Wednesday, November 07, 2012


I mark the hours every one, nor have I yet outrun the sun.
My use and value, unto you, are gauged by what you have to do.

"Hermione’s immense workload finally seemed to be getting to her. Every night, without fail, Hermione was to be seen in a corner of the common room, several tables spread with books, Arithmancy charts, rune dictionaries, diagrams of Muggles lifting heavy objects, and file upon file of extensive notes; she barely spoke to anybody and snapped when she was interrupted."

My desk.  My work.  My time-turner.  How I wish it really worked. 

People wonder, sometimes, why Christmas is so last minute for me.  I don't shop.  I rarely get cards out (I tried a couple of years ago, or was it last year?) and sometimes I'll manage half my list before Christmas arrives.  To the unknowing eye, I must seem disorganized or that I don't care - but the truth is that from the first week of November through to New Year's, I am overwhelmed.

I managed to achieve some semblance of normalcy last year.  All my spare moments were spent with  crochet hook my hand and quite a few people had scarves for Christmas.  Alas, it is not to be this year.  Fortunately, I began work on Christmas gifts for my brothers back in the spring and they, if no one else, will have a little something from me this year.  Luckily, I only have one and a half to finish - as Christmas this year will probably be a scattered affair, I'm hoping to finish and hand out at Thanksgiving.

This year, we are all home for Thanksgiving.  Matt and Dawon will be here from Korea.  John will have made it home from his trips to the middle east.  Andy and his lovely wife are driving down and James is flying in from Sandy-worn New York City.  Jerry is here always, though not always available - so he is making the special effort to be a part of Thanksgiving as well. 

Because this only happens once every 10 years or so anymore, we are planning a family portrait.  One will be the usual - parents, children, spouses, grandchildren.  Three generations smiling out from some beaucolic setting, dressed in our casual best.  And then, there is the OTHER picture.  The one that one (or more) of my brothers dreamed up - the clan as superheroes. 

I also realized that my mother isn't really up to putting on Thanksgiving anymore.  She had been hoping for a giant family reunion and the opportunity to meet some of the newer members of the family, but the cleaning that goes with having house guests, the cooking for so many people - all are beyond her at this point, even with help.  I emailed the brothers and their spouses with my concerns.  I talked to my dad and my mom - and the process of uninviting a large number of people commenced.  They felt bad about it, but the stress of being hostess and having extra people in her house was just too much for Mom. 

Bless her, my sister-in-law Angi took the dinner reins in hand.  She made up a menu and she and I have started planning who would do what.  Mom wouldn't have to do anything.  We even planned, with Dad's help, to rent the parish hall at their church for dinner so none of the cooking or cleaning up would be at their house. 

That's a good thing, as even our drastically reduced guest list totals 21.

All this haggling and planning on top of my crazy work situation that happens every year made me realize that I needed to organize myself, so I sat down and made myself a list of chores/obligations that needed to be accomplished before Thanksgiving:

1.  Finish cleaning out the garage (while the guys are here, they're going to help move a freezer from the farm to my house)

2.  Clean my room (because it's a mess - it's where we throw everything we don't know what to do with when doing a stash-and-dash cleaning downstairs)

3.  Clean my son's room (because he and my husband will be sleeping there the week of Thanksgiving)

4.  Clean my husband's room (where my brother will be sleeping while he's in town)

5.  Give my mom a day of cleaning labor in her basement - which is also the long-term guest room.  This is where my brother Matt and Dawon will be staying while they're here from Korea.

6.  Finish Christmas presents.

7.  Finish arranging Thanksgiving dinner with Angi.

8.  Arrange Trail Ride (because some of us want to ride a horse that week)

9.  Make costumes for superhero picture.

10.  Participate in a couple of non-Sunday church events that I'd like to attend.

11.  All the normal, getting ready for pledge stuff at work, PLUS participate in a committee for moving our master control operations to Jacksonville and implementing all the changes that go along with THAT, including a recent software upgrade that nearly left me in tears the other day because I couldn't get it to work.  Turns out I was ghosting in the software and preventing myself from being able to do anything else.  Luckily, one of the vendor's support people is an exorcist.

So you see, these next few weeks are going to be crazy for me.  How will they be for you?


Anonymous said...

Bless you my friend.


Karmyn R said...

I am sure my list is that long and then some - but I am purposely ignoring it and NOT writing it down. It is too overwhelming.

May I suggest a glass of wine and 30 minutes of "alone" time each evening to unwind.