...they screw the grandparents.
That, my friends, is a direct quote from my mother. This after I broke down in tears because Casey had destroyed the gift I gave my father for Christmas. My mom was laughing when she said this, but still, it only made me feel marginally better.
It turns out that only one of my predictions was correct. I returned home frazzled and exhausted. I mean, it really was a great Christmas. One of the best ever, really. But boy was I glad to get home.
So, it seems, was Casey who slept through the night like an angel (even though I put her to bed at 7:45pm) after being the biggest brat all weekend long. Blue was, of course, perfect.
No meals were disrupted by Casey's crying. Apparently the fact that I give my dogs scraps when I'm eating (judge me all you want, but if french fries taste good to me, I want to share with my two favorite dogs) actually worked in my favor when I went home. Since they get scraps, my dogs know how to beg politely (sitting at least a foot away like good dogs) and only took a couple of reminders for them to behave when they got pushy with the noses in the laps and such. (I will note that they are more aggressive with my father, which he complains about and then proceeds to give them snacks all. the. time. These dogs, they aren't dumb. They know where to get the good stuff.)
And, though I predicted only one, two things were broken by Casey while we were home, though not when she was chasing the cats (who remained safely confined in the basement throughout our visit.) The first was an innocent screen door (think Marley) that was in Casey's way when she decided that she had been outside long enough. (I went outside to survey the damage and found Blue patiently sitting on the other side of the broken door waiting for me to open it and let him in. Suchagoodboy.) The second was my father's Christmas present and the source of the tears immediately before I left to return home.
See, the gift to my father was sort of a joke. Over Thanksgiving, my father was telling us the story of how he sanded and repainted the basketball goal over his garage. The very same basketball goal that hasn't been used in approximately, oh, twelve years. Still, he spent all day sanding the back board, repainting the lines, and then bought a new net that glows in the dark. He was very proud of his work. Afterwards, upon realizing that the basketball had gone flat, (again, unused for twelve years) he went to Target and purchased a brand new basketball and pump.
Which my mother promptly returned the next day.
See, now that they are retired, my mother has very stict rules for what purchases are "within budget" and "not within budget." It turns out that she did not approve the purchase of the basketball and pump. A fact that was repeatedly lamented by my father over Thanksgiving while he wondered when, exactly, she had gotten control of the household budget and why, exactly, he couldn't buy a thirteen dollar basketball when he wanted to. "It's just thirteen dollars!!"
Here's a tip, dad. She's always had control. It's just that before, she was a bit more flexible. Your budget wasn't as tight. Retirement does that, remember?
He made such a fuss, in fact, that I immediately decided he would get a basketball for Christmas. And he did. And he laughed. And I laughed. And all the friends who came for Thanksgiving (and again for Christmas) laughed. It was fun, my mother threatened to return it (we called her Scrooge) and in the end, my father had his basketball.
Which Casey promptly destroyed two days after Christmas. See, my brother was shooting hoops, and Casey was outside, and I was throwing frisbees, and then Casey saw the basketball. I warned my little brother that Casey destroys balls. She just does. I told him that. But I don't think he entirely believed me since there was no way that a basketball fits within Casey's jaws. Being my brother he should have known that where there's a will, there's a way, and with Casey there's no shortage of will. It just took one missed shot and Casey opening her mouth as wide as possible to dig her teeth in the side of the basketball as she danced merrily just outside of my grasp in a fun game of keep away.
One Christmas gift - destroyed. Thankyouverymuch.
My mother cracked up. She called it a sign from above and was just tickled to death that she had ultimately gotten her way. I think, in a funny way, it made her like her grand-dog-ter that much more even as I was about to kill her.
So the trek with the two dogs wasn't great, but it probably wasn't as bad as it could have been. Two days with temperatures above 50 allowed me to have the dogs outside much of the time and they wore each other out with the provided toys. My father bought them pig ears and rawhides that they merrily chewed when in the house. They terrorized the racoon that has been plaguing my father, and they slept soundly at night next to me.
But still, next year? Next year I think a pet sitter will be in the budget as a necessary expense. (Unless I can find a nice volunteer? Anyone? Anyone??) I think Casey's antics were mostly caused by anxiety as she does like her routines (surely she didn't get that from me? No...surely not*) and I don't need the stress of removing her from her environment. Blue is beloved, and Casey is merely tolerated. No need to subject anyone to that again.**
"Real" Christmas recap coming tomorrow.
**She's lucky she was the first, or else she might have been returned.***
***Okay, not really, but still. I must apologize again if I caused my mother this much stress as the firstborn and more willful child.