December 24, 2019: New Year’s Eve in Houston

Tuesday. I got into Houston around midnight last night, saw the girls, and got to sleep. Dominica was up early this morning so that she could work with Francesca on Christmas stuff, and mostly that means being out running errands, last minute gifts, and so forth.

I did pretty well this morning resisting eating lots of cookies and so forth. I had a little of the holiday treats, but kept it very small.

The wifi at the Grices’ is not working. It works once in a while, but it goes down so often and for so long (presumably because the access point reboots itself it would seem) that it can’t be used for anything. I had to go to the 4G hotspot on my T-Mobile cell phone to be able to keep working. Even when the wifi was connected it was not as fast as the 4G, which tells you just how bad it is. So I was marginally online, but not able to work usefully. Madeline had reported that the wifi was not working when she first got home from college a few weeks ago, but apparently that’s all the farther that the news went. I knew from her Instagram posts that she was frustrated that she had no Internet at home, but everyone at her house, weeks later, acted surprised that the Internet didn’t work which seemed odd since I knew about it not even having been there. Turns out that not only did they know, but they had all completely abandoned it and moved to using their cell phones and none of the computers in the house really worked any longer. But mostly their computers are used for video games that are already downloaded so they don’t really notice the regular outages any longer as they’ve stopped using the wifi some time ago. Now the real question is: why keep paying for the highest tier of Internet access from the cable company if you’ve turned it off because it doesn’t work at all?

Paul and I did a lot of working outside today. We had essentially a few hours of meetings today and that was stuff that we needed so that worked out well.

I finally saw my first Die Hard movie, ever. I saw Die Hard 3 and I have to say, it truly is a Christmas movie and like nearly all Christmas movies, it is absolutely terrible. Terrible in every way. Exactly what I expected from a Die Hard movie.

So this throws a bit of a wrench in Paul and my plans of working from the house there. But it sure makes me glad that I did not try to come down any earlier, that would have been a disaster. I will have to go pretty soon, though. My thought that I would be here working for the week is not going to work. I will need to be back before the weekend! With as busy as I have been, there is no way that I can be away from the office in this way without really fast, rock solid Internet. I had brought my extra monitor and everything, too, so that I could really work while here.

This evening is the big family Christmas dinner that we always do. The perogies are my favourite for this meal. I did pretty well with not stuffing myself tonight, too. I certainly ate a lot, but not like so much that I felt stuffed. Just a good, filling amount. There is always so much food that I like on Christmas Eve night that it is always a challenge: fried shrimp, fried calamari, fried catfish, casseroles, etc. Lots of my kinds of food. The girls ate quite a bit, too. They don’t love any of the items, but they did a really good job of eating it all. I did have a canolo.

After dinner is, of course, the visit from the pajama elf and all of the kids put on their new, annual pajamas, did pictures, and were off to Madeline’s room for their Christmas Eve slumber party.

After the kids went to bed, Dominica and I put on White Christmas, our annual tradition. The only Christmas movie that I love. Well, that and Holiday Inn.

Present preparation went much more smoothly tonight than most years. It truly is a “light year” compared to usual. We got wrapping done early. We got the placement done early. I talked everyone into a new format where we put the presents in the living room rather than in the front room so that the presents are in the middle of the room and the fringe and we sit in the midst of them and there doesn’t need to be running back and forth from another room. It made setup way faster and easier.

They were still discussing plans when I went to bed. I have no idea why more plans were needed. But I wasn’t feeding into that insanity. I just went to bed and that helped a lot with getting a good night’s sleep. Francesca was planning on staying up, nearly all night, to enumerate gifts or something. Something very analytical with the presents. The reality is, though, that come tomorrow, it will be a frenzy with a huge amount of adults being distracted and no one really having a plan and no amount of prep tonight changes the outcome.