What Christmas Eve? My wife and I are two old people abandoned by their children. Alaric has a movie date for Christmas, so he’s not going to visit. Connlann is in far-off Texas with Ji and their toddler, Knut; he can’t get away. Skatje is in Boulder, Colorado with Kyle and Iliana, and they’re not coming, either. This is the fate of all parents, that their kids grow up and move away and no longer have time for them. It doesn’t help that in my childhood, the big extended family all lived near the grandparents, and we were used to gigantic noisy family get-togethers over the holidays. My kids have all dispersed to distant places, and frigid isolated Morris is not exactly an attractive vacation spot.
That reminds me — I better call my mother. If you’ve got ’em, you should call any beloved relatives, too.
(It’s OK, they shouldn’t feel guilty. We’re proud to have independent, self-sufficient children.)
Over Thanksgiving, our whole extended family got together to celebrate…and one by one succumbed to the same norovirus infection. Count your blessings…
I threw up for the first time in 35 years. Yay, holidays!
Sean Boyd says
I’d imagine it’s still bittersweet, PZ, even through your pride at their achievements. Hey, maybe next year?
I had much the opposite Xmas experience as a kid. We “migrated” quite a lot (a fancy term for describing that my dad was dealing with undiagnosed PTSD and guilt stemming from wartime service and never felt comfortable in any one place, and so kept moving us.) Didn’t have a big family, nuclear or otherwise, so Xmas was never a big to-do.
Pop is dead now, as is my kid brother. I’m my mom’s caregiver, so I always see her on Xmas (and, well, the rest of the year too.) She’s got a sister in Newport, OR (who I don’t consider an aunt) and a half-sister in Poland (who IS my aunt), and a niece in SoCal who married rich and doesn’t have time for the hoi polloi anymore. Suffice it to say, Xmas is a pretty quiet affair ’round these parts. Especially when any religious aspect of the holiday pops up…my mom is a devout SDAian, and I’m, well, not.
All of this means…more egg nog for me!
I’m not going to brag it’s 63°F since it is breezy overcast drizzly and more Seattle depressing than Southeastern sunny cheer. Gulf of Mexico has been enjoying target practice on us over the last week, but thankfully no tornado warnings here in the needle’s eye. There is that. Whew!
chigau (違う) says
This might cheer you up.
Akira MacKenzie says
Right now, In in the cube farm slaving away with the rest of the call center serfs. Tonight, I’m going to my sister’s for homemade Lasagna, gift exchange, and being climbed over pre-teen children and two insane German Short-hairs. Tomorrow, I’m off, but my father’s boomer friends will be over for ham and racist conversations. I’ll be holed up in my room, watching holiday-themed MST3K/Rifftrax movies.
Ho. Ho. Ho.
Akira MacKenzie says
drksky @ 1
Last Christmas Eve, I was over at my sister’s place for dinner and her kids choose just that time to reveal that they caught norovirus. Nothing spoils a slice of medium-rare prime rib like hearing your nephews puking about three feet away and wondering if your next. (I wasn’t, but my sister presented her symptoms to an open toilet about an hour after I left.)
Speaking of bah, humbug, I like to listen to this at Christmas time.
It reminds me that I have a choice between laughing or crying.
Pierce R. Butler says
LMFTFY: Bah, humspider!
Akira, you can never go wrong with MST3K. I have The Last Jedi DVD and Bombshell (the one about “starlet” Hedy Lamarr and her anticipation of Bluetooth). The latter is probably going to be the most intellectually satisfying of the two. I blame a recent PZ post for interest in the former.
@6, well, at least that should teach them to wash their hands before going to the bathroom! ;)
@PZ, there always is videoconferencing with the geologically distant family members. Did that quite a bit while in the Persian Gulf region.
I’ll be traveling from Texas to the Twin Cities
This is perhaps a modern phenomena. In the recent past, families stayed closed together with children raising their families in the home of their parents, or close by. This is still the case in many parts of the world.
My mom (91yo) recently told me a story about her dad and two of his brothers. His parents owned a house and some land and one brother moved into the family home when he got married, while another built a new house on the property. My mom’s part of the family wasn’t too far away…they could walk to her uncles’s houses about an hour through the woods. That would have been in the 1940’s. In my immediate family, my brother still lives in the town where we were born, and my mom’s place is about 200 meters from his.
So, it might be the fate of most parents to have their children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren living under the same roof.
You want the fam to visit for christmas? Move to Florida. Warm winters (certainly by Minnesota standards). Sunshine. Beaches. The grass, trees and bushes are (mostly) green. In my experience, the hibiscus always seem to be blooming at their best. See the masses of manatees huddling around warm springs or power plant outflows. The gators and snakes are pretty calm this time of year. Beach fishing for pompano and flounder or trolling offshore for sailfish. It’s stonecrab season and the oysters are great. Some very good zoos and wildlife rescues/rehabs/retirement centers that can operate year round because of the climate. (The Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, for instance.) Theme parks for the grandchildren. In my neck of the woods we’ve even got a nerd bar: Waypoint 6 Tavern & Geekery.
Though, naturally, they’ll simply be visiting for quality family time with you. The above is just frippery and baubles.
Bonus: Plenty of spiders.
As “cold” as it’s been off and on in past month still have what I assume are long jawed orbs chilling alongside my central AC unit. I’d suggest snowbirding, thus avoiding brutal summers and the tropical fun that peaks from early to mid September. Given our tight election results we could use a few more D voters to tip the balance. And we have Florida Man. You never know what mischief he’ll pull next.
Bah, “cold”. 40+ years down here and my blood’s still thick enough that l don’t think it’s cold unless there’s frost on the grass when I go to get my paper or take out the trash. (Though I will confess to a nice collection of hoodies and a few pairs of flannel pajama pants) Also, hardly any fog this winter so far. I hope we get a good dose while everyone still has their lights up. I dunno, I just really dig that. My neighborhood kind of goes above and beyond with the lights to raise money for a local charity and I just love walking or taking a slow drive through it around 11 or so when most of the lights are still on but the fog’s set in and the traffic’s gone. It’s entirely different than what all those people experience in their cars, bumper to bumper between 7 and 9. It’s actually peaceful, ethereal, almost magical, which oddly enough is what all those people crammed in all those cars getting frustrated by the idiot in front of them and pissed at the asshole behind supposedly think that’s what it’s all about. The kids are wide-eyed ,ooh-ing and aah-ing though,so I guess I shouldn’t be too cynical.
Anyway, you added to my argument: Plenty of spiders, year round..
As for snowbirding, keeping two homes is expensive. I think it would better for PZ and Mary to just move down here and summer (IOW, April through October) with Skatje in the mountains.
PZ Myers says
Y’all know Florida is going to sink into the sea in our lifetimes, right?
We recently moved to the West Coast to be in a different time zone from our kids. When we lived too close, we were always dragged to their “celebrations” whether we want to go or not. We were also constantly called upon to babysit. After all of those years of raising five children, we wanted to enjoy holidays on our own terms.
For Thanksgiving, one of the girls “surprised” me with tickets to Texas (I just escaped from there!) so that I could babysit while she was at a conference, then flew her Dad out to join us for Thanksgiving.
I did get to visit two of my kids and five of the grandkids, but I had been looking forward to cooking a traditional feast just for us this year. The kids all have dietary restrictions – one family eats only fish for protein, another is vegan, and several of them are gluten-free. I haven’t enjoyed a turkey and pumpkin pie in years.
We’re alone for Christmas, and enjoying it. I recently had hand surgery, so I still can’t cook. We enjoyed a movie this morning (Cats!) and then a wonderful meal at our local Chinese restaurant. Now we’re doing Netflix and Chill with a warm fire and glasses of wine.
How long are you planning to live? My neighborhood may possibly be underwater in 100 years, but there’d still be plenty of Florida left. And think of all the artificial reefs our flooded homes will make. (It’s gonna be weird though, seeing all those condos and hotels sticking out of the water offshore)