Thursday, December 20, 2007

Some Other Place Like Home for the Holidays

Every year, Senor Fluff and I finish up the grueling tasks at the end of the semester, hand in our grades, clean our house (which has generally acquired tumbleweeds of cat hair, dust, and all kinds of ungodly crud in the month leading up to finals), do all of our laundry, and then pack up and head out to see our respective families. There, as I've described before, we see my parents for a few days, drive 5 hours to spend 4 days in a 2 bedroom house with 6 adults, 4 kids, and 2 dogs (no partridge, no pear tree), drive 5 hours back to my parents' house, spend 2 days there recuperating (and generally getting sick) and then return to our house in time to start prepping for the spring semester.

If it's not immediately obvious from the description above, this is about the worst way to "spend" the winter break that I can think of. I love seeing my family, and I enjoy and get good karma from seeing my husband's family, but I'm cranky and exhausted and stressed the entire time. Which is an awful lot like my general state during the semester. If one of the purposes of break is to rest and recharge, then this is time badly invested.

And so, for the first time EVER, we're spending this break at home. Our own home. And when I say ever, I mean it. I've been going home for the holidays since I was in college, and we've been doing the insane two-family holiday since we before we got married in 2000 (barring an MLA or two).

My initial impressions, here on the 20th, when we would normally be out West already? This is BLISS. We've put up our very own tree, sans the chili lights my mother adores (bless her heart, but gawd, it's not my aesthetic). The house is clean from top to bottom. I'm sitting in the warm bed and the big cat is curled up at my (now very sweaty) feet. I made a mac and cheese casserole last night, on the heels of a yummy chorizo and sweet potato soup (see Smitten Kitchen, It's to die for.) I've read the to interlibrary loan books that were due almost a month ago, as well as the very compelling new Jennifer Egan novel that I think I'll use for my spring graduate class. Today, we're off to the great white north for a few days in a swanky B&B (fireplace, outdoor hot tub, cocktail hour---you get the picture). I'm taking two novels that I ordered from Amazon specifically for this trip. The best part? We'll be back before Christmas, we'll rested and rosy-cheeked from snow-shoeing. [How can we afford said swank? Well, two plane tickets to the West Coast, plus a rental car for a week to drive between families is well over a thousand dollars. Not spending that left us a good chunk of change to play with.]

I miss seeing my family, no doubt. And I miss being in the West, for sure. And I even miss the trash culture that is a part of my home town (buffets, bingo, neon---all of that says Christmas to me!). But this is just too good. And the best part is that I'm remembering who I am when I'm not a whirling dervish; a stress monkey, a raving maniacal bitch goddess from hell. Look at me yielding to the guy with three teeth at the post office! Shoveling snow and whistling! Not panicking about a paper I have to give in April! Who is this strange woman?! I'm reveling in the calm, and beginning to plot how I might have another one of these next year.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

glad you are having a "me" christmas this year. enjoy!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007 1:23:00 AM  
Anonymous The Bittersweet Girl said...

Jealous much. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 22, 2007 4:41:00 PM  
Blogger kfluff said...

Thanks, JM and BG! And many happy returns to you both!

Sunday, December 23, 2007 1:04:00 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Even though you are not traveling this season, the world will remain balanced because I am--for the first time since changing time zones. That syllabus I need for Jan. 2nd? Finishing it today b/c we get back on the 1st. We are now considering spending tonight in the Emerald City rather than deal with weather and road delays tomorrow (yes, we pagans are flying on xmas). I better get back to work on the syllabus. Enjoy your stress free vay-cay in the hot tub.

Monday, December 24, 2007 1:40:00 PM  

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