Saturday, December 25, 2004
The morning after was not as picture perfect as we would have wished. Alexis let us know that her weak stomach was not just from carsickness. She managed to peg grandma again as well as the mile wide waterbed a couple of times. Not a nice way to start Christmas day. She had to stay home with the heathen side of the family while the rest of us head off with Jake to the 1000 mass. Funny thing about the family mass, they have services upstairs in the main chapel and in the basement. The basement denizens are typically families with howling children. The seating is significantly smaller then the main chapel so this usually makes the mass shorter and enables an early escape from the parking purgatory. As it turns out, there was a mis-print on the notice for mass schedules and there was not supposed to be a downstairs mass. Fr. Henry made an early announcement that the mass will still be held, but it will be shorter than normal. Like 30 minutes shorter. Not a bad thing at all. I quickly run out to the parking lot to find that the Family Tank had yet to be blocked in. I backed all the way out and moved it to the farthest corner of the lot so that we could make an easy escape later. With that done, I go back to enjoy the mostly vacant mass where Jacob happily played with his LOUD toy train the whole time. After a while, I had to trade it for some food just to save my own sanity. The cheapest toy in the batch and he loves it. The Mrs went out later to find that all but one of the things have been cleared out. Standard.
Spent the rest of the day we had free cleaning dishes from the night before and returning them from whence they came. Lots of pots, pans serving trays. Egads, could we have actually eaten all this? Apparently. Right around 1230 we all got into the Family Tank, my brother's Red Torpedo and the Maroon Marauder that the parents drive so we could head up to Northern NJ for the Annual NY Holiday Pilgrimage that the Wife's family puts together. We hob-knob with people I see only once a year and eat some really interesting stuff. Tripe, steamed duck feet, boiled taro and steamed pig skin, shrimp with mayo, broccoli and candied walnuts, sticky rice. We made it there by 1430 in spite of a little accident on the NJ TPK somewhere south of exit 8. At only cost us 15-30 minutes and the accident was that someone drove off the road. At least nobody was hurt (but they should get a good beating).
At the party, the kids were completely wild. Alexis had a short nap on the way, so she had enough 'charge' in her to go till well after midnight. The knew enough to take advantage of the crowded rooms as well. They could weave and bob through and evade anyone chasing them so we took to having a lookout stationed in the kitchen and the entryway so as to intercept them. Clever little buggers, I feel for the poor nun who will have to try to teach them in Sunday School. After a few miles of laps through the house, Jacob finally succumb to exhaustion and takes a nap in the back room. He is watched over by the Wife's Mother who dutifully stands guard outside the door like some honorific stone golem. He wakes after a few hours, refreshed. He and his cohort resume their wanton destruction with renewed zest. Eventually, Alexis finds a bell hung on the front door and proceeds to dismantle it, showing me the haggard pieces every so often. It was slowly becoming less and less till it eventually became nothing but the red cord it hung from. We owe someone an hanging door bell.