Hi again! So it's Christmas. Actually, it's after Christmas and I'm
at work, er, working from home, er, okay I'm up in Vermont (but not skiing today cause it's raining, so I have all the time in the world on this fine morning to update the teendrama.)
So Christmas. My employeer was nice enough to give us Friday off, so I packed up the truck and headed home late Thursday night with Bee and her bicycle-messenger brother (we left late as to avoid the crazy last-day-of-the-transit-strike traffic).
Friday = all day shopping marathon. Saturday = half-day shopping marathon. Saturday afternoon = Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve. Family comes over around 4:30 and then we leave for church at like 5pm (for the 5:30 mass - gotta get there early to get a seat!). JJ + Katie + me left a few mins later so we could execute "Operation: Raindeer Made Out Of Xmas Lights" (which I was surprised to learn my dad spent all day constructing in the basement - go Big Dig!)
Jonathan said my Dad's only instructions where (a) put them where Mom will see them when she drives up the driveway, and (b) don't make them look like they're humping each other (sorry, Dad).
We threw some $20 in the air for that classy Champagne Room effect.
The Crowley Family @ church. Katie, gang signs aren't for church!
... or are they? I found this pic hanging in the chuch hallway that leads out to the parking lot. Middle School Youth Group Harbor Trip REPREZZZZZENT!
Okay, after church, after dinner (ham + lasagna = average. Sorry, Mom) and it's time for Yankee Swap! I'm sure you know the rules: everyone brings a gift ($20 max), every draws a number, low number picks first and after you open a gift, you have the option to swap it with someone else's gift (and then *that* person can make a swap also).
Poor Big Dig drew #2 (the worst number. Worse than #1, cause #1 gets the last swap of the game). Quality gifts this year included: one giant Snoopy PEZ dispensor, a pack of salad bowls, Brookstone floating gravity pen, one case of Brooklyn Lager (my gift!) and...
... and this BK Whopper (which my dad ended up with - hahhaahha) which also came with some movie tickets.
ps: I drew #16. Through some crafty swapping, I ended up with the very same case of Brooklyn Lager that I bought a few hours earlier. Yes!
Lt. Rob showed up mid-Yankee Swap... so he wasn't allowed to play along, but Mom + Dad had an early Christmas gift set aside anyway... this Deer Be Gone whistle (?) for his car.
ps: sweet crayon illustration packaging! And Rob drives an orange MF just like in the photo.
Why, you ask? Because last time Rob was in VT, he left at 4am and ended up sending me this text message.
... and just like that, Christmas morning!
We divied up the gifts. Katie came out the bigger winner (like always). Want to see what we got?
I gave my Mom this $11 plate to replace the I gave her a few years earlier that broke.
The bigger / better story behind this was that my Mom was all upset when she broke the plate, and my Dad tried to find a replica of it at all these different stores and on eBay, but couldn't track it down. So I went to the mall and all over just looking for some type of "festive holiday platter" - anyone get the dball messsage? - and just when I was leaving, I went to Pier One last minute (like cut across 3 lanes of highway to get there) and went in and saw this plate shining like a beacon of freedom above all the other holiday shit and I thought to myself "That's a winner. I'll pay $100 for that thing" (even though I didn't really want to pay $100 for it), and when I tracked down the Pier One Employee, he was like $18 (!!!) and then said "Oh yeah, everything over this is 35% off, too." So, I thought 35% off an $18 plate = best thing ever. And my Mom liked it (it's no glass holiday plate from 2001, but it'll do). The End.
Jonathan got me this sweet Street Fighter-esque shirt.
I hooked Katie up with some highly fashionable outfits for Mount Snow's upcoming Sink Or Swim contest.
I got 'em both at the Bennington, VT thrift store. Pow!
Mom and Dad go light on the gifts... they usually just make up stockings for themselves. This pic is kind of dumb, but I wanted to point out that not only was Celion Dion's Slamming Holiday Song CD playing in our house for like three days straight, it was playing out of these subway speakers in the ceiling.
For those who don't know the legend of Big Dig (er, my dad), he used to own an electrical contracting business that specialized on doing communications systems for transit systems (think: T in Boston and NYC Metro). When he built our house (er, hired someone to build our house - Dad = not too handy) way back in 1981 (?) he took some of the 1980's cutting edge subway technology and embedded it into our house - hence the subway speakers in our living room...
... and these subway intercoms that we have all throughout our house!
For real, you can call from one room to the next (even into the cellar!) with a push of that giant red button! (Man, it's only in writing this up do I realize how ridiculous it all is)
ps: Thankfully, the speakers sound better than your everyday subway speaker experience.
Okay, shall we continue? I got JJ some crash-pads for his extreme skiing style (he's trying to learn how to do rails).
And I got Katie this hot Burton vest.
Hahaha... my Mom gave my Dad this thing of glue named after his race horse.
(Yes, my Dad owns a race horse named Bleacher Creature)
Okay, so best part of Christmas 2005 - you ready for this? I went to the fundraiser that Gizmodo Joel held a few weeks back at Barcade where we were all playing Guitar Hero for PlayStation2. As soon as I got back to my apt late that night I sent my
dear santa -
Then, on Christmas morning, I got up at like 7am, went down to scope out the scene (which I haven't done since like, er, 1988 when I was trying to see whether Santa brought me Zelda II for the old school Nintendo), looked around and didn't see any boxes that looked like they could contain a PlayStation guitar (aw, man!). And then I got through almost all of my Santa gifts (if Guitar Hero was out there, it would have been from him), and then almost all the family presents before I got to this one from Little Sister Katie. It felt a little light when I took it... a gift certificate or something... but I opened it and it was...
i want this so so so so so so so so bad:
Guitar Hero for PlayStation2
(like more than the GI Joe Aircraft carrier or Cobra Hydrafoil)
... a picture of Shoops rocking out to an all-wrapped-up Guitar Hero!
Man, I can't even remember a time that I was more excited! (sorry for the shitty camera phone pic)
Okay, so then we had some breakfast... and I snuck this big present out from the garage and into the family room.
To: Mom + Dad
... which ended up being a Brand New TV! Who knew?! (42" Samsung plasma HDTV, pow!)
So, we hooked some Guitar Hero up to that bizness...
... and rocked out! I have a video of a bunch of people rocking out that I promise promise promise to put online soon (like tonight) so check back later, okay?
Family Christmas Tradition #12: Race to Auntie Jean's in Stoughton, MA for some clams casino...
... and Christmas dinner (roast beef + potatoes?). Jonathan made clever use of some Yankee Candle residue to whip up this sweet cat costume.
Michelle passed around her digicam, off of which I snapped a pic of these two little kids all dressed up (photo of a photo = so meta!).
After dinner we busted out the Guitar Hero in Auntie Jean's basement.
Katie rocking out.
Don't forget Cousin Michelle.
Whew. So I left around 7:30p and headed over to MF's brother in law's place (Aaron + Lisa) for beers and desserts. Late night we brought it back to Hill Street for some more Guitar Hero action.
Here: MF (kind of) rocking, I guess?
And Lt. Rob. We're all a little crunked here, but isn't that what Christmas is all about?
Whew... so that's it for the Christmas recap. A little weak at the end, but the fog is lifting and I'm going to head out to get a few runs in (still raining, btw). Happy New Year to whoever is reading this (I'll have some VT pics up soon. Player, please!)