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Christmas Funambulism: Balancing the Holidays

Isn't funambulism a fantastic word? It means "tightrope-walking," and that is sort of what I feel like I'm doing right now.

I am really big on that whole work-life balance thing, and when work is busy and life is busier, it leaves me feeling out of whack.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed on Sunday morning. The really, really wrong side. I woke up to Bailey hair on my pillow, a huge mountain of dirty laundry on our floor, hours of NFL games staring me in the face, a car that needed to go in for inspection, and gifts that still needed to be ordered. And a very sore throat.

After a nap, and a lot of exaggerated sighs, and some quality pouting, and a good cry, and a great walk with Bailey, everything was better. I ran three loads in the dishwasher while Kyle mostly handled the laundry (seriously, why is laundry the bane of my existence? It makes me sad in ways I can't express). I scheduled our car maintenance and ordered a few presents. Kyle vacuumed. I had two glasses of wine, after five o'clock for anyone trying to judge me (I'm not paranoid). Life was good.

Then Monday arrived.

Work is busy. Busier than I expected it to be a few days before Christmas. I had this theory that things would get nice and slow, people would stop at each other's cubicles and munch on candy canes and talk about holiday plans. Maybe take a couple long lunches and even stop over at the downtown Macys for a few last-minute presents.

Um, not so much.

Instead, everyone is scrambling to get things out of the way before they leave the office for a few days. Working in media relations is usually fun, but the thing about news is... it doesn't stop just because you want to go on vacation (and take it niiiiiiiiiiice and easy for a few days before your vacation). That doesn't really fly.

When I woke up this morning in my parents house, I was confused. We drove out there last night to drop our car off for the inspection and watch the abysmal Steelers game. We went to sleep wayyyy past my bedtime, and then this morning I had one of those "wait, what?" moments when the alarm went off.

Where am I? What day is it? Who's this person sleeping next to me? (Just kidding about that last one).

Then I realized it's only Tuesday.

Sweet baby Jesus, your inaccurately-dated birthday cannot come soon enough. Not just because of work, but because of the general sense of chaos that surrounds a big holiday.

We still have more gifts to buy. I know, I'm eating my know-it-all words... You know, my recommendation to "get your shopping done ahead of time and you'll enjoy it so much more." Get off your high-horse, past-self, before I stab you with icicles and sprigs of holly. You wrote that when you had exactly zero shopping done.

Over the coming week, we have to coordinate driving times, family schedules, and Bailey's traveling neuroses. Seriously, I love my dog more than anything, but when we are away from home she is, in no particular order: afraid of the car, confused when we are spending time not snuggling/fawning over her, and depressed when she is confined to one area of the house because other people have less tolerance for insane amounts of dog hair than we do (gross).

She has her mother's sensitivity, which I now realize is not always the most adorable trait in the world. (Just most of the time).

All this is to show that, after the dinner party ended, so did my motivation for hustle-and-bustle Christmas-planning.

We went to Ross Park Mall last Saturday, and for your own safety and sense of holiday cheer, I would suggest you avoid that area like the plague until early 2012. We drove by approximately one billion cars parked in the grass and mud. After we miraculously found a spot and put our names down for a 45 minute wait at the Cheesecake Factory (why is there such a long wait at 2:30?), we passed the time "browsing" in the mall.

Kyle tried on a $6000 watch at Tiffanys and left with extremely sweaty palms. I laid on the germ-infested Tempur-Pedic mattress at Brookstone. People nearly trampled us left and right. We didn't buy any of the presents still on our shopping list, and then we spent way too much on (an admittedly delicious) lunch.

I just want to sit back and enjoy this coming week.

My mom asked me last night if my Christmas spirit was flagging, since we basically started celebrating the day after Thanksgiving. The answer is a definite no -- I'm still loving Christmas as much as ever. But being in a consistently festive mood when it feels like there is so much work to do and so few things actually done is sometimes a little difficult.

All I want for Christmas is you? No, not exactly.

All I want for Christmas is...

To snuggle down and watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and It's a Wonderful Life, and (duh) The Muppet Christmas Carol.

To drink a mimosa and eat buffalo chicken dip for breakfast every day and not gain a single pound and have nothing to do.

To have all my gifts already purchased and wrapped, and to have a bank account that runneth over.

Is that really so much to ask?

What do you want for Christmas?

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Christmas Funambulism: Balancing the Holidays + work