It has just hit me: I'm leaving my home for two weeks. I'll be living out of a suitcase for two weeks. Worse still, I'll be around less than desirable family members for part of this time. And perhaps worse yet, I'll be spending a chunk of it in Astoria, Queens. Sweet God above have mercy on me. In all my time in New York City I was first a Manhattan then a Brooklyn Snob. I don't look warmly on the other boroughs.
I'm off today and hopefully Friday; I still have crafting to do (yup, my efficiency meter shot sky-high at the idea of making individual notecards as gifts this year - clearly it didn't foresee the five hours it would take me to make my first set of ten), cleaning (I'm afraid the fuzz in my shower will become a jungle by the time I return in January), laundry and packing. All this when already at the precipice of a mental break. I don't think cleaning is going to help my mental state but perhaps if I sniff the Ajax a bit I'll become disoriented enough to forget what was stressful in the first place. Oh, shoot. Traveling. I remembered.
Let me lay it all out for you: First I'll be in a small rural town in Upstate New York. Beautiful? Yes. Will I get to see any of its beauty? No. I'll be snowbound. The forecast for every day through my visit is for snow. I've made a mental note to get out the big suitcase since I'll be bringing my snow boots with me. There I will be with my brother & his family, his offspring being the highlight of my trip. The kids are wonderful and I love them! My parents now in their retirement live there too. I love all these people but the chemistry with them all together is highly combustible. I am thanking God my sister and her brood aren't joining us - last Thanksgiving I ended up crying in the pantry with a bag of almonds in one hand and a napkin in the other, trying to dry my eyes before I reemerged. My sister in that exact mix of personalities (my immediate family!) is deadly. It's amazing I made it to college alive.
After several days in the Arctic, I'll be riding with the Dlos down to NYC (well, Astoria) and will have Christmas Eve all to myself. In Queens. No walking out my apartment door to the grand sights and sounds of Manhattan as I'd hoped. (That friend's boyfriend is coming on Christmas, putting the kibosh on my staying there.) I will be seeing the lovely elevated subway train and using it as a beacon to the spot where my train to salvation will come. I will hop that train and ride it for dear life into Manhattan, and hopefully even to my old hood in Brooklyn. I hear there's an Ikea there now. Not bad! One can always cure the blues with a day spent wandering the Swedish Halls of Decoration at Ikea.
On Christmas day I'll head to New Jersey (what?!) for the traditional family gathering, then likely head home for the night with my sister. See my reference to her above. This I am not looking forward to. Anywho, the following day I believe we'll be gathering with the Dlos as well to do our own little Christmas celebration. My sister's house is very like that of the old nursery rhyme except my sister isn't exactly an old woman. But they may have had more room in their shoe than my sister and her family do in their abode.
As previously mentioned, I will later be heading up to Rhode Island to rendez-vous with a dear friend and come the following Sunday, be back to my home. My home. This is where I live now. Trying to fit in where and with whom I used to live doesn't fit at all. The longer you are away, the less skewered your vision gets, the more you see things and people for the way they really are. Sometimes you see they're more beautiful than you ever considered. Other times, you recoil from the ugliness that stings your eyes with every glance.
I am hoping that Santa grants me another Christmas miracle, that of unexpected joy. With my expectations being so low, the chances of them being exceeded are looking pretty good.