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January 08, 2009

Holiday purgatory has been declared OVER

Anne_marie Oh January, how I have eagerly awaited your arrival. After 16 days of family holiday togetherness, my patience was gone even before Santa arrived. I yearned for the peace and quiet of an empty house. Instead, what I got was a full house – Nathan and Lucie, my two children on break from school and karate classes; Paul, my temporarily disabled husband; and “Nana,” my mother-in-law who sat wrapped in a blanket, shivering no matter how high I turned up the thermostat.

For me, this holiday season was especially nerve racking. Since I started working from home fulltime when Lucie entered full day kindergarten, I became spoiled. I got used to a living room that stayed tidy for more than five minutes, and pillows that didn’t magically fall to the floor two minutes after rearranging the couch. I loved being able to watch The Tudors on DVD without a child walking in to witness a sizzling sex scene. And having the ability to be on a conference call without my sleeping spouse snoring in the background was a definite plus.

Winter break – bah, humbug.

Unlike previous years, my husband was home for two weeks to recuperate from shoulder surgery. Spending the first day of school vacation at Longmont United Hospital with a drugged-out-of-his-mind spouse and two bored kids was more of the same for me. This was Paul’s fifth surgical procedure since we moved back to Colorado nine years ago. He’s a healthy guy, but like many old athletes his body is beat up and requires frequent tune ups.

Yes, have sympathy for the guy, but at least he had drugs to deal with the pain. Did I mention my desk and computer is in our bedroom? Still I trudged along answering emails and writing review blog posts with ESPN blaring in the background and two kids coming in to check on their snoozing papa.

Finishing up the day’s deadlines, I turned around to find the children gone and Paul sitting up in bed. Somehow I hadn’t heard Paul ask, “Is it o.k. if the kids make me an omelet?” And he didn’t see that I had inserted my iPod ear buds and was listening to creative mind music to drown out Sportscenter. Oh dear, what we have here was a failure to communicate. Then again, Paul must have been high, because who lets an eight-year-old cook up eggs while being supervised by his five-year-old sister? They did a good job, didn’t set off any fire alarms, and Paul said his snack was delicious.

Oh, I’m sure you’ve guessed that I’m exaggerating...slightly. Yes, the holidays en famille weren’t complete misery.

I planned three lunches out with girl friends. Paul and I had a date night to see a band at Nissi’s in Louisville and managed to swing dance to one song, shoulder surgery and all. The two of us ventured out one afternoon to the Room & Board store in Cherry Creek to buy the finally discounted couch we’ve had our eye on for over a year. This was followed by a trip to the Wynkoop Brewery for a few celebratory beers.

As a family, we went to the holiday lights at the Denver Zoo and saw the dinosaur exhibit at the Denver Nature & Science Museum before it left town. We went antiquing in Ft. Collins, shopping in LoDo (lower downtown Denver) at the Rockmount store for new cowboy duds for the upcoming National Western Stock Show, and to Twin Peaks Leather in Old Town Arvada to pick up a pair of leather pants Paul was having tailored. We even stopped by our neighborhood holiday lights extravaganza for some Christmas joy. Did I mention all the wonderful presents I got like Bliss Spa toiletries, an amber bracelet, an automatic electric composter, German marzipan, and a Wii Fit to work off all the eating I did?

Still, I was glad when the kids went back to school and Paul to work. The house no longer looked like Santa’s workshop destroyed by three elves on a sugar, chips and cheese fueled bender. Now it was my “room of one’s own” at least until the 3 p.m. pickup line beckoned.

This is an original post to Rocky Mountain Moms Blog.

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