It wasn't too much Chivas Regal that hangs me over this morning, but a clean sweep of the 89 tons of Christmas decorations back into the attic last evening under the cruel and intense incessant pace of a daughter and wife.
Once that duo decides to clean, it is like twin white tornadoes sweep down into our living quarters and suck up every single reminder that there ever was a Christmas season. I think we packed the dog in a tote and lugged her upstairs into storage oblivion. I haven't seen my five-year-old grandson for several hours, too.
With all the wreaths, tree ornaments, stuffed animals, garland, lights, music boxes, etc., up there now in the dark for another year, the house looks like an empty warehouse, but the ladies of the household are happy.
Now it is up to me to move outside and tear down the burned-out house lights and store the wooden bears, elves, reindeer and snowmen (and women) back in my overburdened shed. But it is cold, very cold, and I am thinking of putting off that job. Perhaps I'll get to it on Labor Day.
The $55 tree stands alone in its stand, bare and thirsty, outside the front door, and drying boughs of pine are withering upon the porch lights where they were placed. Near them, on a little table, remnants of Halloween rot under the frost, forgotten little gourds put there for trick or treater delight.
There's no remainder of Thanksgiving, and even the leftover turkey put in the freezer has been taken out and banished.
Ergo, the epic holiday American weekend of the year is once again history, gone with the end of the Rose Bowl and the 83 other bowl games.
Now there's all that sugar to consume. I've got peanut brittle, truffles, nuts, suckers and some stray cookies sitting next to me in my office. Their cry for me to eat them is outshouted by the diet shake powder that waited patiently for me through the holidays, hiding behind the blender and coffee maker in the kitchen.
We do love to celebrate in this country. I marvel at the fact Halloween is no longer a child's event, but very much an adult holiday as well. And, when did they start putting yard decorations up for Thanksgiving?
With the end of the partying and the excessive gift-giving, it is a time for transition back into reality. The kids hated going back to school, and I'll admit that although I love my job, it was nice to spend a couple of days just lazing back.
One thing I don't suffer any longer is "January shock" of Visa and MasterCard bills coming in. I learned long ago that cash is better, and those first-of-year bills aren't able to steal the remaining luster from the gifting glow.
I look ahead to longer days with great enthusiasm. I think those summers when the sun doesn't set until 9 p.m. are my kind of seasons. I love weekend trips, and in the winter the dark falls at 5 p.m., and I have to leave the ocean as soon as I get there. No fun.
So, adieu year-end holidays, and thanks for the memories. But I'll take the 4th or a Labor Day (when I'll be taking down those outside Christmas decorations), thank you.