Sunday, December 21, 2014

Home with the lights on

I made it back from China. It was a fun trip, but as suspected, I was not able to connect to Blogger, thus no blogging for three weeks. It was odd having all that time to myself with nothing to do in the evenings and no responsibilities. OK, it wasn't odd at all, it was amazing! Think about it. Three weeks with no homework, no dishes, no cooking, no vacuuming, no grocery shopping, and only laundry for one person. I had so much time on my hands I got foot massages twice a week. And at breakfast in the morning, they brought me peppermint tea without my even having to ask. Frankly, if I hadn't missed Husband and the children so much, I would never have wanted to leave. The problem is that when you are actually posted overseas and not just there temporarily, you don't get to live in the Marriott and there is still a lot of laundry. And homework.

However, there were drawbacks to being in China during the winter. First, it was really hard to breathe at times. I bought a mask, but it said "comfort mask" on the box which I suspect meant it didn't do much. And it was freezing and windy, and I'm not exaggerating about the freezing part. On the warmest day there, it only got up to 37 Fahrenheit. And besides not being able to connect to facebook, or Google, or Instagram, my iPod, which was the only electronic item I brought with me, has a new feature. It turns itself on and starts playing 80s music all by itself. Apparently, somebody in China has a thing for INX, Phil Collins, and Rick Astley. I'm not complaining, OK, I'm complaining a little bit, but it was a little disconcerting once when I wanted to skip forward to another song and then it started playing backwards until it got to the beginning of the song that someone else wanted to hear which was "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan. Um, no you won't be in my heart, Mr. Selfish iPod Monitor. You missed that boat when you kept playing One Direction over and over. This is the problem of sharing your playlist with the whole family. At least he didn't like Miley Cyrus.

The very first thing I did when I got home, after hugging the children almost to death  and posting a status on facebook, was fix the Christmas tree. I left Husband with one job for Christmas. One job! Which was to take care of the tree since the awesome delivery place no longer delivers and I didn't have time to get one before I left. So he did actually get a tree at Home Depot and did actually start to decorate it with Child 1. But then they thought it didn't look right, so they gave up. And when I came home after flying straight for 14 hours, the tree that greeted me looked like this.

Which is not what I had in mind at all. So before going to bed, I fixed it. Yes, I stayed up for almost 40 hours straight so I could make my Christmas tree look more festive because that is how much of a micro-manager I am about the holidays. So now the tree looks like this.

So now is all as it should be and it finally feels like Christmas. I don't know why, but the version of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" that they played at the Dirt Market over and over and over again just didn't do it for me. But the tree and being with my family all under one roof does. Now I just have to wrap the billions of gifts I brought back from China. Does cellophane packaging count as wrapping? This year it might just have to. The tree took every last ounce of energy I had.

And by the way, the gluten-free buttery marshmallowy Chex-mix my friend "Lydia" made for me is almost better than a brownie, and in fact, might be the best dessert I've eaten in years. She is an awesome friend and extremely thoughtful, and those kind of friends are definitely better that brownies.

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