each of them in turn, somewhat baffled by the laughter they were barely concealing. My sleep-foggled mind said there must be something in the living room they were waiting for me to notice, but what on earth could it be? Tree looked normal, candles were where I left them, stockings were on the chair and couch, giant stuffed tiger was on the back of the couch – wait, WHAT???? How the hell did I miss seeing the giant stuffed tiger lounging gracefully on the back of my couch? I squawked in surprise and my entire family burst out laughing. I was totally dumbfounded. There was a giant stuffed tiger on my couch. For this to make any sense, you need some backstory.
Stephen is a trucker. Truckers are on the road constantly. Their world consists of interstates, warehouses, truck stops and Walmarts. Though at this time of year, Walmarts can be treacherous to get a seventy foot truck in and out of. So where do truckers do most of their holiday shopping? Yeah, you got it. It’s amazing what truck stops stock in merchandise!
I subscribe to a couple of trucker wife/girlfriend related Facebook pages, and about a month ago one of them posted a question asking what was the most bizarre truck stop gift the ladies had ever received from their truckers. Stephen was on the road at the time, so I was reading the various responses to him over the phone. We were both howling with laughter at the number of ladies who were reporting having received a giant stuffed tiger from the Flying J chain. Seriously, we asked, who in their right mind would bring home a giant stuffed tiger?
And so, Stephen decided I had to have one, just to fit in. He was delighted that he was able to beat me home on Sunday night, and Brianna helped him hide it – in her room. She draped clean laundry over it so it would blend in with the rest of the mess in her room, just in case I should be seized with a sudden fit of insanity and actually go in her room….and at 4:30 in the morning, she unburied it, hauled it out to the living room, and set it up on the couch, waiting for my shock the next morning! Where it is going to live on an ongoing basis, I do not know, but for now it has migrated to the back of one of the living room chairs.
And so the morning went on, stockings were unstuffed, presents were unwrapped, and everyone was delighted with their gifts, me perhaps more than anyone else when I unwrapped an exquisite emerald bracelet from Stephen. Definitely my favourite gift!
James was able to join us for dinner, and I think I can truly say that on Christmas Day a good time was had by all. It was a wonderful Christmas.