Sunday, December 26, 2010

This Christmas was all about the numbers.

 This Christmas was all about the numbers. Not of presents, though that did rear its ugly head, but just about everything else. 2010 is the first number. This year was the first time Robert and I spent the holidays together at home in Ottawa. 

This is actually my hat.
He mocked me...until it got cold.
Our last Christmas in the city was in the honeymoon suite of a family run establishment formerly known as the Swiss Gasthaus. The room had an enormous bed, with a mountain range headboard of carved oak and substantial columnar legs that raised the mattress to a rarefied elevation. The structure was so immense it had its own weather patterns. While “Swiss Gasthaus” had the benefit of authenticity, I suspect that its recent change to the “Swiss Hotel” had something to do with the upcoming generation of hoteliers breaking the news to their matriarch, Sabina, that among other reasons for ‘rebranding’ was the severity to the non-Teutonic ear and the desire to ditch the “internment camp” resonance of the former name.
The next number is 3. When I received the news that I got the job I had to reschedule my return flight from Venice. Though more than happy to do so, it turned out to be a bit of an ordeal. Strangely, although Ottawa is the Capital of Canada no one seems to have any particular need to go there, at least from Europe, and as such, direct flights are few and far between. I ended up settling for a one-way flight to Montreal that cost 3 times as much as my previously purchased and wonderfully inexpensive roundtrip.
3 also happens to be the number of Christmas trees that we put up, having been rolled back from the original 5 that was bandied about during Robert’s preliminary planning. The lead tree resides in the living room, but the true star rests atop the kitchen island tied to the ceiling fan with its base in a small sauce pot of water. Last on the list but not in our hearts is the tree out on the deck held firmly in place by dangerously invisible guy-wires.... so far no decapitated birds.
22 is the next number. The only gift shopping that I had done while in Italy was for a friend and packing her gift had resulted in my upsizing my carry-on luggage. My plan was to shop for Robert when I had returned to Ottawa, which I did – just not immediately. He had made it clear on more than one occasion that he was expecting 10 gifts ... at least. I know not where that particular number came from, except perhaps having a nice ring to it.  Though I had returned on the 16th , my first thought was, well, of me. A new job meant a new wardrobe. Who doesn’t get that? My procrastination in shopping for Robert was fully galvanized by the piecework nature of it, given the preset quantity requirement. This is not how I shop, at least for others. Get a single objective, plunge into the mall, stay focused, achieve target and then quickly evacuate! The eagle has landed, repeat, the eagle has landed. Go! Go! Go! So, really, he was to blame for why I waited until the evening of the 22nd to find myself in the Apple store in hopes of buying my way through yet another heartfelt exchange. Thank God for the iPad is all that I can say.
This is neatly followed by 23, which was the date that Robert went for a walk in the Market during the day and came upon an Asian furniture store that was having a closing sale. It was after the purchase of a hall table, which he had been looking for since the autumn, when Robert learned that the same-day delivery charge was a fixed price - $75.00 whether for a single stick or a truckload. It cost him not to buy more! 11 new pieces of furniture was the final count that afternoon. Imagine my surprise when I came home to little Saigon. It works – and he is happy.
The 25th was a day met with great expectation. I was excited about seeing Robert’s reaction to the iPad and related Apple thingies that I bought him, and he was looking forward to going to mass at the Polish church which, for reasons that perhaps have some historical significance, is located in the heart of the Italian village. The entire sermon was in Polish with a light peppering of Latin. We both dozed in-and-out for parts, but in the overall it was nice to see Robert partaking in his heritage while at the same garnishing myself a HUGE ‘you-owe-me-big-time-buddy’.  
I love this time of year!

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