Remember that old saying … “the best laid plans?” This post is not about the C’s you normally associate with Christmas. You know the ones. Carols. Cards. Candles. Cookies. Stay tuned ...
It was going to be the best Christmas ever. After a number of years being 1200 miles away from our family, we would fly from southern California to Seattle on December 19th and cleverly divide our time between our three grown sons, basking in the warmth of extended family. At least, that was the plan.
The plane is late. At 12:30 a.m. we pick up our rental car and discover we’ve been “upgraded” to a hybrid. The fob has no key. How do we start the damn thing? We trudge back to the lone attendant in her glass cubicle who snarls, “Press the button.” She forgets an important bit of information. Foot on brake, then press the button. After ten minutes of growling and cursing, husband accidentally starts car. Unfortunately, we have no idea it’s going because it’s running in “silent electric mode.” We eventually figure it out and wend our way out of the parking garage. Do we locate the windshield de-fogger before pulling onto International Boulevard in the pouring rain? Of course not.
C #2 – Cat
Our oldest son’s girlfriend has a cat. It was recently bathed, no doubt the very reason she's so peeved. The cat, not the girlfriend. Even though my husband is allergic to cats, he fancies himself a veritable animal savant and insists on making friends with “Coco” who responds with an annoyed hiss and flurry of dander. The next day, husband is making sounds like a harbor seal.
Cat is not the culprit. Hubby is sick. We move on to second son whose wife I’d blithely promised, “Oh, I’d love to cook Christmas dinner for the entire family. I haven’t done that for ages.” My throat begins to feel scratchy. I start to cough. Soon, I join hubby in harbor seal duet. Coughing into my armpit and washing hands obsessively, I prepare the turkey and dressing.
Since our flight back to California leaves on Christmas day, our family dinner is scheduled for Christmas Eve. It turns out our youngest son, a Seattle policeman, has to work. His wife and two little girls plan to show up for dinner. Before they leave home, the seven-year-old begins throwing up. The ten-year-old, in a rare spirit of solidarity, opts to stay home and keep her sister company. Our son intends to join us when his shift is over but, on the drive home, he has to stop the car to throw up.
C #5 – Conclusion
Tails tucked between our legs, we tiptoe out of the house early Christmas morning. Back in California, I wait three hours in Urgent Care. Trust me, you do not want to know about the side effects of the prescription I was given. There is good news, however. Upon checking with all three sons, we infected no one. A Christmas miracle, indeed.
Next year, it’s all about Skype.