I walked out of my apartment to get the mail. Even though it was December 2, there was no snow on the ground. That's what you get for living in California, I always told myself. Then again, who needs snow? I hated skiing and with snow, my motorcycle couldn't go as fast. Christmas music was playing outside like always. It seemed to play nonstop and if I have to hear Jingle Bells one more time, I swear I'm gonna scream.
I shivered as I opened the mailbox. Even though there was no snow, it was still cold. I flipped through today's mail. "Junk, junk, junk, ju-" I said as I went through the mail. I stopped as I reached one letter. It was from my brother-in-law Danny and my sister Pam. I took out the rest of the mail, closed the mailbox and headed back inside.
I settled down inside with a bagel and opened up the letter:
It is Christmas time once again, and we would like to remind you that it's time for you to come for your annual visit. I know that you probably remembered, but after last year, when you came on the 23rd swearing that you thought it was the 3rd, I decided this was to be safe.
I should also warn you that my friend, Joey Gladstone, is coming too. He wanted to meet you and have fun with the girls. The girls are really looking forward to you visiting. Stephanie keeps on asking me when are you coming, while DJ just keeps on pestering me about what I got them for Christmas.
Pam is looking forward to you coming, too. She said something like playing around like old times. Of course, I miss you too, Jess. Make sure you bring your presents for the girls as well.
Oh, and this time, NO GIRLS! This is a time for family bonding, and all of our last Christmas pictures have either Samantha, or some other girl you brought.
I told the girls you would come on December 8. That leaves plenty of time for you to pack, and for us to have fun sightseeing and having family bonding time. We hope to see you on the 8th, and if not, I will kill you.
I groaned. Visiting my nieces was fun and all that, but no girls? "Might as well say no breathing," I mumbled. Plus, Danny's friend, Joey, was coming. I have seen enough pictures to know that he's the kind of kid that I beat up as a kid – funny, cracking jokes, prankster, and class clown. And, Pam would be pulling all of the old tricks. This Christmas was going to be fun!
"Steph, is the coast clear?" I whispered to my little sister.
Stephanie peered out the door of the attic and whispered back, "Yep, all clear. Hurry up, though. I'm missing my cartoons."
I rolled my eyes and began to search through the boxes, looking for our presents. "Home videos, no. Baby pictures, no. Cleaning supplies, no. Emergency cleaning supplies, definitely not," I mumbled as I searched through the boxes.
"We have emergency cleaning supplies? Dad really has gone over the deep end," Stephanie said from her post.
I nodded my head. "Well, enough chit-chat. Keep your eye on the door. I think I hear Dad whistling Christmas carols right now."
Stephanie nodded and continued to watch the door. I searched through our junk, and was about to move some old records when Stephanie gave the warning. "Dad's coming! Quick, what do we do?"
I looked around and spotted a big box. "Get over here. We'll hide in this box." She gave me a look, but did it anyway. Well, it was a tight squeeze (and I'm pretty sure the box was breaking), but we were completely hidden in the box.
"Did you hear anything up here, Pam?" I heard Dad say.
"I couldn't hear anything except you whistling Jingle Bell Rock," I heard Mom reply.
"Hey, that is a classic song that will stick around for ages," Dad protested.
"Same as disco," mumbled Mom. I could almost see her rolling her eyes. "Well, we've checked the attic, and nothing is in here. Come on. My dinner will burn."
I waited until their footsteps faded away, then got up and out of the box.
"I am NEVER doing that again! It's bad enough that I share the same house with you, but the same box?" Stephanie exclaimed.
"Don't be a drama queen. Besides, keep your voice down. Someone will hear you," I warned.
"Like me?" Mom said from the doorway.
"Oh, Mom! We were just, uh.... What were we doing, Stephanie?"
"I don't know, but it was all DJ's idea," Stephanie protested.
Mom smiled. "I'll let this one slide. But, girls, can't you wait until Christmas? It's only 23 days away. Now come on, I have a dinner to make." Together, we walked to the kitchen.
"Oh, great! It's that time for the visit!" I grinned, looking at my calender. The 8th was circled, and that was only 5 days away.
"I should get packing. But what to pack?" I thought out loud, looking around at my room. It looked like a volcano of clothes had exploded. A bunch of cartoon stuffed animals were everywhere, along with the occasional leftover pizza. If anyone ever asked me about my room, I just said, "Everything has a place, so if I clean it, I won't know where anything is!"
I grabbed an empty suitcase and began filling it with clothes from the once/clean pile. My other two piles, twice dirty/need to wash and too gross, weren't fit for a visit to my friend Danny, his daughters and his wife.
"Almost done, I just need-ah there it is," I said, grabbing my Popeye doll. Some of the floor was revealed, but not too much.
Happy now that I was packed, I went to go shopping for the girls' presents, whistling Jingle Bell Rock along the way. What can I say? Danny got me into that song.