I don't know anymore if I am back home now that I'm in Indiana, or if I was back home this weekend when I was in Illinois. In any event, we had a nice (though short) trip back to Illinois over the weekend. We did Christmas with my parents (and the first time all four of us were there with our significant others), and we got to attend the surprise 60th birthday party for Jane's oldest brother and his wife.
We didn't leave until 7:20 pm Friday night, because Jane had to close at the bank. So me, Carrie and Drew picked her up from work and we left with the car pre-loaded with a Burger King meal. I was worried about the weather but it was clear all the way until about an hour and a half from my parents. Then the wind picked up and was blowing the snow they already had on the ground, and when it started snowing about midnight it got a little hairy, but we made it with no problems about 1 am EST.
Isaac and Laura came from Anderson on Saturday morning, and they had it a little worse. There was snow and freezing drizzle, but they made pretty good time anyway. They got there plenty before lunch, and we had our Christmas meal a little after noon on Saturday. Then we opened presents... sort of. My mom had given us money and told us we were supposed to buy our own present and bring it wrapped so we could open it. Jane got a coat and just wore it. Carrie didn't receive all of hers in the mail yet, but brought the cd (unwrapped). Isaac used his money to buy presents for other people, so I wrapped my old digital camera and gave it to him. Because what I brought for myself was the first camera we bought for my parents, but I decided to keep it when we found them another one that was a little easier to use. I think I'm more excited to have a new camera than my parents were to receive their first digital. My dad didn't even look at it. He still uses the kind with film. My mom will probably use it though. At least my dad didn't try to give his gift from us away this year. Last year we got him some candy and he tried to give it to my sister when she was leaving. He did appreciate the Tony Dungy book the kids got him. Of course he had to explain who Tony was to me; you know, because since we don't live in Illinois anymore we obviously don't hear news or sports or anything like that.
After a hum-dinger game of domino's we went to a little bar in the nearby village of Sheffield to help surprise Jane's brother that night. His three kids rented out the bar and it was free drinks and free food the entire night. That was pretty cool. I think her brother and his wife were pretty surprised. We had a pretty good time visiting with family on Jane's side, and we also ran into some old friends who just happened into the bar. One of the first people I saw was a guy who was a few years older than me - who always called me "Space Cadet" in high school (which I didn't really care for) - and he is now a county cop. He was pretty drunk when we got there, and he was still there when we left. I also had two other long conversations with people that I don't remember ever having talked to before in my life (though I did know them). One of them claimed she used to babysit me when I was young. I don't remember it at all. It was a good time nonetheless, and I enjoyed talking with them, and I'm glad we got to be there.
It was zero degrees f when we woke up Sunday morning. We all went to early church at our old church, then we hit the road about 10 am CST. It was clear all the way home. We got home around 4:30 EST, and I had someone from church drop something off before I even went in the house and unpacked. I scooped the front step, unpacked, then headed to the church at 5 to get ready for our Christmas tree decorating and supper. All indications are that we had an excellent speaker in my absence (Josh Arthur from Urban Light in Muncie). I was glad to hear that. They need to hear good preaching every now and then.
The Tree Decorating went really well this year. There were 46 people (I only know because we used every chair that was set up for the meal). We sang "The First Noel" - and as usual I messed up the words/verses. Everyone brought an ornament from home, and by family we had people come up and share why they chose the ornament they did, or a special memory or thought from Christmas, and then they hung their ornament on the tree. Of course about half the lights on the tree went out while we were singing. Oh well. That took about a half hour, then we went downstairs and ate. We had baked potatoes and soup and veggies and ice cream and stuff. A good time.
We were cleaned up and home by about 8:30 pm. I sat in my chair and did some crossword puzzles and just vegged for a while. Bogie was happy to have some people back home. Went to bed at 11.
Now... it's back to the grind. Peace out; and in.