By the way, the weather in Canada sucks. Why the hell do people live here? For the first time in nearly twenty years, the entire country, including Victoria and Vancouver, is having a white Christmas. The normal average temperature for Christmas Day in Edmonton is -7.5 degrees C. Today it was -22 C. (Throw in an expletive wherever it makes more dramatic sense.) I tell ya, its @#$%^&* cold out there… and I’m not enjoying it this year. My hands have never been colder… and it feels like its all the damn time. I once enjoyed the cold, and the snow. Really. Not this year. It just feels like an imposition. And this bloody weather may compromise our attempt to get to Vancouver to see friends. We’re supposed to fly out tomorrow afternoon, but it may not happen… the snow in Vancouver has caused more than one flight to be cancelled today, and yesterday, and the day before…
In fact eldest daughter J’s flights routing her through Vancouver>Seattle>Harrisburg got pulled today. She’s back home trying to figure out how to get into New York to be with her good buddy to plan a wedding; J gets to be ‘Maid of Honour’.
And that flight was one of the reasons that we did something a wee bit different for Christmas. Well, that and the need for our youngest, K, to spend the day with her in-laws and out-laws. There’s some awkwardness there that needed to be addressed, so we (her mother and I) graciously agreed to give the Christmas Day dinner a pass, and instead we did a Christmas Eve dinner… with fifteen. Add the appropriate expletives as you see fit.
We decided that a roast of beef was fit Christmas Eve fare; we selected a 15 lb sirloin roast. Do you know how BIG a 15 pound roast of beef is? Add another expletive.
The dinner guests included K and husband, J and a posse of 3 (all good, lovely, single young women who seem to take a real interest in our world), good friends Nancy and John, with their son and his girl friend, and then John’s parents, Don and Terri. And don’t forget my younger sister, who drove up from Calgary. Quite honestly, our place is just a wee bit small for fourteen and the obligatory dogs… the dinner table really only handles 12 with any level of comfort. And I was ‘forbidden’ to set up a kid’s table…
Dinner went off without a hitch. Well, mostly, anyway… timing on the Yorkshire puddings was a bit off, and one of J’s posse had a momentary breakdown as the weight of her world came crashing in on her. (It is so tough to be a witness to a young woman’s pain… an ugly breakup with a lover, the schizophrenic mother that she has had to invoke power-of-attorney over, the questionable support from her siblings, and having to work on Christmas Day…)
Good booze, though. Have you tried any of the “Dan Akroyd” wines? Surprisingly good…
After dinner, we managed to squeeze the electronic piano into the dining room so that Daniel, son of Nancy, could play for us… and that’s when the phone rang. A good friend who has recently moved into the condominium complex returned home to a cracked toilet tank and flooded home. (This is the same newly divorced woman who has threatened to have the sentence “If you can see this there had better be significant jewellery involved!” tattooed in a rather intimate location.)
So I go running off, with ladder over one shoulder, carrying a drill and extension cord (got to drain the water out of the dry wall ceilings before they collapse; the offending toilet was on the second floor), and buckets and towels to staunch the flow, while younger sister is regaled with stories of flying Phantoms in Europe by Nancy’s father (ex-fighter pilot, of all things), Daniel is trying desperately to remember suitably Christmassy tunes but ending up with Billy Joelish stuff, G is trying to convince our guests to eat dessert, and J’s friends start nodding off. K’s husband snuck upstairs to the big screen to watch the end of the Hawaii/Notre Dame game and wasn’t even missed. By the time I got back, we were down to just the girls, the husband and the posse… and gifts were being exchanged.
G. had insisted that we give the youngest daughter a book on pregnancy, over my objections. I didn’t feel that we should be applying that sort of pressure… and I’m not ready to be a grandfather, damn it. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect… K quietly announced that we would see the rest of our present in about eight months….
So much for the mythos of ‘Silent Night’.