Yesterday was loverly. The very Innocent Bystander woke me up with the first of many phone calls wishing me a Merry Christmas. After giving ya'll a heads up, I separated out all of El Juevo's presents and loaded everything up and headed over to the house. I know I surprised him with at least one of them. I got him a "real" puppet that he can work with his good hand. He does live broadcasts on www.stickam.com and I checked in on him last night and he was showing his audience the puppet, pointing out his sleazy mustache. I found out that he named him Dirty Sanchez. My kinda kid.
After my first non-fartwater shower all week (the pipes at the house froze last week, so it was fartwater or nothing at all) we got ready and headed over to Dar's. We did our gift exchange, where she surprised me with this little guy:
I collect gnomes, and this is my new favorite. He is going to be a home gnome, though. I can't put him outside here-when it floods, gnomes tend to escape. I guess they swim back to where the river meets the Keebler forest and then make a run for it. ^^shrug^^ I'm taking no chances with my patron Saint of gnomes. *wink*
We left Dar's and headed over to Mom and Daddy's, where we were, for the first time, the last to arrive. As soon as we got there, I pulled my brother outside to 'splain to him what I had come up with and carried in my bag of presents. After I greeted everyone and Jeff had come back in the house, we all sat in a circle and passed out presents. While everyone was busy unwrapping, I slipped out of the house and got El Juevo's old laptop out of the trunk and quietly carried it in and handed it to Claire. I then handed her an old keyboard I had laying around. She looked at me with her great big eyes, not comprehending. I said, "It is yours now. You will have to plug this keyboard in because the keyboard on the laptop doesn't work. It is not perfect, but it IS a laptop." I then explained that the wireless capability was not working either, and that it had some quirks that she would have to learn to work around, and that she would have to plug it in to power it because the battery would not hold a charge, but she assured me that she was just thankful to have one, period. She forgot about opening presents for awhile whilst she busied herself hooking up one component to another, creating a spiderweb of wires across the living room rug. After about fifteen minutes she got everything hooked up and got it booted up. Then she asked me if it would work if she took it someplace like Starbucks that has free wifi, and again I gently explained that she would have to get some kind of USB wireless adapter or something and would have to take the keyboard and would have to find a plug, etc. At that point, Jeff reminded Claire that we were all opening presents, and said "Oh, and I forgot one. Claire, would you please go out to the truck and get the box that is in the back seat?" She got up and ran outside while everyone looked around quizzically.
She returned very slowly carrying a medium sized flat box that she handed to Jeff. He took it from her and said "I'll make you a deal. I'll trade you what is in this box for that." He pointed to her 'laptop' sitting on the floor. She looked at him, and looked at the mass of wires on the floor and said what is it? He handed it to her and told her to open it. Inside was a brand new Acer laptop with all the bells and whistles-webcam, wireless, 3G of RAM. She looked at him uncomprehendingly and said "It's a new laptop." He said, "I know. I will trade you the new one for the one Aunt Jackie just gave you. That way, I can learn how to use a computer, and you will be able to do all the things on the new one that you were wanting one for." It was a Christmas miracle if I ever saw one. I could see him grow ten feet tall in her eyes, and it makes my heart swell to think about it now.
Another blessing was my brother himself. It has been a very tough year for him-he is a bricklayer, and because of the economy, he hasn't had much work lately. He is in his second year of sobriety, and for the first time since he was a teenager, he has lost this dark look that seemed to have become a part of him. Even after he had been 'saved' and been through rehab umpteen times, it still clung to him like a second skin, but this year, he just has this lightness of spirit that has been missing for so, so long. We had a wonderful afternoon catching up, watching silly videos on Claire's computer, and talking about weird things like skunks that won't die and how if you buy a coon after it has been scrinched (dressed for cooking) you have to make sure they leave a paw on it to make sure it's not a cat. GOOD TIMES.
After we had all eaten our Christmas gumbo and oyster stew and ham and homemade bread and a dessert of both vanilla AND chocolate dump cake (I had oyster stew for dessert), it was time to head east. I had decided well in advance that El Juevo and I would go to a movie on our way home. "Marley and Me" has been hyped in trailers for months, and it was premiering on Christmas Day. Well, evidently half of the coast had the same idea, because the theater was packed. It was the first time I've been to a movie in a long time where I actually had a stranger sitting in a seat next to me. And if there was ever a movie I did NOT want a stranger next to me? THIS ONE. I honestly cannot believe that they would premier this particular movie on Christmas. I figured a movie that premiered on Christmas would be all happy happy joy joy, but not this Ole Yeller. You could probably hear the sniffling where you are. By the time we walked out of there, both of us had been snotting and snorting back tears for half an hour, and our faces were so swollen we decided to just go home rather than stopping at the Awful Waffle for Christmas dinner. (I don't want to infer that it was not a good movie, because it was, I just think it was a poor choice for Christmas, especially if you took small children.)
And then? When I got home? I turned on my computer to check email and let everyone know how the day went, and when I logged into Blogger, I discovered that my selfish wish for more followers had been fulfilled! Since I put that wish into writing, I have gained five, count'em, FIVE new additions to the Beautifulist People I know. Santa Clause (and ya'll) came through!
So. The only thing that could have made my Christmas more perfect would have been for the very Innocent Bystander to be here and enjoy
me it with me. How was everyone's else's Christmas? Did Santy Clause bring you everything you wished for? What did he bring you that you definitely DIDN'T wish for? What is the weirdest thing you ever got...or gave?