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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Wowza. December. 24 days, 17 hours, 17 minutes (hmmm, what’s with the 17 theme?) and 10, 9, 8…seconds until Christmas!! ‘Tis the season. And it’s official: the Christmas Clutter Monster has pooped all over our house. Now, I LOVE Christmas, and I LOVE the house looking all ‘perty ‘n nice,’ but I hate (yes, HATE) the in-between stage where boxes are still out and normal season Stuff is still out so there’s just Stuff everywhere. Stuff kind of slowly gnaws at my soul until I feel all sorts of stressed and befuddled and paralyzed as to what to do with all the Stuff. I’ll feel much better once the Christmas Clutter Monster and Soul-Eating Stuff is put away for now.

Beware: this has the potential of being a lengthy blog post (I gottalot to cover).

Thanksgiving. Let’s address it. We had a great one! We headed south to Vancouver, WA where we had a scrumptious dinner at the home of my brother Timothy and his wife Rebecca. We stayed in a nearby hotel and checked in early (pre-dinner), so the boys could swim the three-hour car-ride wiggles out in the pool.

We got to Tim’s and Rebecca’s and sat down for the feast when a strange something happened. I looked across the table to Matthew (who was sitting diagonally from me and next to Mike) and saw an odd rash breaking out on his chin. Within moments, Matthew’s entire face was turning red-blotchy-ish and his left eyeball started puffing up and swelling shut. Aww, snap. We’d completely forgotten about Matthew’s cat allergy which seems to have gotten severely worse over the years. I mean, we had Mistletoe-the-Christmas-Kitty for Matthew’s first 3 years of life with no issues. But now, when in a cat home, he starts breaking out with a kitty-caused rash and eye-puffing problem. Needless-to-say, since we’d spaced on this, we didn’t have any childrens’ allergy medicine with us. After eating, Mike took the boys out (with umbrellas, in the pouring rain) for a walk around the block, and Rebecca was kind enough to stop at the store (after taking her dad home) to pick up some meds for us.

In the end, Matthew just couldn’t stay and Mike took both boys back to the hotel. Poor kiddo spent most of Thanksgiving trapped in a smallish room (and by kiddo, I mean MIKE). All in all though, we did have a great turkey day and kick-start to an awesome weekend.

Friday, we had breakfast with Tim and then drove up to Kelso where my parentals and Chris were staying. We ‘deposited the goods’ – meaning we lovingly ditched our boys with mom and dad who were taking them to Port Ludlow for the weekend. We had an entire 3-day weekend kid-free and didn’t even have an Engaged Encounter Retreat to put on! I’d say we were VERY thankful (for kids, some kid-free time, and grandparents)!

We did all sorts of fun stuff – I got to go see New Moon with a couple of friends. Mike got the outside Christmas lights up. He had a nerd-night on Saturday (as in playing video games until the wee hours) while I went out dancing for girls’ night. We watched a couple of movies, did some Christmas shopping and got the tree up (that the boys helped decorate when they got home Sunday afternoon). But – oh BUT oh! – the most magical event of all the magical weekend was the magic of attending the ‘Straight No Chaser’ show on Friday night. If you don’t know Straight No Chaser, it’s very possible that your life has lacked all meaning thus far. You must visit It’s true life was kind of pointless pre-SNC – they combine nearly everything that makes me happy in life: men in suits or tuxedos, humor, amazing performance-skill and true, raw stankin’-amazing vocal-talent. (And I often listen to their music while having coffee and dark chocolate or red wine or Diet Pepsi….so there you go; my life is complete. Plus, most of their music is Christmas themed and well, we know how much I do love me some Christmas tunes! Anytime of year).

Friday night, we got all gussied up and headed to the Christmas-bedecked downtown Seattle. We arrived early and had time to pop into the lounge at Purple (wine bar and café) for a glass of wine where I kind of made a bit of an ass of myself. I had chosen the cheapest glass of Pinot Noir and thought it most excellent. A gentleman came next to me and said to the bartender, “I’d like a couple of glasses of Pinot, please.” The bartender – who was rather snooty and full of himself said, “Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir?”

Wine-Orderer responded, “Oh, sorry, Pinot Noir.”

Snippy Bartender replied, “OK, well, you do know this is a wine bar, right? And we’ve got like 20 kinds of Pinot Noir. You’ll need to see a wine list.”

“Oh, right, of course!” Wine-Orderer mumbled as he took the wine list – opened to the Pinot Noirs – that was shoved into his hand by Snippy Bartender.

Thinking that I was being oh-so sophisticated AND helpful, I leaned over to Wine-Orderer and said, “I’m having the Argentine and it’s excellent.” I pointed to the Pinot-Noir-by-the-glass at the top of the list (as in, the least expensive).

The Wine-Orderer looks a little confused for a second and then says, “You mean the Angeline?” Now I look confused and look closely at the menu. Sure enough, what I’d so haughtily called the “Argentine” was actually the “Angeline.”

“Oh, um, ha, right,” I struggle. “Yeah, I just didn’t read all the letters or, um, something.” Nice one. Anyway, he did end up ordering the Angeline and I hope – for his sake – he enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed my Argentine.

Post-wine and dessert we walked down the hill to Benaroya Hall to our show where – to my utter excitement and oober-glee – we discovered that we were actually sitting in the VERY front row. I’m fairly certain that the excitement shows in my face…in every single photo taken that night. I was VERY excited! The show was amazing. We got to see them afterwards and like a nerd I had come prepared with my CD cover for them to sign. I got a photo with two of the SNCers – including Ryan (on the left) who sings the version of “Jingle Bell Rock” that I use in my music classes during December. He requested that I video tape my mini-musicians – with jingle bells strapped to ankles – as they march and rock out to Straight No Chaser in my Little Ditties classes. “We’d love to put the video on our website,” he told me. Front row seats, signed album cover, photographs AND my kiddos on their website?!! Are you kidding me right now?!

And guess what?! They’re coming back to Seattle in May, and I happen to know a certain someone who will be turning 30 in May. Sounds like the perfect birthday outing to me.

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