The "no presents" Christmas ended up coming mostly true, although Santa did show up on Dec 26. Shelly and I each received a Rabbit Hash coffee mug, four Rabbit Hash pint glasses, two really nice kitchen utensils, and a "Kentucky: Unbridled Spirit" cap. Mom made corn filled heating pads for each of our boyfriends and Shelly's boss ("For any pains in the neck.")
I also received a giant kitchen knife. Apparently so I can become more like my grandmother -- she cut everything with the same great big kitchen knife. Shelly got one as a housewarming gift in October. She thinks Mom just likes to travel with large knives.
So, that's really quite a haul. But I guess it was a less pressure shopping situation which made it feel more like "no presents".
And then we went to Lake Havasu and had much fun and did a lot of walking. Not enough walking apparently... I gained six pounds in a single weekend. And not nearly as much walking as we did at the Botantical Garden and the Zoo -- that was more than five solid hours that we estimated counted as seven actual miles since there was a lot of stopping to check things out.
And Mom and Shelly had some time to sun by the pool. I'm not sure why, exactly, they would decide that you can't really gloat adequately about a winter trip to a sunny locale without being "dark". Neither of them has ever actually been tan. So, they went away happy as could be to be sunburnt.
The most notable thing was that my family met Steady's family and the entire event did not cause anyone to sprint for the liquor cabinet. It really was just fine. We were late (see below) and so when I arrived, his mother immediately handed me two Victoria's Secret boxes.
We were still doing introductions, so basically everyone was standing in a circle facing each other. I was prodded to open them right now. Steady had called earlier while I was waiting to go to the airport and he mentioned that he had been put on the spot in a similar way, except just with clothing from Macy's in front of only people he actually knows. So I think I win for awkward opening moments.
The first box was lotion and perfume. I opened the lotion to smell it and got it all over my nose. That really helped. I might've already been shaking a little, but at that point I went into full-out-of-body-nervous mode. I opened the second box, saw lace and closed it saying only "It's clothing."
Reality, she gave me very nice, super soft pajamas that only have a tiny bit of lace. The salesperson just folded them so the lace was the first thing I saw. When everyone walked away, Shelly, Steady and I checked them out. His mother apologized later; she really hadn't meant to embarass me. It happens a lot that people don't realize how shy I actually am.
chris arrived without incident on Friday night after Shelly left (making her the only houseguest to do so -- my sister "woke up just fine for my flight. The plane just woke up before [she] did." and Mom and the stepfather were delayed in Houston for awhile.)
For New Year's Eve, we all headed down to the block party. Steady, chris and I are just about the last people you'd expect to attend such an event, particularly without some gregarious friend talking us into it. But we went. We started by trying to walk, but they'd closed the nearest bridge into downtown so we called a cab.
We met Mom and the stepfather and had a nice dinner and then walked the length of the party, stopping in a beer garden. They (the grown-ups) stopped to people watch along the way. I attempted to ask some police-type people when "we were planning to reopen the bridge." They did not know and I seemed to confuse them.
So, we had a few drinks, hung out, watched the early fireworks and grabbed a cab to the liquor store and then home. As it turned out, the adults opted to walk home the long way, but they did make it back before midnight. We drank three bottles of champagne, watched the fireworks and I think I went to bed around four am.
Mom and the stepfather apparently got out without incident, leaving the apartment at six ten am. chris and I spent Sunday (what was left after we all got moving and got breakfast) in Old Town Scottsdale and then we attempted to go the overlook at South Mountain Park to watch the sun set, but it was closed. So, instead we saw a tiny bit of the park and also South Phoenix... We followed this with a dinner of really spicy Thai food and an early evening. I took her to the airport somewhere around seven this morning.
And now the big event is over. Tomorrow I have to go to work. And I won't see any of them again until I go to Kentucky for my birthday in March (and not Shelly then). It's a little bit sad, but this week I was pretty much immersed and I might need that long to recover.