Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Holidays are Hell


I've been doing nothing but working and sleeping for the past two days. The holidays aren't fun anymore. It used to be, when I was younger, that I would sit and watch TV, anxiously awaiting the moment when I could open my stocking. Then the next morning, the smells of dinner cooking would awaken me, and I'd get up to go into the front room to open presents. After that, we'd eat. I don't know where I thought all that came from, but I learned in my mid-20's that someone had to cook the dinner, fill the stockings, wrap all the gifts. And that someone was me.

I've been putting on holiday dinners since I was 25, so I've been doing it for 25 years now. A couple of those years found me unable to do the dinner for whatever reason, but for the most part, I've done Thanksgiving and either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We'd decorate the house, have a huge tree with all the ornaments I'd collected throughout the years, play Christmas music on the stereo (I had to have my Elvis Christmas collection plugged in), I'd get up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in the oven, and the day itself was spent fussing over dinner and my guests. It was grand to put on dinners in the Sacramento house. We had two distinct dining areas - the breakfast nook or the formal dining room - and I'd use my best china and silver, order a beautiful floral centerpiece for the table, and since I had an enormous island that wrapped around and had a shelf on top large enough to pull a bar stool up to and eat off of, I'd just put all the finished dishes on there. Then they'd be carried through a large arch into the dining room to be laid out on my long antique table. It was fun then. After dinner, everyone would sit in the family room with the big-screen TV on and watch football or some silly show, and we'd talk about Christmases past.

This year, all I can do is think about the six glorious years I spent in my dream house, the sound of the waterfall flowing into the pool as I opened the windows to let out some of the heat, the sheer size of the rooms where everyone could sit and move around and come into the kitchen for a taste without getting in anyone's way. This year, we're cleaning this shithole and trying to make room for my family to come on Christmas Day. We're trying to turn this place into a home, make the kitchen large enough for me to cook a leg of pork and all the fixings, and mopping and polishing the old wood floors. I no longer have three ovens in which to cook; I have a crappy single oven with lightweight burners instead of my commercial stove that blasted things in a matter of minutes. I don't even have a vent fan that works right. I know that everything that's been stacked on the tables won't fit anywhere; I know that this is an exercise in futility. I know all this, and yet we plug along, trying to recreate something that was fun and enjoyable. It's not going to work - I know I'll cry all day as I try to juggle dishes and pray that the oven rack doesn't bend and collapse under the weight of the pork. I know that I won't hear the waterfall bubbling into the pool; I know that everyone has no place to sit, to move, to be. I should be thankful that I'm not on the streets, but I can't. Not yet. It's still too close. It's like the first holiday after someone close to you dies. That house killed a part of me. It took away a small part of my soul, and try as hard as I might, I can't heal the hole in my heart. Maybe some day. Maybe.

So I'll do the best I can and try to put on a happy face for everyone, because I can't talk about this to anybody. Nobody understands why I can't move on. I have moved on; at least part of me has. But the part that was so attached to that stone and stucco dwelling has been ripped from me, and nobody wants to hear about it. Hubster is grieving himself, so he can't listen to me. My family thinks that I'm weak. I'm not weak. I'm a strong woman. But this brought me to my knees, and things like the holidays remind me of it.

So you, dear readers, are the ones I can talk to, the ones to whom I can tell all my inner fears, the family who doesn't mind my babbling about things lost, never to return. I'm sure many of you have endured horrible losses in your lives, so you understand what I'm talking about. Perhaps when the house is put together, it will feel more like a home. I hope so.

On the brighter side of things, the shop is coming along splendidly. I'm waiting for the paperwork to wend its' way through the system, my files are set up and ready to go, the bins are labeled and waiting for the artists' work to arrive, my domain name has been been purchased and is just waiting for Hubster to work on the website, I'm working on a design for the business cards, and I'm getting ready to have a contest for my signature yarn. I'm behind schedule, but I was warned that this would likely happen. I'm doing everything I possibly can to get the shop open in January, but if it stretches into February, I know you'll all understand. I believe it's worth the wait. It also helps to keep me sane. I now have a purpose.

That said, I won't be posting until after Christmas and am saving all my pictures of yarny goodness to show you. There aren't many people around to read blogs; everyone is too busy with last-minute preparations. And so it should be. We all have our "real" families to tend to, gifts to buy or finish and wrap, dinners to finish planning, and all the myriad details that have to be taken care of. I wish you all godspeed, and may your holiday season be joyous, safe, and memorable.

Time to take a nap. I have to turn this place into a home before I leave for Folsom tomorrow.

Merry Christmas. :)


Sandy Ziegler said...

Hi Pam,
I so much enjoy reading your blogs. I am so sad that you are feeling sad about losing your home. I'd love to know the circumstances surrounding the loss of the home you dearly loved. I just care, that's all. If, you don't feel like sharing with me, I'll understand. Merry Christmas from a friend, Sandy

Pam the Yarn Goddess said...

Sandy, thank you. I would love to talk to you. If you give me your e-mail addy, I'll tell you all about it. Drop me a line at, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. We're in and out right now with the holidays, but don't worry - I promise I'll write. :)

Martina said...

Hi Pam
Despite everything I really hope you have a wonderful christmas and that having all your family around you gives you some comfort.

God Bless

Sheryl x

Pam the Yarn Goddess said...

Thank you, Martina. It's friends like you who really make a difference in my life. I so appreciate you and your continued reading of my blog.

Merry Christmas. :)

Syd said...

I am sitting here crying...I know that pain, my sister had a home (not house)that she and her husband planned every detail. It was perfect for them and how they lived. When he left her she also lost the house (the cur left her a week before her cancer was operated on). She is still in morning over the loss of her home...(in remission from the cancer and got over the husband)..and this time of year it is very hard. I hate to see her in pain, but this home was a part of her and it sounds like yours was a part of you. I am so sorry for your loss. Sending you love and prayers for inner peace...and by the way, stash crap in the car until the holiday is over...makes more room.

Pam the Yarn Goddess said...

Syd, I'm so sorry about your sister and all she's endured. I'm sorry that she married a cur who left her right before her cancer operation, that she lost her home, that she's gone through the pain. Being sick exasperates everything. I know that, too. My house was a home, but I can't say that yet. Every once in a while, I slip and do say it, and then I feel like a knife has gone through my heart. It's truly a horrible, horrible thing. I'm glad she's in remission and over the assclown.

I want to thank you for writing, Syd. We've never met, but I've made so many friends through this silly blog. Someone who shares what you did with me is my friend.

I loved your suggestion about stashing crap in the car. We have an Expedition, so we can stash a LOT of crap in there.

Merry Christmas, Syd. :)

Megann said...

Merry Christmas Pam. I'm thinking of you today and hoping that you are doing well and surviving the holiday with a smile. I'm sorry that you are feeling sad this holiday. I hope it gets easier.

Anni said...

It must be awful to ahve lost your dream home. Try to focus on the good things in your life. I know the big day is over by now and I hope you ahd a good day. I don't do turkey as my oven is too small so I do beef instead which I prefer. Also I find it easier to cook and I can put it in the oven after we get back from church and still eat lunch at a reasonable time. aFter years of seeing my mum run herself ragged and getting stressed out on Christmas Eve I've decided that I will put on a nice lunch but I'll also enjoy the day. So Itry to strike a balance.