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Past the Holiday Burnout aka “What I Did For Christmas”

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I’m finally past the holiday burnout – possibly.  I think everyone experiences that.  It can range any where from trying to visit as much family as possibly for the holidays in a first year of marriage and still keep up with friends (like with my new wife and I) to a single person trying to get to all of the family and still keep up holiday partying with friends while trying to not look like a slacker to either.  In simpler terms, “Holiday Hell”.

My experience this year was quite fun.   Having a step-daughter meant we had to go visit family and then get her over to her other family at close to midnight.  This also meant multiple “Christmas” celebrations at my Dad’s, our house, etc, etc.  This was great for her – she received four times the presents she would have gotten.  Not so great for us, because we have to figure out where to put them all – although we are thankful for a child that doesn’t ask for $300 of Wii games at a time, along with a new Wii console because Nintendo decided to produce one in pink.

The dogs, of course had to get gifts too – our daughter insisted ….. which results in one of our newest dogs (Brandy) getting over exited and us having to do cleanup.  After hearing all of the horror stories of a puppy’s first year (climbing the tree at Christmas, eating the presents, etc), I feel blessed that all we had to do is deal with piddle.   Well, Brandy did lick the Lional tracks once, which should have resulted in an electrified pet –  but we’re fairly convinced she’s not capable of feeling pain (or electrical current).

Then there is the scheduling of events …. and the learning curves.  My wife and new step-daughter had to deal with me and my anal retentive way of actually wanting to be on time, and I had to deal with the fact that there is no way in hell you are getting an eight year old to be on time (or at least care to be anyway).  We didn’t get to the point of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, but we tried.  I’m sure we’ll try harder next year – we both have enough family members to provide casting – although I’d probably feel more comfortable going outside the family tree for casting the hot sales lady at the lingerie counter.

New Year’s Eve was fun.  I DJ at one of the more hip restaurants every year (of course not much was hip at all this year with the economy) …. so we at least ate good and were able to spend time with friends, etc.  Taking equipment back to storage wasn’t exactly exciting, and due to the economy and not that many people being out, I missed on my favorite pass-time after working New Year’s Eve in Pittsburgh: Dodging drunks on Carson St.  It’s kind of like the Dodge-Em ride at Conneaut Lake Park ….. you try to not hit one person staggering across the street while avoiding another one a few feet down.  I guess it’s more like bumper pool using humans and automobiles.  Occasionally it’s unavoidable that you tag one, or one walks into your car while you are stopped at a traffic light.  It doesn’t really matter, because they’re usually so drunk, they next morning they just figure the black and blue marks are from mis-stepping while table dancing at the local watering hole, or getting tossed out by the bouncer.  I think we really need to turn “Dodging Drunks” into a beer-pong style bar game.

Of course there is the company Christmas parties.  I was invited to go to and Dj at the company Christmas party for the restaurant I normally DJ at.  Considering I’m now 40 ….. having to play a regular cycle of Britney Spears just made me constantly think of proper parenting.  It also made me realize that being in a band today, is really like playing Guitar Hero.  Auto-Tune does wonders for voices that suck, so record labels can now properly market the marketable, and successfully blow off the actual talent.  We went two hours longer than the party was supposed to last, which proves the “old guy” can still spin a decent party atmosphere, and the kiddies still think power drinking makes the party.  The best part of the night was probably impromptu rapping by MC Rob (who actually showed much more talent in two minutes then Britney has show in two albums). If you think I’m picking on the youngins, I’m really not.  It was actually refreshing to do a holiday party where I didn’t have to figure out how to make Sinatra tunes work with 2Pac’s greatest hits.  The musical generation gap is a little much for most DJ’s these days.

I also worked many of the services for my church (I do sound) the weekend before and weekend after Christmas, along with NYE weekends.  All I can say is it takes talent to keep that fake happy smile on for the people that only show up once a year for service ….. and then also keep alert to the fact that the pastor would actually like to have his microphone working while he is speaking.  Wireless microphones using batteries that usually die during critical teachings are the biggest example of grace you can probably find in a modern church.  I forgot … I did the Christmas pageant this year too, which results in parents actually asking, “Can you make my kid sound better?”.  Nope …. sorry,  only folks at the level of Britney and Chris Brown can afford Auto-Tune – your kid’s voice just sucks, get over it.   It’s hard to tell parents their kids aren’t going to make the first round draft picks for the Civic Light Opera this year, if ever (maybe they’ll land a part as a tree) ….. but someone must be unfeeling and cold enough to present reality – why not the sound tech?  We tend to like wires and circuit more than people, so it’s kind of fitting.

We did the typical stuff of putting up Christmas lights, decorations, etc also.  If you get into a “Christmas is gone” depression thing, just stop by our house … there is a good chance the lights will still be up, the train will still be running, etc.  I’m not lazy, I just figure the longer I wait, the sooner someone will invent automated Christmas decorations that unpack and put themselves up at the beginning of the season, and then take themselves down and pack themselves up at the end of the season.

Probably the best memory this year (besides now having my own family), was buying my Wife’s brother (who is 11) his first Lionel train set, stopping over the next day, and seeing it still working and in one piece (or at least as pictured on the front of the box).  After visiting a bit, we went back home, let Brandy our of the cage, who piddled a record amount of times on Christmas Day (we figured it was her gift to us) ….. which pretty much blew away the “glow” of the memory just mentioned.  We realize that, although our dog is not as bad as Marley …. she definitely shows potential.  Our other dog is teaching Brandy, so that potential should come soon.

The gerbil passed away this holiday season too.  It lasted three years.  Both me and my wife were worried our child would be affected by the loss a long time pet.  She looked sad for about two minutes.  Keep in mind this is the same child that cried when the hamster we bought lasted two months.  Tippy (our first dog) moped around for about three days – it was a little scary that the dog actually grieved more than the kid. But to top things off, we, in the cold hearted holiday burnout way parents react to a death like this … both thanked God we didn’t waste money on gifts for the gerbil this year.

We hope you enjoyed your holiday experience as much as we enjoyed ours!

-SWB

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