Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Day Before Christmas!

No more counting down days - it's hours away!  This month has been a whirlwind of activities and preparation, and now the big day is almost here!  I can feel the excitement in the air!

My day started off differently than I'd anticipated.  Which doesn't surprise me anymore.  I've come to accept the fact that I'm not really in control (though it hasn't yet stopped me from trying).  Last night one of my sweet neighbors sent over a flan, a dessert that I absolutely love, and hers is especially yummy.  After dinner I had me a nice slice.  It was all creamy goodness as always.  I went to sleep at 11:00.  At 2:00 I was awake and feeling sick to my stomach.  How is it I forgot that I'm lactose intolerant?!  It's not like those issues go away with the holidays!  I was awake for about an hour feeling nauseous, then dozed off and dreamed about being nauseous.  I wanted to sleep in but that wasn't going to be possible.  My cousin called last night and asked if I would watch her kids till 10:00 am so she could go to a doctor's appointment.  She was dropping the kids off around 8:00 so I had to be up before they got here.  That was my first indication that the planned schedule was not going to go as planned.

I got up, got dressed, and started breakfast.  The kids got here as I was starting to watch a new video Shelbey put up.  I hadn't had my breakfast, and neither had they.  Good thing their mom brought them cereal because one of the kids has severe allergies, and all 3 of them are picky eaters.  She said she'd be back by 10:00 but I doubted that very much.  Even on Christmas Eve, when everyone should want to go home early, doctors never get you out on time.  I was right.  She picked them up closer to noon.  To top it off, two of the kids have colds, and the youngest (he's 5) was coughing up a lung and complaining of a headache.  He really wanted to play, especially since I'd given him his belated birthday present, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle golf game, but he just didn't feel well.  His sister (she's 8) was also coughing quite a bit.  The middle child (he's 7) is the one with the allergies.  I thought he would be calm today since he'd taken his allergy medicine in the morning, but instead he was more active and cranky than usual.  I'd told them I had a lot of things to do but they demand lots of attention.  I tidied up the one bathroom and that was about all I could do, other than preparing the stuffing for the turkey.  By the time they left I was exhausted, and there was still plenty to get done.

I managed to get the turkey into the oven at 12:40.  I use the Alton Brown method:  brine the turkey the night before, then roast in the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes (he does 500 degrees but that'll smoke up the house), then reduce to 325 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.  That would give me time to get myself ready for church.  Lunch was leftover stuffing and Tyson chicken tenders for me and my youngest son.  Both my older kids were at work; my daughter would be leaving directly from the office to the church service so neither would be home for lunch.  Something quick and simple was our best bet.

After lunch I showered and washed my hair.  I decided to do my makeup first, then blow dry and style my hair.  I'd just gotten my primer on when I heard something slam against the front door and Molly go berserk barking.  Who in the world was knocking that hard on the door?!  I went to see what was going on, and spotted a FedEx truck outside my door.  I wondered if it could be...but no, that wasn't possible.  It couldn't be my package from Bare Escentuals, because FedEx had already informed me yesterday that they didn't have the package.  "Surely it must be something R ordered," I thought.  I opened the door and the package was right in front.  I could not believe it.  It was my Bare Escentuals order.  The order I'd called about just the day before.  The package that FedEx supposedly never picked up.  The order that was cancelled and the charge reversed on my credit card, that was being duplicated at that very moment.  I opened the box to verify that I wasn't going crazy.  I wasn't.  My order was there, complete.  I immediately got on the phone and called Bare Escentuals to let them know my package had arrived and not to ship out the duplicate order, as it wasn't needed.  I asked for the lady I'd spoken to yesterday, but she's on another floor, so another lady asked if she could be of assistance.  I explained the whole situation to her, made it clear the error was on FedEx's part and not Bare Escentuals, and that they needn't ship out the second order.  There was a short pause, then the woman thanked me profusely for my honesty in letting them know that I had in fact received the first order.  I hadn't really thought about it, but FedEx never got a signature for the package they'd just delivered.  There was no proof the package had been received.  Of course that was something I couldn't do; I may be able to fool FedEx or Bare Escentuals, but I can't fool Jesus, and He's the one I answer to.  The woman put me on hold to figure out what could be done; she came back twice to let me know she was working on it.  Then she passed me through to the woman who had helped me yesterday.  When I told her that my package had arrived and that FedEx must have not scanned it (probably in the chaos of holiday shipments), she again thanked me for my honesty, told me she was so happy my order had arrived in time for Christmas, and since I had been so honest and patient through the whole thing, I was not going to be charged for the order.  Say What?!?!  This order totaled $116!  I had to ask again because I thought for sure I'd heard the wrong thing.  No no, there was no mistake.  Once the order was credited in their system it couldn't be rebilled, so this was their gift to me.  I was absolutely floored!  I proceeded to gush, not gonna lie, about their excellent customer service, their professionalism, and what a joy it was to deal with such an efficient company.  She was all gratitude and kindness.  I love the Bare Minerals line, the product is amazing, and after this experience I can say they have a customer for life!  Half the items in the package were products my daughter had ordered, and the other half were mine.  I got two gift bags out, separated and packed the products, then labeled each From: Bare Escentuals.  My daughter and I are both so thrilled to get this last minute Christmas gift!  I know it was a mix-up, but it wasn't Bare Escentuals mistake.  They had every right to bill me for the products, yet chose not to.  I know God had a hand in this, that this is a gift He is sending me, and my gratitude knows no bounds.  What a Christmas to remember!

Church service was beautiful.  Pastor Bob did a great job explaining the true Christmas story (with all the glory but none of the glam), and we rejoiced in seeing several people come forward on this special day to receive Christ as their Savior.  It never ceases to move me and bring tears to my eyes, knowing these people have made the best and most important decision of their lives, to follow Jesus and live for Him.  The service started at 5:00; it was so weird going in while it was still light outside, then coming out after service was done and it was dark.  It was pouring rain too.  It had been humid out when we first got there, but once the rain started the humidity shot up.  When I got home, I looked like I'd stuck my finger in an electric socket.  Ugh, frizzy hair!  I had to fix it as soon as I got home or else it would look like a something the cat coughed up for the rest of the week.   We're supposed to be getting more rain tomorrow as well.  Good thing we stay indoors for Christmas!

It was almost 7:00 when we got home, and E said his dad would be picking him up between 7 and 8, so I sliced up the turkey and got some stuffing for us to eat (since we were all starving).  The turkey turned out delicious.  Thanks again Alton Brown!  We watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special while we ate and talked; it was very relaxing.  E got a call from his dad, who was running late and wouldn't pick him up till 9.  So we started watching videos on youtube of "alternate" movie endings.  They were hilarious!  Finally his dad came to get him.  This is the sad part for me; we used to have big family Christmases, but that ended when J and I separated.  To be honest, I don't miss the gatherings.  Well, I should say, I don't miss what they've become.  When my older kids were little, getting the whole family together for Christmas was lots of fun.  There were a bunch of little kids, and we played games or watched movies or listened to music and danced.  We thoroughly enjoyed Christmas Eve and Christmas.  Then Christmas became a time of complaining.  My m-i-l is especially negative about anything and everything.  There never seemed to be anything good to say about anyone.  You could almost feel the joy being sucked out of the room.  I would try to change the subject but to no avail; I'd eventually end up in another part of the house watching television or chatting with someone, which got me the title of "anti-social" because I didn't want to join in on the complaint wagon.  That part of family Christmas I don't miss.  Having my son leave with his dad and not having him with me on Christmas Eve, that part I don't like.  But I understand that he wants to spend some time with his cousins (even though I know he would love staying home just as much).  My older kids don't go with their dad.  It's awkward for them to be around the family knowing they accept J's girlfriend.  These past 3 years have been difficult in that sense.  I am thankful to God that He has seen me through all the holidays and heartaches, and that He has given me peace. 

It's close to 11:00 now, and my internet is acting up. My son R is in his way home, and my youngest won't be here for a while. Besides, there'll be plenty to post about tomorrow! Good night, God bless, and Merry Christmas to all. 

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