So, my new mantra is:
Never travel during a holiday.
Never fly Delta.
Never connect through Atlanta.
Repeat this over and over. It's for your own good.
Now where was I? Oh yes:
We got to the gate. We got on the plane. We got to Kansas City. It was Christmas Eve and in short order Mom's little house was crammed full of people. Lot's of people, lots of food, lots of presents. The "lots of presents" part I knew would be too much for Mickey. I think he thought they were all for him, and he kept bugging Grandpa Jim to let him open just one. But Grandpa kept saying "no", so Mickey and Papa lounged on the couch just staring . . .
. . . at all the presents . . .
. . . until everyone was present and accounted for.
The biceps below belong to my nephew, Robert Eric. They're, I mean, HE'S, talking to Grandpa Jim.
Mom and Angie, technically my step-sister; one of Grandpa Jim's daughters.
Here's my sister, Lisa (the one far right), with her daughter, Melissa Kay, and her husband, Ed.
Jawin' and pickin' and waitin' . . .
. . . and dodgin' . . .
Woo Hoo! It's time! Aunt Lisa helps Mickey dig in!
Mickey the Great! ( The sorcerer's hat and magician's cape came complete with magic set that our magician has yet to master!)
A Lego boat . . .
. . . a Power Rangers . . . thing . . .
. . . here, you do it like this . . .
. . . no, no, I can do it . . .
. . . Hey! A gun! (Oh, great!) . . .
My sister Lisa was laid up for a number of weeks after a little surgery, so she crocheted hats and scarves . . .
My brother, Kevin, had a very nice Christmas. His daughter, Angie, and her husband, Justin, and their son, Kohl, had come and gone by Christmas Eve, but his daughter Shannon was able to stay until Christmas morning.
Stealing Mickey's presents.
All the presents and associated bedlam drove Mickey crazy, but he had a good time. At least he didn't drink too much egg nog and throw up in the basement (inside memory).
After everyone finally dragged themselves home, Tom, Mickey and I dragged ourselves upstairs to bed while Mom and Jim cleaned up downstairs. Where they find the energy to clean up and put all that food away, and VACUUM before going to bed is beyond me. I guess if it were my house I might do the same. I mean, I DO, hate waking up in the morning to find celebratory detritus lying about in every inconvenient place or another. Anyway. At 6:45 AM on Christmas morning, the phone rings. Now, we all know, when the phone rings early in the morning or late at night, someone's died. Though exhausted, I lie in bed with one eye open and one ear peeled on the telephone conversation Mom is having downstairs. I could hear nothing, until Mom came to the bottom of the steps and called up, "Robert? It's your next door neighbor." Holy Shoot! Either Misty is dead - but how would John and Victor know that - or the house has burned down. Luckily, neither had happened, HOWEVER, three towering hemlocks out by the drive way . . .
. . . fell during a raging windstorm during the night and landed on the roof of the house.
The three hemlocks grew but two or three feet apart, so their root system - you can't even call it a root ball - was intertwined. Luckily. Seems that because they were intertwined, the trees fell slowly onto the roof, instead of crashing with aplomb.
Next door to The Southfield Store where I work lives a John Fields, who just happens to own and operate a tree service. I give him a call and explain my dilemma. He was, of course, more than happy to take the trees off my hands, or should I say, roof. Fearing further damage to the roof, he hired a crane to come in and lift the trees off the roof so that he could cut them up and haul them away.
From what I gather from John and Victor, our next door neighbors, watching John all strapped up and flying around, hanging from the crane, was quite entertaining.
I so want to show this picture to John and say, "My, that's a big log you got there between your legs!" Although he'd probably punch me, or say, "Yes, you're right, it is!"
After the trees were cleared away, there were no gaping holes, only two small holes where two small branches pierced the roof and protruded into the attic.
Ah, well. Merry Christmas! So, since we were all up, we all got up, got ourselves a cup of intellect and headed to the Christmas tree to see what Santa Claus brought Mickey. (I tell you, I think our son is the most delicious boy on this planet!)
He's just too beautiful!
And a little scary.
Move over, Itzhak!
Uncle Kevin? Uncle Kevin? I'm going to shoot you! Uncle Kevin! Sigh.
Grandpa, will you play with me? Uncle Kevin, well, he's . . . Grandpa, will you play with me?
Mickey, do you want breakfast?
So, after breakfast and lunch and losing our minds with all our new things, Tom, Mickey, Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Kevin went to see The Tale of Devereaux. I was a little nervous about whether or not it would be good, but it was actually quite good and the animation was beautiful! Afterward, we drove around and around trying to find some restaurant open where we could have a little dinner. All that was open was an IHOP. Oh well, so much for being in the midwest. Now, if we were in NYC, well then, we could have eaten at any number of places, at least at the local Chinese place. Let me tell ya, that IHOP was HOPPIN!. Mickey fell in love with Uncle Kevin, all over again, and loved sitting on his lap and being silly with him. Here is is trying to get Uncle Kevin to make a silly face for the camera.
Uh. Let's try that again. A silly face! Nope.
We'll just have to keep practicing those silly faces, now won't we, Uncle Kevin?
Mickey loves to take the camera to take a few shots himself. Here's one from Christmas dinner at the IHOP.
I haven't been over to my sister, Lisa's, in such a long time, and Tom and Mickey have never been, and I have wanted Mickey to see Lisa's "boys", so we headed over and spent some time visiting and playing with her funny dogs. She has three Bassetts which she has gotten from rescues and one of them, if I remember correctly, was found wandering in her neighborhood.
Once again, Mickey picked up the camera and started shooting. Here's one of Lisa and her main pooch, whose name escapes me, but he is a big old scaredy baby.
A study in ears . . .
The day we left, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Kevin and we three went to have an early dinner at The Corner Cafe, a local restaurant chain that specializes in gargantuan portions; ambulances await just outside the front door to whisk patrons to local hospitals for quadruple by-passes before returning them to the restaurant for dessert and coffee.
After our meal, we dragged our bellies to the airport. Mickey and I tried to take all sorts of departing photos, but the natural lighting and the little flash were of no help in producing anything fit to print. We also made a few more attempts at silly face photos, and by God, Uncle Kevin finally got it together.
Okay, now you're getting carried away.
Remember those special security checks we were subjected to coming to Kansas City? Well, we were treated to two more on our way home - one in Kansas City and one in our favorite airport to avoid at all costs, Atlanta.
We finally got home around 1:3o a.m. Chaos and confusion never felt so good.
Happy New Year was spent enjoying a bottle of Prosecco (mm, mm, mmm) and watching Anderson Cooper flail around on live TV with Kathy Griffin. And now we're back to the grind. Speaking of grind, never use an espresso grind in an auto-drip coffee maker. The end. 'Nuf said.