Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
They were submitted by: Sarah Nolan - Thank you, Sarah and happy belated birthday!
Well, it's 12/12, a full moon, we got a little snow, and I didn't catch much sleep. In return I have this nagging migraine-like headache.
It's been another Holiday season that my husband / boss granted my coworker vacation days. Not that she doesn't deserve a time out on the Canary Island, it just blew my chance of doing anything else than running around at the office and driving Colin to practice and games. I literally squeezed in grocery runs during my lunch hour and folded laundry in the middle of the night because that's what insomnia is for, right?
Just in case you're wondering, by now I look like some kind of a zombie, or in my case mombie.
To add pressure to my busy schedule, Monday (the week before last) my Mom texted me and asked about Friday.
"What about Friday?"
"That's when your brother and his wife arrive from Israel."
Well, goodie, he never announces his plans to me! Why would he though because I am not part of his plans anyway. He pretty much told me so last time they were here - unannounced (to me).
We invited them over for dinner.
I cleaned up our living room, broke out the white tablecloth and the good wine glasses, there was even a miniature Christmas tree.
My parents, my husband, my son, we were all sitting around the table, food kept warm, for the sake of using my words, let's assume it was pumpkin soup, waiting for them to arrive.
When they didn't, we texted. "Are you almost here?"
I scrolled back two years in my history to find the picture they sent from the Zurich Christmas market.
"It's sooo nice here, we are enjoying ourselves. See you another time!"
OK. At least they have got their priorities straight. Never mind the people who bent backwards not only to run home from work and prepare for a nice dinner, but also to accommodate my SILs dietary restrictions.
The day they were supposed to leave in the evening, he texted me: "what are you guys up to today?"
I had signed up and paid for Colin's Junior Sushi Chef class weeks ago, and we were literally heading out the door.
"May we come by and say goodbye?"
"We're really just leaving, but why don't you join us (I know for a fact they love sushi), we'll be back before your flight departs."
"Nah, we're going to the art museum."
Fast forward to this year.
Friday my brother posts "and we are off" in our family WhatsApp chat:
I looked at the time he sent the picture and figured it must be SWISS LX 25 arriving at 7:20pm.
Colin's practice ended at 7:45pm, and from Zug to the airport is a 45 minutes' drive if there's absolutely no traffic jam, which never happens. So meeting them at the airport was out of the question.
We did, however, pick up some personalised Grittbänze for them and surprised them at my parents' house around 9pm.
They were having dinner, and we needed to get home to sleep because Colin had a game the next morning,
Which reminds me I told my Mom Saturday night was the only time we are able to do something. I wrote do something.
My brother promptly contacted me via WhatsApp: "Hey sis, thanks for the invite, we'll be happy to come to your house. Please keep in mind G (my SIL) can't have any dairy products."
Wait a minute. Did I say anything about inviting them over for dinner? I might be crazy but not that crazy. This would literally mean that after the game I would have to race home, clean up and cook. No way, José.
So I told him it'd be more convenient if they'd joined us in Zug, watched their nephew play hockey and then we could go out for a pizza there.
"Oh, we don't have any plans yet" he vaguely replied.
Saturday came and went. We didn't hear a thing.
Sunday hubby and I were invited to the Arosa humor festival. It's a 10 days' event featuring the most popular Swiss (stand-up) comedians, and it takes place at one of the most gorgeous Swiss alps ski resorts. Some shows literally happen on the ski slopes. They set up heated tents, and guests arrive via gondola.
We enjoyed the snow, the outdoor cheese fondue, happy hour and Mike Müller's fun performance "heute Gemeindeversammlung". He imitated about ten characters, complete with accent, body language, facial expression - thumbs up!
On our way back to the village (it had gotten dark) some crazy guys wearing headlamps passed us with their sleighs. Very spooky.
Monday back to work. Tuesday back to work.
Mom texts. Any chance you can swing by tonight? (Meaning, see your brother)
"Sure, happy to, will there be dinner?"
"Well, they are hard to pin down, they want to make the most of their days, once they're sans kids. And I can't quite give the a curfew," she said.
"They have all day to do stuff. They live at your house, they use your car, surely they can make it back home in time to have dinner with us? We have an early start tomorrow, Colin has class at 7:30am. Mom, don't you think they're taking advantage of your generosity and kindness?"
Do I even have to tell you guys?
I swung by at 6pm. Mom (who had gone grocery shopping by bicycle in 35°F temps because her precious son had her car) texted them at 6:15pm to ask about their whereabouts. Can't they ever give us a heads-up without us having to track them down? They were in the St. Gallen area. That's a 90 minutes' drive if there's absolutely no traffic jam, which never happens.
Luckily even my parents thought it was time to eat if my brother and SIL were that far out. It was yummy, yet sad. Oh, and that's not all. Mom asked them if she should keep some food warm for them.
"No thanks, we're good, we had some Bratwurst and Glühwein."
Again, they had no intention of even making it to dinner.
I left at 7:30pm.
In that scenario, clearly the reindeer isn't the rude one, my brother is.
Speaking of Rudolph, here's a catchy song:
Tomorrow (Friday) they are leaving. So depending on the time you're reading this, they are either on their flight back or have already arrived home.
I love my brother, I really do, and his wife is a lovely lady, and I would have loved to spend some quality time with them. I just find it hard to accommodate their attitude.
I get that they want to make the most out of their time and visit Christmas markets and see snowy mountains, I get all that. If they told me ahead of time I might even make arrangements to join them.
Thoughts on enjoying their time without kids: Their oldest is 18 years old and in the army. They don't have to care for her anymore. Due to the fact that they live in a kibbutz, they don't have to hustle to have their younger ones (16 and 12.5) looked after. The kibbutz provides childcare and after school programs for kids of all ages, so parents can go to work and not have a single worry. Plus my SIL's mother lives at the same kibbutz.
The kibbutz provides meals at the dining hall, the kibbutz people do your laundry, the kibbutz community pays for healthcare and schooling - you pretty much don't have to adult except at your job (depending on what it is) and to raise your kids at night.
I'm asking you: how many of your get a week off as a couple every other year? A week spent living at your parents' house, using your parents' car, being out and about and doing christmassy things?
Again, I am happy for them, I just think they should be more considerate towards the people that make it possible for them.
What do they say: you can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends.
So thank you for being my (blogger) friends! I'm determined not to have my holiday spirit ruined. Speaking of, I think I made a new friend as well. In case you haven't yet, meet Mary Katherine from Florida:
From sunny Florida to (partly) snowy Switzerland, here are some winter rules:
- Eat roast apple
- Cuddle at the open fire
- Ride a sleigh
- Have a snowball fight
- Enjoy time with your family (use the term loosely and include friends, just as we have discussed above)