The empty halls of work

My company dings my pool of 25 PTO days for all holidays in which the office is technically closed. So I lost a day yesterday. Which is why I came into work today–I wanted to save some of my vacation time. Except, the problem is, no one is here but a lowly IT guy. And last week, I finished the thing I was working on and, really, the only stuff I have to do relies on talking to people who aren’t here today. So I’m wondering why I’m here. I’ve been goofing around on the internet all morning and I just purchased my dad’s Christmas present (and it for sure dinged my pocket book). I’m thinking of leaving at noon and just charging half a day to my PTO.

Despite the loss of PTO over the holidays, I decided last week to take off the day after Christmas like most normal people do (and most companies give to their employees for free). I’m also going to take the day after New Year’s off. What the hell, eh? It will give me a chance to do something really cool for New Year’s, which I always like to do because it’s one of my favorite holidays. I like the whole “begin again” philosophy of the holiday. I’m always looking for ways to restart my life. For some reason, New Year’s gives you the false illusion that you can wipe off the smudges your soul incurred during the year and begin anew. As if the last year didn’t really count. It was practice. I don’t know. I’m always feeling like I need a “do over.” I’m working on it. Eventually I’ll get there.

I always thought if I got married again ever, I’d like to do it on New Year’s. Maybe it’s cliche. Still, it would be cool to have an anniversary date on 1/1 of a given year. And, really, starting anew is a good theme for a wedding anyway. Part of me also likes that it would be different from all my friends with their May, June, July, August, October weddings. No offense, but I like my special days to be separate from everyone else’s. When I got married in 1999, none of my friends or relatives had weddings in August. (Well, to be honest, not many of my friends were married back then–I was only 24). Well, the year after, two of my friends got married in August. I was secretly pissed–this was my special month, dammit!

I’m a trend-setter, it appears. So probably if I got married in January, everyone else would soon follow. Of course, I’m not really that original–my parents were married in January. But they are the only other people I know who have that anniversary.

It’s Black Friday and I’m totally not in the Christmas spirit. For some reason or another, my present radar isn’t working this year. I’m usually really good at buying gifts for my friends. It’s a talent I’ve prided myself in. I don’t like to ask people what they want, I like to find things I know they would like because I know them so well. I love buying that “perfect gift” and I feel really annoyed when I get something for someone that I’m only marginally excited about. I guess a gift to me is a way to say, “Thank you for being my friend.” So if it’s a gift I don’t feel that’s well thought out, I feel like the message is tainted. And the last thing I want to be is the person who gave you that gift you didn’t really want at all.

I already bought gifts with my parents, but they are pretty easy. I know them pretty well. I blow a lot of cash on them. I guess it’s kind of a “thank you for being such good parents and putting up with my crap all these years.” I think of all the Christmases when they probably spent more money on me than I’m spending on their single big gift and I feel like I owe them. Not the kind of “obligation” owe them, but rather, just a feeling of wanting to give them the best things I can come up with because I was such a fart most of my life. Especially to my dad. We did not get along well in my teenage and early adult years. Now he comes over and works on my house and does things for me all the time and I feel like a real ass for treating him like crap all those years. I’m maybe a bit more appreciative of both my parents these days because they stuck by me post-Mike whereas my in-laws turned out to be real shitheads. Blood trumps all. And, really, I have to admit that my parents “raised me up” well. Being an adult is realizing how screwed up everyone else’s families are and appreciating better the family you have.

As for my friends, I love them all dearly, but am drawing real blanks on Christmas gifts this year. For some reason, I feel exhausted already and the holiday season hasn’t even begun. I’m wondering if some people will just end up with money or gift certificates this year, which is something I absolutely hate to do. It’s just easier for me. I just don’t feel like being bothered with it this year. I don’t know what my problem is.

I plan to get a live tree with my dad again this year. Having a live tree last year was really fun. My house smelled wonderful, especially when the heater moved the air around the house. I feel slightly guilty–I’m sure my environmentalist friends would admonish me for this blatant waste of a tree for my simple pleasure. However, the way I look at it is, someone has already chopped down that tree for me to buy. I’m merely giving it a home to make sure it does not get wasted. I suppose you can argue that the tree would never have been chopped down in the first place if there wasn’t a consumer demand that I’m now feeding into by purchasing the tree, but to that I deliver a big raspberry. I don’t care. May Al Gore take away my green credits.

Having a live tree is pandering to my inability to give up my childhood. I realize this. Not being a really religious family, we didn’t practice any real Christmas traditions. I have this blissful memory of a tradition that died when I was very young–no more than 8 or 9 years old–of going to get a Christmas tree with my dad. We would go look for one and then he’d take me to McDonald’s after for an eggnog shake. My mom killed the tradition by buying an artificial tree. And the little Mars Girl has been simpering about it ever since. I always told myself that when I became an adult, I was going to buy live trees.

Of course, some things change with time: I promised my dad that we would go to Ray’s Place in Kent after we acquired the tree. Ray’s Place is a nice little pub my dad and I like due to its vast selection of beers on tap. The food is decent and pretty cheap too. So I guess you can say that I’ve traded the innocent child’s eggnog shake for the adult’s drink of a beer. I don’t think my dad likes eggnog anyway.

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7 thoughts on “The empty halls of work

  1. I would like that. Don’t know if my dad likes foofy coffee, though. My favorite foofy coffee drink around Christmas are actually those Peppermint Mochas. Yumm… I always get at least one during the season…

  2. There is nothing quite like that real tree smell. Odds are your came from a tree farm and not some pristine forest somewhere, so it wouldn’t have been planted at all without the consumer demand.

  3. Hopefully my tree was “free range.” ;) And not subjected to horrible living conditions in its life on the tree farm.Funny thing I seem to remember is that in Colorado you could go into Rocky Mountain NP and cut down a tree for Christmas… unless I dreamt that… it seems to me it was allowed. I wonder if they had some sort of controls on that… or if the person who did it and told me about it had done it in a less than legal manner…

  4. Stacy Kemp's parents were married in January as well as her brother Steve & his wife Val. Also dont know if you know my friend Gabby or can place her, but her and her hubby were married at the end of Jan. So there's more that are in that month. May not seem like a popular month, but maybe people don't really shout out that they were married then since it's not the typical month one thinks of when they think of weddings.

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