Monday, January 7, 2008

Part 2: Let's Juggle

Hey Folks,

Christmas for me is always an intense juggling act. Mom’s side of the family, friends, Dad’s side of the family and as of the last couple years New Years in alternate locations as well. Often between my two sides of the family. This post is going to deal with Mom’s side and family. New Years and Dad’s side will have their own post, making this a four-parter, as opposed to the three-part series I had promised in ‘Hiatus’.

(Sidenote: We just hit Barrie. Shoutout to Natalie! And formerly Amy, although you were outside of Barrie in a town I no longer remember the name of, and are now in Ottawa. Though say hello to Copper for me next time you see him)

So I got home Christmas Morning after flying Air Canada for the first time. And let me give some praises. At least for halfway. Halifax to Montreal was quite comfortable with a TV system that rivals that of Westjets. With Westjet it’s a live satellite feed, which means I miss amounts of some shows and sometimes there is nothing on, especially if you get a midday flight on a weekday. Do I watch Days of our Lives or some random kids’ movie on Family? Don’t get me wrong, if ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ was on, I’d be all for it, but often its some after-school made for TV movie. More terrifying than melting ice caps.

The 2nd half of the flight, from Montreal to Hamilton was in the tiniest plane I’ve ever been on and felt more like a bus (like the one I’m currently on) than a plane. I did however have some pleasant company. I forget her name but she was a wonderful conversationalist which made the flight go smoothly and quickly, even if I was having trouble popping my ears. Clean your ears before you travel. It helps. According to the Doctor I once popped an eardrum though, so that can also cause problems. My ears actually whistled when they popped. Quite painful.

And so we’re on the ground in Hamilton. I get off the plane, head to the baggage claim and no one’s there. That’s fine, Mom must be running late. I’ll grab my bags first. I grab the bags and still no one. Odd. I give it ten minutes. Surely I have not been forgotten on Christmas Day at the Hamilton Airport. Those ten minutes click by and finally I open up the computer to get Mom’s phone number to see if there was some power outage that shorted out alarmclocks that has her not there to greet me as I de-plane. The phone rings once by the time she shows up and, as always, there is a humorous story behind it.

A lesson to be learned: Always check to see which airport you’re heading towards. Just following little plane signs can be dangerous. Mom and Tom wound up and the Burlington Prop Plane Museum as opposed to the Hamilton ‘International’ Airport.

So anyway, all is solved and I finally touch down at home in London. We open gifts, and I give Mom and Tom the pictures of myself. As a running joke, they are ones in which I am drinking. I also give them one of Rachelle and myself – We both look quite sexy in that one, and I’m sure she’d agree.

For Christmas I received several wonderful things. New t-shirts and new pair of jeans, socks (always a sucker for socks) chocolate, my plane tickets, a couple of hoodies and some other garments, as well as a Best Buy gift card. All the better for buying a new Camera with.

I spent the day talking with family and we went to my grandparents for dinner where, in order to please my Grandmother I had a small piece of turkey. Dark meat. It was all information on flights and everything else about my travels and what I’m going to do after University when I was being talked to. And conversation regarding all manner of things otherwise. It was a good night and a very nice meal.

Before the end of the night, my Aunt Charmaine and Co. showed up, bringing the other Cousin in University. Cydney and I had talks about her school and other fun stuff, and I played with my Cousin Aaron while Alex and Garrett did their own teenage thing.

The next day the circus began. We piled into the vehicles and headed back to my Grandparents. We had snacks and waited for everyone to arrive. In total about 30 of us all crammed into one house. We went through at least a dozen bottles of wine and I don’t know how many bottles of beer and other booze. We opened gifts and I collected most of the wrapping paper except for the tissue paper my mom wanted kept for whatever reason. Our family has shifted from traditional gift wrapping to gift bags for the most part however. Very environmentally conscious of them, considering wrapping paper is difficult to recycle.

I played many rounds of hide-and-seek with my little cousins and enjoyed many laughs. I love playing with them, though it does cut into visiting time. Unfortunately for them, I have a few years experience on hide-and-seek in that house and know all the good spots. They’re catching on though. And it is very apparent that I can’t fit into some of the hiding spots I used to be able to. I also spent a good chunk of time wrestling with them as well. A 22 year old against 3 kids under the age of 10. Hopeless. Especially Aaron who now has some weight behind him, and when you get anyone in the knees they’re bound to go down.

Dinner was fantabulous (yes, I do make up words from time to time). Curries and Dahl, Coconut Rice, Potatoes, and all sorts of other fine Indian foods. I ate the fill of about seven people and could hardly move for an hour later while overheating from all of the spices. I stayed strong to the vegetarianism during this time. Thankfully there was enough option.

It’s during this time that I get into contact with the old friends, and each time I come back it becomes more and more apparent who those close friends are. As always, Heather and I had our Nightmare Before Christmas date. We ate Turtles and enjoyed each other’s company, talking about this and that while watching what I would argue is Tim Burton’s best work. Other than Vincent, which is also fantastic (but anything narrated by Vincent Price would be).

Had one night out on the town that started out with Jessie and her Mom and Scott out to dinner. Conversation abounded. She goes to University of Ottawa now and I didn’t get to see her last time I was home so we had a lot of catching up to do. She’s one of my closest friends and it sucked that I hadn’t gotten to see her while I was home in the summer. So we caught up and went to her Bro’s place for some predrinks and then to the bar. I am close friends with all the Farmer’s and Josh, though he looks a bit different is best kind. My brother even.

(Sidenote: Just passed Canada’s Wonderland)

We went out for some Karaoke. I didn’t sing any, but I did play some pool and run into all manner of people from my past, including Goose Goose, who sucks at pool just as much as I do, and Cath, Shannon, some guy who I don’t remember his name but he bought me three drinks, Bill, etc. It was a veritable reunion with some faces that I hadn’t seen for years while others I dreaded would recognize me, but that’s the way with going home every time. I was most excited to see Nick and EJ however. Nick, who a couple summers ago we kicked off an awesome friendship and EJ whom Mr. Sheppard constantly mistook for my gf, always ending in hilarity.

The next day I headed to coffee with Jade, who I also missed last time I was home. She was also the 1st person ever to come visit me on the East Coast. She came up for Easter last year while she was I New Brunswick. We went for coffee at this lovely place in St. Thomas (it is rare that St. Thomas and lovely make it into the same sentence) called Cravings. We had soup and coffee and caught up. I also went and saw her parents, caught up with them. In St. Thomas with many friends it’s not just catching up with friends but friends and their families.

On the final night of being home, I made a quick pitstop at a party at Steve-O’s, had a couple beers and then headed her home. The next day I was to breakfast at 2 PM with Lisa, Shannon and Steve-O before heading back to London to have my arse handed to me in Trivial Pursuit by my Mom and Tom before heading off next day for Toronto for my New Years Celebrations.

This Concludes Part 2: Please Change Cassettes.

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