Christmas Eve 2004It has occurred to me that this is the last year in which we can count on all three of our children being home for Christmas. The guys will probably (one hopes!) both be employed by this time next year; the Lovely Daughter hopes to be studying in Europe. As Jobs and Significant Others and Spouses and Grandchildren gradually become realities, the committments of these past two decades will be transformed. Already we are abandoning our family tradition of choosing the tree together, and instead making plans to get a tree tomorrow night and set it up before the kids come home next week-end, so there will be more time to enjoy and less need to run around once they are here.
This time of life reminds me of when they were tiny: as soon as you thought you understood what was going on and found routines and systems that more or less worked, everything changed and you had to devise a new plan. Next year may see them in Chicago, France, and the Czech Republic. Or not. And the year after that? Completely unpredictable.
On the I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas front: the plastering is completed and looks great, but the thin layer of dust covering walls, furniture, poinsettias, piano, and Baby Jesus and entourage? Not so much.
On The Friendly Beasts front, the following conversation took place between my neighbor (on the other side from the previous neighbor) and me this morning:
Neighbor: You know your soffit is falling down on the front corner.
Me: Yes, I know.
Neighbor: That's how the squirrels got into our crawl space. We can hear them up there. They've made nests in the insulation.
Me: Sigh. I had, actually, been thinking about the squirrels.
Neighbor: We chopped all the branches away from our gutters. I was watching today, and the squirrels seem unperturbed. They just ran up the trees by your house instead, and into your attic.
Me: Actually, I couldn't think of anything else to say about the disturbing presence of the squirrels. My neighbor's daughter, who lives in Germany, is in the same condition that I was 23 years ago, expecting twins, so we turned to that much more cheerful topic.
I notice that the lyrics to The Friendly Beasts are not inclusive of squirrels.