Friday, December 16, 2011

Adventures in Christmas

If my life was a movie, the overarching theme would be that you should never assume things will go the way you planned. It's almost too perfect a set-up: the adorably OCD ginger single gal who plans every aspect of her life gets involved in wacky adventures and hijinks when everything goes to hell due to life's strange quirks. Of course, if my life was an actual movie, I would be played by Amy Adams and some charming hunky guy would enter state right in Act II to sweep me off my feet.

Instead, something simple like say, decorating the Christmas tree, turns into an ordeal.

 Look at it. Sitting there looking all innocent.

Things starting off simply enough. A friend and I got together last week to trim the tree and I had everything figured out. There was a tree trimming playlist, a yummy dinner, and first the lights, then the ornaments, and voila! Decorated Christmas tree! 

The first sign of trouble occurred when I was putting on the lights. About halfway through one of the strands winked out. Ok, fine. No problem--probably just a blown fuse. We replaced the fuse in the strand and everything worked fine. But then when I had gotten all the lights on tree....they all went out. Alright, so we figured there was a blown fuse in the first strand. We replaced that, but 2 minutes later all the lights went out AGAIN. We changed the other blown fuse in the first strand, but it was quickly becoming clear that something more serious was wrong.

We took all the lights off the tree and plugged them into individual outlets to try to figure out if one of them had a short circuit (we figured this would be quicker than going through each strand bit by bit looking for a frayed wire). A little while later though...the fire alarm in my building went off. This led to walking down 16 flights of stairs and standing for 20 minutes in the pouring rain. The good news was when we came back upstairs (on the elevator thank god), one of the strands of lights was half out. We figured that was the one with the short circuit and plugged all the other strands into each other for half an hour just to be sure.

All the lights stayed on with no trouble for more than half an hour, so I got back to putting them all back on the tree. All the lights went on with no problem and then it was on to the ornaments! We hung the ornaments in record time since by now it was getting late, and I hung the last ornament, the pickle. I turned to my friend and said, "that was the last one!"

And BAM. All the lights went out again.

I'm not kidding. I literally said that I had hung the last ornament and less than a second later all the tree lights went out. Another blown fuse in the first strand. But this time, the plug had become so overheated that the access panel to the fuses had melted. There was only one logical conclusion: the extension cord that I was using was faulty and was allowing too much current to travel through the lights causing all the blown fuses.

That extension cord got dumped, and we were able to get some of the lights going again with multiple extension cords hidden throughout the tree.

 HAHA! Suck on that TREE. I still made you look awesome despite your attempts to destroy Christmas!

So file this one under stories of perseverance. It's not like I overcame a hideous disease or accident, but sometimes Christmas feels just as stressful, am I right?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Joy, then terror, then optimistic excitement!

For years (31 of them to be exact), I was the youngest in my family. But as of November 25, 2011 that's no longer the case. Because onto them a child is please welcome the newest member of the Riley clan, my nephew, the one and only, JAMES PATRICK RILEY!

Of course, since this is us we're talking about nothing is ever easy. James' birth was about three weeks early and while it was not technically a premature birth, according to the doctors he experiences some "characteristics of a premature baby." My response to that is clearly awesomeness must be such a characteristic, but they seem more concerned about how he was having trouble regulating his blood sugar and his digestion problems. Silly doctors.

And of course I am totally kidding-the doctors are the really awesome ones. When I heard from my Mom Friday morning that James had been born overnight, I was ecstatic. I'm not a huge baby fan--I think it comes from being the youngest in the family and not having any baby experience--but once I heard that James was actually here I got super excited, happy, and maybe a touch of the old baby fever. The rest of the day passed with a big smile on my face.

But then my brother texted me on Friday night that James had to go into the neonatal ICU because of some complications. Annnnnd then came the panic and terror. I knew on an objective level that everything he was telling me was totally normal for a preemie and James was in one of the best hospitals in the country and they would get him fixed up soon...but on a purely emotional level I was scared. The rest of the weekend passed in a anxiety-filled blur and seemed to last a lifetime. James has only improved as each day goes by and now it's just a matter of giving him time to get stronger before he can head home...but the past few days have been rough.

Let's forget all that though and focus on the good stuff! Like how absolutely adorable James Patrick (or JP as I think I will call him*) is.

I love how proud and happy my brother looks (if a bit tired). I can't imagine how he and Amanda have been feeling the past few days, but I am so happy for them and can't wait to meet my new nephew when I head out to LA in February!

I probably won't post a ton more updates here because I think it's more Bill and Amanda's business to let people know the specifics of James' progress, but you should know that no news is good news and of course there will be plenty of pics here and on Facebook as I get them.

I'll just end with a general Mazel tov and a welcome to the world, James. Get ready, because your Aunt Maggie is coming and we are going to have so. much. fun.
*I think his other nickname will be Captain James P. Riley.