When you're part of the Kehler lineage, getting together for Christmas is no small feat.
Folks, its all about the appearances, and the pressure is insane.
I like to get up real early to ensure plenty of time for a pedicure.
There are a number of steps involved- move the dish rack. Lay out a towel beside the sink. Position self within arm's reach of the coffee machine, ipad, and variety of foot scupting tools. Soak the feet in hot water, and begin process of removing approximately eight pounds of nasty callous. Ask Brian to bring in the palm sander from the garage. And the chain saw. Things are pretty jammed up in the whole heel situation.
Like I said- getting ready for the Kehlers is a huge, big deal. There's always the dreaded heel check. So, after scraping off the worst of it, a lavish handful or two of vaseline gets massaged in, then the foot wrapped in saran before slipping into a pair of kitten socks.
Knowing how everyone would be checking for lulu and anthropology labels, I decided instead to wear all the cats all at the same time. Because, there would be no winning. Cat leggings, Hipster cat t-shirt, cat sweater, cat necklace. I left out the earrings because they make my ears itch, and what with the Saran Wrap in my socks, I just felt it was asking too much.
And have I mentioned the cost of this Christmas charade?! For her gift this year, my mother wanted lard from New Bothwell, PLUS I had to bring a salad. Sheesh. That's well over $13.00 at the grocery store, and I haven't even started in on all the gifts. Good heavens.
Every year, we are expected to compete in this gift exchange. Simply an exercise in outdoing one another's appearance of generosity. I mean- My nephew brought the most elaborate, obnoxiously, show offy gift for our white elephant gift exchange.
How is this not supposed to make me feel inadequate. So, my brother lands up with a satellite dish, my daughter with a fax machine, my brother in law with a perfectly intact set of 8 track tapes. Not to mention my niece with all those half filled bottles of hand lotion.
Then there's that awkward moment when the sixteen year old gets a pipe that absolutely no one fesses up to bringing. Now how am I supposed to make Christmas morning exciting for my son after that??
They're all just here to make me look bad.
Fortunately, there are bright moments that help with the sting.
(I force a plastic smile.)
And at one point we found outselves outside the living room window singing carols around the festive sausage tree. Mother was visibly moved. May have peed just a little.
All that singing around the sausage ladder may have been rehearsal for the really, really show-offy uptown types in the Kehler clan who brought their violins and insisted on marching around town to sing carols at people's windows. All this performance and overspending has left me rearranging my saran, and pulling at my catalope tights.
It's just not easy, folks.
Thirteen dollar salads, sausage ladders, gift exchanges that give everyone a belly ache from laughing way too hard. A dear old dad who still reads the Christmas story and leads us in the blessing. A dear old mom who insists on cooking the turkey, the meatballs, the ham, and all the buns at the tender age of eighty-eight. And my six remaining siblings, who simply refuse to sweat the petty things.
Or pet the sweaty things.
Good thing I kept my feet under wraps.