‘Tis the Season…

Monday evening, Christmas Day, 2006

It’s been a quiet Christmas at Lake Woebegon. A lovely Christmas, in its own way, but a quiet one, nonetheless. We gathered with our kids on Saturday night, at our daughter’s home in Monrovia, 2 hours south of here. Eric, Rachel and Grace had safely packed, shipped off their belongings from east coast to west and landed in Long Beach the afternoon before. Mark had further medical tests that same day, Lisa and Joy took my mom out to a Christmas tea at the Huntington Library, and Dick and I had worked quietly at home in preparation for our long day south. I say quietly – that’s excluding the sound of the jackhammer ripping out (v-e-r-y, very s-l-o-o-o-w-ly) the marble floor tiles I have despised since we purchased this house almost 10 years ago. (Marble is cold, hard and unforgiving – to fine china and small children. We will soon have hardwood flooring throughout.) And, of course, we waited most of that day for the electricians to re-connect our internet service, our exterior lights and the tv in our bedroom – all of which disappeared from service the day before. Only the first of many such small mishaps over the next few months, I’m sure.

We gathered as an immediate family Saturday night, already stuffed and over stimulated from an earlier-that-same-day gathering with my mom, my brothers and my sister-in-law, niece and nephew. It was delightful to all be together – for the first time in two years – and we all enjoyed watching the babies toddle their way through the happy confusion.

Griffin is 15 months old, very attached to mom but willing to make friends, if you give him enough time. His lovely strawberry blond hair is growing in to form an interesting sort of mohawk effect.

Gracie is 14 months old, very social and tries her darnedest to charm the socks off every single person in the room. She also sports one of the spiffiest bed-heads since her father was a wee one. (She’s just up from a long nap – jet-lag, don’t you know – in these shots.)

We had had Italian food with the larger clan and everyone was stuffed by the time we celebrated together, so we just went straight for all those presents. The 8 years olds in our midst each received 3 different Star Wars light swords from various family units and proceeded to light-slice their way through the house while the rest of us enjoyed the rest of the gift-opening a little bit more quietly. It was a good day, all of us glad to be together in one space again. We headed for Santa Barbara around 8:45, tired and grateful.

Christmas Eve was a busy and beautiful day, with a single morning service and a brief candlelight service at 5:00. I was probably the only person who really missed serving communion by candlelight, but was still moved to tears by the lifting of our lit candles during the last verse of “Silent Night.” Dick and I had lunch at the Samarkand with his mom, so enjoyed soup and fresh pears for our Christmas eve supper.

Today was the quietest of all. Just the two of us this morning, sleeping in a little, enjoying the treat of Jeannine’s scones and homemade hot chocolate for breakfast, then taking Dick’s Mom out for a delicious turkey dinner on the pier at 1:00 p.m. It was a gloriously beautiful day and we enjoyed watching the birds and the sailors whilst we ate. We took Mama home and then drove downtown for a 3:30 showing of “The Pursuit of Happyness,” an excellent and heartwarming story which seemed appropriate for today somehow. And it’s been a quiet evening, restful and relaxing.

Tomorrow the jackhammer starts again, and we may try to take in one more flick before we check in at work on Wednesday. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the sweetness of quiet for a little while longer.

Here’s a look at our space as of now:

The kitchen, looking east, toward the hall and backyard.

The kitchen, looking into the living room. This entire doorway and wall will come out once the furnace ducts are moved tomorrow.

The family room, down to the studs, looking toward where the new laundry room will be built and the door opened to the new garage. We’re trying to salvage these two banks of cabinets for use in the new garage. We put all other old cabinets into the dumpster.

A brief addendum: as of 10:21 a.m. Tuesday the 26th, there are NO workers in view. Sigh.

A second brief addendum: as of 10:35 a.m. Tuesday the 26th, 2 faithful furnace fixers showed up and worked hard all day, clearing out the no-longer-needed-ducts and reconfiguring our existing furnace for shorter distance coverage without burning up. :>) Maybe tomorrow, we’ll cut through the remaining beams/walls.

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