What I did on my Holiday vacation…

As some might expect from my last post before the my brief and somewhat unexpected hiatus, I did a lot of Santa Clausing in my community and in my community of friends.  No, no – I didn’t dress up as the jolly bearded gift giver, though I am known for occasionally donning the mantle.  This year’s Yuletide cheer began mostly on December 12th.  You see, my wedding anniversary is New Years Eve, but there tends to be some frustration around this, as other things get planned near this date and we miss out on seeing people.  This year Liz and I decided to forgo our normal private New Years Eve plan and throw it out the window.  We set the date for Commune Christmas (I’ll get to that later) for New Years Eve so that we could spend more time with the people we love and miss.  I can hear you asking “What the hell does this have to do with Dec 12th?” and to that I say, “Don’t interrupt.  It’s like…..super rude, man.”

With our anniversary on the back burner, I decided to surprise my wonderful and beautiful wife.  When she went out to run errands on the 12th, I got dressed up nice and made her a silly little paper invitation to “Secret Dinners!” I put all of her favorite stuff in it with a poem, ’cause I’m awesome.  Then I waited for her to call and started making a surprise dinner of Pancakes, Bacon and Egg in the Hole, her favorites.  She laughed, she cried (a lot) we made kissy faces.  This first bit of love in the season kickstarted my holiday motor and we were under way!


Almost the whole of the following week was spent in preparation for the coming holidays and surrounding events.  On December 18th, the day before my birthday, Liz and I had a speaking event at a local library and, contrary to my doubt in my own abilities, it went off without a hitch.  Everyone was entertained and, thanks to Liz, learned something.  I even sold a couple of books, one to a librarian.  Which, if I do say so myself, is kind of impressive considering I donated four copies to the library system, and he could have borrowed one of those.

I also signed a number of copies, which felt great.  That is something I’m trying to get good at.  I want to write something meaningful to a person who asks me to sign their book.  You know?  I’m also getting good at my flourish-y author’s signature, which is kind of fun too.  That evening my D&D group got together to totally not play D&D and we surprised my one of our party with a new (real) longbow and arrows.  I love seeing people enjoy surprises!

The next day, on my birthday, the spirit of the season was within me and I went out into the world to spread it.  First, as a birthday wish, I asked my wife to show me how to make some simple chocolate chip cookies, so that I could make a huge plate for the staff in my building.  Which reminds me:  If you live in or work in a place that has a custodial engineer (or a janitor if you wanna be a dick about it), please be respectful and appreciative of that person and the function they perform.  I was a custodian for about three years and if you’ve never done it, you can never know how thankless and demoralizing a job it can be.  Please be nice to your cleaning persons, mostly because they clean your poo.


So anyway we gave out the cookies and then went to my wife’s knitting club where her best friend’s mom (our de facto bonus mom) and some of the coolest ladies in all of the fine state of Kansas, hang out, chat and knit, sew, crotchet and otherwise craft the crap out of some stuff in totally awesome ways.  My presence was a bit of a surprise, as I have never joined them before.  The chocolate candy bars I brought for them all were also a surprise.  Awesome crafty women like chocolate – I think I read that somewhere.  My de facto mom then surprised ME with the coolest Santa Claus quilt you’ve ever seen.  (It now resides on my comfy chair and will come down with all the other decorations WHEN I’M GOOD AND READY!)

Afterwards we grabbed Liz’s best friend/sister (who got me some delicious mead as a gift –  Nice one, Megan!) and grabbed some delicious hot beverages at the Dunkin Donuts before we went out to St. Joseph’s scenic Krug Park to check out all the wonderful light displays.  The night ended with a scrumptious birthday dinner at Cheddar’s (I got the Monte Cristo) and heading home to check out the new DLC for Batman: Arkham Origins that I got with my season pass for the game, which was my awesome wife’s gift.

krug park 5

The following weekend was spent at the King’s- a family of friends who are friends of our family.  Every year since we’ve moved to the midwest my wife and I go to their big open house Christmas party.  This year we got caught in the massive snow storm that blanketed all we could see in white, but we made it there safe and sound and since we were coming back to open presents with them the next day (and since it was icy death outside), we stayed the night.  The next morning was one of the nicest, most peaceful Christmas experiences of my life.  There was coffee and sticky buns and we watched the end of Despicable Me and we borrowed a computer so Liz and I could talk to my sisters and niece and nephew and watch them open presents and everyone got along and nobody fought or acted mean to each other.  It was glorious.  Later on Megan and her parents (our bonus parents) came over and we all opened presents and watched Christmas movies and ate chili and potato soup.  Oh, and by the by, yes, every single member of this family inspired the character you think they did.

On Monday the 23rd, the day before Christmas Eve, we swooped up to Omaha and absconded with my brother-in-law back to St. Joe, but not before taking him and HIS De Facto Mom out for dinner and getting some really expensive mead for like fo’ dollahs. (I like mead, it’s a theme.)  Liz’s bro could not wait and insisted on giving us the presents he got for us on that night.  Liz got Lego Marvel Super Heroes (FTW) and I got Poke’mon Soul Silver (yes I wanted it, piss off).  On Christmas Eve, we had Lasagna for supper, a tradition in my wife’s family, and opened our stockings later that night, another tradition.  The rest of that week was all gaming and awesomeness.


We ended the week with burgers at The Casbah in Lawrence, KS, which was totally worth the drive.  On that Saturday we returned to Omaha and had many laughs at Liz’s family’s annual party: Rourke Family Christmas, or RourXmas for short.  The hosts this year were Tim (another awesome writer) and Mary (an amazing hostess) and it was an absolute blast.  Delicious food and intelligent (most of the time) conversation, and so much fun.

We returned from there to our own home and another visit with the Kings, this time the youths of the clan.  There had been grand plans for a horror movie extravaganza, but we spent most of the time talking and battling colds.  Oh yeah, BIG important thing about this holiday season and the biggest reason for the hiatus…. Liz and I realized we were getting sick on our way to Omaha and there was absolutely nothing to do about it.  Luckily, the Kings were also sick, so we kind of had an amazing time, because no one really cared.  Then Liz and I started cleaning up the house for our new years eve party and what is known as Commune Christmas.


My wife went to college, I did not.  While she was at college she met and befriended many strange and awesome people.  As the ever-looming threat of apocalyptic desolation is ingrained into our culture, it was recognized that these strange and awesome people had unique talents and skills that would be useful in such an event.   Soon this realization began the institution of a plan — a plan for a post-apocalyptic community, or commune.  Hence the name for their annual holiday get-together: Commune Christmas.  White elephant as-seen-on-tv gifts were exchanged, tea was brewed and shit was strange…..and awesome.  We finished the event off the next day with a laid-back lunch at the El Maguey Mexican restaurant…..at least my lunch was mild.

The rest of THAT week was spent with another friend from Colorado who enjoyed more tea and and many games of Sentinels of the Multiverse (BEST CARD GAME EVAR!  Thanks again, Sis!) and Pandante (and also made for us a strange and delicious meal of  Bok Choy.  I think it’s French. (I know, it’s not!)).  After a few evenings of movies, games, and camaraderie, we drove our friend to the airport on Monday and officially ended our holiday season.

As you may have deduced from the length of this report, the midwestern branch of the Gubernatis family has been flipping busy!

And now, looking forward…

I want to tell everyone who I mentioned above that I love you with all of my heart, and that I am so glad to have you in my life.  I want to say to all of those not mentioned above that I love you with all of my heart and I miss you deeply.  Here’s to 2014, everyone, and a brighter future.