Let's Digress

The Christmas Story

This is The Christmas Story, as told by Adam. Not just a Christmas story, but the Christmas story. And by “The Christmas Story”, I don’t mean the Baby Jesus one. This is the “Christmas at the Hamilton house” story. It qualifies for a “the” because it’s the only Christmas-related story you’ll need to read this year, which is why I’m putting it out only a few days before Christmas. So, gather around the Christmas tree with your friends, loved ones, animals dressed in festive holiday clothes, and your passive-aggressively hated in-laws (which might also qualify as pets dressed in festive holiday clothes), and prepare yourself for the Christmas story of the year. [Note: I say it’s the story of the year because the year is almost over and the odds of someone writing a better one before January 1 are very slim.]

Oh! I’m predicting this story will happen, it hasn’t actually happened…yet. See, I work this Christmas (3 cheers for Holiday Pay and overtime!), and I won’t be around for the free food and stuff. But luckily for us, my family is very predictable and I know exactly how the day is going to go.

Side note: You might be wondering why the thumbnail picture is a duck. Well, at the moment it’s raining cats and dogs outside. It’s very festive Christmas weather. Pack away your snow boots and parka, and break out the mud boots and raincoats. It’ll be a very Indiana Christmas.

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It’s 5:45 am Christmas morning. I wake up to what sounds like the sirens of Armageddon. In a sense, it is the Armageddon bomb siren, but it’s actually just the beeping of my alarm clock. It has a frantic and shrill whine that scares the Elf outta me, so my heart beat is now frantic enough to rival my alarm for franticness. I don’t know why it still startles me, I’ve had the darn thing for over a year. But I guess I forget what it sounds like while I’m sleeping. I literally leap out of bed to shut it off, and I over project and miss the button.

Finally, after an adrenalin-laced 20 seconds, it’s off.

I quickly put socks on, I think they match, but it’s dark and I can’t be 100% sure. It doesn’t matter, because there are only 2 things on my freshly-awakened mind: 1) Presents! 2) Bathroom.

I run upstairs–almost tripping over my 15 pound cat–to take care of the bathroom task. I leave the bathroom light off because I’m in a hurry. I think my aim might have been compromised, but that doesn’t matter; time is of the essence in this situation, not accuracy. And besides, the second person to go in will still be too sleepy to notice…. Unless they slip and fall or crack their head on the bathtub or something. But that debacle only happened one year, and I’m still pleading the fifth on it.

Next, I stare in mild awe at the scene before me in the living room. There’s the tree… Stacks of presents… and my cat, trying to eat a ribbon.

My two primary objectives are now complete. Phase 2: Wake Tiny Alec up. I run into his bedroom and silently ninja-hop over to his bed. I’m a firm believer in startling someone to wake them up. However, my ninja-hop isn’t what it used to be. So as I prepare to high five his/slap his sternum to wake him, he sits up un-startled and headbutts me on accident. But it’s ok, a bloody nose never killed anyone. Unless they were on some heavy blood thinner medication or something, then it might. But I’m super manly and not on blood thinner, so I didn’t die (obviously).

Tiny Alec is awake and I am fairly unharmed. Check. Next, I delegate the wake-up task to the newly awake sleepy midget (yes, that’s referring to you, Tiny Alec). Tiny Alec has other plans to take care of first: He has to go to the bathroom, too, but not before he checks out the scene in the living room. I hear him grunt his approval of the scene. I’m a little worried about him going into the bathroom though, he’s more awake than I had initially planned on. Luckily, he leaves the light off and doesn’t mention anything about the questionably unsanitary state of the Loo.

We both go to wake up Trainer Jarrod. He’s a larger petite guy, so waking him up is a little more tricky. Tiny Alec carefully holds his arms down while I warm up for the sternal slap. The Midget and I look at each other and realize the same thing: Trainer Jarrod is more muscular this year than he was last year. A simple sternal high five won’t do it, that’d be like shooting a bear with a BB gun hoping it will kill it. So we do what any resourceful guys would do, we adapt and go with the forehead slap. Tiny Alec holds the petite muscular brother’s head steady while I do the wind up…and… BAM! It was a solid slap. Trainer Jarrod yelped like a newly-fixed basset hound.

Mom and Eleanor wake up to the animal-esk noise. They run into the living room thinking out loud that maybe there actually was a raccoon living in our artificial Christmas tree.  There wasn’t, it was just my cat. He found a new place to sleep.

Mom and Eleanor make their way to the bathroom. I’m surprised at how similar all of our priorities are during the early morning hours. Except Trainer Jarrod, he claimed he didn’t need to go after we woke him up. That’s just confirmation of a job well done. Tiny Alec and I fist bump in victory.

Trainer Jarrod heads into the kitchen to make his Christmas breakfast: protein powder with eggnog. His “eggnog” is actually raw eggs mixed with Ovaltine again. I don’t know what his obsession is with it, but whatever. He claims he saw it on a YouTube video, but I think he’s mixing 1000 Ways to Die up with YouTube again. (Keep an eye out for a New Year’s In The ER blog if this goes south for him.)

Mom walks into the living room to see us 3 boys poking around at presents. She asks who is responsible for the state of the bathroom. Trainer Jarrod says, “don’t look at me. I went outside.” Sure you did, Jarrod, sure you did. I jump in before the Tiny Alec can say anything, “The Midget did it! He’s not tall enough and didn’t want to take his step-stool in there with him.” Tiny Alec, “Nu uh! I took it with me, I just left the light off.” Mission accomplished, Tiny Alec took this one for the team. Mom gives him a stern look, but then takes pity on him because of his size. She always said he reminded her of a chipmunk with less fur and shorter memory.

Eleanor is nowhere to be found. We think she fell asleep again. Meanwhile, Trainer Jarrod’s fiancee Schelbi shows up. She looks surprisingly awake and chipper. Tiny Alec makes a comment about her hands which reminds Trainer Jarrod to ask us why his were oddly positioned when we woke him. We avoid the question by asking what kind of protein he has in his protein-nog (he loves to talk about the protein ingredients, it’s great for avoiding difficult conversations). Trainer Jarrod begins his Protein Presentation at about the same time that Tiny Alec and I zone out.

I wake up from a fog some time later, I don’t know how long I was out. It could have been 2 minutes or it could have been 2 hours. Judging by Eleanor mysteriously showing up and everyone being packed onto the furniture in the living room, I would guess it was closer to 23 minutes. Trainer Jarrod’s presentations normally last about 18 minutes, but his protein ones can go for up to 20. He’s very passionate about protein, but don’t get him started about supplement quality from Wal-Mart. He hates it almost as much as Cousin Sindi hates Suave shampoo, and that’s saying something.

I look around the room a second time, and I realize that Tiny Alec is just starting to come out of his fog also. We both have this remarkable skill for zoning out of things. Pops also showed up at some point. Mom has already started giving instructions about how the present opening is going to work. Stockings first, then each of us will open our presents individually, going from youngest to oldest. That’s what she wants anyway. What really happens is we open them all simultaneously as fast as we can. It’s much more efficient time management, and it helps to keep us from being the center of attention. A distracted parent on Christmas morning is the best kind of parent. They’re too distracted on everyone to see us covertly trade candy and occasionally a movie or two.

I can’t really say what all happened during the 15 minutes of present opening, but I can say it was like a Christmas tornado. We all threw the wrapping paper at the designated trash person, Eleanor. Ok, really, it’s supposed to be the trash bag. But Eleanor gives a much more fun response than the black plastic bag. Actually, come to think of it, a few years ago Trainer Jarrod was throwing away a gift bag, so he chucked it at Eleanor and it gave her a black eye. That was a good year, it helped set the trash bar for the years to follow. It’s also why Eleanor wears safety glasses during any occasion where there might be presents.

After us kids open our presents, mom and pops start on theirs. At that point in the morning, Tiny Alec, Eleanor, Trainer Jarrod, Schelbi, and I all fade out and become absorbed in our own loot. Yes, we should probably pay more attention to what the parentals are opening, but they take so long! Christmas morning is about speed, not sentiment.

Finally, after all of the presents are open, after all of the gifts are covertly traded, after Eleanor is covered in wadded up wrapping paper, it’s nap time. Well, it’s nap time for the ones who think waking up before 9 am should be a crime. So everyone goes back to bed except for Schelbi, Tiny Alec, and me.

I’m not sure what they talked about or what they did, but all I know is I got engrossed in Netflix again. I’m working my way through the Psych series. I look up from my iPad screen, and they both are asleep on the couch, ankle deep in candy. It looks like they fell asleep mid sentence, judging by how both of their mouths are agape with candy in them. I think Schelbi was eating a Snickers…

Anyway, I continue my show for the rest of the morning. I’ll shower at some point and put on real pants. My bloggin’ pants aren’t proper attire for wearing out of the house.

At around noon we’ll migrate over to my grandparent’s house to see them and the cousins. Yes, that includes Cousin Sindi, Baby Kaylie, and their other kid who doesn’t have a clever name yet. Along with about 12 other people. It’s roughly the size of your average shindig. There aren’t enough people for a party, too many for a typical get-together, but just enough for a good sized shindig.

I won’t go into details about what happens on Christmas day at the grandparent’s house, that would be a whole new blog and a half by itself. But if you thought what happened at the Hamilton household was chaotic and bizarre, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

And that, my friends, is The Christmas Story.

 

 

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