Back home

For the first time in years, I didn’t spend Christmas day with my parents; instead, we were in Tacoma and spent the day at Foot and Louise’s house in Lakewood, south of Tacoma. (Foot and Louise are my sister-in-law Tomi’s husband John’s parents.) They also hosted us for dinner the night before, which in their tradition is a variation of Wigilia — we had breaded whitefish, cucumber salad, rice, mashed potatoes, bread, and lobster thermidor (the idea being all white or near-white foods). It was a wonderful evening and Christmas day, and Foot and Louise as well as Tomi and John lavished us with gifts (so much so that even with half-packed suitcases we had difficulty packing).

Tuesday morning, the day after Christmas (or “Boxing Day” as we used to call it in England), we got up at 6:45am, and thanks to Louise kindly giving us a ride, we headed to Seatac and our flight to Sacramento. There were no problems with Seatac but our flight was delayed half an hour, and it took forever at Hertz to get our minivan, so we were late getting to my parents’ place. Everyone was there — my sister Joanna and all three of my brothers (Phil, Rob and Harry), plus Phil’s wife Erin and daughter Sarah, and Rob’s wife Kelly.

Sammy was pretty good on the plane but needed his nap, but with all the people and excitement he couldn’t stay asleep. So he got to open a ton of presents — so many great presents. I took a picture of him surrounded by them yesterday, I’ll put that up at some point. I just want to say thank you to all his aunts and uncles who were so generous.

We had arranged a gift exchange between my brethren and sistren. I had bought Kelly a big world atlas, and Kimi got Rob some games and the DVD set for “Jack of All Trades” (Bruced Campbell’s short-lived historical TV series). Erin got me the complete Calvin and Hobbes collection plus a Serenity/Firefly game (awesome!), and Phil got Kimi and wonderful collection of scrapbooking and craft items.

Harry had to leave early for his flight to Canada (which made Sarah very sad because she loves playing with her Uncle Harry so much), so I didn’t get to see him (or Kelly, who drive him) very much. Joanna had to leave that evening because she was working the next day. But it was great to reconnect with my family. Phil, Rob, dad and I played a bunch of Ricochet Robots (which Rob had given to Phil along with some other games.

Mom was scheduled for a sleep-deprivation EKG test early on Wednesday morning, and was only allowed to sleep from 10pm to 2am. So Rob and Phil got her up and Rob stayed up all night talking with her to keep her awake, then Rob came with me as I drove mom to her appointment. It was an interesting process; hopefully the doctors can use the EKG to better fine-tune her medications and help prevent her from falling anymore.

Rob and I napped at home afterwards, and after a brief lunch, we drove Rob home and finally returned home ourselves. Unpacking all the luggage was exhausting, but now we’re done and it feels great to be back. Our two cats left a few “presents” for us, so the spirit of Christmas was living on.

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