6:15 a.m. :: I hate early mornings.
7:10 a.m. :: Lineup at Tim Hortonâ€™s was too long so I skipped that place and went straight to work. Stopped by the kitchen for breakfast with Mark. Then to the Front Desk to shoot the breeze with the night staff.
7:20 a.m. :: Got some bad news from the Front Desk and had to ask Mark to leave the room. So much for a stress free holiday. There is always something dumb that happens over Christmas and I am hoping that is it.
7:40 a.m. :: Mark is drinking his first cup of coffee ever. Black. Never even made a face. I have a feeling I will be in trouble when Wendy finds out about this.
8:00 a.m. :: Sitting in Sharonâ€™s office (one of our budget management workers) trying to figure out why I am at work this morning.
8:30 a.m. :: Laurie asked Mark and I to process last minute hamper requests. Three years ago on Christmas Eve I filled 14 hampers for people who had nothing on Christmas Eve. I left work feeling really good about what we did. On Boxing Day I found out that we had been ripped off by all 14 people. All of them had gotten hampers. I didnâ€™t feel that bad about it. I wasnâ€™t the one lying and plus, itâ€™s Christmas and I will never live it down. I guess that is why Laurie asked Mark to help me out. She knows that I wonâ€™t say no to anyone unless I have a good reason.
9:11 a.m. :: Answering back the 25 or so e-mails of people wanting to volunteer down at the Centre on Christmas Day.
10:20 a.m. :: Tim Hortonâ€™s run. The Giant Tiger parking lot is packed. Mark is drinking his second cup of coffee, this time a double/double on the recommendation of Debbie, one of our cooks.
10:40 a.m. :: I filled a couple of hampers. The people appreciated it. Not sure if they were telling the truth or not but I didnâ€™t really care. Itâ€™s Christmas Eve.
11:00 a.m. :: Laurie cut off hampers. The Emergency After Hours staff has a bunch made up if anyone comes in on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
11:30 a.m. :: Mark is having his third cup of coffee and is talking loudly. He also has five dollars as he was helping in the kitchen. He is now carrying 81 Christmas gifts to the chapel where they will be put under a tree for the guys tomorrow. Thanks to my awesome wife Wendy for helping wrap them.
12:00 p.m. :: The office is closed. Only the kitchen and Front Desk staff remain. Some other staff are tearing down the Christmas warehouse and bringing things back to the Centre. Also, some officers are picking up Christmas kettles and bringing them to a place so they can counted in time for the bank to close.
1:00 p.m. :: So much for leaving early. I am heading back home. Safeway looks crazy. I feel sorry for Wendy.
1:10 p.m. :: Our snow shovel is broken, someone has been in the house and there is a very large box in my living room. Since there a) is no blood from being attacked from the dog b) there is a PSP Go on the table, I assume Lee was here. It doesnâ€™t explain the broken snow shovel. Mark totally missed the five foot wide box in the living room and notices the PSP Go. Observant kid I have.
2:00 p.m. :: Lee is here. He broke our shovel and brought over a new ergonomic shovel. He is pretty quiet about the large box though.
3:15 p.m. :: Lee suggests we go to Future Shop and get the new Family Guy movie. I remind him that it is Christmas Eve and it will be crazy. He goes, â€œthat explains the time off and the giftsâ€.
4:20 p.m. :: I went by Safeway and it was absolutely nuts Wendy canâ€™t explain it as Safeway is always quiet after 2:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. I buy some groceries and double check Wendy has bought turnips. She still canâ€™t understand how I eat them.
6:00 p.m. :: We order pizza from Papa Johnâ€™s Pizza. Itâ€™s the best pizza in Saskatoon. Itâ€™s an hour wait which is fine as Wendy will be home in 30 minutes.
6:40 p.m. :: Wendy is home and said that Safeway was crazy from opening to 6:00 p.m. She wasnâ€™t impressed but was happy to get home.
6:41 p.m. :: Wendy, Lee, and Mark are all demanding we open gifts. Oliver is more preoccupied with a box of Swiss Cheese Crackers.
6:45 p.m. :: Stockings are open. Wendy and I both got LED lanterns, Mark got a small dart board, all of us got the usual candies and toiletries.
7:15 p.m. :: Pizza is here, gifts are opened, the house is a big mess. Here is the summary of gifts.
- Fisher Price Garage from Mark
- Wooden Train Set from Wendy
- Rascal Racer Set from me
- Saskatchewan Roughrider hat from Maggi and Hutch
- Saskatchewan Roughriders hat (a toddler one) and three Roughrider shirts from Lee.
- A padded Calgary Flames hockey stick and ball for the kid that loves to hit everyone with sticks.
- MiJam Mixer from Oliver
- iDog Dance from Maggi
- A small aquarium from Santa
- A play M1 Abrams Tank Set and a Campaigns of World WWII Day by Day by Chris Bishop from me. I had wanted to get him a book explaining what happened in WWII and this did a pretty good job brining history to his reading level.
- I Learned Kung Fu from a Bear Cub by Matt Jackson from Wendy. Wendy met the author while he was at Indigo and he recommended this book for Mark and signed it as well.
- A PSP 3000 from Lee :: Lee bought himself a PSPGo a couple of months ago and gave him his old PSP 3000 with a plethora of games and movies. Mark was thrilled, mostly because he can watch a couple of seasons of Family Guy anytime he wants. He also found out he can use Twitter on it as well.
- He got Trackmania and Tomb Raider for his Nintendo DS.
- I gave him a Swiss Army knife.
- Backyard Football 2009 and Medal of Honor Vanguard or his PS2.
- A carrying case for his Nintendo DS games and Nindendo DS from Wendy
- A Coby Snapp Cam, SD card, case, and mini-tripod from Wendy and I.
- Wendy got her Nintendo DS from all of us. She was pretty excited and we tossed in a couple of games, Sim City Creator, Trackmania, Brain Age (while the Reimers got her Brain Age 2 for her birthday and would not let her open it until Christmas Day), and Namco Museum. Mark also gave her his old game carry case sometime during the night and we tossed in a starter kit.
- Mark and Oliver gave her a tennis bracelet that says Mom on it.
- I bought her a copy of Heather Armstrongâ€™s book, It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita.
- Casio Compass Men’s Digital Compass Twin Sensor Watch from Wendy
- Survive! The Ultimate Edition by Les Stroud from Wendy
- A Huntsman Swiss Army Knife from Wendy. Mark got a simpler version of the same knife so we we were both thrilled.
- Madden 10 for the PSP from Mark.
- Tom Clancyâ€™s End War for the PSP by the dogs (they are thoughtful)
- A harmonica and a book on how to play the harmonica by Oliver.
- In my stocking was a Magnesium Fire Starter, an Airsoft Sig Sauer gun (Lee got one too) and the game Command and Conquer: Generals.
- The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson . It was to me and from me.
- 19 inch monitor from Lee.
- Team of Rivals by Doris Goodwin by Wendy
- A Chicago Bears jacket. I feel better about the gift now that the Bears now that Jay Cutler and the Bears are brutal this year. If the Kyle Orton trade hadnâ€™t have worked out for Denver the way it did, I would have had to take it back. I like the Bears but I love the Broncos.
- The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945 by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns. I read this book at the cabin this fall and was amazed at how compelling of a read it was.
- Airsoft Sig Sauer pistol. We had one up at the cabin and we used it for target practice at the dump all summer long. Technically it is a toy and itâ€™s velocity is low enough (combined with the soft ammunition) that it isnâ€™t going to be lethal, even on a small animal. Mark and I did a test and the ammunition wonâ€™t penetrate a piece of paper at 5 feet. It does however make a satisfying ping when you hit your target at the dump.
- A Saskatchewan Roughriders sign :: I really want one of these for the cabin.
The RC Motor Morph :: The greatest remote control vehicle I have ever seen.
A new and improved multi-tool.
Both of the dogs got dog booties for all of us. Right now Maggi is on the phone to the SPCA making a formal complaint. Hutch has just decided never to go outside again.
Maggi and Hutch also got a variety to toys to chase and chew.
Now back to the big box. Lee was quiet adamant that gifts would be opened in a certain order. Finally it came to the gifts he got for us. I was stunned to open a gift and see a Nintendo Wii. He got us the Wii, Wii Play, Wii Sports Resort, Four controllers and nunchucks, and a charging station. He tossed in a couple of games as well. For me there was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex and for Mark (and all of us), there was Super Mario Brothers. Finally we opened the big box and there was a Sony Bravia 42 inch HDTV in it.
We were shocked. Lee just said that we helped him out during a tough time and he wanted to get this for us. It is quite a gift.
Actually it looks more like this.
After all was said and done, we had to come to grips that we are a family of giant nerds. Multiple game platforms now call our house home and it seems to be getting worse. Most can be linked back to Lee. Actually all of them except for Wendyâ€™s Nintendo DS can be traced back to Lee. So maybe Lee is the big nerd.
9:00 p.m. :: Lee and I get the old television out of the way and the new TV set up. The Wii is installed and Mark is playing some Wii Sports.
10:00 p.m. :: The pizza is all gone, Lee has gone home, Mark and Oliver are in bed (Oliver spent the entire night trying to get to the Swiss Cheese Crackers, treating the pizza, his gifts, and the entire Christmas celebration as a plot to keep him away from his true love, that cracker box. I watched a bit of the
Aloha Hawaii Bowl but SMU was running away with it.