I am happy to announce that last night was my final night of taking Christmas phone orders. I haven’t spent much down time in my apartment over the past five weeks. My apartment resembles a Haitian refugee camp – piles of clothes on the couch, take-out boxes and bags in the trashcan, piles of unopened mail on the coffee table, and a sinkful of dirty dishes. I didn’t have the time or the inclination to take care of those things. I’d finsih my regular job, come home to change clothes, and be out the door to my second job. There wasn’t any time for anything else. My eating habits took a nosedive. I survived on Hot Pockets and cold cereal. My stomach is craving something leafy and green. Sleep is another story. On my days off from my regular job, I have lounged in bed and catnapped when I felt tired. Getting to sleep wasn’t a problem. I’d be beat by the time I crawled into bed. Five or six hours later, I’d be up and at it again. I learned something about my body over the past five weeks: I need lots of sleep and a work schedule that doesn’t get me up at oh-dark-hundred and to bed before during CSI. As I march towards Middle Age — TWO MORE DAYS BEFORE I AM TRULY A MIDDLE-AGE HEAD — my body needs, nee CRAVES sufficient rest.
The tone of my last night was off-center, to say the least. I had unknowingly selected a work station next to a woman with an irreverent sense of humor. She’d press the mute button and say off-the-wall stuff, like “what comes after Christmas? Will we have to wish out customers a Joyous Kwanza?” To which I replied, “First comes the Winter Solstice. We’ll have deals on balsam wreaths and fatwood kindling sticks.” She liked that. After that exchange it seemed the tone and tenor of the phone orders bordered on silly. One woman from Kansas City, who happened to be Jewish, was in a wonderously festive mood. Gone was the stress and pressure that so many of us carry during this time of year. She bought four pair of pants and went laughing through the order. Another woman from NYC was unconcerned about the fact that she couldn’t order the pajamas for her father. She and her brother had decided that they would forego the giftgiving. Instead they would make a contribution to charity and would exchange gag gifts. Her gift to him would be a nylon pot scrubber. I guess I missed that one. It was a fun way to end another successful and lucritive year.
Now that I am through with my second job I need to finish my Christmas shopping. I was late to the table when it came to greeting cards, so there wasn’t a wide selection like three weeks ago. I need to buy gifts and stocking stuffers for the kids, and order gifts for my siblings. They’ll get the same as last year – gift baskets for my sisters and a gift card for my brother. I’ll even buy a gift for The Ex- , a book or some candy, nothing particularly meaningful. My parents’ gift will require some thought. Ever since they decided to go Green Acres and raise alpaca, their expendable income has dwindled. Last years gift went underused because they didn’t have money for eating out or entertaining. Any suggestions?
This was the first year I intentionally DID NOT make out a Christmas list. I really don’t want anything. Okay, maybe I do want a a thousand dollars a weeks, tax free, for the rest of my life. That’s not too much, is it? Or perhaps funding for my future European trip. A kiss under the mistletoe would be nice. I love options.