Holiday Recap – Visiting the family, what could go wrong?

This Christmas was the first of many with my family’s new “system”, meaning now that I’m married, my husband and I will spend one Christmas with his family in Europe, and one with mine, in southern Alabama. (Quite the difference, you noticed??)

This time was my turn, and the first Christmas I’ve spent with my family as a wife. I had a wonderful time. My family was so loving and supportive, even though they have so many of their own worries to deal with.

The trip started with my husband and me driving down from Michigan, which in itself is a rough trip of about 14 hours, but add a cat and it gets pretty interesting. It was her first trip too, and she screamed her head off for the first 5 hours, burst out of her luxurious mesh cat crate imported from Japan (Japanese know how to pamper their cats!), that took up half the back car-seat, and we had to force her into the smaller plastic crate until she calmed down. We were so stressed and worried about her! The vet had recommended against sedatives because she’s such a small cat, a tiny 7.5lb Blue Russian I occasionally post on youtube, and we love her like family so we thought she’d be all right. Luckily, after her fit, she calmed down, and we figured out it wasn’t so much the car bothering her, rather being trapped. So we opened the mesh door, which she could see out of anyway, and she was completely fine! Who would have thought that’s all we needed to do to make her happy.

Once we finally arrived, we situated our kitty in the bedroom I’d always stayed at in Grandma’s house, and enjoyed a nice meal with her and my parents. If Alabama is known for anything, it’s the amazing food filled with the love of your neighbors. I’m pretty sure I gained 5 pounds from my visit!

The days before Christmas Eve were off to a nice start, including helping my parents move their boxes of things since they’ll be retiring and moving in with my grandmother next year. It’s a large house, so they’ll be taking over the bottom floor, and I love that they’re going to move in with her. It’s how society used to be, and how I hope to be when my parents are old and need someone to live with them when I’m retired, if for nothing else than company.

So, you might be waiting for the other shoe to drop. Yes, here it is, the day before Christmas Eve, and also my wedding anniversary, I aggravated an old karate injury and pulled my back. I’m up in the morning, feeling a slight pain I can’t describe, and then when I’m making coffee, I sneeze. Oh man, a bolt of lightning shot up my right side as if I’d been speared with an electrified hot iron. I hobbled over to the couch and didn’t move, waiting until someone came around to notice I was in pain. Luckily, I keep painkillers for occasional migraines, and my husband was able to get me one, which took off the edge. But let’s just say, today is January 2nd and I’m still sitting on the couch with a heating pad and lots of ibuprofen.

My second wedding anniversary and Christmas Eve wasn’t ruined, but I felt bad, and a bit awkward, to be wobbling around the house on a cane my grandmother let me borrow. She’s over twice my age, and was doing somersaults around me, so was my father, who is also over twice my age. In fact, I was the youngest person in the household, and moving the slowest!

Besides that, I still managed to enjoy my stay. And if i had to injure myself, what could be a better time than being surrounded by people who love me and no day-job in sight for another two weeks?

By the time I was able to walk without a cane, it was time for the family visits, including my sister and attending my cousin’s baby shower. Both were lovely, and I had a great time. I even had the pleasure of talking to my nephew who is training to become a medical professional, and he gave me advice on my back. I was doing it all wrong! I was applying cold packs, and he said “NO! You need heat, draw blood to the area and help it heal. Also, no salt.” Well, there goes my chips! Great advice, and it was so eye-opening to receive it from someone I can clearly remember as a baby cradled in my arms. How odd a feeling it is to be getting older.

When I wasn’t chatting with family, which was most of the time, I was reading. My latest is Literary Agent Paula Munier’s book, Writing With Quiet Hands. It is absolutely lovely, and I’m enjoying it so much that I plan on writing a book review. I’ll keep you posted for that when I finish it.

I also received another book from my mother for Christmas, she’s always so up to date with my latest hobbies and interests, and she stuck Sense of Style in my stocking. It’s an incredible book, and I think it’ll take me a while to get through it since each concept is pretty deep and causes me to reflect and research. I’ll eventually write a book review on this as well, if not a few separate posts on concepts I’ve explored. The biggest thing that interested me was how the prologue introduced this book as a necessary “modern” addition to Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, which was written in 1918, and only received minor updates since then. It’s a book I’ve seen time and again as a staple for prose, but I never realized how long ago it was actually written. Times have changed, and I fully agree with Steven Pinker to have a book with the same goals as Strunk & White’s for today’s world.

Back to my holiday’s story, once all goodbyes were said and a few tears shed, we packed up our car with red and silver sparkling bows and treats, weighed down with love and joy, and I climbed in the back with a few pillows to support my 29-year-old-granny spine, and put the kitty beside me, making sure to leave the mesh door open. It was a quiet, pleasant trip home.

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