Monday, December 12, 2011

Coping Through the Holiday Season

Let's face it: the holiday season began your first trip to stock up on wine for Thanksgiving.  Then, you had to go back, because you stocked up, but the ran out.  After the third trip, you hid all the wine in the bathroom, under the sink, where hopefully you would forget about it. Or is that just me?

How does one plan to cope through all the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New year, as well as the festivities, traditions and obligations that come with it?  Most people muddle their way through, some people grab some clean clothes and show up where they are told (read: husbands), and still others plan, plan, plan, and buy, buy, buy and cook, cook, cook, and shop, shop, shop til they are absolutely exhausted.  Then, they slap a fake smile on their face, swab on enough eye makeup to give the illusion of being awake, and trudge through each and every obligation doing their best to disappoint no one (except themselves), falling down in sheer exhaustion come January 2nd.  Some of these people even take their families down with them.  I used to be one of these people.

This year however, I am not one of these people.  Why? Because the stress of it all might literally kill me (OK, not quite that dramatic, but I WILL be laid up in bed for a very long time if I'm not careful).  Oh, and Sky King has discovered his foot, and he has repeatedly put it down. I am literally not allowed to do my normal laundry list of obligations. Yes, I will get away with more than my 3 activities a week, but not without a few stealth moves.

For instance, I did some holiday baking. Well, I won't go that far, because 2 of the batters are still sitting in my fridge, awaiting chocolate enrobing. Which might happen tomorrow, or the day after.  I hope I get to it, because I made vegan sweetened condensed milk for one of the recipes. It would suck for all that cooking, burning and starting over to go to waste.  But, I did make some bomb-ass Congo Bars. And they were gluten-free and dairy-free. I will post pics soon.  How did I finagle it? Well, I used the "I have to have something I can eat when we go to holiday functions" ploy.  That's how I justified the cooking.  It worked, but I may not be able to use it much more, before he's on to me.
I did my shopping, but much of it was done online.  It took a lot of the fun out of buying shiny new happy items that I must must MUST have.  But I got the stuff done, and most of it is wrapped, albeit in some gift bags. And no bows. hell, y'all are lucky you won't be getting some crap thrown into a bunch of newspaper tied with string with your name in Sharpie on the outside.  But that's mostly because we don't get the paper, and I bought wrapping paper at Costco 12 years ago back when it was Price Club, and I got plenty.

I showed up to a dinner and ornament exchange, but not without a price.  Just getting out the door on time with all the things we needed to bring was a massive chore. Then, I had the audacity to insist that my children not show up looking like members of a refugee camp. This caused major heartache, and I had to compromise on clean pants for Monkey Boy, and a mismatched but clean outfit for Princess.  then, I was instructed to take a pain pill, which meant that I would be pain-free, but also meaningful-conversation-free when visiting with relatives I hadn't seen in a while. This worked for the most part, and hopefully I didn't say anything too offensive (which was pretty damned difficult because it was one of those parties where everyone brings an ornament, and you get to pick one, but people can steal.  I wanted the one my Aunt had.  But she is battling cancer. When I went to take it, Sky King stared at me, mouth agape, and said, "You're going to take an ornament from HER?!?!?!?!". I responded with, "Shit.  Great.  She gets to play the 'Cancer Card'.  Fuck" Then I ended up with a miniature Peet's mug and I prefer Starbucks. Honestly, it's like Sky King doesn't even KNOW me.)

As of today, I have:
  •  A Girl Scout Council Christmas Party
  • A Girl Scout Troop Christmas Party
  • A Support Group Party
  • 3 other dinners with various family and friends
  • Christmas dinner at my house with up to 30 people
  • New Year's Eve Party
  • An overnight trip to SF for a 49er football game (Monday Night!  Wooot!!!)
At half these things it is probably expected that I remain sober-ish save for Christmas Day, and of course the 49er game, where we will absolutely annihilate the Steelers (and the friends we are going with will become bitter enemies, which is why I am offering to drive).  So, no meds for pain for the stress that I will be encountering because doing anything out of the ordinary these days causes me stress.  Harrumph.
Oh, and what's on my "Gee, I hope I get a chance to..." list?
Let's see....
  • Drive around looking at Christmas Lights
  • Visit the gym to address the aforementioned treat consumption
  •  Snuggle next to a fire with my sweetie, sipping spiked hot cocoa
  • Go see all the beautiful decorations in San Francisco
  • Take the kids to see a holiday movie

How do you cope with the additional stress of the season?

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