I had been planning for months to surprise my Dad:) If you know me you know I like surprises! Anyway, I had been dodging his requests to know when I was coming in because I didn't want to lie. However, I realized that if I didn't say something that he would definitely know that something was up, so I told him I was coming in on the Saturday before Christmas, when really my flight was scheduled for Friday;) Which ended up being a smart move on my part because if I had really left on Saturday I might have been stuck thanks to the snow. As it was it took an extra hour for the SeaTac Shuttle to get off the island. Hiking, normally it would be a reasonable walk, gas station to meet the shuttle in the snow and ice was no fun. I'm really lucky I didn't sprain my ankle slipping on the ice.
So how did I get home if my Dad thought I was coming in on Saturday? For this stage of the plan I enlisted my step mom. Once I arrived in SFO I caught the BART train into downtown SF and waited for her, to be done with work, in the Embarcadaro Center. I had lunch and watched people pass by and the kids skate at the open air rink that is down there.
I should also note that around this time I had been battling a sore throat and a cough for a couple of weeks. Ever since I returned from New Orleans (which is another post I'm overdue on). It made it very hard to sing during my churches Christmas cantata as well, but the show must go on. Although I was in a fit of coughing seizures afterward. My coughs had not been this bad since I had my tonsils removed 8 years ago (that's a story in and of itself). Trust me though it was bad, so I knew that this wasn't just a cold or regular voice strain from singing, but without health insurance . . . What's a girl to do? So I suffered through it praying it would get better, ummm it didn't. On the ride home I said something to Nancy about it and she mad mention of a program that my Dad had with our family physician. Under the plan all my Dad's children, whether insured or uninsured, could be seen by Dr. Varady for about $35 up until they are 30 (I'm 29). So I told my Dad what was going on and asked if he thought he could get me in. He made a call and was able to get me in that day (I'm pretty sure that Dr. Varady had stayed late because there was no one else in there). PTL, because I felt awful. It was really weird seeing him again after 15 years (I wasn't a very sickly child growing up so that's not unusual). Anyway, he asked me about what I was up to and the usual pleasantries, and then he did the usual. He checked my throat culture and saw it wasn't strep throat, but once he listened to my breathing he diagnosed me with Bronchitis (looking back I can't believe I hit that A note during the cantata while having Bronchitis). So, knowing I didn't have insurance, he gave me some free Anti-biotics that he had in the office and a prescription for some cough syrup, with Codine, so that I could get some rest. With the throat culture that he took it ended up being $45, but my Dad ended up paying for it and the cough syrup was only $10. So I felt really blessed that I was in the right place at the right time. Plus it was really nice to feel taken care of. It's definitely something that hits me more the longer that I'm on my own, and taking care of things on my own. I felt a little loopy from the Codine on Saturday and Sunday, but the Anti-biotics started working right away which made me feel so much better. I would have hated to suffer through that on my vacation so I'm really glad that I thought to ask for help.
After getting in my Dad handed over the keys to his Jeep Wrangler:), I love driving it! However, his Jeep key and my Saturn key look an awful lot alike and I accidentally ended up putting my Saturn key into the Jeep's ignition, and as you can imagine it did get stuck. ARGH, was a start to my Saturday! I tried to loosen it w/some WD-40, but that didn't work. Of course there's always the use of shear force, which I didn't want to pull to hard and have the key break off inside the ignition (that's happened to me with one of my old cars and it's not fun). So I called around to a couple different tow companies. The first guy I spoke to was really unhelpful, the second was just as bad, finally I got a hold of one that was willing to come out and at least see if he could help. After he came to my rescue it didn't take him but 30 seconds before he was able to jimmy the key out of the ignition, and check for any damage to it (thankfully there was none). However, after that episode I took my key off of my key chain so that it didn't happen again. That's a $66 mistake that I never want to make again.
The rest of the week was pretty cerebral. I saw my mom on Tuesday night for our present exchange, since she was planning on being in the mountains with my aunt. It went well and she made some good homemade Chicken soup. She liked what I gave her (the movie Sneakers and a biography about Sidney Poitier, there's a big story behind the significance of the gifts, but that's for another post). I also made dinner for my family 4 nights that I was there. Every other day so that I could have leftovers without my Dad having to go to a lot of trouble to accommodate my dietary needs. The menu is as follows:
Saturday: Plum Good Chicken (yes those are pomegranates, which added a nice juicy tang to this already delicious dish)
Wednesday: Macaroni and Cheese (sorry no pic, my batteries died)
Friday: Taco Soup
(All GF of course)
Everyone really enjoyed it. I think that the favorite was the Plum Chicken, but I forgot to ask my Dad so I'll have to get back to ya'll on that one. But Nancy's favorite dish was the chicken. It seemed like my Dad really like the Mac and Cheese. Jack liked everything, but Matthew not so much. Oh well, I usually cook for adults anyway so it gives me practice with kids. Kids rarely like what's put in front of them to eat, so my feelings aren't hurt.
Then Christmas came. My brothers were bouncing off of the wall with anticipation. Since both me and my families church services were held on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day was very relaxing. Everyone seemed to like what I got them. I love buying gifts for people anyway, but for whatever reason I find is especially fun for Christmas, even if my shopping is usually done by Thanksgiving (Black Friday is my day to shop for me). Disclaimer: I'll make a Thank You post for my Christmas presents separate from this one since it's getting very lengthy. Joey stopped by and it was fun seeing him for a bit.
Here's Joey playing the Little Drummer Boy
However, as in my previous post, probably my favorite thing that I did that day was read straight through. I also creamed Matthew at Monopoly and, later that week, took 1st place in the Wii Fit Ski Jump game!!! I also played with my brothers creating Mad Libs. They were some very silly Mad Libs I might add. Some Christmas Carols will just never be the same. Mad Libs are a great way to connect with your inner child, especially now that as adults we know a lot more words (Nancy be sure to keep the one I got you. We'll have to go through that one next time I come town).
Before I knew it, it was time for me to come back up here. Matthew tried guilting me into staying, but alas my job here awaits. Plus there's just no room for me to stay permanently in my Dad's house. And I can't miss out on Pastor Sargent's annual Bible quiz. It's usually a fun time especially watching us all compete for a chance to answer a question that someone misses. So now I'm home. It's very quiet at the moment, although winter quarter will soon cure that. I'm glad I got to go back to CA this year for Christmas. My brothers were a lot of fun, plus it's just nice to see my everyone anyway.
Let me also say that, for me, it's not quite Christmas without a train underneath the Christmas tree. As a child every year my Dad would have his homemade set underneath the tree. It has since evolved throughout the years, I think it's much more kid friendly now, but also there is a little homage to a lot of peoples favorite Christmas movie "A Christmas Story". Now he has most of, if not all the houses from the movie as well as the infamous figurines. Below are the pictures that I took of the train set. This is always a fun toy for young and old alike:) Thanks Dad
Can you recognize what the scenes of this movie are? What do you think of this movie? Is it like nails on a chalkboard for you? Or do you laugh like I do at the way Gene Shepard waxes his vocabulary? Me, I like it. My family watches it every Christmas!!!