A Very Michigan Christmas

29 Dec

There are a million and one things I wanted to tell you about. Like the snow storm. Like the adventure Andrew and I went on to southwest Virginia. Like how much the dog loved the snow. Like how much fun I had last week when I wasn’t working.

Thing is, I’ve been busy. So those stories will have to wait. And I’ll tell you about our Very Michigan Christmas instead.

On Thursday, Christmas Eve, Andrew and I woke up late, packed a suitcase, dropped off the dog, and boarded a plane for Detroit. Our flight was direct and uneventful. We got our car rental, the ugliest car in the world, found the hotel, and then went to Target. On Christmas Eve.  See, I had the great idea that, since we had most of our gifts for family sent to Andrew’s mom’s house, we would just buy wrapping paper and whatnot when we got to Michigan. So we went to Target at 6 PM on Christmas Eve.  Not surprisingly, there was NO wrapping paper left. NONE. So we bought some gold wedding wrapping paper and some red ribbon. It looked deceptively Christmasy, but in my heart I knew it was all wrong. I’m wicked anal about the whole wrapping paper thing and generally have an ornate attack plan when it comes to wrapping Christmas presents.  To be limited to just one option was rough, to say the least.

After Target and the sad, sad wrapping paper purchase, we met up with Andrew’s mom and ate Chinese for dinner, a decision that I thought was very, very brave. This was the first time we had Chinese food since the incident. I may never, ever, ever eat chicken from a Chinese restaurant again, given that it tried to kill me that one time, so I had veggies instead which was exactly what I had been craving.  There are few things better than Chinese vegetables stir fryed in a dark sauce. NOM NOM NOM!

Initially, we were all excited to be in Michigan and wanted to go and partake in shenanigans but, after wrapping the Christmas presents and praying the Chinese food wouldn’t destroy our souls, it was 10 PM and we were both thoroughly worn out.  So we went to sleep.

Christmas morning we woke up, took our time getting ready, and went to my mother-in-law’s house for Christmas Brunch. We played a feisty game of Scrabble (and argued over the legality of the word “goudas”), got morning-drunk on mimosas, ate cheesy baked goodness and melt-in-your-mouth bacon. We opened presents (classic books, a gorgeous scarf, a scrap booking kit, and a Belgian waffle maker for me), lounged around and ate a pound of peanut m&ms. I also made some interesting discoveries related to my husband’s 7th grade artistic prowess.

After Christmas Number 1, it was time for Christmas Number 2, so we drove across town to my father-in-law’s house for Christmas linner (late lunch/early dinner). We were already feeling stuffed, but we tried.  We nibbled on some delicious beer bread (it was, like, the best thing I have ever eaten and the only thing that could have made it better would have been some super creamy cheese a la laughing cow), ate some turkey and some rolls and some green beans and all around stuffed ourselves for the second time in just one single day.  The plight of the child from a divorced family: multiple meals on major holidays. Sure, it’s not a major problem, but it’s tough…

The best part about Christmas Number 2 was the dogs.  Andrew’s step-brother and his wife brought their dogs and they provided me with enough of a distraction that I didn’t really have to pay much attention to the family.  I know that sounds horrible, but I’m not a huge fan of family and I’m insanely awkward, so really, it was a win/win for everyone involved.

After all the eating was finished, we scavenged for alcohol (no buying booze on Christmas Day in Michigan, which seems totally illogical to me because I NEEDZ THE BOOZE TO GET THROUGH XMAS!!), and partied at Andrew’s step-brother’s house.  It’s a tradition, this whole getting smashed on Christmas thing.  I appreciate it.

We played Left, Right, Center, which I think only people in Michigan play. Andrew won the first round and I won the second. I felt guilty about it because we’re from Virginia and have jobs and we took the money of Michiganders who don’t have jobs and that’s just not right.  We caught up with all of Andrew’s friends from way back when. We drank and drank and drank and ate some popcorn and ate some more beer bread and then drank some more.

We finally crawled into bed about 3:30 AM; again, totally spent.

Saturday we had to drive up towards Lake Huron for Christmas Number 3. Because we weren’t fat enough already.  So we went.  And I learned that Michigan is flat. And that most people don’t know how the Commonwealth of Virginia got it’s name.  And that “Huron” sounds a lot like “Urine” when you say it out loud.

We ate, again. And opened presents.  And then, after realizing I had never in my life seen Lake Huron, and that the only one of the Great Lakes I had actually seen was Lake Erie, I demanded we go see the lake immediately because, by golly, I needed to photograph it.

As it turns out, Lake Huron looks like the ocean. Except with less waves. And with limited sunshine. And with very, very clear water. It’s undeniably beautiful.

After we had our fill of the lake, and of Christmas cheer, and of Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince on Blue-Ray, we headed out. We grabbed dinner somewhere in Michigan where they put lights on every single building with Andrew’s cousin. We drank some Labatt Blue because we could and because it was on tap and because it’s delicious.

We went to sleep late; again, because we could.

Sleeping in was one thing that made the trip to Michigan feel like a vacation.  I feared my ability to sleep-in had been lost, but no. It’s still  intact.

Sunday was our last day in Michigan. We gathered up Andrew’s cousin, and went to get Andrew a Coney dog.  (If you’re not familiar, a Coney is some sort of hot dog thing that people in Michigan eat. Seeing as I don’t eat hot dogs, I wasn’t all that enthused.)

Then, we went to the zoo.  Because really, what else are you supposed to do when you’re in Michigan and the high is well below freezing?

The Detroit Zoo is awesome.  I wasn’t expecting much because it’s Detroit, but wow.  They had butterflies. And the biggest polar bear enclosure in the world. And a crazy active river otter. And gorillas and chimps and a pair of tigers. And red pandas hanging from trees. And black squirrels looking for attention. It was perfect. It made me feel like a kid again and even if we felt like we all might freeze to death, it was fun.

After the zoo, we thawed out with some wine, went back to the hotel early, packed our stuff, watched some Friends, ate some Hungry Howie’s Pizza, and slept.

Our flight left from Detroit at 7:05 AM, so we woke up at 3:15 AM on Monday morning. We were out the door in 20 minutes, dropped off the rental car and got lucky at the airport.

Our flight left late and we had to run through the Cincinnati airport in order to make our connecting flight back to Richmond.  Having never had to run through an airport before, it was one of those sort of fun things that I hope to never, ever, ever have to do again.

We made our flight and got to Richmond on time, thankfully. I cannot tell you how much I love the Richmond Airport. My love for it is just so great that to put it into words would ruin it.  We got off the plane, stopped to grab some cash out of the ATM, and by the time we got to baggage claim, which was a very, very short walk, our bag was waiting.  We then walked across the street to our car, and were off airport property less then 25 minutes after our plane touched down.  It just doesn’t get any better than that and I will continue to be thankful for my close proximity to a small, but still reasonably priced, airport.

Next up, New Years…

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5 Responses to “A Very Michigan Christmas”

  1. Jamie December 29, 2009 at 8:30 PM #

    That sounds like quite the Christmas! I would also like a red panda, please.

  2. Alverna December 29, 2009 at 11:19 PM #

    It’s a very good thing that you mentioned that you had to RUN through the Cinci airport to catch your flight. Otherwise, I would have yelled at you guys for being less than an hour away from me without a visit…

    In other news, I love your photos, always. Sadie is adorable (of course), and Andrew actually made braces look good–who knew that was even possible?

  3. H to the Izzo December 29, 2009 at 11:25 PM #

    Please caption all your photos from now on. I especially liked middle-school Andrew and NOT THE OCEAN.

  4. CuppyCakes December 30, 2009 at 1:48 AM #

    hahaha. I totally imagined a little kitteny ‘meow’ to that tiger photo. And yes. That car is TOTALLY the ugliest car in the world. I may have physically winced. Glad you had a good Christmas!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 2009: A Time to Nestle « questionable rationale - January 1, 2010

    […] December,  I started my second 101 in 1001 challenge, got unfriended on Facebook and went to Michigan for Christmas.  Then, I got the worst cold […]

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