Sunday, December 10, 2006

The first weekend of Christmas

What a lovely weekend.

Let's start with my dear Alexe.
Every now and again I get to fall in love with her again. Our Sunday night was spent with her sitting at the kitchen counter stringing cranberries, listening to the Christmas cds she's been on the prowl for since last week. She finally found some at the library. She started spray painting the pine cones she's been collecting, but when I kicked her project off the kitchen counter, (I was choking in the fumes) she gave that up.

I've been in the kitchen most of the evening, baking gingerbread cut-out cookies, a spice cake, and three loaves of banana bread. (Alexe hates the smell of bananas, so every time our bananas get ripe enough to smell like bananas, she tosses them in the freezer, and goes out to buy more green ones. By the time I get around to a baking mood, there are dozens of them.) I also made dinner, a chicken coconut curry dish Nicholas taught me to make, and sauteed green beans. (hey, I'm great too.)

Alexe decided this was our Christmas weekend. We went out on a mission Saturday morning to buy presents for all 20+ people on our list, and get a Christmas tree. We spent the first half of the day with me sick to my stomach as Alexe pounced on various almost-worthwhile presents; me arguing that we didn't need to wing money around just because we set an arbitrary deadline, and her losing in bits and pieces her Christmas cheer.

Then we stopped to get a tree. Alexe asked the friendly fellow how much the trees were, and he straight-facedly replied "$77". And it was my dear wife, not me, who said, "Holy crap!". He instantly dropped to $65, but Alexe pronounced she wasn't prepared to spend any more than $20, and headed back to the truck.

We went home for a snack, grabbed a saw, and with a new united front, set out to find ourselves a free tree. In case a local friend of ours is reading, we won't go into specifics, but we have a delightful little tree, christened with candy canes and the miles of strung cranberries.

But many other things have happened this weekend.

We found a new place to live, an old victorian in Water Valley, that is owned by some California transplants, (he was Frank Raines classmate at Harvard Law, all you fannie folk) who bought it for their parents, and their parents won't leave California. They're happy to rent it to us on a month to month, and they want next to nothing for it. Beautiful tall ceilings and equally tall windows, hardwood floors, character. But, the kicker: I gave them a call after Alexe found the add in the paper and pestered me all morning. As I was chatting away with the woman, she said, "Did your wife write that piece in the paper last week?"

Alexe now has a regular column in the local paper, and a reputation that precedes us into neighboring counties.

We had a relatively successful time on the shopping front, though we're a bit lop-sided in our coverage. My dearest has been in a baby-lust phase for the past, umm, long time, so Jenny's four adorable daughters will be getting all sorts of little treats.

Shadow is currently out chasing deer. She's come back every other time, so I'm not too worried.

And my foot hurts, but the swelling has gone. Less swelling, more hurting, actually. Every time Alexe sees it she tells me to send it back to the underworld where it belongs. (The x-rays said nothing was broken, all you worriers.)

I thinks that's mostly it. We have a new stack of books from the library sitting across the room that I'm looking forward to. Alexe wrapped a bunch of presents and put them under the tree, and the Christmas music is still playing gently. Dido is curled up on the couch next to me, with only the slightest hint of pig shit left from this afternoon's walk. (We found a whole hillside of white clay out in the woods on our walk, molded in the neatest run-off patterns.)

We have a place to move to in the new year that we like, and that will allow us to leave as soon as we find our farm.

And we'll have a guest room from here on out. Kay?

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