Canal Water Review

"To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing." Hypatia "Yeah. That pretty much sucks canal water." cwr

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Birthday Blues

My birthday is long gone, so I'm in the middle of the "blues" stage. My birthday, when it comes, falls somewhere in the Scorpio range. It also falls in the time period when everyone is rushing to get things done before Thanksgiving, so there's usually a lot of work that has to be done at the office pretty much on the day itself. This year, there were two major meetings on the day, with a fair amount of follow up work to be done. This doesn't include all of the work that it took to get ready for the meetings. The Big Day, was, needless to say, quite full. And, since it was preceded by a dearth of sleep, all I really wanted to do when I got home was sleep. Of course, I had to go out to dinner with the family and receive gifts, but I truly wouldn't have minded their waiting til the next day.

Almost immediately afterwards, every year, there's the actual rush of Thanksgiving. I have to do some serious house cleaning, which can take days. Not only is that something that most normal people would do in anticipation of a holiday gathering, it's "quadruply" necessary in the house I generally ignore--especially since Mama has been known to walk in the door and start crying at the mess. So I give some intensive attention the house I usually neglect and neglect work a bit in the process. This year was no different, except that My Prince, being now retired, could take over the duty of driving to Houston to pick up Mama and take her home again. I cleaned and cleared and spiffed things up until I was generally sick of the house.

I also decided, for the first time in several years, to actually cook Thanksgiving dinner. I figured that the grandson, who had worked in a restaurant, could help me get things ready, and, with a smoked (i.e., pre-cooked) turkey, we could survive the day--and save the cost of 5 expensive dinners at a hotel. On this, I was only slightly misguided. I don't know whether we actually saved any money (well, there were lots of leftovers), but the cooking was a treat with the grandson around. The mother-in-law decided that she didn't feel well enough to come, so that meant that My Prince even got a little bit of rest instead of several hours of roundtrip diving to pick her up. That left four of us to enjoy what was, on the whole, a surprising culinary success. But lots of work in both preparing and cleaning up afterwards. I was indeed quite pooped when the day was over.

Immediately following Thanksgiving is, of coure, Christmas. For the first time ever, I went to the "early bird" sales to pick up some bargains. A good portion of this was accomplishing Mama's Christmas shopping, since she is too disabled to do much on her own. After bringing home the goodies (5 stores in less than four hours)--including a 2.5 ton jack, which weighs just about that much--I was, again, pooped. A little rest, and then I had to go through all of the (many) Christmas boxes to see what else I had accumulated that Mama might want to use as gifts for her friends. To save some space in our overcrowded house, I even wrapped several presents that needed to be sent to Houston for friends there, so that My Prince could haul them and Mama back at the same time. I was quite pooped when the day was over.

Mama left for Houston on Saturday, and I went back to work. More meetings immediately after the holiday. Getting ready to fly to Dallas for another meeting this week. A major presentation next week. And still there are presents to wrap and events to plan.

All of this is complicated by an out of town visitor who plans to arrive tonight, stay a week, and be entertained while I have major responsibilities at the office.

So, what am I doing? Feeling considerable stress that so much seems to be falling on my shoulders right now, of course. But also recognizing that my birthday, which persistently seems to come at the same d*mned time every year, has once again fallen at the busiest time of the year for my work and far too close to major holidays which are in themselves quite a bit of work.

I find myself not at all enthusiastic about my birthday because I know that, every year, it's the starting day for a marathon of labor with intense conflict between work and family. And every year, I get closer to ending it all with "Bah, humbug!" Is it any wonder that when My Prince asks "What do you want for your birthday?" I immediately get depressed by all the work that my birthday signals?