Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm a Christmas Hero

I have to share my crazy Christmas story.

On Christmas morning, J. and I got up early and opened gifts. We had breakfast and played with the cats for a while, and then J. decided to take some things to our storage unit. It was around 9 am, and I was watching tv. Something outside the window caught my attention. There was a young man walking up the sidewalk to our neighbors' front door. I noticed him because their driveway is right under our living room window, and I knew they'd gone out of town the day before. I leaned forward so I could see the man better. He was very close to their front door, and seemed to be looking through the glass. After a moment, he walked back down the steps and up the sidewalk away from my house.

I debated for a few minutes, then called the police. I reported the incident as suspicious activity. About ten minutes later, I received a call from an officer. He said he was en route, and asked me to repeat what I'd told the 911 dispatcher. He arrived as I was describing what I saw, and he cut me off, saying, "You did good. There's a broken window in the back."

Within a few minutes, we had four patrol cars blocking our street in the front, and three blocking the alley. The young man was still inside the house when the police arrived. He surrendered immediately and was arrested. I gave a statement to the responding officer. About an hour after the last police car left, the owner of the house arrived and came over to hear all about it. J. had arrived home just after I called 911, so I was still trying to explain everything to him. He called his mom and aunt and told them I was a Christmas hero. And then on Monday, a detective called and I had to give a statement to him.

It's surreal - in a way, I'm tired of telling the story. Then again, I'm a little bit proud of myself, and it was exciting to be in the middle of something like that, and to be able to help my neighbor. The house was empty at the time of the break-in, so the only real cost to our neighbor will be replacing the broken window.

And I have an exciting story to tell for many Christmases to come!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Looking Ahead - Christmas 2011

I love Christmas.

Wait...let me rephrase that: I love the IDEA of Christmas. I love what Christmas is supposed to be about. I love decorating the house and listening to holiday music and watching holiday movies. I do not, however, love the stress of spending time with family I never see and don't really like, of braving stores filled with crazy people to find the perfect gift, and of having to be so damn cheerful about the whole thing.

My wonderful husband would just as soon go to bed on December 23rd and wake up on December 26th. He accomodates me (and I think he even had a little fun this year), but it's just not his thing. And about three weeks ago, I realized it's not mine either. I don't want to completely give up on Christmas, and we couldn't do that to our mothers anyway, so we made a deal.

Beginning with Christmas 2010, in even years we will celebrate here with our families. In odd years, we will travel. Our plan is to decide where we'll be spending Christmas by February 1st. That way, we have all year to plan (and pay for) the trip. Christmas 2011 is already planned and booked. We will be at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas, in a stand-alone log cabin with a wood-burning fireplace and a full kitchen.

It will be just the two of us for five days. We've already told our families that we'll be travelling, and I may have led my mother to believe that there's no cell service inside the park. In any event, as I sit here in the limbo that is the week between Christmas and New Years, feeling bloated and out-of-sorts, and wishing to get back to a routine, I think of where I'll be next year, and smile.