Almost 7 months straight of living in Arizona before I dropped by good ole New England to say hi to the family again. Definitely loving the desert life and looking forward to the day where Simon and I are able to move west of Phoenix, where it’s a bit warmer on a regular basis. Boy, was feeling warm enough in a T-shirt while outside on Christmas the neatest thing!
Yeah, I’m weird like that.
Anyway, Simon and I drove a quick–yes, quick–four hours to his sister’s house for Christmas. They got a Cocker Spaniel puppy and I was reminded of how sharp puppy teeth are. Cute little bugger got me good, but only once. Much time was spent with him (Duke) keeping my lap warm or chasing the children around, along with them learning how tiny a puppy’s bladder is.
I got to enjoy Christmas from a purely adult perspective. I played Santa and ate the cookies the kids left for him, along with leave a note from “Santa”, asking where “my” milk was. Kids just said sorry to the note and started drooling at the pile of presents under the tree. Close enough.
It was fun watching the kids unwrap round after round of presents. I thought I’d be bored, but I got enjoyment out of their enjoyment, along with all the simple pleasures of the holiday that don’t revolve around maxing out every last credit card for stuff that often get lost, broken, or forgotten about. Stuff is stuff. It’s the company you keep and the good memories you make that matter most.
Speaking of stuff, Simon and I bought four copies of Pokémon X and Y for his nieces and nephews, along with four gigantor boxes and 20 bucks worth of packing peanuts. We purposely wrapped the games separately and stuffed the boxes only with the peanuts. Now, we were hoping to watch a grander scene of surprise and confusion unfold but, once they realized the boxes were empty, they shrugged off their disappointment and eagerly awaited the next round of presents to rip open. We revealed the location of their gifts, thus christening the next generation of Pokémon fans.
I made my trademark chocolate chip cookies from scratch and they were quite the hit. I dished out batches to five different neighbors and received cookies in return, and chased down the local postal worker and her delivery car thing, winter coat balled up under one arm, and gave her a bunch of cookies as well. Yeah, running in Adidas sandals isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it was so worth it. Many people, including myself, ate my cookies until we had stomach aches. They’re addicting morsels of soft, chewy awesomeness.
The flight from Phoenix to Bradley International went smoothly, and our layover flight in Cleveland got sprayed down with, I guess, anti-icing liquids. Felt like being in a car wash and it took a while for the window to clear up enough to see out it. I like seeing what the world looks like while so high in the air. And since our flight left out of Phoenix at 12:30 AM, I caught myself waking up with my mouth ajar, since I was sleeping while seated upright. My chair didn’t recline on either flight. Le sigh.
Simon and I went from low 70s in Arizona to sub-freezing temperatures in New England. I acclimated to it right away but I sure as heck haven’t missed the cold or snow. I like warmth and sun. Poor Arizona native Simon was under four layers and still wanting ear muffs, or at least a beanie. The one place we attempted to shop for a beanie was fresh out, and we were too tired to keep hunting around town for something he’d need for only a handful of days, so he toughed it out.
It was fun introducing Simon to my family. I met him on WoW, so when I moved to Arizona, it was the first time we’d met face-to-face, thus my family’s first time meeting him. My paternal grandmother, who’d been the most apprehensive of me moving across the country under such bizarre circumstances liked Simon just fine. We were treated to a ham and cheese sandwich lunch that she somehow managed to turn into a banquet. I’m used to fancy presentation and using fine Chinaware. Simon’s used to paper plates and everyone digging in whenever they’re hungry. He enjoyed the experience, though, to the point where we were both quite stuffed and time flew by.
We saw a lot more of my family between Saturday and Sunday, and it was really enjoyable to see everyone again, and it wasn’t so bad being back in my hometown, where I have a lot of memories I want to forget. My childhood was rough. I wasn’t on the same page as everyone else socially, so I got picked on ruthlessly. However, I enjoyed giving Simon a tour of the town and making fun of how small Hartford is. Phoenix is about as big as the entire state of Connecticut. Anyway, giving the tour invoked more positive memories.
I’m one of a very small minority of kids who has the honor of saying they have a parent that is also a pilot (for small planes). I got to share said honor with Simon, who can’t wait for another opportunity like that. He told me that if we get to go flying again next visit, he’ll foot the bill for the plane’s gas. I told him my dad would be floored to hear someone offer to pay for something for him, hehe. (long story)
On Sunday, Simon and I headed to the Yankee Candle store in Deerfield. I wasn’t expecting him to enjoy it much, but he saw all sorts of things he’d love to get for one family member or another, and he even bought a bacon-scented candle (*facepalm*). We’re gonna have to go back one year for some fun Christmas shopping. We did leave with a bunch of items, a couple of them cute gifts up for immediate dishing out.
Monday is home again, home again, jigetty jig. Our first flight got delayed by 90 mins, but at least our rescheduled layover flight is in first class. Wahoo. Never got to sit there before 🙂
An update on all things writing will follow soon after the conclusion of the holidays.