Merry Christmas from the High Plains of Texas!
Here is an update on the Lackeys in the form of a detailed description of our home "in this moment" on December 22, 2010, at 3:08PM. Bryce and Reed are home. Jonathan just left to go "hang out" with friends. Overall, it's pretty quiet and peaceful. I'm thinking that Bryce and Reed must be wearing headphones.
Both the doors on the top and bottom of our entertainment center are flung wide open. The TV is still warm from being on for most of the day. There are 2 empty string cheese wrappers peeking up from underneath a throw pillow on a cozy chair. An empty Dr. Pepper can is sitting on the table next to the chair. All of the throw pillows which were carefully re-fluffed and replaced last night have been un-fluffed and "rearranged." The remote control is on the floor next to the couch. From the look of the throw blanket on the couch and the configuration of the pillows, someone got real cozy while zoning out in front of the TV this morning. Actually, the room is pretty orderly. There are no shoes or socks scattered about. The Christmas tree stands tall in the corner with its tiny white lights and 200+ Santa ornaments winking at me. Underneath its boughs are piles of wrapped gifts which have been carefully arranged in such a way that shows off the pretty wrapping paper and bows. About 2 feet in front of this lovely array of gifts are the gifts that the boys "wrapped" yesterday by plopping their purchases into recycled gift sacks and topped with shocks of tissue. There are small items swimming in the depths of large sacks and large items poking their heads out of medium sized sacks. This system of wrapping works for me because I tend to be a "peeker."
Jonathan's, Bryce's and Reed's Rooms:
Other than the furnishings and bedding, these three rooms look basically the same. There are piles of dirty clothes on the floor topped off with wet bath towels. Empty Dr. Pepper cans have been left alone to rust like little Tinmen in the forrest. I stop and listen in case they are crying out, "Please...recycle me!" with their tiny, tinny voices. Laptops and headphones have sprawled across their beds resting up for the next round of World of Warcraft adventures. Loose change confettis their floors near discarded dirty jeans. In Jonathan's room his cat, Pepe, is curled up under the bed sleeping off the antics of his late night ramblings. He should be very tired after Saturday's adventure of airport nightmares from Chicago Midway to Kansas City to Lubbock. There are no traces of higher education to be found amidst the chaos. The textbooks which served them so valiantly during the Fall semester were sold at their college bookstores minutes after their respective finals were taken. "Begone, Brit Lit! I will never spend another Saturday night in the library with thee!" "Begone, Mythology! May the gods be with you! Gone are the bedside books which once patiently waited for their late night readers. Pleasure reading is a thing of the past. Thick textbooks have created vacuums in the boys' heads where the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter once held court.
Oh, the kitchen. I was out most of the day for my morning cut-'n'-color appointment and, then, lunch with my CASA kids. While I was gone, Alan must have stopped by for lunch. There are 2 mostly empty containers of Activia yogurt sitting next to the sink with telltale rims of yogurty goodness lining their tops. They have not been thrown in the trash. Neither have they been rinsed out and recycled. Nope. Alan left them displayed there on the kitchen counter for no apparent reason amidst the dirty glasses - some with bits of ice melting in what looks like watered down Dr. Pepper - that are strewn across that same counter. A sauce pan 1/2 full of coagulated homemade queso dip is sitting cock-eyed on a burner. According to the indicator glowing above the burner's knob which is now in the "Off" position, the perpetrator should still be in the area. There must be a trail of Dorito crumbs around here somewhere. That trail would lead me straight to the perp's lair. Next to the cooktop are two opened cans of Rotel tomatoes that are waving at me with their ruffled lids which are bent up and twisted this way and that. On the table are 6 bottles of wine which Alan has left for someone to wrap up for him to give as gifts to some bank customers. I suppose that when the little fairy comes to clean up his Activia mess, she will also bedazzle the bottles with Yuletide gaiety. A large bin of gift boxes and gift sacks sits at the ready in the corner by the table. Next to it stand brightly colored rolls of Christmas wrapping paper with scraggly cut edges waiting for the next call to arms when a gift is presented for adornment. They, too, are waiting for Alan's magic fairy to come wrap the gifts he will then label "From - ALL To - CEL." No, they are not from everybody to me. Alan's middle name is Loyd.
The Master Bedroom:
Ahhh. The sanctuary. Lily and Dixie, our 2 black and white cats, are curled up on the bed napping the afternoon away. Lily's ears twitch a bit when she hears me tiptoe into the room, but her eyes remain closed as she focuses on her dreams of dining on fresh trout plucked from a Rocky Mountain Stream while stretched out on a cozy bed fashioned from my favorite pink fuzzy robe. On my bedside table next to a small stack of books are an economy sized container of Tums and a tube of Burt's Bees lip balm. These items share the tabletop with a clear glass Tiffany heart paperweight - a Valentine's treasure from years ago - and clock on a stand that has never kept good time. Alan's bedside table boasts some travel books and a little collection of his nighttime vitamins left there so that he can't forget to take them. Out of habit, I glance towards the foot of our bed. A bench has been placed there where Pepper slept every night for the past 13 years up until a long, dark August night last summer. Gone are the clumps border collie hair. Gone is our faithful protector. Gone is the pup that sat shiva with me for months after my sister, Kathy, died. Now, I've done it. I've gone and picked my scab of family pet grief inviting tears to journey down my cheeks. Move on, Carolyn. Deep breath. In through the nose and out through the mouth. Oh, there is also a dresser and a couple of chairs...the usual accoutrements that are placed in bedrooms to create a haven of sorts for people who need a "soft place to fall" at the end of each day. This room is my favorite room in our home. It has its own sort of gravitational pull that keeps me from flying out into deep space on days when I'm busy, "full-on" Carolyn.
The Dining Room:
Since Thanksgiving, the dining table has been set for Christmas Eve dinner with my Spode Christmas china, our wedding Waterford wine glasses and champagne flutes and Mom's vintage water goblets with clear stems and emerald green bowls. Something old. Something new. Something passed down. There are eight places set for our small family gathering. Joining us this Christmas Eve will be Nana, Mimi, and Leonard. Leonard is one of Mimi's dear friends from Raider Ranch whose daughter, a nurse, will be working that night. After the candelight service at our church, we will gather around that lovely table and hold hands, heads bowed, while Leonard says grace. He prays in the most elegant, spiritual and loving way. Once the amens are said, we will feast on honeyed ham, a three-potato gratin, cranberry salad and other tasty seasonal morsels. Then, we will push our chairs back swearing that we will never be able to eat again in our lifetimes and clear the table before gathering in the living room in front of the crackling fire for dessert - sugar cookies and thick, rich sipping chocolate topped with toasted marshmallows.
I'm off to the kitchen to clear off the counters so that I can whip up my boys' favorite, Homemade White Cheddar Mac and Cheese. They like it served in huge steaming piles in soup bowls alongside crusty, hot, buttery rolls. I must quintuple the recipe. This is a week filled with comfort foods, cookies, candy and my four men. Heaven on earth.
Merry Christmas from the Lackeys!