December is undoubtedly one of the busiest months for me. Organizing and running the school program has a lot to do with that, but so does my inner Martha (Stewart or the Martha of Bible fame…take your pick.) While I’ve loosened up immensely in the past few years, there’s always that lingering thought in my brain that I need to make Christmas “special” for all the people I know. Or even those I don’t know. I guess I truly embrace the Christmas season and want to give to everyone! From my co-workers, to the girls’ teachers, to the Salvation Army bell ringer at every Walgreens (even if I have to hit each of the 5 Walgreens in a 15 miles stretch of route 30 looking for that ONE thing.) The problem with this mindset is that it becomes overwhelming. Add in the fact that I’ve been sick for a month, and you have me on the verge of two things: not giving a crap at all, and melting down completely. I think I’m doing a little better this time around and can be found swinging between those two extremes at any given moment. Which in my opinion means balance. As long as I don’t stay at one end of the spectrum for too long, I’m doing ok.
I made it through the LDKA (Laurel Daycare and Kindergarten Academy) staff Christmas party (hosted at my house.) And I made it through the LDKA Christmas program exactly one week later. The thing that nearly did me in was the weekend in between those events. It was my birthday and one of my best friends had gotten us tickets to see “How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical” in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace. Unfortunately my friend went down with the flu days before the show and I wasn’t feeling so great myself. In spite of sickness, tiredness, and rain, we planned on heading into Chicago that morning for the matinée show. Phil had even found a parking garage through the theater’s website that was nearby. All was going beautifully! The musical was SO much fun and the theater was amazing. Another friend had given us both certificates to go eat at The Cheesecake Factory too! We were really living it up! After our meal we walked the few blocks to a fancy cupcake shop called, Sprinkles, where I was able to get a gluten free Red Velvet cupcake (sooooo good!) We did a little shopping on our walk back to the parking garage and got there right around 10:15pm. Imagine our shock and surprise to find it CLOSED. That’s right! Locked up tight with my van inside. I laughed because of course this would happen to me. We called Phil and asked him what we should do. He laughed and told us to call when we had a plan. The plan we came up with was to walk the 4 blocks to millennium station and take the train to Hammond where Phil would have to pick us up. We went ahead and started walking in the cold and rain, which is awesome for people who are sick and exhausted. Along the way I saw a La Quinta sign and just for kicks asked about a room. At $150 a night I was willing to walk 3 more blocks in the rain. My friend thought that not the best idea (and she was right) so we got a taxi (a first for me) to the train station and took the train home. Phil picked us up and till it was all said and done I was in bed by 1:30am.
I was serving in the nursery the next morning, so I took Phil’s car and dropped him at the train station in Gary so he could go get the van. I got a text as I was leaving church to go home that I needed to pick him up at the train station. What?!? Yes folks, the parking garage was closed on Sundays! First of all, who has ever thought they had to find out what time a parking garage closed?? In a big city?? On a weekend?? Secondly, to stay closed from 6pm on Saturday and not re-open until Monday morning?!? We repeated this process Monday morning, except super early, so I could make it to work on time. Thank the Lord Phil was on vacation this week! After it was all said and done, they took off all the charges and all we ended up paying for the whole mess, was a tip for the valet who finally brought Phil the van. Lesson learned…never park in the city. Always take the train!
That same weekend the girls and I had tickets to see FamilyForce 5’s Christmas pageant. I tried to give one of the girls’ friends the ticket so I could stay home and rest, but no one could go. So, Sunday night after all that had happened, I was at a concert from 4:00 until 10:00pm. I did my lesson plans during the opening act. It was fun, but then again, by that time I had no voice. Nothing. Nada. Not even a squeak was I able to make. I was getting sicker. When I’m in this mode I hit a certain point of mentally telling myself I just have to make it till ___________. And that point was Friday, when school would be done and over till January 7th.
I’m happy to say I did make it through, but it was rough. I ended up going to the doctor and found out I had a sinus infection, an ear infection, and an acute upper respiratory infection. I’m doing a lot better thanks to a LOT of sleep and some strong antibiotics. Phil has been great about helping and is as I type, is out with Marissa finishing up some of the Christmas shopping that I wasn’t able to get done. It’s like running a special op team! I just wish we had those fancy ear thingys! Instead, they call me and ask me to call such-and-such a store to make sure something is there. So far they’ve hit the Lighthouse Mall in Michigan city, and many stores in Merrillville. I love to shop, but I know the traffic and the lines have got to be crazy! They’re doing an admirable job of checking items off the list and keeping their cool.
My family and friends who live far away will undoubtedly understand why their Christmas gifts are getting to them closer to the New Year. And Christmas cards…well, I’m pretty sure they’re going to be something like “Merry New Year’s” cards. I’m so behind. On everything. Right now, I don’t care though. I’m too sleepy. Which is fine, because I can just go take a nap!
I have lots more stories to tell! Believe it or not there is more that has happened these past few weeks. Maybe nothing as exciting as the parking garage incident, but stories none the less. With 2 weeks off, I hope to make catching you up on the happenings a priority!
I hope you Christmas preparations are joyful and restful!