I woke up last night at about 3:00 to let Bruce out to pee. I was wearing nothing but jeans, and while it was cold it wasn’t unbearable except for when I had to walk off the concrete after him. Even then it wasn’t too terrible. I woke up to let him out again a few hours later, and this time I at least had a shirt on. I think Bruce woke up then because he heard Amanda’s grandfather, Earl Lemons, getting ready to go take his daily walk. He was a little over-bundled I think.

Since I was up I went ahead and took a shower. Amanda was up not long afterwards to take hers, but by then Peggy, her grandmother, Earl and I had all taken showers and it got cold on her really quickly so she didn’t get herself more than a splash.

An interesting and, to me, important thing to note and to tell you about stems back about a month ago and came full circle, or at least to closure, today. Last month Amanda had a small cause to wonder if she might not be preggers. We found out this morning for definite sure that she’s not. For the last few weeks I’ve secretly been hoping she was. In fact, just yesterday I was thinking about ways to tell our parents for Christmas. I was honestly a bit more saddened by the realization that my wife is not pregnant than I thought I’d be, having based it on a loose suspicion. It’s not like we’re trying to get pregnant or anything, I just had my hopes up.

Anyway, Amanda’s mom, Karen, came over for breakfast. We all sat around talking until I realized it was time for us to head to Rougemont. After I realized that it still took us about twenty minutes to leave.

While I was driving I made a couple of calls to John Quinn and Jack Hanley. John was out, but I talked to his youngest daughter, Patty Quinn, who said he was doing pretty well, though he’s a little slow right now, and that he’d be happy to hear that I called. Jack’s phone kept ringing, so I didn’t get to talk to him or leave a message.

Once we got to Rougemont mom and Jackson came out to see us. Jackson already knew our names and Bruce’s. That was the beginning of our Jackson day. Mom had already gotten him cleaned up and ready for us to take him out, but when Amanda took some stuff inside and let me watch him he ended up splashing in a mud puddle so we had to wipe up his shoes and change his pants.

Amanda and I took Jackson to Panera at Brier Creek to meet up with Amanda’s friend Amy Farmer (formerly Brower). Jackson kept us entertained on the way there. He kept asking “Where’s Jackson?” and hiding his face from us. I also got him to say “Hey you!” Later we’d keep shouting it back at each other, getting louder each time.

Amy pulled up to Panera right as we got out of the car. We drove my parents’ Prius, by the way, which they’d gotten from Pup Pup, my mom’s dad. It took me a minute to get it going, but it was a nice ride. Anyway, we ate at Panera and we gave Jackson an apple and some cream cheese. He was a bit shy around Amy at first. He’d fallen asleep in the car and woke up inside Panera (we were going to eat outside but the sun would have been shining very brightly on someone’s face) where he looked around in a very confused manner. We decided to go to the other side of Brier Creek and get Jackson a toy from Hallmark (being the day after Christmas we didn’t want to go to any usually place to get a toy). Amy drove over there in her own car, which prompted Jackson to ask “Where Ay-muh?”

jackson_toy_sidewalk.jpgAll the workers at Hallmark were very accommodating of Jackson and even said “Bye, Jackson,” as he was leaving. He couldn’t decide what toy he wanted and we were in there for a while. He’d almost picked out a Beanie basketball then picked up this little Christmas tree ornament set with a Baby Jesus in it. He picked it up for the horsie though. One aisle had a stuffed Duke Blue Devil on it so I taught him how to say “Blue Devil,” which came out more like “b’debba.” He kept saying “debba” after that for a few minutes. That prompted me to teach him “Who’s number one? Duke Blue Devils!” It sounds something like “Who nummawhu d’debba!” Something like that anyway.

jackson_vesuvios_shake.jpgJackson finally settled on this little plush police car that has a policeman, a bullhorn some red thing that might be a fire hydrant and a dogg that barks when you squeeze it. After we walked outside he sat down on the sidewalk and started playing with it.

My dad was there when we got home again and after a little bit we went out to Vesuvio’s, an Italian place in Roxboro next to Wal-Mart that my parents like to go to. Jackson was, of course, entertaining. Andra taught him to do this one thing where he clenches up and grits his teeth so hard that he shakes. It’s a ridiculous move but it’s so cute, and he kept doing a bit of that.

Back at home we all started passing out in the living room watching Shrek 2.

Zach Dotsey