Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Christmas Whoosh

Tuesday morning we (Angie, Heather and me in one vehicle, Michael and Brooke in another) got off to a late start. We hit some weather along the way and didn't get into town until evening. My sister Karen, younger nephew James, and Karen's friend Jay had a far worse ordeal as Seattle had all but shut down for a couple days to deal with the snow. Instead of leaving Sunday, they couldn't get out of Seattle until Tuesday. But their connecting flight from Denver left before they could meet it, so they didn't make it in until shortly after noon on Christmas Eve. She wasn't happy.

Angie, Brooke, Heather, Michael, and I started the Christmas Eve festivities in Mandan at Darcy and Harley's with some contraband snacking before dinner at Angie's folks' house. After dinner we opened gifts.

Brooke went to her dad's for her continued Christmas Eve gift openings, and we returned to my parents' house. Karen had been busy wrapping the presents she had shipped to Mom's and fully intended to wrap days earlier. And we all but turned right around and unwrapped them.

Santa brought Heather more goodies Christmas morning, but Daddy (yours truly) was sleeping in and didn't catch any pictures. Angie and I went to visit her brother Marv and his girl Jill for an hour or two in the afternoon. And then we tried to get the Sinkula Christmas dinner going. The turkey wasn't cooperating very well, but eventually it all came together. And Daddy got stuffed.

Later that night, after playing a bit of Blockus, Angie found two dogs playing in the snowdrift. They didn't appear to belong to any house in the near vicinity, so I called the number on the tags. It turns out they belonged to my old buddy Troy, who had just shipped overseas in early December. I emailed him, saying, "Small world, huh? Two dogs from Tennessee bump into two Twin Cities residents in Bismarck."

On Friday, I also got a nice surprise in a phone call from my friend Mark's wife Lisa. We chatted briefly, as Angie, Heather, and I were off to meet up with Angie's friend Tanya, her husband, and her four boys at Kroll's. Later I returned to my attempt at being Mom's PC tech support. Eventually I had success getting her B&W copier/printer working again -- but not before spilling toner on the white carpet. I did call Mark later and did a quick catchup of what now turns out to be over a year since we had last met up in Fargo.

Meanwhile, Michael volunteered to join Angie to visit her friend Nicki in Flasher, ND. Meanwhile I continued trying to figure on Mom's printer issues; hours later I threw in the towel and talked with Karen and Mom for a bit. I managed to figure out "the other secret" to Mom's "secret" chocolate (and butterscotch) chip cookie recipe.

The snow picked up Friday evening, but I was dead tired. Angie called to note that they were leaving Flasher about 11. I made it maybe a half hour, but zonked out shortly thereafter. The phone rang a little after midnight, and caller ID showed it was from Angie's cell phone, but she left no message. I tried to wake up enough to call back, but I got no answer. Shaking off some cobwebs I went outside to grab a smoke and watch the falling snow accumulate. I called again about 20 minutes later and still got no answer. So I called some Highway Patrol number and checked the weather radar online. After a couple back-and-forths with the HP guy, Angie called and said that they were just leaving Buck's, where Michael wanted to make a quick stop. I called the HP back with the news, and returned to grogginess.

Saturday we were having family pictures at 10 am, so we had to get everybody up and dressed "early". We managed to get everybody there on time and the sitting went well, but of course it took longer than expected for Mom, Karen, and me to make all our selections. Finishing up just after noon, we stopped at home to grab a quick bite to eat and then get ready to head out to the Elk's.

From 2-4 we were celebrating Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary. I really enjoyed visiting with many of our old neighbors and meeting some of the people Mom has worked with. We thought things turned out very well.

After cleaning up, "us kids" and our kids wandered off to Midway Lanes. We invited friends Dan and Sandy to join us, and we all had a really good time. And then it was time to pack for home.

Thank you, everyone, for a great Christmas. I wouldn't want it any other way.

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