So about myself. This is actually an excellent time to say something about myself, and that is this: I am in a TREMENDOUS amount of pain these days. Like, take the pain I was at last year around this time, twist it, bend it in half and stomp on it and you'd almost be there. Sometimes I think I must be faking how much pain I am in to myself, since I still manage to muddle through work, but then I realize that I haven't made my family a decent meal in Many Days and I know it must be for real. I try not to whine, but this usually results in me glaring angrily at people who have no idea what they did to piss me off. I have discovered, in this last 14 months of almost constant pain, that being crabby and snappy doesn't solicit me much sympathy, but people are much more likely to do nice things for me, like heat up my rice pack, or get me an ice water or a shot of whiskey, if I am very sweet in spite of my pain. Especially Josh seems to respond ever so much more gently when I whisper sweetly that I love him but I am hurting like a son of a chukar. Another indicator that my pain is not pretend is the impulse I have had in the last several days to actually post a prayer request on Facebook. I mean, who does that, other than... oh wait, only talking about me. Luckily I have enough pride and dignity to not admit my need for intercession and so I just go on suffering. Mostly I was concerned about religiously discriminating against my wildly varied list of friends, since I don't have any idea how to ask a Buddhist to intercede, or a Hindu to Hind or A Zenist to Zen, and I was concerned that the responses on any such status would cause the next religious crusade and it would be all my fault. I have enough guilt to deal with, like for never cooking decent food for my family anymore. I just don't need that additional burden.
Another thing that would, at any other time in my life be kind of a big deal, but since I am in pretty much a steady 8/10 on the pain scale is somewhat muted in importance, is the fact that I married the Grinch. This is huge cause for concern when one realizes that the entire point of living for 365 days a year is that 20some of these days in December are jam-packed with warm fuzzies and ginger bread and wrapping paper and all kinds of wonderful, superficial things that remind me that I AM LOVED. I understand the crisis of commercialism in our culture, and the perversion of the true meaning of Christmas, which was actually some fertility ritual... but for me, every bit of the Christmas that we celebrate here in the good old, spoiled rotten USofA, represents the people that I love and that Love me. Family, Friends, Present, Past, even Future. I cannot get enough of the feeling that every silly Christmas carol and Jingle Bell connects us all to a common theme of WANTING happiness for each other. I do go a little overboard on presents, because I FINALLY have an excuse to give Everyone In the Whole World something that I just know that they will love. And I know that every time they see it, even if it is to put it in a yard sale box, they will think of me (hopefully with some guilt in the yard sale scenario). Josh is insistent that none of this is the true meaning of Christmas and that we should be ashamed of our superficiality. Technically, he is correct, as usual. But I can't help but thinking I am somehow failing in communicating the depth of my desire to just love on every body this time of year. In a nasty turn of events, it happens that my love language is gift giving, and somebody gave me an excuse. This is quite unfortunate for my honorary Jew of a husband (he has been legitimately dubbed this by our close Jewish friend) who prefers to make layaway payments on our monthly groceries so we don't have to spend over $50 at one time, regardless of what we have in the bank. I appreciate his budgety sense of propriety, and the balance he brings to me, most of the year, but come Christmas, I have run into the ironic coincidence that he has more or less run out of work, and every present I buy becomes the incarnation of a power bill or a tank of gas. It's a perpetual conflict for me as I look longingly at my online shopping carts and frantically search retailmenot.com for coupons for my favorite websites to somehow justify the piles of boxes on our porch. We tend to find ourselves at odds every so often these days, and if he could only be human for a moment and figure out how much fun The Holidays are, presents and all, we would get along ever so much better. :) It doesn't help that both of our older kids are on an ungratefulness campaign to become Snottiest Offspring of the Year, and he is desperately tired of being argued with and chastised by two know-it-alls in Converse and Bobby Pins. I get that. I really do. They really deserve coal and switches these days, but I am fairly certain that at 15 and 16, I didn't deserve much more, and it was about that time that I was surprised with a green leather coat that was the answer to all of my childish prayers. Obviously since my Wonderful Husband was the picture of a perfect youth, he not only was never mouthy and insolent, but he also never got a Christmas Present after he was 10, which resulted in his pragmatic approach to a giftless holiday. Maybe I will get him counseling sessions disguised as golf lessons for Christmas. That might be the greatest idea I've ever had. Other than rolling the gingersnaps in sugar AND cinnamon before baking (this turned out to be delicious).
So, back to myself, my earnest goal is to have a real dinner in the crockpot before I leave for a long day of work, and to spend all 8 hours brainstorming a way to pay for more and more Christmas presents that will have no ramifications on our heating bill. Obviously I need a raise. Or to take up knitting. I had great intentions to make most of my holiday gifts this year, but all of my creative fantasies were dashed with the onset of a nearly full time job and the allure of a couch that has been sitting lonely without me all day long. Oh yeah, and finally finishing Battlestar Gallactica. Fantasizing myself as Starbuck is a nice switch up from Angelina Jolie, and also makes me feel less guilty for drinking and acting insanely.
I would like to add, lest I frighten off even more friends than my last spew did, that in spite of my pain, I am still quite happy, and intend to stay that way, in spite of my status as Mrs. Grinch and the stress of hiding online purchases. I love this time of year, and not even snotty teenagers or fiscally responsible husbands can steal away the giddiness of waking up to a glowing christmas tree, the smell of pine needles in the vacuum, and a puppy chewing on ornaments that date back to the late 1970s. I love my family, my friends, my puppies, my job, my whole life. If I have to hurt a little to pay the bill for having this good then I guess that's ok. This is heaven. All we're missing is snow. And some home cooked food. And more presents.