Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dear 2017, you are already making a poor impression on me

Hi... I'm Kristi and I never have a chance to write on my blog anymore........

This is the time of year that always makes me lose my mind.  It also makes my family wish I lived in Alaska, or even next door where they can't hear me yell at them to pick up all their crap up off the floor.  Holidays are all fine and good  - till they're not, and especially till togetherness makes me feel like I'm drowning in a very small pond  - tightly compacted and filled with useless and assorted junk.  I am also battling on and off again hives and just recovered from a dandy of a yeast infection. Dear 2017, you are already making a poor impression on me.  

I've been locked out of the laptop for almost two weeks now, and will be filing that dilemma under the catch all category of,  I Blame the Teenagers for Everything.  When we finally recovered access to the computer, everything I loved dearly had either been moved or removed, which did nothing to help my already, shall we say, itchy and bitchy attitude.  I think this is where I should say something about faith in all things and how God works for the good of those that trust him.  But God, how I love him dearly, wasn't the one outsmarted by a 16 year old sneaking in after hours and texting the girlfriend via my laptop after he turned in his phone for the night.  That's when Fireman Dave tried to outsmart the kid by changing the computer password, but instead -  he changed history. 

Teenagers are dirty, rotten scoundrels ... and yet, oh so smart - but only in ways that don't count toward life goals and accomplishments.  I believe Kid 1, when approached about the situation at hand, told us we should just come up with more rules - at which point we considered telling him he should just come up with a new home.... But it was Christmas and hearts being full of love and cheer, we let him stay, and went on a 10 day vacation adventure.  

Here are some highlights of the trip....

We decided that two weeks of nothing to do at home could add up to a whole lot of trouble so we followed the advice of a wise woman I know..... who told me the true secret to parenting.  Are you ready?  Start drinking and keep 'em moving.  So we did. 

We pulled the boys out of school a day early to take advantage of fireman friendly airfare prices for our trip.  Which  just means that now the kids have to go back to school and take makeup exams that they missed.  The original plan for the trip was to spend Christmas with family at the beach in North Carolina, but it worked out that we could better afford to fly into Washington DC, spend a bit of time, then rent a car and make the trip to the beach from there.

Here we are in DC - I call this one, the Walters try to take a selfie. 

This was right before we went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and walked into a shake down by a tiny Asian lady dressed in a winter jumpsuit.  Fireman Dave and Kid 1 totally fell for her sweetness as she took their hands, blessed them with the peace of something or another and slipped a plastic bracelet onto each of their wrists.  Husband just thought she was the nicest lady in town and I was walking as far away as possible.  Every man for himself is my rule in any situation involving panhandlers.  Turns out the blessing of peace cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids..... and Fireman Dave had exactly zero money.  Which is when he started singling me out in the crowd, pointing out to the lady that I was the one with the cash.  Thank you Fireman Dave for getting me involved in the sweetest scam in town.  Anyway, I rescued them from her grip, refusing the high price of her blessing, then paid her $5 and took my men and ran.  Sometimes a woman just has to take charge of a situation.  

We saw the National Christmas tree, the White House all decorated for Christmas and saw a show by the Washington Chorus at The Kennedy Center.  We also became experts at the subway and walked a million miles to and from our hotel and everything we could fit in during two days. 

Here we are at the tree - exactly five minutes before Kid 1 punched Kid 3 in the stomach and I started wishing for some Secret Service men to intervene.  

Then we drove to the beach....

Oh how to describe our Christmas....

Imagine you're watching an episode of the reality show, Survivor.  My sister and brother in law are the the hosts of the show.  Imagine 14 contestants - 10 adults, three teenage boys, and 1 toddler, all dropped on an island, trying to be the last to survive. But the prize isn't a million dollars this time, it is the chance to not get the stomach flu spreading like fire across the island.  Each contestant is armed with only two things - a can of Lysol and a shared bathroom. 

One by one, each person in his or her own way and each compiling his or her long list of miserable symptoms, is taken down by a two year old with diarrhea, as you watch your TV in horror.  You also want to wash your hands as much as possible.   
Back in the summer we took a trip to a civil war battleground and cemetery and saw a house that acted as a makeshift hospital for the sick and wounded.  I think we totally re-created that scene at our family gathering this year. 

Here's our little corner of the world - I stood on the bed to get this shot.  One body on the floor is Kid 2, the other is Kid 3.  Note the nearby bucket and trash bag liner close to each kid.  Kid 1 is right outside my door, closest to the bathroom because, God bless him, the biggest are the hardest to fall.

After the weekend, only 4 of us survived untouched.   I was never more proud to have been a champion of anything in my life. 

Then when we gathered our strength, we drove to Colonial Williamsburg, which was so beautiful.  Fireman Dave and I let the boys stay at the hotel that evening and watch a movie while we returned to have dinner at a tavern that was built in 1766.  Fun music, a man in kilt and a not so great waitress named Bertha made that night memorable in an all new way.  We also visited historic Jamestown and I stood in line for a very long time at the pharmacy at Target in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Because fun always has to be tempered with something to bring you home to reality. 

And on our last day, we toured The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  

And if it weren't so darn cold there, I would pack a bag and move there today.  Adorable is my word for that town.  I definitely want to go back when all chances of snow flurries have passed. 

We're home now and I'm back to work and so happy about that.  I love my people - my family people, and my work people.  But rest from both is something I just have to have to keep up with the pace that I demand of myself.  I'm not much for looking at the new year as a new beginning.  I actually feel like if I wasn't already doing something the day before, why on earth would I start just because I flipped a page on the calendar. 

On our last night of the trip, as we camped out in a Washington DC hotel room waiting to get up at 4AM for a flight home, I thought a little about this trip - how I'm the furthest from an adventurer that anyone could ever be.  And how if I had been one of the first people to travel to America and forced to pioneer my way through some of the history I saw on this trip, we would all be doomed.  But I put my trust in Fireman Dave to plan and direct and lead me out of my comfort zone and into opportunity on this vacation.  Kinda' like when my high school boyfriend used to take me to parties that maybe we weren't supposed to go to.  But in both situations, I felt perfectly safe and never considered the alternative. 

Then I thought how wonderfully simple life could be if only I could place such trust in God's plan for my life.  If I could just sit back and say, This is it, and it's goodNow hold my hand and walk me into this party.  How easy things could be if I were to finally accept that this is the door that was opened for me so long ago -  and be content to walk through it and enjoy the possibility. 

All I can say is that I'm willing to try.  

post script:  in hair news, I got my hair trimmed by someone new and she cut me some bangs like I haven't had in many moons.  They're really feathery and wispy and I feel like I could star in a re-make of  Charlie's Angels to be aired on prime-time TV.  

But no pictures please... at least till I purchase a red swimsuit and pose like Farrah Fawcett in all her winged glory.

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