Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WNBP: The Best Laid Plans

At long is here!  The holiday break from school is the first "big" vacation and one that comes with oodles and oodles of awesomeness.  I have learned through the years that it is best to keep one's Christmas expectations reasonable.  It is a little too easy to let those visions of sugar plums grow into gargantuan monsters named Gotta Do and Shoulda Done and that always leads to a let down after the fact.  I'm pretty good these days about keeping my promises of holiday perfection to a level I might reasonably achieve.

The vacation part, however, is always a little bit dicey.  Somehow, I think that I have way more time than I actually possess.  I forget that there is the whole "holiday" thing plonked down right at the beginning of it all and that there will be one or two "reasonable achievements" I need to get finished.  Or that I might be a wee bit wiped out after all that reasonable achieving and need a day of down time.

Then there's the after holiday sales.  Those trip me up every time.  I can't be home remodeling the bathroom if I'm doing battle at the clearance table.

Still...a vacation isn't anything to sneeze at.  Vacations rock the house, remodeled bathroom or not.  They make remembering getting in a Wednesday Night Bullet Post on the right day a little tricky, but I usually manage it.  And tonight is no exception!

Here's your Christmas Vacation Version of the weekly highlights:

*I managed to survive the two days of teacher workshops scheduled right before break.

*We used to do these before Thanksgiving.  It was still Fall and we were all still rather excited to be educating the future of our great land.  Hence, we were pretty darned invested.

*Now they do it right before the holidays.  When everyone can only think about the unwrapped presents and unbaked snickerdoodles.

*We lack investment.

*Usually, I'm late signing up for workshops and have to take the leftovers.

*This year, I caught a break.  The registration system went down right after opening and kicked all the early birds out.

*I logged in seconds after everything went "live" again and the world was my oyster!!

*The goal of workshops is to "take away."

*As in "stuff you can use with kids."

*I scored big.  My first session ended with me connecting to a program that educates kids about the stereotyping of the elderly and has some pretty neat opportunities for community service.

*My "making paper beads" workshop with The Cheerful Teaching Assistant was great.  There are several math lessons in there and I made a whole bunch of beads.

*All of which looked exactly like little festive joints.

*My paper was too small.

*However, I achieved a perfectly tight roll.

*Had I only mastered this skill back in college, I'd have been the belle of the ball.

*At least with that group who always hung out in the dorm basement...

*The mandatory sessions and keynotes were a letdown.

*One of them made a grown man cry.  And I'm not talking figuratively, here.

*We were tired.  And the Mayans were having some sort of temper tantrum over the world not ending so it was raining sideways by 10:00.

* I'm really only surprised we didn't lose more to the Weepies.

*My last "choice" session was so amazing that it made up for the tears, raindrops and mind-numbing keynotes.

*I can't really use this one with the kids.  It's too complicated.  But I don't care.

*I now have the most amazing thing ever in the history of stuff!

It's a bag crafted from recycled coffee bags and duct tape!!!!

*My apologies for the bad photo.  I had to do a quick and very last minute upload from my phone since I forgot to take a better one earlier.

*Totally couldn't wait to show you the awesomeness of my most couture of coffee bag bags!

*When I got home I added interior pockets.  Now it is more perfect!

*With workshops out of the way, holiday prep could begin in earnest.

*I baked cheesy bread.

*I baked challah.

*I made my first attempt at my Aunt Marge's cardamom braided Christmas bread.

*And I wrapped.

*And I wrapped.

*And I wrapped some more.

*Note to self:  Do not leave wrapping until Christmas Eve.

*Second note to self:  Do not leave notes to self that you have no intention of reading.  You do this every year and have learned nothing from your late-night paper wrangling.

*OK.  So perhaps I did set myself up a bit with the expectations.

*I think it might have been more of a procrastination issue, but still...

*There were a few moments of quiet desperation.

*Short-lived, thankfully!

*Breakfast at the Sheepish Parental Household was scheduled for 8:00 a.m.  Sharp.

*I was right on time.  8:30.

*That is within the acceptable parameters.

*My acceptable parameters.

*I had wrapped presents so no one commented.

*And, you know what?  Christmas came whether I was late or not and Santa left all my presents at Mommy and Daddy's house just like he always does.

*And we still had our annual Orange Juice With Pulp Or Without Pulp debate, right on schedule.  It all worked out.

*I was well-gifted.

*My parents were each short a gift, though.

*I ordered late and knew it might be tight.  I even accepted it when parcel tracking told me they wouldn't arrive until December 26th.

*My ordered items were at a facility 20 minutes from my home on Christmas Eve.

*Then they got the wanderlust.

*And went to a post office in Dover NH.

*Which is NOT 20 minutes from my home.

*The shipper optimistically predicted no change in the arrival date, though.

*As of this morning, my package was somewhere in New Jersey and I can't for the life of me figure out what I did to offend it enough that it would make the trek back to the mid-west.

*There is a major storm scheduled for tomorrow.  The shipper has put a disclaimer up in red lettering, although they don't seem to think it makes sense to change the arrival date of my package in any way.

*I like to think of this as a story I will tell later and find ever so entertaining.

*This is how I get by...

*Today, the after Christmas sales started.  I was excited because this year I was gifted with the means to participate in this time-honored tradition with wild abandon.

*Translation:  Mommy and Daddy Sheep tucked cash in various gifts under the tree and I have no plans whatsoever to be "sensible" with it.

*I knew which store I wanted to hit today because there was a great sale on and I also had a 20% off coupon.

*I was so excited that I could barely sleep.  So I went back to the website to peruse their goods a little longer.

*And discovered that they were opening at 5:00 this morning.

*I did not go to the store at 5:00 this morning.  That is just crazy.

*I went at 7:00 this morning.  Which is ever so much more sensible on a vacation day...

*The Early Bird sales were kind to me.  Very kind.

*Of course, I put a much bigger dent in the shopping budget than I planned so early in the game, but there is a storm coming so I was losing a day anyway.

*Justification.  That is also how I get by...

*Since I've been waiting for the next paycheck to pick up the new books I want to read, I've been accessing the digital download library as a stop gap measure.

*Figured I'd try The Furies Of Calderon series just for the heck of it.

*Started with Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Book 1).

*It is quite good, but I am not really a fan of epic fantasy.  I lean more towards the "urban" variety of the genre.

*Still, it is well-written and engaging and very different from Jim Butcher's other works.  

*It's tiding me over until I can get some of the titles I really want.

*It wasn't how I planned to get the reading in this vacation, but what can you do?

*If nothing else, this season should prove to us that plans are really only there to get in in the way of what's actually going to happen.

So here I am on a Wednesday, once again realizing that I forgot to eat dinner and wondering if I can get away with leftover Christmas cookies as a food group.  That's another plan that went awry.  I honestly thought I'd be a bit more on track with meal planning now that there's no work to get in the way.

Of course, I also thought I'd get the wrapping done before darkness fell on Christmas Eve, that my parents might get their gifts only a little bit after the actual holiday and that I'd be able to sleep late during vacation.

But the gifts were delivered in festive paper and all baked goods were appreciated.  I even had something for my parents, if not exactly everything.  I've got enough leftovers from Christmas dinner and a whole bunch of cool stuff to keep me happy and entertained while I ride out the storm.  It's all good.

It's vacation.  How can it NOT be????



=Tamar said...

Leftover Christmas cookies contain flour, egg (usually), milk (usually), and fruit (usually). That's starch, protein, dairy, and fruit.

Beth said...

It sounds like a good Christmas! Hopefully the rogue gifts will show up soon!

I just started reading "11/22/63" for book club. It has already pulled me in and I'm looking forward to reading more of it.

kmkat said...

Now I feel a teensy bit guilty that my last Christmas present to give was delivered by the UPS man @ 4pm on Christmas Eve.

trek said...

Hey, New Jersey is not in the midwest.