Friday, January 22, 2010

The season was the reason I survived 2009.

Hi everyone; welcome back to Mr. Joes World.
A recent piece of mail from a "Secret Santa" has prompted me to look back at the past Christmas season and try to put into words my efforts to give a good holiday to my immediate family (kids and pets), plus continue to pay bills, keep the pantry stocked and cope with unexpected repairs.
Here's how it played out....
Well 2009 was a very rough year for me and was looking to end badly, but you know, I just couldn't let life get in the way of enjoying the season, and making sure the whole crew, here at Camp Run-A-Muk, enjoyed it too was my goal. Of course I needed help and that's where my family and friends came through for me.
  Things were looking bleak in the beginning of December when my computer crashed and ended up being out of service for most of the month. The dollar signs kept going through my mind as I calculated the possible repair costs for that. West Marine was/is cutting hours each week, I had already taken a sizable cut in pay when I moved from one store to the other and now there was the fact that I would be getting less hours each week too. Added to my concern is the fact that my bills don't take a holiday and only increase with any late payments, I still have to keep food on the table, but I also wanted to have some extra snacks for the holidays.
 Hmmm, getting hard to enjoy the holidays.
But; once I started decorating the house for Christmas, realized that my parents were there to help me out with the computer and we stayed busy at work, you can't help but feel optimistic about how things will turn out.
Christmas is all about the children, right?, well in our case, the children turn out to be Daisy, Hobie and Bella, who get much joy out of the decorations and if they get a cat nip toy or a chew bone, are as content as the kid with a new Playstation.

"Christmas is for Cats"

Take a good look at the tree photo to the right. Do you see an ornament that looks amazingly "cat like", that would be Bella the kitten or Lil B as Josh calls her. Bella and Hobie just loved the tree, especially to be underneath the low branches or in Bellas case, up in the tree. Occasional "territorial" squabbles would break out under the tree between Hobie and Bella and that would set the tree to rocking back and forth, but they never lasted long.
  This photo is actually from 2008, but Hobie did the same thing in 2009, look for catnip in her stocking. Bella learned from her sister and I soon had both of them up on the rail, with their paws in the stockings.
Watching the cats get into trouble was Daisys entertainment, especially Bella, who was always into something as I first decorated and then celebrated the holiday.

The season was not without it's drama when you have teenage kids around.
 Josh and Nicoles relationship was strained during the holidays and they broke up shortly afterwards.
I'm sure there were a couple of reasons for the strain, I only know what I can surmise by their day to day interactions. Not like anybody is going to tell me, even when asked. As long as things don't get out of hand, I let life play itself out. Typical teenage love, one day they are two broken hearted kids, the next day they are sitting there playing video games together. They are back together now.
Christopher and Jazmine, seem to be on again and off again as a couple, and I do notice that while Jazmine is able to enjoy being here with our family (and we certainly enjoy her being part of the family), I don't see it going the other way with Chris and her family. I have mentioned my concerns to Chris, but he is like his brother and mother, having a "need to know" attitude and in his mind, I don't need to know, how he feels about that or what the real situation is. Again, I let life play itself out.
We did have a great Christmas dinner at my sister Ginas' house in Bear Delaware. Jazmine joined Josh, Chris and I for a great day and an actual "White Christmas" with snow on the ground.

Here's the scene looking from my kitchen to the snow storm we had in December.
As for Christmas presents; I did what I could with what I had. And everyone was happy with the results. I could only spend the minimum on each boy and also have something for Nicole and Jazmine, but I did put thought into each item and they all appreciated it. I, in turn was rewarded by some great gifts from them. Both boys have limited incomes too, but the gifts they gave me, recognized my likes and tastes and that was appreciated by me.

At this point, I have to say what a great time it is for me, the boys and Nicole or Jazmine whenever we go to Gina and Johns house. For the holidays you just can't beat it. Of course their two boys Jonathan and Matt are much the same in age, likes and dislikes as my two boys. They all love Nicole and Jazmine too. Their home is beautifully decorated (especially for Christmas), warm and inviting. Like me, they have multiple pets, two dogs and two cats, I'm partial to my cats and dog, but her pets are as loving as you can get. There is a spirit of closeness and of family when we get together there.
Christmas came and went; New Years Eve was looking to be a non-event for me.The boys were going to do their own thing with their friends, I didn't have the money to do anything here for them, so it looked like an evening of painting miniatures and watching "The Twilight Zone" marathon. Which isn't a bad thing actually.
But it seems the ungreatful Colonials were stirring up trouble again and I would be needed to head a force of British and Hessian troops to the area and give them a proper thumping.
Okay, okay the real story is, my friend Dick Caldwell invited me over to join he and Les Mansir for a Miniature Wargame, titled "All the Kings Men.
The American Patriots, gather for the upcoming battle.
     "Rabble Rouser" spout sayings such as "Give me liberty or Give me death!"
My Hessian gunners say "give them some round shot"
My British Regular give them some "Volley Fire"
Now that's the way to ring in the new year!
I put down the rebellion (for the time being) and it didn't cost me a Kings Schilling.
I thank Dick and his wife Judy for their (Year long) hospitality and giving us a great place to meet and play.
So now, the year 2010 is here and whew, I survived the holidays.
Money is still so very tight, bills are coming in non-stop, an increase in income is still potentially months away, but like Washingtons soldiers at Valley Forge, I know, if I can continue to endure, do the right things and "keep on the sunny side of life" things will turn out good in the end for me, the kids and pets.
Getting a money order from my secret santa, a card expressing best wishes and love, with a Wal-Mart Gift Card thrown in, from Mom and Dad and the many acts of help support and friendship I get from my family and friends bouys my hope and gives me strength.
Adios 2009, it's a new year in Mr. Joes World.
Thanks for reading.