Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Day

A day I thought I’d dread has come and gone with very little pain but a lot of laughs, relaxation and great food. Our internet was down for two days but it came back up, sort of, late yesterday. The phones have been another matter. Some needed work had to be done before a major event this week, but unfortunately it happened right before Christmas which has made it extremely difficult, OK, impossible to talk with family on this day of days. Well, the resourceful “young” man that I am, I had alternative arrangements made. I got up at 5:00 a.m. and was able to talk with my parents and siblings as well as Janae and the boys for a few minutes on their Christmas Eve, but on my Christmas morning.

The gym was pretty empty this morning. I guess everyone was still asleep. Couldn’t blame them but I had to work off a few calories in anticipation of all the “junk” I knew I’d be eating today.

After the gym, I enjoyed three bowls of Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries. When we were kids, that’s what my Mom would buy us for Christmas breakfast. My brother Matt and his wife Missy sent me a box. It came a couple weeks ago. Inside was a box of Crunch Berries. I decided that I had to save if for Christmas morning. I was glad I did. I was the envy of several Marines. Of course I shared!!

Around noon I finally got around to opening my gifts. Once again, let me thank my family for spoiling me. I received some really great gifts.

When Seth was little, he read in the Children’s Friend about a tradition in some country of putting clues on gifts. Of course we try to make them really obscure so you won’t guess what they are, but that’s a tradition we’ve had for many years. The first gift I picked up was from Thor, my beloved Husky. The clue read something like, “It’s better to give of yourself.” I could tell from the package it was something soft inside. I was not at all prepared for what I found when I opened it. I thought maybe it was, oh I don’t know, a shirt or something like that. Guess what it was? It was a bag of dog hair that Janae had gathered. Inside was a note that said I needed to spread the dog hair all around my room so I’d get the full effect. I laughed out loud!! I’m still chuckling.

A little later, I picked up what was obviously a calendar. This one was from Star. The clue simply said “12.” OK, that’s was a little obvious. This time I was a little more prepared. I held my breath in dread as I ripped open the paper. Yes, I let out a scream of terror. It was worse than I thought. Not only was it a calendar of cats, it was a calendar of frilly, nauseating cats. I thought about sending it back to Star but knew that sending back gifts was impolite. So that lovely gift will remain hidden in my room where no one will have to burn out their eyes looking at it!!

My wife has such a wonderful sense of humor!! Of course I got some rather personal gifts but I won’t share those details with you. I wouldn’t want to embarrass Janae in front of her mother – kidding!!

My brother, Chris and his family as well as Jason and his family, were not to be outdone in the humorous or fun category. I got a set of “teeth.” You know the kind. The ones with the missing teeth in front, the snaggle-tooth kind, etc. I’ll have fun wearing them on our next humanitarian visit. I also got a Nerf-dart gun. Can’t wait to try it out on someone. I also got a set of super-hero action figures. Along with three villains (I hate to say this, I have no idea who they are) I got my three favorites, Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman. I’ve really gotten into Smallville – Seth, Luke and Braxton sent me season 5. I just finished season 2 so can’t wait to work my way through seasons 3-4 that I already have – thanks guys!! Anyway, Superman has reaffirmed himself as my new superhero. Anyway, I’ve decided that my new action figure will be my mascot. I’m going to take him on any mission that I go on now. Once my camera gets here, I’ll start taking pictures of all the places that Superman goes. OK, Wonder Woman and Batman can come too. I wouldn’t want them to feel left out!

Then I took a nap.

After that, I started watching Lord of the Rings, another Christmas tradition. The three years that the trilogy came out at Christmas, Santa bought tickets for the family to go to a Christmas day showing. So, I had to revive that tradition. Since I brought the extended versions with me, I didn’t get through all three movies. I couldn’t spend almost 12 hours watching movies, but I got through enough that it made me feel nostalgic for my family and the fun times we had going and watching the movies together.

Then came Christmas dinner. Once again, the chow hall staff outdid themselves. A side of beef, sufficiently rare that it wasn’t mooing but not shoe leather, turkey, ham, chilled shrimp and all the fixin’s. I was hoping for eggnog again, like we had at Thanksgiving, but the eggnog cows must have been dry. It was so nice to sit and eat with my family here; Merrill, Andy, Ron, Mike and SGT Dougal. Steve and Larry were out on a mission so weren’t there. They would have made the company complete.

After dinner I took my stroll through the snow and loved every minute. I may go back later tonight and do it again just to get my White Christmas fix. We’ll see.

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