Today was the "Garland Family Christmas" with my in-laws. I wasn't sure Clark and I were going to get to go, but he woke up feeling okay and so off we went. He said he was wanting to get off the pain pills, so I gave him his dose at 10 before we left...and didn't bring the next dose with me.
Most of the family was already there when we arrived. There were about 18 of us all-together...from about age 78 down to age 4. We had our "Christmas meal" of steak, baked potatoes, corn, salad and rolls. I wasn't really hungry at the time. There's not really a lot of room where we eat and so everyone was stepping over everyone else...it was kind of hectic. I got Joshua all situated with his food...everyone else took care of themselves.
Since I didn't eat, I stayed in the kitchen cleaning the dishes and loading the dishwasher until my mother-in-law said, "we are having Christmas...NOW."
Now, "having Christmas" has a different meaning at my in-laws house. Typically, my mother-in-law gives us all a large gift bag full of stuff. I call it my SOS..."sack of...stuff." Things I've gotten in my SOS are: random, decorative thumbtacks, pens, hammers, screwdrivers, a "throw blanket," devotion book, a net thing that you can put your PANTYHOSE in to wash them in the washing machine (whaaaat? 1978 called and wants your pantyhose back!), an x-acto knife, a turban towel, a tape measure, a spatula, and salt and pepper shakers.
That is just a sample platter of the contents of my gift bag throughout the years.
It's always a random mix of things that have nothing to do with each other...and we all 3 get them: me and my two sisters-in-law.
My mother-in-law typically buys these things on her annual trip to Branson. She goes with 10 other "lady friends" and they frequent all kinds of off-brand "dollar store" type of stores...places you can't ever find anywhere else if you wanted to take any of your gifts back. You can't. Don't even try. You just can't.
I already have approximately 11 "throw blankets" at my house. She says, "they are SO handy! Like when you have company come over and they get a little chill...or if you go on a trip...you never know when you might need a little "throw blanket" in the car...they are so handy!".
And I'm just sayin'...our car trips may or may not have involved 6 or 7 of us crammed into a Suburban, with all of our luggage, snacks and a guinea pig (and it's cage)...and if every person brings a handy "throw blanket," there is NO ROOM FOR ANYTHING ELSE.
You think I'm lying, but every person in my family except for Jim and I...got a handy "throw blanket" TODAY. That's 8 "throw blankets" just today.
I can't figure out why I didn't get one. We have begged and begged my mother-in-law to just give us each a $10 gift card to WM. I would rather have that and buy something that I could use. She doesn't understand that. She wants everyone to have something...ANYthing...to open. But this year, I got a gift-card (YAY)...and, just to keep it real...a set of 4 decorative cheese spreaders.
Because you can never have too many of those, am I right?
I love my in-laws but they are about the most eccentric people I have ever met. There is a tall bar-counter that separates the kitchen from the dining area. My mother-in-law has added shelves on top of the counter. If you are standing in the dining area, you really can't see into the kitchen...because of all the shelves and the stuff on the shelves. They are FULL of stuff. You can't even imagine. But today, on top of the shelves...on top of the stuff...there were three empty milk jugs. One was sitting up straight, and the other two were on their sides. When we asked my father-in-law about it, he said the jugs were "bat alarms," and that if a bat flew into the house, they would hit the empty milk jugs and knock them down...and that's how we would know there are bats in the house.
Seriously? This is a problem now? Bats in the house? That was a new one on me!
We've had a lot of interesting Christmases at my in-law's house...fun, crazy, stressful. Tonight was fun.
Clark was not feeling well after a couple of hours, so we came on home. It was great to see everyone, but it was also great to come home. I haven't gotten a lot of sleep since I've been sleeping in the living room with Clark, so I'm pretty tired.
You might even say I'm tried.
"...He gives to His beloved even in his sleep." Psalm 127:2