A Simple Running Log

December 23, 2014

Training for 12/23/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 2:11 pm

Happy Festivus!

Yesterday, I took Pepper out for a lap around the 4.5-mile loop. We left not long before sunset, so I took my headlamp with me. It was a nice, easy run, and we got to see some of the neighbors’ Christmas lights. Procrastination pays! Today, I’ve got 7 miles easy on the schedule.

A couple of days ago, I read an article online that asked people to comment with their best and/or worst Christmas gifts. It didn’t take me long to figure out my own answers.

I’ll start with the worst. It wasn’t that terrible. Actually, it’s kind of funny.

In 2007, I was working as a copy editor at a newspaper in Kannapolis, N.C. My normal hours were 4 p.m. to whenever the next day’s paper was completely laid out, usually between midnight and 1 a.m., so I didn’t get to know any of my colleagues beyond the other two copy editors. Not that I tried to get to know anyone, anyway. I am a surly asshole at work.

For Christmas, we did an office secret Santa exchange. The sports editor got my name. I don’t think I’d said two words to him in all the time I’d worked there. I also did absolutely nothing to try to personalize my little work space — no pictures, nothing that indicated any hobbies, nothing. So, having nothing to go on, he did the best he could buying me a gift. At the office Christmas party, he handed me a small gift bag.

Inside was a plastic baggie with a few homemade brownies, a container of Planter’s mixed nuts and… a pair of foam earplugs. Like the cheap ones they sell at NASCAR races for $2.

The brownies and nuts were a nice, generic gift, but the earplugs? I have never figured those out! Maybe he thought I just hated everyone and would like those to mute the noise of — ugh — people talking to me at work. Which I might have done eventually, but I wound up quitting that job at the end of January to move back to Maryland anyway.

So that was the worst gift I ever got. I like the story of the best one much better.

In 1993, when I was in fifth grade, my brother and I were obsessed with Sega Game Gears, the handheld video game systems. It was pretty much the only thing either of us really wanted for Christmas.

About a month before Christmas, I went shopping with Mom, and saw a huge display of Game Gears. When we got home, I told Dave I had memorized the size and weight of the boxes, so I’d be able to pick out which ones held our Game Gears on Christmas morning.

Christmas morning was a little different in our house. Most kids I knew got to start ripping into their gifts almost the minute they sprung out of bed. They were playing with their new stuff before sunrise.

In the Schmidt house — heh heh, Schmidt house:

SchmidtHouseChristmas-401x550

Anyway! In OUR house, we first had to wait for Mom and Dad to get up of their own accord, which was usually hours after we first got up, and then we had to wait for Dad to check his chickens, take a shower and charge up the video camera battery before we could finally start opening things. It was usually at least 10 a.m. before things got going.

So, Christmas morning 1993, Dave and I were up at like 5:30, like normal kids. We flew downstairs. There were piles of gifts under the tree for Kara, Julie, him and me. Dave waited impatiently while I picked through his and my piles, looking for THE boxes.

But… there was nothing, in either pile, that was even remotely similar to the Game Gear boxes. I even looked through our sisters’ stuff, thinking maybe they’d gotten mixed up. Nothing.

We were devastated. Christmas had barely begun and it was already ruined. We didn’t even care what was in the other boxes. Eff this. Christmas sucks.

Mom and Dad eventually meandered downstairs. Dave and I set into complaining about the clear lack of Game Gears. No one cared. Dad wandered off toward the chicken houses.

A little while later, our younger cousin Becky called to say she had already opened all her gifts — and she got a Game Gear! This just set Dave and me off again. Mom was completely unmoved. She just let us whine ourselves out.

Dad came back from the chicken houses, showered and got his video camera ready to go. Dave and I sullenly joined Kara at the tree. (Julie was 5 months old.) What was the point of this charade? There were no Game Gears waiting for us. This Christmas would surely go down as the blackest day in our young lives.

So we started opening things. Yay, an Alan Kulwicki hat. Yay, a remote controlled car. Ugh.

There was a very large, heavy box with my name on it. I had no idea what was in it, and I didn’t give a crap either.

I pulled off the paper to find the box the large clock on our piano had come in. Obviously, my parents did not give me the clock. When I opened it, inside was MY GAME GEAR!! With an enormous Bible at the bottom, to make the box feel much heavier.

My brother found his own Game Gear in a clothes box — you know those are the last ones a kid opens!

Christmas was saved! There’s a picture somewhere at my parents’ house. I’m sitting in a rocking chair, wearing my nightgown and my new Alan Kulwicki hat, playing my new Game Gear, while my brother, wearing red and blue pajamas, looks over my shoulder, holding his own Game Gear in his hands. I don’t think we put those things down for years. I played mine for hours on end. I ruined my eyesight with it!

As much as I loved that Game Gear though, the reason it’s my favorite gift ever is because of what my parents put us through. My mom must have overheard me bragging to Dave about memorizing the boxes and decided to have a little fun with us. I can see my dad doing something like that, but my mom had never pulled a trick like that on us before. We never saw it coming. She was stone cold! Completely unfazed, even when she had to sit through hours of my brother and me whining that Christmas had been ruined while she waited for our dad. She just sipped her coffee and ignored her bratty children haha.

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