Bah humbug

Krampus, courtesy of AV Club

Krampus, courtesy of AV Club

Nothing I do can get me in a festive mood – I am so grumpy that it is funny.  Every year I love decorating my 7 foot tall, expensive, fake tree decorated with ornaments from our childhood and from all over the world (but not this year).  I create a snow village under the tree that occasionally a cat has peed on or wrecked.  One year our little Egyptian terrorists (cats) raided Bethlehem and the nativity scene.  I used to say that I was spiritual or an atheist depending on my snarky mood but now I know I am a lapsed Catholic doomed to spend eternity in Purgatory or worse…

Most years I host a Christmas party in the house but this year Teddy said ‘No’!  He was quite right – that would have tipped me over the edge.  While he was in Scotland on business, I decorated ‘somewhat’ with my best ornaments hanging from our chandeliers.  I even painted our outside furniture and adorned the porch with some discreet fairy lights and decorations.

As most of you know, I volunteer at an airport which is a hub for Latin America, in particular.  I love it or I wouldn’t still be doing it after 8 years.  I wore my regulation Santa hat (apparently my reindeer antlers don’t cut it??) and my red and black banded tights, with my non regulation miniskirt…  The first person that irked me was another staff member – I was racing across the terminal to help someone and I said, “Ho ho ho!” to him.  He responded, “Or something” with no smile, looking at me as though I was a ‘Ho.  WTF!  This was balanced by another staff member who stopped me on my return to ask me if the elves were still on strike – the kids loved that.

I often work in the international terminal when the Central American flights come in.  This week it was something special, with Abuela’s (Grandma’s) in full traditional clothing coming in from Guatemala and El Salvador.  Many families had traveled with their whole family from other states just to meet their precious relatives who they may not have seen for many years.   Children from this region look entirely Maya and one little poppet who looked adorable in a little white furry jacket.  She looked like a little Maya angel tree-topper.  After three hours, I wondered if the Maya gods would reward me for sacrificing one of their precious children…who were now screaming and kicking my door (I am jesting, of course).  To my credit I kept smiling and reassuring everyone in bad Spanish that their relatives would be out soon – (hopefully not from holding cells).

It was perhaps all the Christmas social events leading up to now that provoked this Krampus spirit within me.  I am feeling very sensitive and every thoughtless comment bothers me.  You will love this one, “I preferred it when you were the happy, smiling Kerry”.  Really, really??  Guess what, me too!! “Your hair is getting a bit long”.  Are you my stylist?  Poor Teddy said, “You have spilled something on the floor”.  Biting sarcasm ensued regarding my qualities as a serf to his Highness.

Driving is always bad here but right now there are demons at the wheel.  Why don’t you all go through the red light – it’s only there for decoration?  What terrible gift are you going to buy that’s worth racing for – just use Amazon like a normal person.  They employ demons to drive their trucks…  Now the weather Gods have turned on us.  It has gone from freezing to about 80 degrees – everyone is sneezing, wearing fleeces with sandals.  Today, I tried to turn the tide.  I went to my favorite coffee shop to speak Arabic to my Palestinian friend.  I can tell he is missing Jerusalem – it’s colder there.  Then I went to the Salvation Army kettle and chatted to the old man about the stupid weather.  I asked him if he needed a cold drink because it was so damned hot!  I passed by the pet store and bought Toffee a knitted toucan filled with catnip.  Katniss got a knitted dog because I thought she would love to savage one…

On a more serious note, I am deeply saddened that road rage or any bad mood could make someone fire a gun and kill a child.  Even worse, kill innocent shoppers at a Christmas market or attack fleeing evacuees in a war zone.  It is within all of us to find our inner angel and love our fellow man.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Super Solstice to all!

 

 

 

A bad day

bun and ted baja

Bunny and Teddy in Baja

My husband called me today, “How has your day been?” Immediately, I knew that he had bad news. He works in oil and we knew that there was a possibility of redundancy. He had been laid off and I felt a sinking of my stomach. I wasn’t quite sure what to say but told him to drive carefully on the way home. We have been preparing for this since the dramatic drop in oil price. I could tell that he was worried that I might fall apart but I didn’t.

He is a geologist with specific skills. When we first married in 1982, he had a job with a small consultancy. He had been working in Kuwait and things looked good but then…he was made redundant. It was devastating for him and he drove around all afternoon taking photographs before telling me. I was stiff with shock – I had a part-time job and we were already struggling to pay the mortgage and utility bills. Almost immediately he was offered a job with lesser status but the same salary for the sister company. His pride took a knock but at least we could pay the mortgage.

From that moment on we were careful with money, paid off our mortgage in our 40s and saved relentlessly. It was a valuable life lesson but harsh, nonetheless. We are fortunate, compared to most. We still have no mortgage, no debt, two cars paid for but what next? There are half made plans; opportunities with small oil companies; possible contracts in the Middle East but still nothing concrete.

I feel guilty that my mental illness makes it difficult if not impossible for me to be the sole wage earner. That said, I could probably get a job in the short term. His company has given him a generous pay off so we can relax over Christmas and then make definitive plans. Strangely, my thoughts today were with the people who jingle the bells for the Salvation Army. They have reached rock bottom and yet still have a sense of optimism. They seem grateful for every donation and cup of coffee offered.

We have drunk too much cheap Trader Joe wine today but know that life will improve. I was concerned for him because he was unhappy at work but couldn’t afford to move in case we lost essential benefits. Thank goodness we have lived in a third world country and are able to put life in perspective. He will get excellent references because he followed the rule: “Be good to everyone on the way up because you never know when you will be on the way down”. He is a good husband, provider and the love of my life.