christmas vacation 01

Yesterday I drove down to my hometown for the holidays. I woke up with a sore throat and mild chills, so I took my time preparing to leave, heading out around noon rather than the usual 7:30-8:00. The drive, which normally takes about three and a half hours, this time took a white-knuckled near five, the first two (with what I thought was unusually heavy outbound traffic for noon, even on the day before Christmas Eve) just to drive the 74 miles from home out I-66 to I-81, and much of the next hundred miles in rain so heavy that there were times the road in front of me wasn’t visible and the skies looked more like 3am rather than 3pm. It was bad enough to be feeling a little under the weather, without being literally under oppressive weather. The rain finally ended about 50 miles before the end of the trip, though, making way for beautiful blue, nearly cloudless skies, and giving me the opportunity to start to relax my grip on the wheel and prepare for the new set of stresses sure to await me once with my family. <grin>

Last night actually was pretty relaxing; Mom was baking cookies when I walked in the door, and was ready to heat up a pot of chili she’d made earlier that day. I spent the rest of the day visiting and taking it easy, and getting to bed relatively early.

Today hasn’t been too bad, either. There’s been some tension, of course, once at my sister’s house, but nothing out of the ordinary. She hosted about 30 family members, as she does every Christmas Eve, and after everyone left to attend church, I headed next door to Mom’s in order to check my email, browse my RSS feeds, and leave this posting. Unfortunately, very slow dialup makes this a pretty painful process, and it’s pretty unlikely I’ll be able to upload any photos until I’m back in Arlington.

After I finish with my Internet routine, I’ll head back over to my sister’s; my mom and I are spending the night there, as we do every Christmas Eve as well, so that we’ll be there when the nephews wake up tomorrow morning (however, it turns out that the youngest of the three had his Santa “awakening” this year, so there’s no longer a need for me to play Santa, putting together toys at 2am, or finishing off the cookies and soda left at the fireplace; I’ll just be able to go over and go to bed).