Holiday Bag Check

For the past several years, i’ve hosted an open house on the fourth Thursday of November – known to many as “Thanksgiving”, i just call it “Thursday”.

In the U.S., this day traditionally marks the start of the holiday season – a season fraught with emotional peril, along with joy and celebration. Pinned to the holidays are memories – good and bad. As adults, each year adds another layer of memories, and sometimes the holidays can be a dark and swirly place emotionally.

When my children were young, this is the one holiday of the year we claimed as our own – NO TRAVEL! Asking my ex-husband how he wanted to spend the day? “Pizza and football”. Asking the kids, i got “Let’s make our own pizza!” For me? It was a simple “stay home in my damn pajamas with my family.” Combining these elements, we began the pizza tradition.

Through the years, i invited others – the single folks from work unable to get home for the holiday. Those who had family in town, but wanted an excuse to stay away. Or those with nowhere else to go. When i moved into my new place eight years ago, this continued… and grew.

It’s non-traditional, for sure. A make-your-own pizza buffet. Yes, i DO invite people over and make them fix their own food! Part of the process of reclaiming the holiday, i suppose. The practical side is that it accommodates the drop-in nature of the party, and accounts for those who already ate a large meal, and just want to snack and drink.

Pizza Buffet

This year, around 30-35 people came and went over the course of the evening. i’ve got a trained collection of Thursday Veterans who know to bring people – and i have met some wonderful human beings at my own party as a result.

Mary came this year, and brought her dog, because dogs are also welcome here. She retired a year ago, and lost her mother shortly afterwards. This is the first year without her Mom and she was dreading being home alone. Her friend, Rachel – a “Thursday” veteran – invited her, explaining “I think I know exactly what you need! Come with us!”

i added something new this year – the “Holiday Baggage Check” stand at the door. Inviting attendees to drop a claim check in the can – and feel free to leave it behind. “I don’t really like my family…”, “I was never good enough for my father…”, “Despise green bean casserole!”…

Baggage Check

For me? The baggage has evolved over time. “I don’t want to go to a restaurant on Thanksgiving!” – when Mom finally gave up the traditional meal. “It would be really nice to stay home on a holiday!” during the years before my family time-shifted the meal to the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Looking through the few bits of baggage left this year… “The ex…”, “Overwhelmed with work – added family stress” and “I miss my mother…”

Pretty sure i’ll keep this as part of the Christmas Eve party. What’s your baggage?

 

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Knee-dful things…

Considering he had both legs sawed in half, Studley is doing great! After suffering with bone-on-bone pain for the last several years, he had bilateral knee replacement last week.

He was in for surgery at noon, sawed apart, given bionic metal parts, and released from the hospital about 26 hours later. Getting him in the car, and driving 20 minutes, reminded me of the sheer terror i felt when my ex-husband and i were driving home from the hospital with our first newborn kidlet.  “i have no idea what the fuck i’m doing, but here we go!”

no licking

The physical therapy regimen is challenging, but if followed to the letter, the results will be worth it. Rest, ice, compression and elevation – 24 hours a day for the first two weeks! Unless he is doing physical therapy, or using the toilet, he is to be on his back, toes-above-nose, wearing compression gear, and ice packs.

misery

Following the advice of the physical therapist, i froze several dozen bottles of water, and have been keeping them in rotation. They keep the coolers chilled for about 3-4 hours at a time. The schedule? Every four hours, round the clock, i swap the ice – including a visit at 2:45am. i live 10 minutes from Studley, and have gotten into a rhythm…

But sleep deprivation happens… i looked at my sleep tracker on my FitBit after a few days, and realized i needed help. Our friends came to the rescue – with one couple providing dinner so i could hit my fitness class, and another friend doing the 10:30pm stop, allowing me one night with six hours of glorious sleep!

sleepless

Studley has a high threshold of pain, but this is some hurtful stuff. Especially during and after PT, he is really wrung out. He’s staying on top of it with a pharmaceutical arsenal. Hallucinations? A few… He noted that i seemed to be ‘phase shifting’ one day. As he was dozing, he yelled out “Save the Bocce Balls!”  My favorite so far?

Studley: The cat is in the bed.

daisyfae: Ummm… You don’t have a cat.

Studley: That’s why I thought I should mention it…

Because he was tripping, and i’ve had to come and go due to the pesky day job and caring for my pets, i was a little worried about him sleep walking. He’s got beautiful, plush carpet, so i could easily spot tracks left by his walker when he got up while i was gone. If he wandered to the kitchen, i could tell.

i let him know i was tracking his movements – for his safety! As he regains mobility, he likes to get up and go to the kitchen occasionally, or to adjust the thermostat. i was a bit surprised one night to see the walker tracks go from his bedroom to the liquor cabinet. Sticking my head in his bedroom, i found him grinning… Last night? i found ‘crop circles’ in the dining room.

Friends and family have been supportive, with the best gift arriving yesterday from my niece, DQ! “Hope this is helpful! It was out of print, so I had to get a used one. Hope the pages aren’t stuck together!”

sexy time

daisyfae: That’s funny!  [flipping through pages] Hey, this is a real book!

Studley: Why yes… yes it is!

Many years ago, when Studley and i first met, we agreed on something very important – we NEVER wanted to burden our adult children. Unfortunately, being single and over 50 means you need someone to drive you to get a damn colonoscopy! So we made a pact – no matter what happened with ‘us’, we would remain “Colonoscopy Buddies”, assisting each other with routine, and not so routine, medical support.

We’ve done that…and done our best to keep it light and fluffy! He has been so appreciative of what i’m doing to help out with this one…

Studley: I can’t even begin to thank you…

daisyfae: You’ll have your chance. We just don’t know what it will be, or when it will happen… But you’ll do the same for me one of these days.

i’ve known he was pretty amazing from the first day i met him, but seeing him maintain humor through pain… Watching him push himself harder with each PT set… Seeing the frustration because he wants to do more…. His determination to succeed…

i’m looking forward to dancing, and hiking, and diving, and living hard with my bionic buddy for many years to come… He’s earned a new middle name*: Studley Bionic McRocklegs! Long may you run, baby!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Had to dig through the archives to find the origins of his blog callsign. Somewhere about here it happened…