Sunday, December 28, 2008

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

I’m sitting in the casino restaurant on Christmas night. I would be sitting in the bar, but for two things. Firstly: Have you ever tried to read in a bar? Not easy. Sometimes not even possible. Secondly and most importantly: The State of New Mexico does not allow package or bar sales of alcohol on Christmas day. They could serve me a margarita with my meal, but no other drinking allowed. I never have more than one anyway, so no harm done.

Jackson is making money hand over fist at the penny slots in the casino. Well, as much as that is possible, what with the payouts being in pennies and all. I won absolutely nothing in the half hour I spent there. Feeding money into little machines and getting nothing in return bores me frightfully, so I have vacated the premises in favor of pen and paper to be followed quickly by the perusal of an as yet unread Dorothy L. Sayers.

We arrived here yesterday afternoon and managed to find our cabin with very little difficulty. We tend to argue vociferously over direction when traveling; each of us equally convinced of our navigational superiority. Sad to say, he appears to have the upper hand in arguments so far, having been right 2 1/3 times. That is enough to drive me to drink in and of itself, but I shan’t give in to such shallow temptation. The time he was 1/3 right he convinced me to drive all the way around the mountains this afternoon – in what I was certain was the wrong direction – instead of going over the mountains in the right direction as I had postulated.

I begrudged him the one third win when his rout was confirmed by a convenience store employee when I stopped to fill up with gas after having made snide remarks about needing to conserve as much fuel as possible for our foray around the entire mountain range. I may have to concede him a full half win and admit that his route, however circuitous and indirect, saved me from driving over the mountains during an afternoon sleet storm.

However, that was not what I intended to write and it appears that I have gone far afield and completely lost my point. Where was I?

Ah, yes. We arrived yesterday. After a late lunch/early supper we went back to the cabin to putter around a bit. Embarrassingly, we were both so tired that by six o’clock, when the sun been down for more than an hour, we were both stretched out on the living room furniture and snuggled under blankets, fast asleep.

We woke around mid-night, thoroughly refreshed. And who wouldn’t be, after a six hour nap? It was by then definitely time to open presents - regardless of whether you belong to the Christmas Eve or Christmas morning camps of present openers.

Jackson’s presents took longer than mine and we were both fascinated about what was in the heavy box with his name on it. I’d totally forgotten what it was, even though it was from me and I’d wrapped it myself only days before. I blame this gift and its capturing of our attention for the remainder of this story.

Jackson really wanted cash for Christmas to use for a specific project he’s working on. Just before we started opening our gifts I slipped a hundred dollar bill into the folds of gift wrap on one of his gifts. That gift. In the heavy box. You can see how I got a bit distracted, can’t you?

I really don’t want to tell you what happened. You can see it all coming, can’t you? You can see that I forgot about the money and never told him it was there. You can imagine how the feisty little bill held fast and never slipped out of the wrapping paper and managed to get bundled up with the rest of the discarded wrappings and carted off to the dumpster, outside. In the cold. Outside to the dumpster where it was deposited amongst the detritus of the neighborhood. Where it would languish until sometime later when a blinding flash of memory sent one of us out to the offensive skiff, faced with the prospect of sorting the trash to retrieve the treasure.

You know that’s what happened, don’t you? And you’re wondering which of us made the dive?

Well, you’d be wrong. Very wrong.

What really happened is that as we finished our holiday plunder party the room began to get a little chilly. That’s because the fire in the fireplace had gone out.

Oh no? Oh, yes.

Jackson bent to gather an armful of wrapping paper to throw on the embers.

”Wait!” I cried. (Admit it – you breathed a sigh of relief here, thinking I’d remembered the $100 just in the nick of time and all was well. If so, you‘re wrong. Again.)

“Don’t just throw the paper on the fire – roll it into a log kind of thingy,” I commanded.

Jackson obeyed. He set the paper log on the fire and soon it was blazing brightly.

We sat back, admiring his fiery handiwork and fiddling with our gifts. It was at least five minutes before realization struck and our domestic tranquility was shattered by me leaping to my feet and attacking the fireplace amidst a hail of repetitive profanity. Reasonably startled, Jackson made use of some profanity of his own as I drug the remnants of the paper log out of the flames and onto the hearth, filling the room with smoke. I frantically peeled back its now smoldering layers in search of cooked currency.

I never found it. Not even a trace. Money burns very well, if you had any doubts about it.

All we could do was sit back and laugh, while I tried not to touch anything until I’d washed the soot off my hands and face.

This will certainly be a memorable Christmas. And if Jackson wins a hundred bucks in the casino tonight, I’m not gong to tell you. You’d never believe me anyway.


P M Prescott said...

Hope your having fun at the casino and not losing too much.

esperanza said...

Oh no!

So what was in the heavy box? I do that, wrap something that I myself bought and placed in the box. Two hours later? No idea what is in there.

I guess you might as well burn money in the fireplace as in the casino...

Presbyterian Gal said...

That was one reallllly skewed version of Gift of the Magi. Only you, Rach, only you.


Hope you get the million dollar jackpot on the slots after that.

annie said...

That is about the most pitiful story I have heard this Christmas season! It is possible to win it back playing the penny slots, isn't it??

Bless y'all's hearts...

Janie said...

Lordy, Rach! That's hilarious!

Okay, who's for Rach putting Paypal linky love on her blog so we can all contribute??

Beth said...

what a great story with my morning coffee.

SpookyRach said...

Yep. It was definitely pitiful. ha ha! I think Esperanza is right - might as well burn the money as throw it away in the casino.

Hey, maybe I could put up a pay pal link and then offer each contributor a prayer cloth that has been sprinkled with sand from the holy land. (I have a crucifix in my desk that has a vial of that stuff embedded in it. I keep it to ward off vampires. So far it's working great.)

ElastiGirl said...

Wow - a vampire repelling cloth could come in handy... only 10,000 pennies - shouldn't be too bad!!

dust bunny said...

And I thought MY Christmas was annoying!

The good thing about this is you shared a darn fine story.

Happy New Year. :)

Pam said...

Which Dorothy L. Sayers? She's one of my all time favorites. Maybe Lord Peter or Bunter could come and help discover the lost hundred bucks!

Tauratinzwe said...

I wish I had money to burn like you rich Texans! ;-)

Patti said...

Only you two...
I want pictures!

Gator World!! said...

OH NO!!! I kept thinking all the way through the story that you would remember, and save the cash, but alas (hanging her head) you did not.

Maybe Jackson will win big and everything will be alright. ~would be crossing her fingers but that makes it harder to type~

Bunny Bunster said...

Oh Holy Crappe!!