Sunday, December 26, 2004

Christmas Without Stockings

I had a wonderful Christmas with my family except for one thing ... no stockings. I had just finished telling Michael (we had a date on Thursday; more later) that stockings are the best part of Christmas. I told him how no matter what was under the tree, somehow the contents of my stocking were always the best part of Christmas.

Our stockings have been with us for years. I think we got them in 1972 when we were in Florida for Christmas. We'd been through a natural disaster, Hurricane Agnes, earlier that year and we were displaced from our home and living in temporary quarters. Mom and Dad decided to take the family on vacation and we drove to Florida and spent some time with some friends that had moved down there. We went to this brand new theme park called Disney World and I was amazed at the rides, especially "It's A Small World" and "The Pirates of the Carribean."

So we had these stockings with our names written in glitter on the white fur. Over the years the contents changed as we grew up, but the stockings were always the best part. In fact, everything I got for my new housemate Phil and his seven year old daughter fit in a stocking. (Gotta love the electronic age when you can put CDs, DVDs and mp3s in a stocking).

So I'm bragging about the stockings, and I come home and there is a small group here on Christmas Eve and suddenly I realize ... no stockings! My parents redid their kitchen this year and there is no longer that crappy paneling with the ledge to which the stockings were always hung. "Where are the stockings?" I asked. My youngest brother looked at me with disdain and said "We haven't had stockings in years - where have you been?"

It's true. My parents don't even have those stockings anymore. But my memories of them are so vivid that I can't remember a time without them.

Somehow I survived the trauma. After all, I got everything I asked for. My brother and his wife came over as did my sister and her significant other and we opened presents here at my parent's house. Then, we went over to my other brother's for dinner and opened gifts with them. Ended the day playing Trivial Pursuit back here at the 'rents.

I've been checking my email every few hours, and no messages ... after my date with Michael, a few issues came up and I've been expecting a response. Turns out he's a bit older than I am, and he's wondering if I have an issue with that. And he's still married - has been separated for seven years, but not legally, and no plans to do so. Maybe that should send up warning flags for me, but you know what? I'm not looking to marry the guy - I just wanted to meet someone who I can spend some time with. He says that's all he's looking for as well, so why can't we just get to know each other a little better and hang out?

And I'm not sure Michael was completely comfortable with my honesty. At one point he even said that I was honest to a fault and maybe I should lie a little to make him feel better. Uh, no. This is who I am - accept it or move on. I told him that, and that is what elicited his age confession, at least in part. I told him that I would be turning 40 next year, and he told me he'll be turning 52. Okay, so he's a bit older than I am. So what? He could pass for early 40s if he wanted to. And from the little bit of time I spent with Larry (who just turned 54), I'm thinking maybe I like older men.

But I've got bigger fish to fry. That job I wanted that's been put on hold? That's fine - but in the meantime, I have another interview with a different company on Wednesday. The job isn't completely defined, but this is the type of company where they often make the job fit the person. They have some needs, but if they find a candidate who can do some but not all of what they are looking for, and the candidate offers something else that they can use, sometimes they just shift job duties to make the job fit the candidate. It works. Imagine that - hiring someone for their strengths and then giving them a job where they can excel and will get satisfaction from their work.

Time for me to get moving - I'm meeting up with some high school classmates for an afternoon of ice skating followed by pizza and beer. I can't skate, but I'll give it a go. Back to the homestead tomorrow and then I'm going to start my New Year's Resolutions early. Maybe by the time the new year hits I'll have developed some new good habits.

Or I'll still be juggling two men and becoming a better liar ...

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