Down the chimney came a fever, accompanied by sore throat, quickly followed by a head full of snot, and a cough that triggers a twinkling of festive incontinence with every hack and sputter from deep within my bowl full of jelly.
Nothing says Christmas like the annual plague that appears without fail, just when I start thinking I have to get my holiday shit together.
So here I am, nine days away from the blessed event and there's no tree, no stockings hung by the chimney with care, no parcels en route, and although I did manage to cough all over the annual burnt offering of homemade bits 'n' bites, the thought of curling up with an egg nog by the fire, seems galaxies away.
Adding to my workload and misery, the bloody phone's been ringing off the hook. Of course, I seldom answer it – because in this day and age why would you? But when the flashing yellow button was only serving to remind me that I needed to haul out the decorations, I finally checked my messages: Cousin Sarah had surfaced and was lying on the beach in Sarasota. No one makes goalie skates to fit a size 16.5. My mother was happy and alive and back home after heart surgery. My de-humidifier was fucked beyond repair. And, "Please call the doctor's office for an appointment as soon as possible, your test results are in."
To replay this message, hit 4.
And there it was. The life changer. I stared at the phone is disbelief. Sure enough, it said OB & GYN right there in the digital display, and as most women know, once you're past the child wanting years – anything that says OB & GYN is neither fun, nor festive.
Commercial break: I have a dozen or so, one-of-a-kind Christmas stockings for sale. They are not stolen, in fact, they are handmade by Lynne Belden out of Hudson Bay blankets and each has a whimsical adornment (also handmade): I have owls, wooden skis, snowmen, gingerbread men, a red bird etc. They are $65 (plus shipping, although I will deliver locally) and I have to sell them before I die. Photos are to the right.
Now where was I? Was I talking about the condescending prick of a camera salesman who nearly ruined my "shop locally" mantra for life? Or, was I going on about being caught wearing filthy velour pants, two days in row, by the hot guy from the park, who may or may not be gay?
Oh, right, the phone message. I am obviously dying of some gynecological trauma brought on by lack of visitation by wise men, and because I haven't bothered getting a bikini wax since, well, before Christ. You can die from a unruly beaver, so that must be it. But it was now after the doctor's office hours, and unless there was an emergency, I'd have to wait to hear my fate. My chart was lying in a pile of charts, marked: "call the hairy bitch and break the bad news".
Funny thing is, I don't remember having any tests done. I do recall having my legs in the air as a total stranger looked past Santa's beard and reached into my South Pole, but I don't remember any tests per se, other than the one where she asked me, "How much do you weigh?" followed by, "No, really."
Turns out – after a sleepless night of coughing and sweating and worrying about what would happen to the Little Bastard if I were to die, and finding out you should never apply nasal spray while lying down, and that microwaving red wine and adding Neo Citran isn't bad after the first few sips – there was good news. Unless I succumb to this holiday plague, it wouldn't be my final Christmas after all. It seems the OBGYN nurses got my chart mixed up, and I got "the call" from the Grim Reaper Who Stole Christmas, purely by accident.
More time. The most precious gift of all.
So... there are presents to buy, and a tree to adorn, parcels to ship, and loved ones to forgive, holiday baking to purchase, good thoughts to send out to those receiving bad news, and soon, hopefully, an egg nog to curdle with a celebratory dousing of dark rum.
Yes, vagina, there is a Santa Claus.
To purchase a Lynne Belden original stocking, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 902.422.0712. I just may pick up.