November 23, 2005


Home for the Holidays

I've got to find a way to get up to Chicago for Christmas. December 20 is also my dad's 80th birthday, and my mom is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, so this will be the last Christmas to spend "with" her. The problem is money for the trip. Flying is out not only because of the expense but also because I haven't yet bought tickets (there's a vicious cycle for the perpetually broke procrastinators of the world). Driving, while a pain in the ass and not much less costly than airfare, is the only option. Adding to the weight is the fact that any time off from my job would be unpaid since I'm not eligible for vacation until mid-January. I might have one sick day accumulated. I always laugh at the phrase "extra money" because it's such a fallacy for the lower middle class. But I've got a couple of options to raise some extra cash, and I better get on it quick. I'll also have to get on taking care of some stuff on my truck before the trip (more money). Next on the list is gifts (pardon my Scrooginess, but $ka-ching$!). My family up north just does a grab bag list since we have such a large brood. I think we are considering that here now this year because our family is growing. And last but not least is how this trip would be the second Christmas in a row going to Chicago without Jennifer. I flew up last year to spend Christmas with my folks in the house where I grew up. There were no job "worries" as I was unemployed at the time ("no job" worries would be more accurate).

It will be a no-frills trip for sure, and that's tough to deal with for celebrating Christmas. But what really is possible (if I let it) for overshining all of these minor bummers (except the major "no Bunches" part) is to be with my family for Christmas. Most of the California folks will be coming, and I'll also get to play guitar for the first time with my friend Scott, who's been playing for like 25 years. Man, time flies...

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