Home for the Holidays

I was at my parent’s house from December 20-27th. Here is a recap of what happened while I was there. It’s about 3000 words so you’ve been warned.

On the 20th, I was packed and got to the train station about an hour before my train was set to leave. I got an uber there and had them drop me off at the Tim Horton’s which is right across from the station. The last time I took a train I wasn’t able to get food beforehand and had to buy it on the train. I got food for lunch and dinner because I was going to be on the train for both. My train departed from Ottawa at 12:05 and was set to arrive in Toronto at 4:30. Then I was to get back on the train at 5:30 and be at my final stop at 7:50pm. Then a 45-minute car ride with my dad.

The first little bit was ok. The train was very full but I had a mask and a filter so I felt ok. I sanitized my tray as soon as I sat down, and made sure to use sanitizer before I ate my lunch. Which I did as soon as I was on the train and settled. We were running a little bit early, the conductor even made the point of saying we were 4 minutes ahead of schedule at one point! This was great because I had hurt my back again before leaving and the nerve down my hip was pinched and it was not comfortable!

And then at 4pm, we were between Oshawa and Guildwood and the train just stopped. Still about 20ish minutes from Toronto if we were going at full speed. But we sat there. And Sat there. FOR OVER AN HOUR AND A HALF!! Apparently, there was a power outage in the area that day and the train signals were no longer working! So we have to sit and wait until we were given the ok to go ahead on the tracks or risk smashing into another train.

Thankfully the train I was on was the exact train I need to switch to when I got to Toronto to continue on so I knew I wouldn’t miss it. The conductor said that we’d have to get off while the train was cleaned but we could leave our bags on the train. Then since we were two hours late getting into Union Station, we were told to stay on the train. Since the train was over an hour late, we were told that we could get 50% off that part of the journey. Then at 7pm we set out for the final leg of the journey and thankfully there were no other problems. I was supposed to get to my final stop at 7:50 but arrived at 9:20, so again 50% off that part of the trip. Thankfully my dad is an easy-going person and he was totally fine with me being an hour and a half late. I also kept him up to date with texts the whole time so he knew not to leave home so early.

Of course, this was not good for my back! By the time I got to my parents’, I could barely stand!! I felt like a 90-year-old lady! Hobbling around unable to fully straighten. But if I laid on the floor and did a little bit of simple yoga it softened a little. And sleeping always made it better. By the 24th I was 100% fine again!

The first thing that I did when I got there was to find my dog. He will be 15 years old on January 23rd, and he is deaf and starting to get cataracts. I gave him some scratches and kisses! I hadn’t seen him in a year and a half and I was so grateful to see him again. Basically now every time I see him could be my very last. His back legs are giving him problems, he can’t jump up or down off the couch anymore, but he still goes for twice-daily walks with my dad! And will be very indignant if he isn’t allowed to go LOL

On the 24th, my parents got an email around lunchtime saying that my dad’s church was going to cancel their Christmas Eve service for the night because a few people in the congregation were positive for Covid! My dad was out shopping when it came in and we told him to come back. He also had to contact the person who emailed because they didn’t give ANY information on who it was!!! If he was a close contact, he would need to self-isolate and I probably would have had to miss my train to also isolate. BUT the people in question hadn’t been to a service in over two weeks so he was safe. He went to my mom’s church for their service instead.

Up until this point, I was in the living room with my mom all day, reading and chatting and stuff. It was very pleasant and nice! Probably the best visit I’ve had in around 10 years.

Christmas day arrived and I was actually excited for it. My dad was the person who was buying for me this year and I knew he would make a good choice from my list. Our family tradition is to do stockings first and then presents. I got my stocking first (always cos I’m the youngest) and I go to start pulling things out and it feels empty. I pulled out a cross-stitched bookmark and a car accessory…I was visibly upset, and was like “that’s it?” And my mom says that “well it’s empty because everything we thought to put in you said you didn’t want” Just so you know my peeps and meeps, every year I have to remind my mom that I hate orange-flavoured chocolate and marzipan. Those were the TWO things I said to put in. Which I have said for the last 10 years because that seems to be the only thing she thinks to put in. My brother and his fiancee still need to “contribute” to the stockings but they didn’t arrive at the house until the day I left.

Then it was time for gifts. I opened my gift and it was a ring light – I had put an amazon one on my list because it wasn’t too expensive and had good reviews. It wasn’t the one I listed on my list, since we were only supposed to spend $50, but my dad says it’s much better. It’s an 18inch Vivitar one and I’m very excited to use it (I found the link to Walmart and it’s over our limit so I think my dad broke the rules haha). The ring is MASSIVE but I’m hoping it will work for nails. I know it will work for online teaching LOL my mom almost stopped it there to leave their gifts for when my brother and his fiancee are there. They will all have the exchange gifts to open so I was really upset at that too since she said when this was all planned they would still be opening gifts with me on Christmas Day. My dad said they would be opening gifts so they opened the gifts they got themselves. Which was always the plan.

So while I loved the ring light, the shock of the stockings just ruined my whole day. It was already bad enough that my brother wasn’t there, and so many things were changing because of this person who has been in our lives for 5 seconds, and I was left feeling disregarded and utterly disappointed. I spent the whole day in a separate room watching movies on my laptop and trying not to cry and sending Christmas messages to friends and other family members through various different platforms.

The next day, I was finally able to book my booster (for the 5th) after almost a week of trying to get an appointment and had lunch with my best friend! We hadn’t seen each other since June of 2019 so it was long overdue. Her parents just moved out to a small community just a 15-minute drive from my parents’ and she lives there full time now. We have never lived so close!! Well, I don’t live there but I am there when I visit. She picked me up from my house, we had a great hour and a half lunch and then spent another like an hour and a half in her car talking and then when she was driving me home, we took a little tour around the small town where my parents live.

That night, while still in the front room by myself, my mom decided to come in and ask me if I was upset. Of course, I started to cry IMMEDIATELY! And told her how I felt that I didn’t want to do any of the gifts and then to be so completely let down. That instead of asking me what I would like or just getting like some candy or whatever, she went “oh she doesn’t want two things so I won’t get her anything”. Apparently, by telling them in past years things I like or prefer (white chocolate not dark, etc) that means that I am too specific and don’t like anything.

My mom informed me that they made these plans because of an email I wrote in October. She had asked us to send our opinions on what we wanted to do for the holidays by November 15th. Then a few weeks earlier, since my brother and his fiancee were out there and “everyone is here” they wanted to discuss the holiday and include me in zoom. I hate video calls and that was at the height of my emotional break, so I emailed instead and said I didn’t want to do gifts but if I HAD to, I would. I know my mom loves gift-giving and I didn’t want to start a fight over that so I just sent my email. So she says that they read my email out loud and this is what they decided on because of my email. Which means they didn’t understand my email at all. She said she doesn’t understand why I’m upset over her replacing sentimental things like the stockings when I didn’t say they were important to me “if you don’t communicate…”. She didn’t say anything about changing them until she had done it. She said that my brother’s fiancee isn’t an imposition (I think she is), she is an addition, and I’m not losing my brother. At the end of the conversation, all she took away was that I was upset because he wasn’t there and that I don’t like the fiancee. Instead of the actual part that I was left feeling like an afterthought. She said she “just wants me to be happy and will still love me when I’m angry”. I’m only angry when it comes to my family.

I felt like I was doing so much better emotionally until the 25th. I told my mom she can make it up to me on my birthday when I come back there. It’s also Easter and I am so excited to actually be able to see my best friend that weekend since she lives out there too!! I am already anticipating that my brother will not be there because his then-wife will want to see HER family. To which I have already decided that I will tell him it’s my birthday (and my dad’s two weeks earlier) and Easter and I want to actually see family and my best friend. And that if he chooses he can stay in Ottawa with his wife and see her family who she gets to see every single day because she works with her mom and they live like a 20-minute drive away from them. I know he might not cause this conflict, but I’m already anticipating it. But I will be out there celebrating my birthday with my parents (for the first time since 2019) and my best friend.

The next morning, it was time for me to go home! I was praying that I didn’t run into the same travel struggles on the way home as I did on the way there. That morning I woke up totally fine! Walked downstairs and then saw that it had snowed overnight. Within 10 minutes my nerve had started to twinge itself in my hip!! So my only thinking is that my nerve and hip pain from the beginning of the week was all stress-related LOL which is so peculiar! I packed a sandwich and some cookies and set off with my dad. The roads were great and by the time I got to the train station, my hips were fine. Due to the rising omnicron cases, I took one of my parents’ medical masks and wore it under my cloth mask for the whole trip. The first train was about 15 minutes late, but the trip went smoothly into Toronto. I was actually able to get off the train this time!! For about an hour and a half. I had to print my boarding pass in Toronto and got back onto the train. The train from Toronto to Ottawa had no issues or delays. We actually pulled into the station about 5 minutes ahead of schedule! YAY! But I have no idea how I used to fly back and forth across the world in an airplane multiple times a year! That 4.5-hour train trip from Toronto to Ottawa was not fun to sit through haha! After deboarding, I walked across the road to the Mcdonalds because it was 8pm and I was soooo hungry! I got some food and got an uber to pick me up there.

The uber home was such a shock! It is a short trip, about 12-15 minutes. The driver pulled up and stopped QUICK in front of me. He didn’t even pull into a parking space, just stopped in the middle of the laneway. He opened the trunk for my suitcase (he didn’t get out like they usually do) and I got into the car. His passenger’s seat was pulled ALL the way up which was weird (which also meant that I couldn’t brace myself on it should anything happen). He had to go about 10 minutes down one road and then less than 5 minutes down another. So simple. He was going 90km in a 60km for that first road. Once he turned onto the second, there is a lot more traffic and he again was speeding and swerving in and around cars and transports. He got into the right lane cos my house was coming up. There was a car in front of us who had slowed to turn at the street right before my house, and he just swirved into the left lane to avoid it. I actually had to ask him to slow down. He almost missed my house he was still going so fast. I got inside, ate some food and decided that I needed to rate and tip him. I gave him one star and no tip. I then had a shower and ate the rest of my food and filed a complaint. Within 20 minutes Uber had replied! They issued a refund for my trip and said they would review the driver to see if he would continue driving for them. He had a rating of 4.9 so I’m sure he has a good driving record and am confused as to why he was driving like that with me. I hadn’t expected them to act so quickly and in such a way! I am really impressed.

That brings us up to today! Which is really Tuesday haha! It was nice to sleep in my own bed and be in my own home today. I got a call that my nose piercing is being cancelled due to concerns over the rising omnicron cases. The tattoo parlor called and said no “under the mask” services are being offered. They refunded my money and I will rebook when things are more stable here in Ontario.

Overall, I had a really good time at my parents’ aside from the 25th. While I started off the week feeling really good about my emotional state and after the 25th I am feeling not so stable anymore. I’m happy that I went home and happy that I got the time with my family. And I hope that now that I’m home and will be starting back at work on Monday that I will once again be back into a nice flow. Even being home again I am feeling less stressed than the 25th/26th. I just really hate that my family is the one thing in my life that causes my emotional state to be so rocky.

4 thoughts on “Home for the Holidays

  1. I have some issues with my siblings too. My relationship with my mom is good but she is 98 and getting more and more confused about things. Plus she lives with one of my sisters and that’s aggravating for me. Hopefully your Easter/Birthday experience is better. I had to laugh about the stockings. My kids are all adults too and the only thing they got in their stockings was a lottery ticket and a gift card to Target.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly if the expectation was for barely anything in the stocking then it would have been fine. But when everyone else’s was full and I had 2 things that I couldn’t use was basically just a slap in the face.

      I used to love my relationship with my brother but ever since “she” came into the picture he has completely changed in our interactions and it sucks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Hub and I don’t get any presents from our parents, and haven’t since adulthood. The only exception is if we are celebrating in the same house we buy a small gift to give them, and them us. More a token because of the kids than anything else.

    But I am really glad that overall you had a good time. And it is wonderful that your bestie is close by – that’s perfect. (((hugs))) on the not so good bits.

    Liked by 1 person

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