When Alan left for Texas, he took the laptop. By the time I had made it down to Texas, he had dropped the laptop and broken the screen. It’s still usuable, but it’s annoying to read anything on it because there are huge cracks running through the screen.

When we moved, the folks who unloaded the truck showed themselves to be completely incapable of following directions. Books got scrambled all over the place. So now we can’t find most of our Christmas decorations. I don’t even know where the wreath hanger for the door is, so though we found a wreath, we can’t hang it anywhere unless we first track down the right box. So we have no Christmas decorations up at all.

Still, I was determined to try to keep from being a Grinch this year. I love Christmas, and I know it’s not about the decorations.

So the other day, when Alan was finishing the paperwork to purchase a fridge for the house, Ellie and I went into a bookstore next to the Sears store. While Ellie was browsing through books, I noticed the full audio book version of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy as well as “The Hobbit” on a nearby shelf. Alan had said months ago that he wanted them but was upset that they didn’t seem to be in stores anymore. So I knew it was something that he wanted AND something he wouldn’t expect. So I grabbed them from the shelves and, hiding them from Ellie all the while, purchased them and had them packed in the bag so that no one could peek.

I’ve been so excited since then, looking forward to Christmas morning when Alan and Ellie opened the package.

Tonight, Alan told me that he had seen them in a store at a different mall and would be going there tomorrow to buy them. “Partially for Ellie, but mostly for me.”

Alan knew that he’d figured out my Christmas present for him when I burst out in tears. Silly me. I just saw my surprise spoiled and just couldn’t help it. 🙁

On top of all of that, Alan’s sister called and layed on the guilt about how her kids were so disappointed that we couldn’t be together at Christmas. And then Ellie had a project to do for school about her favorite Christmas tradition, which is… you guessed it… spending Christmas with her cousins. So Alan and I talked about it and decided that we’ll be driving back to Ohio to spend Christmas with the family. Two thousand miles (or more) round trip. Won’t that be fun?

In a way, I don’t mind going to Ohio for Christmas. Dad went into the hospital just as we were leaving Ohio, and though he’s out now, it’s a reminder that we won’t have that many more together. So I know it’s something we need to do, even if the SIL hadn’t laid on the guilt.

Still, I just loathe the idea of 4 days in the back of our Jeep. It’s reliable, but it’s really uncomfortable on long trips, especially when the thing is loaded so that the front seat is pushed all the way back.

Fa la la la la…

Bah humbug.

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