As anyone who does not live in their home town will be able to corroborate, when you return ‘home’, there is a list of jobs you need to do and people you need to see waiting for you. It’s the same list of both jobs and people every time you go back. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is. The lists don’t discern if it’s a birthday, anniversary, Christmas or ‘I missed everyone’ type visit. They’re consistently identical no matter what and you must start ticking things off the list the second you arrive or you will never get through thm.
My list of Jobs reads as thus:
- Take all Mum’s bins out to the bins (it’s hard for her to do herself) – this visit she’d saved me a normal bin bag and 2 recycling bags, more than the average!
- Assess Mum’s PC health – The last visit her HDD was cheerfully warning her it was failing at start up. She had been ‘F1’ing it instead of telling me about the error. Her HDD was eventually and successfully swapped out in record time. An external HDD was sorted too as when I asked her where her back up was, she sighed wistfully.
- Assess the loft/garage – There’s nearly always something that needs to come down or go up into the loft. Same with the garage.
- Visit relatives including as many Sisters, Nieces, Nephews, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and extended family members as is humanly possible. Special time is ALWAYS made to visit my Grandmother. This is for 2 very specific reasons. The first being she is now 93. The other is that her ‘getting drunk and falling down stories’ bear a striking resemblance to my own. I’ve been known to wile away many hours sat at my Grandma’s, listening to old tapes of Dolly and Johnny and discussing getting drunk and falling down.
- Asses Sisters PC health – this is always the trickiest IT support. Both of my sisters have horrible habits of installing conflicting software that slows down their machines and generally hogs all of their adequate system resources. I plan an entire afternoon of uninstalling, Spybotting, CCleanering, defragging and check disking for each sister. I think one sister will actually get a whole day this visit as she needs a reformat. Joyous!
- Generally running errands my Mum doesn’t want anyone else to do – for example, this time round I have been and purchased a suitable microwave, completed suite shopping and finally ordered her a suitable LCD TV for the front room.
Having described that little lot, during the Christmas visit, all these ‘jobs’ don’t feel like jobs (the IT issues do still make my soul die a little as I do not understand the need to download multiple different anti-malware/anti-spyware/anti-virus software and that is what I am faced with on each sister’s computer). The standard list jobs are transformed, from being a crazy rush to tick items off before it’s time to head back, into a series of various dinners and teat time visits. The purchasing turns. from fighting with crowds and queuing because the store is understaffed, into bargain hunting with fellow shopppers in the sales and general bartering with good willed sales people.
The Christmas season does something quite remarkable to most of the population. It makes everyone feel like they’re in soft focus. Everything appears more pleasant than it is the rest of the year. It’s a remarkable thing and I hope I’m not the only one who notices it.