Friday, November 28, 2014

It's the Holiday Season

After I finished my blog entry last night, I went downstairs and had a nice, long talk with Mom. She and I were the only ones still awake at that point. Dad was snoring in front of the Seahawks-49ers game; the rest of the family went to bed. I wish I could have come down and visited with her in September, like I did last year, but everyone on the Cape May side of the family was busy. I'm lucky I got to see her now. She's still at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, which runs limited day hours during the winter, but she did get Thanksgiving weekend off.

I went to bed around 12:30 and got up around 7. By the time I made it downstairs, everyone else was already there. Mom had sliced the Cranberry-Apple Bread and Pumpkin Bread, and there was leftover apple pie as well. I knew I should have left the Cranberry-Apple Bread in the oven longer. It wasn't quite cooked all the way through. Oh well, they still ate it. The Pumpkin came out perfectly, though. Between Keefe and me (and Anny later), most of that vanished pretty quickly.

Khai and I played with Duplos and Hot Wheels while watching Little Bear on Nick. Jr and letting the parents finish their coffee and tea. Some of the miniature cars and trucks in the boys' collection date back as far as 30 years. I saw a couple that belonged to Rose in the 80s, and quite a few that were Keefe's in the 90s and early 2000s. Khai was delighted by the unusual vehicles, especially the large trucks made to look like real Pepsi or Oreo trucks and the helicopters with propellers that really spun.

Anny arrived with her brood at 9:30. Craig, Keefe, and I were trying to show Khai how to play the XBox video game LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. We were supposed to be letting Mr. Fantastic (of the Fantastic Four) and Captain America chase Dr. Octopus through the Fantastic Four's headquarters and over to a hotel, but Khai wasn't having much luck. He's still a bit young to really get how to work the controls. Craig helped him while I took the Captain. We let Collyn and Skylar take over as we got ready to head home.

We finally left around quarter of 11. Once again, other than some very mild traffic around Deptford (probably because of the Black Friday sales at the Mall), there were no problems on the road. Khai and I played with his iPad briefly before we both passed out somewhere around Tuckahoe. I got up as we were turning onto the ramp into Mt. Ephram, but Khai was still out when we arrived at my apartment.

When I got in, I put everything away, then called Dad. He said he'd be able to corral Jodie's sons to deliver the furniture from her house today. He said to give him an hour - the boys and Jodie were still working on clearing things out at her house. I took down the Thanksgiving and general fall decorations, then took everything off the baker's rack and moved it outside to make room for the new hutch and dry sink.

I finally got bored waiting for Dad and walked over to his house around quarter of 2 to see if I could help. They were still waiting for Jodie's son T.J and a friend of his to arrive. They finally did a few minutes later. The boys loaded the hutch, bench, and dry sink into T.J's truck. Dad already had the computer chair in his van. We had a harder time unscrewing the CD player from the kitchen shelf it was under than getting anything outside. Dad couldn't find the drill at his house, so we had to do it by hand, and it took a while.

Jodie also gave me a small porcelain doll that was among the many knick-knacks she kept in her room. She's probably about 6 or 8 inches and is very sweet, with long golden curls and a pink lace dress and matching hat and shoes. Her head is really loose - I'll see if I can make her a scarf to help keep her head on. Her delicate pastel ensemble suggests spring, so I'll make her the Easter equivalent of Holly, my 6-inch Christmas porcelain doll.

After they helped me get everything upstairs, I grabbed my backpack and money and headed out. I really needed to eat and get a grocery trip in. I locked my bike at the Acme and just walked to Arby's. It was past 3:30 by then. Needless to say, they were quiet except for one older man and a mom and her two unruly boys. I ate my Philly Steak sandwich, Curly Fries, and Peach Brisk Tea quickly and quietly.

The Acme was also very quiet when I arrived. It's the day after Thanksgiving. This is the last day anyone wants to be thinking about food! I didn't need a lot, either. I was mainly there for skim milk, baking soda, and bananas. I also picked up one grapefruit, cranberries, chicken soup, canned apricots, two tins of fancy holiday tea for Christmas presents, and three DVDs. Two of those DVDs, Barbie In A Christmas Carol and the second Max & Ruby Halloween/fall themed set, Perfect Pumpkin, were for me. The third was another Christmas present, this one for Amanda. And of course, my Christmas tree would be needing candy canes on Monday.

Speaking of Monday, I have Monday and Tuesday off next week. Monday was a request - my friend Amanda is visiting from Vineland. Other than an unusually early day on Sunday, the rest of the week is all afternoon and evening work, perfectly normal for this time of year.

I spent the rest of the evening cleaning and organizing my new items. I quickly discovered that the hutch was fine where the baker's rack was, but the dry sink was too heavy and wide to work in the TV area. It did, however, very much resemble the dark antique dresser Rose gave me when I moved in. I use it for keeping various odds and ends like batteries, tools, and tacks. I removed two of the four heavy crates I was using for records and pushed the dresser over the remaining two. The dry sink went where the dresser was. The CD player and record player went on top of the dresser. My cookbooks all went in the hutch. Everything that was on top of the dresser went on top of the dry sink. The silverware and knives went in the dry sink's drawer. The rock and pop albums went in the large space on the bottom of the dry sink. The jazz, vocal, and nostalgia albums went in the crates under the dresser. The now-empty crates went in the TV area, one to be used as a coffee table, the other to hold books on media and media history. My crocheting books and bag of current projects went in the coffee table crate. The bench went in my bedroom and is now the home of my Disney Animator's Collection Toddlers Dolls, freeing up a shelf on the bookshelf where the Sailor Moon dolls are.

The only thing that didn't work out was the CD player. Jodie claimed it was still in good shape, but it just wouldn't work for me. It would start playing the first song, then get stuck and refuse to finish. It wouldn't fast-forward to the next song, either. I did move the old Emerson CD/cassette player to the TV area to replace the 30-year-old GE cassette player/radio I was using there. The radio still works on that, but the cassette player died at least five years ago. The cassette player and radio are fine on the Emerson, but the CD player skips. I'll just look into a new CD player for Christmas.

I first ran Barbie In A Christmas Carol while I moved furniture around. Barbie's second holiday tale adapts one of literature's most famous Christmas stories. Barbie tells her little sister Kelly the story of Eden Starling, a singing star who is the toast of Victorian London...but is also a spoiled diva who thinks nothing of keeping her supporting performers and her best friend at the theater for Christmas Day. A trio of (female) ghosts take her out on Christmas Eve to remind her of the importance of charity and goodwill.

Moved to another unusual version of A Christmas Carol while finishing the dusting and having a quick dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers and an apple. The Muppet's Christmas Carol came out in 1992, two years after the death of Jim Henson. The tumult hardly shows. This is one of the Muppets' best films, with an engaging score and a pitch-perfect performance by Michael Caine as Scrooge. Kermit is Bob Cratchit, Piggy is his outspoken wife, Fozzie is Fezziwig, Gonzo is the narrator, Kermit's nephew Robin is Tiny Tim, and Rizzo the Rat is mostly around for the food. Fans of the Muppets probably already have it in their collection; highly recommended for families and musical fans as well.

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