Yes, it is 5:46 in the a.m. right now. I woke up at 2:00 a.m. Thought I might as well use the time to finish some preparations for tomorrow and update the blog. It's my Christmas gift to you.
So yesterday (Dec 23), my father, LR, tells me he needs the car to go to the dentist around 11:00 and later, around 6:00 to have a drink with his buddy, Baker.
Because I am jetlagged, I am up with the lark (way before 5:00 a.m.). I send The Spouse some emails.
I send some text messages.
I remember that he had already warned me that he was going to be in meetings with "the other side" at their offices all day.
Oh. Right. That explains it.
Later, my new computer arrives (it is soooooo lovely). Of course, I rip open the box practically before the FedEx/UPS Dude has let go of it.
[Me (to FedEx/UPS Dude): Oh! Oh! Oh! You brought my present! Oh! Is everyone happy to see you today?
FedEx/UPS Dude, grinning: Yeah. Today is pretty good.]
No point waiting until Christmas to open it. I mean, after all, I can use the new computer to talk to The Spouse who is now trapped in Closing Hell until Tuesday, Dec 29 at the earliest.
Merry Christmas to me, Merry Christmas to me! I am thrilled with my present.
I set up the computer. I figure out how to connect to the Interwebz. Loyal Hungarian Cat Sitter pops up on Gmail chat.
"Hi there," she writes. "I was just over at your place to feed your cats."
Hmmm. That's odd. But not out of the realm of possibility. I can certainly see The Spouse being too busy remember to tell her that his travel plans have been postponed.
"The Spouse is still in Moscow," I reply. "Didn't he talk to you?" He told me he had spoken to her/delivered keys on Monday.
"Oh?" she's perplexed.
I text Spouse "WTF?! LHCS doesn't know you are still in town!" I know he's busy, but this has the potential for some real hilarity.
Apparently she is texting The Spouse simultaneously.
The Spouse, who I have not heard from all day, replies, "In Conference Call Hell. Will call her later."
LHCS and I have a few more exchanges about how funny this all is, and then we both wander off.
My brother and his wife and I decide we will have pizza at their place later.
Six o'clock comes. LR leaves for his appointment. "Save some pizza for me," he calls back over his shoulder. "I'll want dinner."
My brother, who lives across the street, calls, and says now is a good time to come over. They have ordered the pizza and opened a bottle of wine.
We sip. We chat. We review their recent home improvement projects. We eat pizza.
LR comes blasting in their front door. "I'M BACK. I BROUGHT A LADY FRIEND. HOPE YOU DON'T MIND."
No, no. Of course not. LR lives to date.
But lo and behold, who should enter my brother's house behind LR . . . it is not a lady friend.
It's THE SPOUSE!
Everybody had been in on it, including (of course) the Cat Sitter. When I consider the depth of the plotting in order to surprise me, I am beside myself. How wonderful. What a great Christmas present!
Now, in exchange for escaping the Closing Hell, which is very much real and on-going, The Spouse has to fly to DC on Sunday afternoon and stay there until Tuesday afternoon. But at least he is here for Christmas!
The children, who he expected to be the excited ones, were too jetlagged and sleepy to really respond. But they also are too young to realize how funny and thoughtful the whole thing was. To me, it's the planning that went on behind the scenes that makes it special.
So here are my two wonderful Christmas presents:
Speaking of holiday snapshots, I have two others from yesterday.
The first was at the drug store. Standing in line in front of me is a woman wearing a red suit, a green winter coat, and assorted Christmas froo-froo. She is delighted to have discovered a white stuffed dog that is also all Christmas-y. Further, when you squeeze its tail, it barks Jingle Bells. She makes it bark over and over, thoroughly enjoying her find. Grinch that I am, I think it will become really, REALLY tiresome in about 20 minutes.
Second snapshot was in the ham store. I had reserved a ham before leaving Moscow. Originally I intended to take it with us to The Spouse's Ancestral Village as an offering. At the time I went to collect it, I had decided we would eat it ourselves, sans Spouse, on Christmas Day.
As is typical at the Ham Store at this time of year, the parking lot is full and the line of customers goes out the door. My Moscow friends will be amused to note that there was a Ham Store employee stationed at the door, controlling the flow of the crowd, but, to my mind, functioning as Ham Store Face Control. I crack myself up.
Further, there is a Ham Store Rent-A-Cop standing by the cash registers. I refrain from asking him if he's had to break up many ham riots. I also wonder if it is frowned upon to take my just-purchased ham and stand out in the parking lot and scalp it for twice the price I paid for it.
That would be bad and not in the Spirit of Christmas, right?
Waiting... - *In October on Manezh Square, outside of the Kremlin* It's the final countdown until the Olympics... Here's a link to an article that was in the "Russia ...
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