I usually make the excuse that I write at work because I’m there so much and I have no time for writing at home… That sounds nice, but since I’ve been off work since December 23rd and I didn’t write a thing between December 22nd and really, yesterday, that’s not much of an excuse. You’d think there would have been many blog posts during this stay-cation.
This has been one of the best vacations I’ve had in a while, I mean, you know, for not having gone anywhere. I received an infusion of cash (insurance reimbursement for my therapy bills) just as this stay-cation was beginning which enabled me to comfortably purchase Christmas gifts for all the people on my list to buy gifts for; fancy coffee for my mother, A GPS for Michelle, an Afterglow PS3 controller for Lil’B as well as art supplies for his birthday (which is 12/31), a cordless drill for my oldest niece (this is what she wanted. Don’t judge me.), a horse game for my second niece and a little plush, radio control fire truck for my nephew. Everything arrived on time and was properly distributed. As far as I know everyone appreciated their gifts. I was concerned that the art supplies would pale in Lil’B’s eyes compared to the controller, but he said he was excited about the art supplies.
I have spent a lot of time at home during this stay-cation, which is fine ’cause it was kind of the plan. Stay home, clean, organize, generally get things in better shape. I haven’t accomplished nearly as much as I had hoped I would, but I’ve gotten a lot done and I’m quite happy about hat. One of my Christmas gifts to myself is something I’ve wanted for a long time but just didn’t convince myself to spend the money on. I decided recently that I was determined to get the item and so when I got the cash infusion, I took my 20% off coupon and headed right out to Bed, Bath and Beyond where I bought a Roomba, robot vacuum cleaner.
You guys! I’m so glad I bought this thing and I wish I had gotten it a long time ago! It’s awesome! It does a very effective job and it requires almost no effort on my part. I say almost, because I do have to empty the little bin pretty much every day and I do have to push the button to turn it on… Well I don’t have to. There is an auto start feature, I just haven’t enabled it. I also have to make sure there is nothing on the floor to get in its way. This thing is surprisingly assertive and I have found that I have to make sure that all cords and cables are well out of the way or it will run over them and cause problems. Though it is smart enough to stop running before it gets too tangled up in something, it will try a bit to vacuum the thing up, before it gives up. My biggest fear was that it would not be able to get over the lip into the kitchen, which is the messiest room because that’s where the cat litter is, but the Roomba jumps the curb like it’s no big deal. The other concern I had was how Mischa would react to it. He has always been afraid of vacuum cleaners and whenever I would turn one on, he would run and hide behind a chair or something. He doesn’t seem overly concerned about the Roomba which is louder than I had hoped, but far and away quieter than any manual powered vacuum I’ve ever owned. What’s really funny is that the Roomba, which has a built-in extra-dirt-detection sensor, seems to identify Mischa as a pile of extra dirt and it routinely targets him and heads straight toward him. Mischa, being the mental giant that he is, just stands there until the Roomba actually bumps into him and then he acts indignant that it came after him. Roomba has a little side brush which is designed to brush debris away from walls and out into it’s path. Sometimes this side brush will bump against Mischa’s feet and then he tries to pounce on the brushes. It’s really quite funny. But I can run the Roomba everyday without causing any great turmoil for Mischa and that’s what I wanted, so I’m really quite thrilled with my purchase and wish I had done it long ago! Now I really want a Scooba. It’s made by the same people and it’s designed to wash hard floors. The problem is, it says it’s safe on “sealed hardwood floors” and I’m sure mine is not sealed. Bummer!
Michelle had a “lounge” party, on Christmas Eve at her apartment. She insists it was always a lounge party (wear lounge pants and t-shirts) but her sister kept calling it a pajama party and I swear Michelle called it a pajama party the first time she mentioned it to me. I pointed out that I don’t wear pajamas and that no one wants to see that, and that’s when she started calling it a “lounge” party. It was a nice time. Her three-year-old great-nephew was there and Michelle handed him my Christmas present and asked him to bring it to me. Somehow, between that time and the time he handed it to me, the paper… ahem… fell off the gift. She gave me a heated mattress pad, which is something I had been wanting for a while, only, you know how when you build something up in your mind and it’s going to be so wonderful and then you actually get the thing and it can’t live up to the expectations you built… Yeah, that. I felt badly ’cause I want to take it back, but I didn’t want to hurt Michelle’s feelings. When I got over to her house this past Friday to do my laundry (since Saturday was New Year’s Eve) she was in the process of repackaging the one she had bought for herself to take it back. She didn’t like it. She let me off the hook and told me that I could return the one she got me if I wanted. I told her I would probably do that and that I’d bring it back to her (since she had the receipt) and she could take it back and get me something else and wrap it up for me, and then maybe I’ll get to open MY OWN Christmas present.
I took Lil’B to Benihana for his Birthday dinner… Actually it was kind of confusing. I took him, on December 26th and I told him, this is a special dinner to celebrate his Birthday, where he will get his Christmas present, and then at the next dinner on January 2nd, he would get his Birthday present. I hadn’t been to a Benihana in many years and while I knew it was a lot of fun, I also thought I remembered that it was a long and drawn out affair so I made reservations for 5:00. He was out of school so it wasn’t a school night, but I figured we shouldn’t be out too late. Dinner was over at 6:50 and Lil’B didn’t want to go home yet. I called his mother and got her blessing and we went to a movie after dinner. I got to take him to one of my favorite Movie Theaters. It’s just and AMC theater, but it’s in the middle of San Francisco and it’s in an old building they renovated. It’s a 12 screen cinema, but there are only four theaters to a floor, and there are three levels of theaters. Since they are stadium seating, each theater is two stories, so this building is about 8 stories tall and I just find it fascinating.
We saw Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. This movie was horrendous! I mean, truly, truly, terrible! Now I know, this movie is not geared toward my age group, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first two so it was sadly disappointing to me that I didn’t like this one as much, but on the plus side, there was a moment in this wretched movie that actually made Lil’B laugh out loud and if you’ve been coming around here long, you know what an accomplishment that is. I’d sit through it again just to hear that!
The next day, I went to therapy, did a little shopping and went over to hang out with my friend Karin and her two kids. I ended up staying through dinner and had a nice time. She introduced me to some fancy operations that my iPhone is capable of and I wasn’t even aware… Giving me pause to consider the value in some new equipment purchases. I’ll have to give that some thought.
Friday I went to Michelle’s house to do my laundry and hang out. I got there early and after I started my first load, she and her great-nephew and I went to breakfast. The boy was quite rambunctious and energetic. It was fun though. He runs kind of hot and cold when it comes to me, well, anyway, hot and luke warm. Apparently, since he was a baby baby, I’m the only male, outside his immediate family that he would let hold him. Other men would pick him up and he’d immediately squirm and cry and want to get away and with me, he was fine. Now that he’s a little older and has a personality, he doesn’t dislike me, but he often doesn’t want to engage with me. But this day, as soon as I walked in he was all over me, asking me questions and talking to me and wanting to sit with me. It was almost too much, but it was still nice to see.
I’ve mentioned in the past how I do not want to be home on New Year’s Eve. My mother never went anywhere or did anything and all we ever did was sat in the living room and watch TV. Theoretically, watching “the ball drop” only my mother was forever surfing channels trying to get away from all that horrible secular music that was always on the network shows. We would watch something from Washington, DC on PBS, which was always live and therefore an hour early, plus fireworks on TV just do not have the same effect. From 11:00 to 11:58:30 she would surf around trying to find something that wasn’t rock and roll music and then at the last second (sometimes after the last second) turn the TV to one of the networks. We’d say “happy new year” and then go to bed. I swore that when I had it in my own power I was not just going to sit around at home on New Year’s Eve. This has proven to be problematic from time to time because I hate crowds too, but I make the best of it.
In years past I’ve gone out of town for New Year’s Eve spending a few days in another place away from home and with more excitement than I’ve got here. Most of the time, New Year’s Eve was just the excuse I needed to go on a trip, but I still enjoyed myself. I’ve been to Las Vegas a couple of times, Los Angeles a couple of times, Reno a couple of times. Last year we got a room a the Embarcadero Hilton in San Francisco and had a really lovely evening, but it ended up costing as much as a three night trip out of town. This year, Michelle and I had 10:00 reservations at a restaurant called Skates on the Bay, which is, as you might imagine, on the San Francisco Bay. I had never been, though Michelle had a couple of times. The plan was to have dinner and then stroll out side to the water front where we would watch the fireworks from San Francisco at midnight. In an all too familiar scene, Michelle was in the bathroom at midnight and I stood by the windows of the restaurant where we had JUST gotten our check and watched the fireworks by myself (le sigh). It’s okay. This is kind of terrible for me to say, but I feel like midnight on New Year’s Eve is a moment that, ideally should be shared romantically and I don’t have any romantic feelings for Michelle, maybe being alone at that moment was better. The fire works display was nice, though I feel like it looses some of its splendor when you can’t hear, and just as importantly, feel them. The display was the same one we watched last year, which means it was shot off from a barge outside the San Francisco Ferry Building, about six and a half miles away. I’m always caught a little by surprise at how small they are from what seems like such a short distance.
After dinner, I took Michelle back to her sister’s house, dropped her off and came home. I would have liked to have been somewhere else for a little vacation and I got a wild idea that may not really be financially feasible that I’d really like to go to Australia for next New Year’s Eve, but as long as my 19 1/2 year old cat is with me, that can’t happen.
Last night was another dinner with Lil’B. We went to a local place I’d never been to called The South Shore Cafe. It was very ordinary, but it was something new for both of us and I’m trying to expose him to new things, so it was fun. We talked a little bit about his birthday. He said he couldn’t remember what kind of cake he had but that it had Oreos on it. I asked him if they had ice cream and he said no, so I had to rectify the no birthday ice cream problem. We went to a local ice cream shop called Loard’s (I learned it is supposed to be pronounced “Lo-ard’s” as it is a compilation of the two founders last names.) Loard’s is a 100% local company that makes its own ice cream in a local factory and it was really quite good. When I was looking at the flavors on the board I was caught by surprise and was a little grossed out by “Avocado flavor” but I had to taste it. It was surprisingly good, although, honestly, it tasted mostly like Vanilla.
This morning I had an orthodontist appointment, I wasn’t holding my breath, though I was hoping today would be the big day. No such luck. In fact based on the conversation I had today with “Dr. Jeff”, (I always wondered how the staff differentiated between the father and the son, now I know) it looks like two to three more months. The day Dr. Jeff put them on he told me 12-18 months, this is the 13th month. On the plus side though, I paid my final payment today and have one few debts hanging over my head! Yay!
Tonight I have dinner with an old friend of mine, and tomorrow Michelle and I are going, over-night, to Cache Creek Casino and Resort. It’s an Indian run casino about 90 minutes north of here. We’ll go and play for the afternoon, then spend the night in a hotel room, have breakfast and head back. That’s about as long as I can leave Mischa on his own since he’s confined to the cage and he eats canned food, but it’ll be nice to get a little tiny break anyway.
*Oh by the way, I guess I’m supposed to say that despite my glowing report (and despite the two additional people I’ve about talked into it – my mother says I should get a commisison) I am not being compensated in anyway by Roomba, or Bed Bath and Beyond or any other products or merchants I may have mentioned here… Dammit.