Wednesday, December 21, 2011

‘Tis the season to be grumpy, fa la la la... meh.

It’s beginning to look a lot like annoying. It’s taken quite a while for me to even begin to feel that Christmas spirit, and when I say feel the spirit, I mean barely even acknowledging that it exists. Part of my scrooginess was attributed to spending several days in the prior weeks being mired in a HoneyBucket Hell, which is a special place for people like me. You see, I described the septic situation we’re in at home. Well, piles of begged family money later, the back-yard looks like a WWI trench, or the surface of the moon, all the trees are gone, there’s a rectangular mound the size of an in-ground swimming pool in front of the garage where the driveway used to be, and two hideous cement manholes and a power box sticking up out of the ground behind the house. It’s hard to look at that devastation and not burst into tears. But at least we have working plumbing again. For a few days, I was consigned to the use of a Honey Bucket at home in 18º weather—and let me tell you, getting up at 3AM for a potty emergency, and having to hoof it outside to the frigid air, NOT FUN!!!! And worse? The septic tank at our office building failed back in April, and we’ve had a porta-potty at work since then, so I couldn’t get away from the freezing toilet seat if I tried. It has been a nightmare!

But, the toilet is now reconnected at home, and even though our toilet is slightly tilted, it’s warm, so that’s a bonus. It’ll be a little while longer before we can use the indoor facilities in our offices again. So all this toilet-related drama that has sort of set my mood into grump-drive for the next few weeks.

But then there’s all the other additional factors. 1) we can’t afford to give gifts again this year, not even to one another. 2) our Christmas tree didn’t arrive until this past weekend, and he was from the ‘slim-pickings’ pile, because he was cheap. Because we insist on buying live, potted trees, and buying locally, we have to move quickly to get the best looking tree. But since we waited, all that remained were several twiggy trees, a bush that thought it was a tree, and the tree we have, which I call the ‘Special Ed Tree’. I’m convinced that as he was growing up in the Mount Hood forest, all the other trees teased him and laughed at him, playing cruel tree jokes and making him cry. He probably wore a bicycle helmet too, but one of the other trees probably tore it off his top and flung it where he couldn’t reach it with his one, randomly long limb that sticks out from his bushy bottom half. His top half is a single thin trunk-stalk with about eight single branches on it, one set of four in the middle, and one set of four close to the droopy top. His one long branch sticks out from the others by at least two feet. Yep. He’s a special tree.

No amount of blurring, bad lighting or can a bad camera
hide the gaping void on the top half of the tree.
Oh well.
I decorated the hell out of him. I tried to compensate for the lack of branches on the top half by hanging ornaments all over the lighting wire and wrapping tulle around them to give him bulk. He doesn’t look half-bad, in spite of his ‘specialness’. He’ll do. He’s a Norway Spruce, so he’ll go into the back yard, now that there are no larger trees present to tease him. Maybe he’ll grow into himself a bit. Who knows? Decorating did put me in a better mood.

3) Part of my seasonal resentment is also instigated by all the snacks and meals and treats that come along with it. The holiday season revolves around FOOD and for folks trying to lose weight... it SUCKS. Since Thanksgiving, my husband and I have been beset with every temptation known to man. We’ve won some battles, but lost most, and every day is a torturous opportunity to FAIL. My weight as a result has been stagnant. The retreat did not help either because being faced with four days of Stephanie II’s cooking and trying to moderate was IMPOSSIBLE. So I have decided to pretend it never happened and move on. But trust me.. With this kind of noshy deliciousness arranged before you like a feast... There’s no stopping yourself from grazing like a blue whale inhaling krill by the thousands of pounds.

A plate of evil. Delicious, delicious evil.
The ORS retreat was a blast, if not a lot of hard work. My feet hurt for several days afterwards, my 40-year-old body just isn’t able to keep up with Stephanie II. Although I did drive her nuts with a couple of inordinately early morning wakings during the retreat. ::muaha:: I’m surprised I didn’t find sharpie written all over my face or something like that. She can be a brat that way. But that’s all right.

Here I am attempting to read two or three lines of Mary's novel
before being irrevocably distracted by tasks and fun (and also
sporting a lovely double-chin to boot).
Last Thursday, I visited Mary Robinette Kowal’s home to trim bonnets. I was trying out my new bonnet pattern and discovered to my great dismay that it did not scale right, so it’s back to the drafting board. I’ll be re-releasing the old pattern though on Etsy for the time being, until I get my stuff together. And this pattern is tried and true. So it will be for sale as it is for a while longer until I can redraft it and clean it up a bit.

Here at work, my boss is retiring (today is his last day), which has stirred up a lot more emotion than I ever thought it would. I’ve found myself being unusually snippy and angry about stupid things, and this morning, when Sherry texted me a picture of the door-decorations we made all ready to be posted on his door for his last day, I had to pull over and cry. He truly is the best of bosses. He’s funny, he handles us, even at bad moments, with humour and affability, and he trusts us. I don’t know this new guy who is replacing him, except that he’s close to my age. It’s scary. For all of us, but mostly for the other two ladies in my office who have both worked with Dave for over twenty years. I’m going to miss him very much. More than I imagined. We had a little retirement shindig for him at Winestock in Oregon City last Friday. He was SO bratty and out of control. SII made a little jukebox cake (which was so soft and delicious OMG – CURSE THE CAKE!) for him (he restores jukeboxes as a hobby). Strangers in the wine place were asking for pieces of it.

On Saturday, a small group of us had tea at the Heathman Hotel to celebrate Jane Austen’s birthday. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the Heathman. For $32, what we got was pretty laughable, and SII was scandalized. Last time we went there for tea, the portions were pretty much double what we had this time, so I’m thinking the kitchen is trying to cut costs, but holy crap... the cost is too high. I’m not sure if we are going to do a repeat of that again if it’s so little for so much. Just not worth it! The foods were also pretty mediocre. Next to SII’s teas served at the retreat? Not even close. But we all had a really great time. And a moderately OK photo of me was taken by SII.

At Saturday Market in Portland before we
made our way up to the Heathman.
Still not pregnant, but not for lack of trying. I am still popping clomid like pez every time the cycle comes ‘round. Not sure how much longer I’ll keep doing that. We’ll see.

Anyway, that’s my update for now. If I don’t post again until after Christmas, I’d like to extend my warmest “BAH HUMBUG!” to you. ;)

The HC

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Stephanie, I haven't had much Christmas spirit this season either. It seems like it came too fast and I wasn't ready for it. Most of my lack of spirit had to do with family drama and also the fact that I'm also trying to lose weight and instead of losing weight, I've actually gained weight. So, once again, after the first of the year, I'm going to try to do the lose weight thing. Maybe I'll be successful this time. Oh, and I know exactly how you feel about the aroma of hamburgers and fries. BTW, you look great. Hang in there.


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