An Unconventional Family


If there’s one thing this week has brought to my attention, its that we’re an unconventional bunch. And that, you know, is okay. The world isn’t going to end because we don’t send out Christmas cards.

What? You thought I was going to highlight something else? Please, that would be too easy. No, of all the things that have reminded me of my instinctive heel dragging tendencies, its been the receiving of Christmas cards through the post this week, largely from people we’ve seen socially recently.

Don’t get me wrong, I love cards and have fond memories of the yearly ritual while growing up in the vicarage of putting up string around the walls on which to hang the hundreds of cards that would come in from parishioners and family and friends. The problem these days is twofold.

The first is, honestly, laziness in an era of emails, messaging and social media. The second is the realisation that the royal mailĀ  stamp is often more expensive than the card and envelope. This just feels wrong, and more importantly means we have to ration or prioritise our cards to fit within budgets.

Now, I’ll admit there’s a bit of cognitive dissonance going on there, as I look across at the mountain of gifts under the Christmas tree – we’ve gone, at first glance, a bit mad. In our defence though, most of the haul we’ve assembled for people has accumulated through the year and so its been lots of small expenditures rather than a spree.

Nevertheless, I’ll grant you it’s not the best argument but it’s all you’re getting. Any cards we do organise will be hand delivered this year. Told you we were unconventional.

Drowned Rat Mode: Engage

Keep Calm and Use the Konami Code

So who ordered a whole month’s rain and forgot to space it out over more than one day? I knew I was going to have a busy day, but didn’t anticipate that I’d be spending most of it doing a reasonable impression of a water fowl.

In theory it’s been a day off, but I was up with the larks – or at least Lady M – to get down to the GP for a blood pressure test. Then it was a grind of renewing prescriptions (how is it I can fill a rucksack with my 3 month meds supply?), refuelling the car, and then heading out to get a birthday present for the ex-Lady M.

Now that part was easy, although the expression on the shopkeeper’s face was carefully neutral when I engaged him to ask for advice. The real difficulty was finding a suitable birthday card. I imagine it isn’t something that many people have contemplated, but look at the messages and humour and imagery available on your next pass through a card shop or aisle in the local supermarket.

I was looking for something tasteful but not twee, and a message inside that was either a blank, or generic, rather than a protestation of eternal fluffy gooeyness, or a straight up insult, or accusation of alcoholism. Jokes about old age aren’t my thing either, so that eliminated a whole host of options. As I looked at each option I had a voice in my head going “nope, nope, way inappropriate, nope, hmmm nope”. You get the idea.

Basically there seems to be a default assumption that cards are bought by family members, ardent suitors, or work colleagues with a suspect sense of humour. There’s not really anything for the “We used to think the world of each other, then it went wrong, and now after a few years hard work and tears we can be friendly again but never forget” crowd.

At least, with Charleesi having finished school, I was able to pick her up early for the weekend. It was just as well, because we both made the observation that the heavier the rainfall, the more other drivers’ IQ seems to drop. It was raining very, very hard. Did I mention that?