Let It Go, Let It Go

A few years ago I developed the really very simple and not catchy at all Christmas motto of "do what you can and let the rest go". I spout it off airily sounding all zen and wise. I'm sure it surprises no one that I suck mightily at putting it into practice.

What I could and did do: Get most of the Christmas decorations up at a reasonable time: Get all my Christmas shopping done and sorted and organized in the downstairs closet weeks ago: Bake fifteen batches of ten different kinds of cookies/squares/bark and delivered some to a few people I know and one I don't know: Write out forty-two Christmas cards, most of which were mailed in time to (probably) be delivered before Christmas: attend one absolute banger of a Christmas party.

What I'm trying to let go of: delivering cookies to more people - there were some people I really really wanted to get cookies to, and I ran out of both time and cookies. I will probably do it after Christmas, but it's not quite the same: finishing and mailing the rest of my Christmas cards - again, will finish them after Christmas, again, slightly disappointed in myself: getting the Christmas tree decorated so we could put all the decoration boxes away and have a tidy, decorated house - this isn't really my fault (as if 'fault' is even the issue) because Eve didn't get home until Tuesday night and I didn't want to do it without her: getting all the presents wrapped and getting the wrapping stuff put away. 

Also, my sister and her family have had to call off coming for Christmas for the fourth year running, after coming almost every year. The year before Covid their work schedules didn't allow it. Then there was Covid. Then we thought they'd be able to come until Omicron fucked everything up a week before Christmas. Now the fucking storm of the century or whatever. It's not as devastating this year because they were here at Thanksgiving, but Angus wasn't, and I want the Christmas morning cousin pileup, and everybody opening up their hilarious gifts together, and it fucking sucks. But I've already mourned it and moved on, because there's really nothing else to do, and my kids both got home ahead of the weather, and my parents won't be alone, and many people have it much worse, and we will just deal with it.

I've been realizing that one thing that has been sort of subconsciously bothering me is that I have been influenced by tv and movies to think that I should be baking and wrapping and decorating in an already-decorated, professionally arranged and cleaned, perfectly spare and tidy house. Except it's hard to bake without any baking stuff out, and it's hard to wrap without wrapping paper and tape and shit all over the table, and it's hard to decorate without boxes stacked all over the place, so this is kind of an unreasonable expectation on my part (unlike with other stuff on tv, like relationships and jobs and sex and montages set to music). 

And now, so I won't be all downer-ish right before Christmas, the story of our day yesterday. My sister called first thing in the morning to break the bad news. We talked and bitched and moaned and laughed, and my niece shouted that they were definitely coming for a long weekend during reading week for Eve and my niece and nephew. I hung up and went and told Eve, and since it was a beautiful day with snowy trees (as if the weather was mocking us extra hard) I asked if she wanted to go for a walk, even though I really didn't want to. She said "...yes", meaning she really didn't want to either. We decided to drive to the river trail because it's extra pretty in the winter. I called down and asked Angus if he wanted to come, without the expectation that he would say yes, but he did. So that was nice.

We got to the trail and there was a sign saying Trail Out Ahead. We ignored it and walked for a while. Then we go to the bridge where we usually stand watch the ducks, and whoops, no bridge. The Trail Out sign made more sense now. We did a bit of a loop back, which was not bad, but we thought we'd drive around to the parking lot at the other end of the trail and try again.

We got to the other parking lot, and there was no trail to the trail (sorry, I'm too tired to explain). So we let Lucy off leash to run around in the empty park space for a bit. But the snow was pretty deep, so she chased Angus for a bit but then was not terribly impressed.

We had gotten out of the house and played in the snow so we decided we were good to stop at Starbucks and head home.

We went to the drive-thru speaker and I said can we please have three hot chocolates, one regular with sugar cookie syrup and two white. I thought the price sounded a little steep, but I don't go to Starbucks often and I thought maybe Christmas drinks were more, so whatever. We got to the window and the girl said something I didn't quite catch, except I got 'where are you going' so I said home after a walk. She said "big family?" and we all looked at each other and blinked and said 'um, no?' She closed the window to get our drinks and I said "did she just ask where we're going with all these hot chocolates? Three isn't that many........ I did order three, right?" We thought back to how I had phrased the order and how she answered me and Eve said "...I think you might have ordered five". For some reason we found this utterly hilarious, and by the time she handed us our five hot chocolates we were wheezing. On the way home I kept trying to say why I had thought it was a good idea to say the order the way I did, and berating myself for being confusing, while the kids comforted me and Angus called it "a crisis of Canadian proportions". He also said it was much more aesthetically pleasing than having three hot chocolates and an empty slot in the tray.

Eve texted her BFF Marianna (HI MARIANNA), who was just home from drama school in BC, on the way home and asked if she wanted a surplus hot chocolate. We dropped off Matt and the dog and went over to Marianna's (her mom got home soon enough to drink the fifth hot chocolate before it got cold), and eventually this happened.

In sum, the day went happily and hilariously off the rails in the very best way. 

And now the freezing rain is ticking at the windows, and I can't go to bed until Angus gets home from Avatar (the movie theatre is only about a three-minute drive away and he promised to drive carefully). And Matt said we're not going to lose power (when I was running around tracking down all our battery packs and telling people to charge their devices), so either he'll be right and we'll have power, which is good, or he'll be wrong and I'll get to say I told you so, which is not without its own particular charms. 


NGS said…
Oh, I'm so sorry that your celebration won't be all that you had hoped. The weather is being very uncooperative this year!

I laughed about your hot chocolate surplus. With inflation and raising prices, I don't even blink at what seems like inordinately high costs these days and your "holiday drinks are more expensive" handwaving is EXACTLY what would go through my mind. I'm glad you were able to find takers for all of it and that you were all able to snuggle!
StephLove said…
I'm sorry you won't be with your sister on Christmas. We decided this morning to delay our trip to Blackwater by a day, an hour before we would have left. Same monster weather system. There's only a short stretch of the trip that's treacherous but it's looking pretty bad.

I'm glad the day took a turn for the better.
Nicole said…
I love when things like the hot chocolate crisis work out so well in the end!

Ugh, your weather sucks, and that is a lot coming from me!

I often think about "do what you can and let the rest go." Right now what I can do is type this in my jammies. I think I'm kind of burned out, although it's weird to say that because I don't really DO that much!
That party looks fantastic - what is the game they were playing because it sure looks like they were having fun.

Your hot chocolate day sounds just wonderful.

Freezing rain here (unusual for us) and the roads are an ice rink. Our airport has closed, the road we live off of is closed (officially, by the county). I just finished a batch of Christmas cookies and am looking forward to a cozy day. Unless we lose power!

Merry Christmas!
Suzanne said…
While I very deeply empathize with the fewer cards/fewer plates of cookies than anticipated feeling, and while I am MAD that you can't spend Christmas with your family as planned, it sounds like you are having a wonderful lead up to the holiday. The snowy pictures of your kids are wonderful, and I love the hot chocolate story. (I am notorious for ordering things in a confusing way, especially when I am trying to be Extra Clear, and my husband finds it hilarious and irritating in equal measure. This is why I blog instead of interact with live humans; much easier to communicate and lower stakes when I screw it up.)

Pat Birnie said…
I’m sorry your Christmas plans got messed up. It is SO nasty out there right now. I would not want to be on the highway, and I am a confident winter driver. I stopped looking at magazines, Christmas movies etc as a benchmark for anything I do! I always wonder why the baking sheets on cooking shows are sparkling shiny and perfect. They must use once and toss. So annoying and wasteful. Love your snowy pics, and btw I thought your coffee order was perfectly clear.
Ernie said…
Sorry I'm late, but I was busy trying to pull off making my house less outlandishly disordered and baking a shit-ton of desserts the few days leading up to Christmas. It came together just fine, but I'm crushed for you that your Christmas was missing your sister and the cousin pile up. Damn that sucks. I hope the cousin sleepover happens during reading week, whatever that is.

I really enjoyed the snowy trail walk and the following hot chocolate mix-up order - that now seems like it was not at all super-sized but perfect sized. The photos of the best Christmas party ever make me wish as usual that I was lucky enough to be one of your neighbors.

I guess I'm hoping that Matt was right and that you didn't lose power. Hope you had a Merry Christmas.
Busy Bee Suz said…
Why must plans get ruined at the ONE time you really want everyone to be together? We can't even blame Covid any longer.

I'm giggling at your Trail Out miscommunication which fell over to the Starbucks drive thru!! Hot Chocolate Surplus is better than a lot of issues, right?

The kids look SO happy!!

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