Merry Christmas!

Amanda heard a little bit of noise downstairs this morning around 6:30 and, noticing Harvey wasn’t in bed, asked me to make sure he wasn’t nosing around in the presents.  After we came home from church a few weeks ago and discovering that he’d had his way with a few things that were lying around I thought her request was a sensible one.  It just turned to be my mom, who was already awake and moving around.  I ended up staying up and chatting with my parents.  Amanda eventually joined us and we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood with the dogs- Bruce, Harvey and Schatzi.  It was nice enough out that my dad was wearing shorts.  On Christmas Day!

By the time we got back Erin had woken up.  We were all sitting out on the porch, taking turns to take showers, when Adam and Renee arrived.  Amanda and Mom fixed a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage and biscuits then we cleaned up and opened presents.

Money was a bit tight for everyone this year, so my side of the family decided to do the White Elephant, or whatever you want to call it, where everyone gets one present.  I ended up with a laptop pad from Adam and Renee.  Amanda actually opened it first, then Mom stole it from her and I stole it from Mom.

We all just sat around for a while after that, listening to Christmas music and just chatting away the day.  Around 1:00 I told everyone that we’d need to leave to Amanda’s parents’ house before too long.  I really didn’t want to kick everybody out and hope nobody felt that way, but it was getting on in the day.

Everybody packed up and said their goodbyes and we left the house around 2:00, stopping briefly by Nick and Amy Warkentien’s house to lay out some food for their cat, Gipper, and to clean out the litter box, or as I call it, to go Gipper hunting.  Still no sign of Gipper.  I again assume he’s alive as his litter box had plenty in it, but I looked all over for him and couldn’t find him at all.

Amanda and I called a few people on the way to Richlands to wish them a merry Christmas.  Among those people was my friend, Chris Reeves.  Chris and I had been playing phone tag for a while and I still hadn’t had a chance to tell him we’re having a kid.  I got through to him, but he was at his parents’ house and his reception was bad.  He called me back a few minutes later from his parents’ landline and we started talking, but then I lost my signal on the backroads.  I called him back, but I guess since it was on my work phone the business name came up on the caller ID and nobody answered.  Or maybe they were busy.  Anyway, I left a message and he called back a few minutes later and we finally got to talk for a bit.  I lost my signal yet again a few minutes later though, so when I got a chance I sent him a text message.

When we got to Amanda’s parents house in Richlands we unpacked our stuff then opened presents.  My big one was a PlayStation 3 Blu Ray player.  I was pretty proud of the gift we gave Michael.  We took this picture that Amanda took of him and blew it up large and made it blurry.  We then put it in a shadow box and printed out a smaller, clear version of it and added a quote that he likes to the bottom of it, then mounted the small picture on a few pieces of cardboard to make it look like it’s floating out from the rest of the picture.  I thought it looked really cool, and he was pretty impressed with it.  I was afraid he might not like it because it was a picture of himself, but it’s artsy and his back is to the camera anyway.

My favorite gift that I gave overall was a print by George Pocheptsov, a world-renowned local prodigy.  The print is called Surfer and Amanda’s talked about wanting it for months now to put in the nursery.  We both really like George Pochptsov’s style too, and she was surprised and happy to get it.  I’d gotten her grandfather, Earl Lemons, to make a frame for it.

I had hidden that present away and gave it to Amanda after all the other presents had been opened.  After I did that though, Karen Mercer, Amanda’s mom, went and got her own last present.  For a while now, Karen had been making payments on a limited Dr. Seuss print (at the same gallery where I got the George Pocheptsov print).  She had taken us and Michael to pick out which prints to get because she was planning on willing one to each of them.  Michael found the idea too morbid and didn’t pick one out.  Amanda, though, picked a print with Sam from Green Eggs and Ham.  Karen went upstairs and brought it down, still in its brown packaging paper, saying she found one more present for herself , and went on about wondering what it was.  We all (well, I know all of us but Amanda’s dad, Phil Mercer, knew anyway) what it was and we were like, “Yeah, yeah, just tear it open!” as Karen was gently removing the packaging paper, trying not to tear it.

After a moment she quickly wrapped it back up then laid it across my and Amanda’s laps, and told us Merry Christmas for the baby.  Amanda was just about in tears and I have to admit that it stung my eyes a little.  Amanda had teased Karen about going ahead and giving it to us because it would be great for the nursery.  Karen had indeed bought it for herself, but she decided to go ahead and give it to us for the baby.

Well, after all that we cleaned up a bit then loaded up in Karen’s van and headed over to Beulaville for dinner with Peggy and Earl again.  The Frazelles showed up with a Seinfeld trivia game that Hannah had gotten from her boyfriend, Christian Black.  I was pretty tired so I dozed when it wasn’t my and Karen’s turn.  I felt bad for her having me on her team.  After a little bit though, Dain Dulaney showed up with his kids, Tripp and Anna Hawkins, and Dain joined Karen’s team to lead them to a victory.  There was one question I knew the answer to that nobody else did, I’m proud to say.  The answer was “Biazrro”.

Dain and crew, by the way, were in town because, being from Charlotte, it was going to be a long drive for them to come to the family Christmas get-together tomorrow.  I think they went by Patsy and Bobby Greene’s (the kids’ grandparents) for the day then came on down.  They were leaving for a trip to New York from Charlotte the day after tomorrow.

After we got back to the Mercer house Michael and I spent some time playing Left 4 Dead, a zombie game for the Xbox 360 we had both gotten.  We also played Resistance 2, which he already had but I was given for the PS3.

Zach Dotsey