Friday, December 21, 2012

A Wedding, A Funeral, A Dog, A Cat and A Candy Coupon

My mother’s fiance’s mother died yesterday morning.  They were to have had the small wedding ceremony by her bedside at noon tomorrow (she had been bedridden at home for months, with 24-hour care, and they had wanted her to be able to see her remaining bachelor son get married), but because of this change from mortal to immortal the wedding venue has been shifted to Mums and John’s church, and the funeral mass will take place Monday morning in Macon.  Besides the huge change of losing a parent and getting married within a couple of days (and at an oh-so-low-stress time like Christmas, to boot!), Mums and John have inherited his mother’s extremely neurotic German Shepherd mix.  She was a rescue dog, and despite having been in a safe and loving environment for several years now, still spends half her days trembling in fear around most people.  My mother says she’s going to have to smear her legs with bacon grease to win her over completely, but the fact is that she has made great strides in gaining Heddy’s trust over the last few months—Heddy will actually let my mother pet her, whereas she rushes off in terror when she sees me.  But indoor dog ownership adds a whole layer of challenge to the newlywed adjustment, and I know that my father would find the whole situation hilarious, as Mums flatly refused to let him get an outdoor dog for years because she’d be the one caring for it, and now she not only has to adjust to John’s 11 bicycles in the dining room (a level of obsession which makes Daddy’s boat-mania look quite mild), she’s going to be catering to a high-strung canine who must be released and reassured multiple times a day.

Judith the cat came to my Christmas party last Saturday.  Given that people were coming in so frequently, we’d just left the front door ajar several inches, and halfway through the evening, when I was chatting in one of the back rooms, a cry went up from the front: “KYP, do you own a black cat?”  I told them she lived upstairs, and frequently dropped by to visit.  She was obviously a little nonplussed by all the people, but still accepted pats from several children before wandering into my room to investigate my unusually clean and uncluttered space.  I let her nose around for a while before letting her outside—no doubt to face her arch-enemy from next door, Mr. B’s orange and white cat, with whom she was facing off, tail puffed, when I left DC yesterday.
One staple for my annual Christmas party is Stouffer’s lasagna.  It’s really good—why make it from scratch when you can pop it, frozen, into the oven and it comes out delicious and table-ready 95 minutes later?  I was under the misapprehension that the nearby Safeway had it on sale, and so went to that store for the first time in perhaps 8 years, remembering once I walked in the door why I never frequent it—poorly maintained, poorly staffed.  Though they weren’t actually on sale, the Stouffers were a reasonable price, and the frozen food section didn’t look dirty (in ironic contrast to the fresh food area), so I went ahead and got two party-size lasagnas and one macaroni and cheese, just to mix things up a bit.  At the register (service with a snarl), I received a $10 coupon, good until Dec. 23.  No minimum purchase, just basically a credit—probably because I hadn’t been to the store in so long, they wanted to lure me back by any means necessary. So, yesterday afternoon, just before I left town, I went and spent the whole thing on candy—three packs of gum, three boxes of Nerds, and a container of Junior Mints.  I never buy candy, but since it was basically free, I went sugar-crazy!  Plus, it was basically the only thing there that wasn’t something I could get cheaper, better, and organic at Trader Joe’s.  Which is a German-owned company, one of my party guests told me.  I wish I could buy stock in it, but last I checked it was privately held.

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