It’s been a busy fall, spent watching various professional and college sports teams lose, coaching basketball, and teaching the youth of America. Now that I have some time off, I can provide an update about all of the important things that have happened this Christmas season. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, Laura and I took McKenna to see Santa Claus and found that we were not the only ones to procrastinate so horribly. The line stretched to the back of the food court at Short Pump Town Center, and Laura took the hit for the team by waiting in line while I took McKenna to the play area. After about an hour of waiting, Laura was about 2/3 of the way through the line, and even the slide wasn’t so entertaining for McKenna anymore.
When we came within five kids of Santa after an hour and fifteen minutes, Santa got up and began to walk away from his chair. Laura’s head almost exploded. As she gave Santa the Look of Death, she began saying to herself, “He is NOT taking another break (he had one right before we got in line).” Before Laura could tackle St. Nick and beat the life out of him in front of dozens of mortified children, I reassured her that Santa was just going to the bathroom. Unfortunately, judging by the amount of time he was gone, Santa had to drop off an early gift in the restroom.
The next problem was that the Santa photo staff, rather than honoring the time-tested tradition of snapping the picture of the child with Santa no matter what the child’s expression, decided to get a picture of every child looking as happy as possible. They even went so far as to help feed a three-month-old infant to get him to stop crying. Needless to say, Laura was vocal in her opposition to this approach by the Santa photo team.
Finally, after an hour and a half, we got our picture of McKenna and Santa.
Leaving for the Abbott Christmas Eve celebration, Laura told me she had received a text from her mother asking about snow. This was a perplexing question for several reasons:
As it turns out, Rita’s uncertainty about snow in Richmond has arisen because someone had recently commented on Facebook on a picture I posted last winter, causing the picture to pop up in Rita’s timeline.
Even though the roads were clear of snow, slow Santa made us late to the Abbott gathering, and we were late enough that we were concerned that Scott and Katy, who were literally late to their own wedding, had arrived before us. Nope, they were even more late, although they were not nearly as late as most of the participants in the “How late will Scott and Katy be?” pool thought they would be. On the plus side, we were in time for the creation of the Hardywood Gingerbread Stout ice cream floats.
Later that night, having braved the snow-free elements, Rita arrived at our house to spend the night so that she could be there in the morning for McKenna to open her presents. At about 1:15am, there arose such a clatter that I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. You know the sound that a dog makes when you accidentally step on its tail? That was the type of sound coming from the downstairs, except it was as if the dog’s tail was being stomped on over and over again while the dog was yelping into a megaphone and inexplicably snorting from time to time. It took about a minute for my brain to decode the sound; finally, I realized that a burgler wasn’t raping geese in the living room. No, it was Laura and Rita laughing at Glee. Just to be clear here, in case someone thinks I am just making fun of the way Laura and Rita laugh – I have heard Laura and Rita laugh many, many times, and I was even present when Laura scared a small child with her laugh at a Mexican restaurant. This was no laugh; this was like no sound that’s ever come from a human being.
On Christmas, my parents and Stephen came over for breakfast, and then we watched McKenna open her presents. It was a lesson in the power of genetics, as McKenna illustrated the influence of her mother’s genes for all to see: