The Holidays: Ill in IL

Well I guess, there truly is no rest for wicked. After a fairly tumultuous holiday season, it is right back to work and the semester is now on the brink of ending.

While the holidays were enjoyable, it is no doubt a time of high anxiety that never seems to dissipate. Ali’s sister Keri fell victim to the airline horrors visited upon man by Nature’s vicious winter onslaught of Denver, which rendered most of the carriers absolutely useless as Christmas approached. Fortunately, the fact that Ali and I were slogging it back to Chicagoland, via a rental car, provided precisely the kind of solution to Keri’s transportation woes. Then it was a matter of securing a one-way return flight so that she get back to her new gig. If only we could all transfer our vacation days when we switch employers. Needless to say, everything worked out for her. As for Ali and me, we had greater struggles left to fight.

Photo: Me and Ali Photo: Me with Quesadilla Maker

Somehow, I came down with some kind of cold or something that left my sinuses jammed like Santa’s gift bag. It started on the ride out there and only got worse as the week progressed, eventually latching onto my beloved towards the end of our stay. Nothing makes the stresses of traveling back and forth on Christmas more enjoyable than being sick. Fortunately, the demands on us, in terms of places to be, were surprisingly more manageable than in the past. Still there is something about the Christmas season that ratchets up the speed and anxiety of each day, ironically when there is less and less light making up each one.

I sometimes wonder if the rights to the twelve days have not been purchased by a pharmaceutical company. I can see it now, a holiday advent calendar with chocolate covered Xanax tablets waiting behind each day’s cardboard door, brought to you by Pfizer, the official sponsor of the Twelve Day’s of Christmas. To hell with the partridge, all he does is cause more anxiety to the recipient anyway!

Photo: My Dad and Me on Couch

Yet, we managed to see many loved ones and enjoy the time spent at home. It is always a treat to see my brothers, at the same time. It happens with less and less frequency. Plus, with my Dad recovering from shoulder and arm surgery it was nice to spend some time with him. The first time I headed back for support, he was in much more pain, not the least of which was aided by a slip in the driveway the day before I left for home a month ago. It is a long recovery, but things have definitely been improving.

Photo: Aaron eyeing his gift

Upon our high-speed return, Ali began a week and half long suffering with all the symptoms I had through our Illinois week, only multiply them by ten. She was miserable and was slow in her return to work.

As for me, it was right back at it and the race to the finish of my first semester in the new place. Considering that everything is done in semesters there, I am coming upon the completion of my first round of courses there. Exams begin at the end of this week.

Next on the docket a recap of my birthday weekend.

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