Here are three possible readings:
- You can plan too far in advance.
- No matter how much you plan, something is going to get away from you and make you feel like a harassed basketcase.
- Most of it is going to end up in the trash anyway.
This year I was on top of the gift-buying, the gift-wrapping, the Christmas dinner, the house decorating and - unsurprisingly, the festive baking. Once again, it was the Christmas cards that let me down.
Every year, I start thinking about the cards in October. I start taking pictures of the girls in November. And yet! Somehow, I am always racing against the last mailing day . . . and usually losing.
Even though I was a bit behind schedule this year, I had a plan to pick up my finished cards on Monday morning and then -- no procrastinating! -- put in a full afternoon of hard handwritten labor. (Isn't there a saying about the gods laughing at the plan-makers in this life?) Unfortunately, by the time I got to the bottom of our lane, I could hear the tell-tale death rattle of a blown tire. Never mind the tire -- the afternoon was blown, too. By the time I had purchased two exorbitantly expensive Michelin tires, (thank goodness Sigmund's already bought my pressies), and been chewed out by a garage owner for driving on bare tread and a prayer, there was just enough time to get home and start dinner. The cards could wait for another day . . . and somehow they did.
Despite my best efforts to get on top of Christmas this year -- so I could actually enjoy all of the little rites, and not feel them to be a hideously stressful burden -- I ended up doing my Christmas cards in a less than desirable state-of-mind. In a fit of Christmas multi-tasking, I was writing out addresses as I got my hair cut. I was writing cheery messages as I got a pedicure. I was sticking on address labels as I tried to eat soup. Yes, even though I am due to catch a plane early tomorrow morning, I was sliding into the post office at a quarter to five today. The postmistress could only sigh at my Santa sack of letters -- to be posted all over the world. And once again, my wishes for a happy new year are going to be read after that new year has already dawned.
But that's a minor thing, really. What's much, much worse is that my husband is not going to be able to get away from work this Christmas. Our trip to the Bahamas -- the one that my mother has been planning for a year -- is going to be sans Sigmund. Poor Sigmund! Should I leave his lone stocking?
It's not much comfort, but at least the chickens will have company. The four of them (Minstrel, too) will have to scratch out a Christmas together.