Thursday, 31 December 2009

Not quite the Christmas I wanted...

23rd December.

Jenna and her family arrived.  I picked them up at the airport.  They are staying until 1st January.  Matthew looked great!

Matthew now.
He's changed a lot since he was ill.
24th December.   
All my family gathered at our house for my birthday party.  It was Christmas Eve.  The birthday presents were both generous and thoughtful.   I'm a lucky man.

While indulging in some horseplay, one of my grandchildren threw a mobile phone.  It struck the TV, bounced off it and hit Jenna's husband, Colin, on the cheek.  The TV was ruined and Colin had a significant bruise on his cheek.

At 11.00pm, I went to church for midnight mass.  The church car park is about 200m along an unlit, narrow lane.  While driving up the lane, a horse stuck its head out from the field alongside the lane into the path of my car and I was unable to avoid hitting it - although the collision was at low speed.  The horse ran off into the darkness of the field.  I got home about 1.00am and relayed my story to Marie and Jenna.  What was their reaction?  Was the horse hurt?  Why didn't I find the horse to see if it was ok?  Obviously I am a really bad person - I should have run around the muddy field to locate a horse which probably wasn't really looking for human company, and then I should have cornered it to examine its mouth for injuries...all of this in the pitch black!!  No one asked me how the collision had affected me.  Oh well.

Damage to my car

25th December
We had Jenna and her family and Colleen with us on Christmas morning.  It seemed like the opening of presents took hours.  But everybody was well pleased with the presents.

Around lunch time, Colleen went to Colm's house to collect him and bring him to ours.  It was icy where Colm lives and he slipped.  He hurt his wrist and smashed his present for Marie.  We didn't tell him about the broken present in case he got upset about it.

My property alarm company called to report that one of my alarms was sounding.  A subsequent inspection revealed that the alarm had gone faulty.

All my children, their spouses and children had arrived just after lunch time.  Presents were given and received.  With 17 of us, that took a long time!  Happiness everywhere.  Great atmosphere.  Christmas dinner, prepared by Marie and me with some assistance from Colin, followed.  Marie and I have got the hang of catering for such a large gathering!  It was a great success, not only due to the quality of the food (Marie's Somerset cider ham is legendary in our family), but also to the seamless flow from course to course and the general ambiance.  As usual, all the adults helped with the clearing up.

My 7 children - Colm, Joseph, Carla, Jenna holding Orla, Colleen (top right) and Collette (bottom right)

Julie and Drew called around about 9.00pm!  This was a major achievement for Drew, especially as our house was bursting at the seams with family members.  Family members began to leave or went to bed leaving Julie and Drew, Marie, Colin and me to have a much quieter and very enjoyable time with good craic and fine wine.

At about midnight, my alarm company called again...

26th December
Colm's wrist was still swollen.  He spent most of Boxing Day at the hospital and discovered that he had broken his wrist when he slipped on the ice.

Marie and I went to her parents' house where she had a birthday party as well as a Christmas party.  Her sisters, their children and a few other family members were there too - the first year that all the sisters had children at Christmas.  There were lots more presents for Joseph and Orla.

During the afternoon the alam company called yet again!

27th December
We spent the morning completing the assembly of the children's toys (nothing comes ready to use any more) and tidying up all the packaging associated with children's toys.  In the afternoon, I took advantage of the near Spring-like weather and took all the children to the beach where they happily played with sea pools, crabs and sand for a few hours.

The alarm company rang yet again!

28th December
Baby Matthew had had a rough night and was very snuffly.  He wouldn't feed and his breathing was very laboured.  He was distressed and crying almost non-stop.  I felt that a visit to the hospital was required, where they found that his heart rate, breathing rate and temperature were all higher than they should be.  Treatment began almost immediately and I became a messenger boy getting pizza, clothes and nappies.  Matthew was kept in, so Jenna spent the night in the hospital with him.  I eventually got home around 3.00am.

29th December
Two members of staff reported ill early in the morning!  One was a manager, but I managed to get cover for her.  I had to cover the duties of the other ill staff member.  However, the faulty alarm, about which the alarm company had been ringing throughout the holidays, prevented anyone from opening the safe, so one of the branches wasn't able to open for several hours, until the safe engineer sorted out the whole mess.

By lunch time, Matthew's treatment had worked wonders and he was able to go home.  Smiles all round!

After lunch I found out that the unwell members of staff would be able to work next week.  That's good, of course, but even better is the knowledge that they are getting better.

In the evening Marie and I went to a Christmas party.  It was in a private house and I suppose that there were about 40 people there.  The evening was very enjoyable much helped by the fact that despite the party being noisy and crowded, Marie was almost totally anxiety free the whole time.


All in all a mixed Christmas season, but I feel the the good points significantly outweighed the not-so-good ones.   However, I hope that next year we'll have less incidents to cope with!

Btw - The picture at the top is of my wrecked TV!


alice said...

your t.v. oh dear. you all seemed to have coped well over the xmas period with what was thrown at you. im so glad you and marie was able to go to the party virtually anxiety free, things are looking up for 2010. xxx

agoraphob said...

Wow Robert, sounds like an adventure!! feels so bad about your tv and your car. On the positive side they are both fixable.

Sorry to hear about the health problems and the wrist, but glad both are going to be ok.

well, look on thee brightside, at least you will remember this christmas and bday for a really really long time!

here is to 2010!

Nechtan said...

Hi Robert,

It is great to see a photo of Matthew in fine health. The little one has been through a lot but you wouldn't know it from the photo. I hope he goes from strength to strength. And its always great to see those wonderful family photos.

Sorry but the thought of you spending the remainder of your birthday running around a field in the dark looking for a demented horse made me laugh. You must have got a fright. I'm sure the horse is a lot less damaged than your car.

Bad news about Colm's wrist. Not surprising in this weather. Underfoot is dangerous. I hope he's in better spirits now.

You must need a rest after all that but the good sure outweighs the bad. The family get togethers must have been a joy and well done to Marie for getting through the party anxiety free.

All the best


Kit Courteney said...

Blimey, quite a time!

I do hope both Matthew and Colm continue to thrive after their traumas, and that the horse does too!

Here's wishing you and your lovely family a very happy and healthy 2010.

Best wishes for the New Year to all of you :0)

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Bloody hell Robert. But youre a survivor like me. Good luck in the new year.

Faith Hoffen said...

Matthew looks great:) He is a blessing isn't he!

I'm sorry about your collision though.

Take care


diver said...

You should've realised what sort of Christmas you were in for once the alarm bells started ringing! It was as though the universe was trying to warn you to duck ;-)

Marie sure rose to the occasion didn't she. Wow, a noisy crowded Christmas party in a private house with 40 guests ... what an impressive adventure for a clinical agoraphobic to take on, and to handle it 'anxiety-free' ... well, it's just a spectacular achievement, I think!

Happy birthdays BTW :) Here's hoping that 2010 proves a less alarming year for you and the family.

Michelle said...

Wow, you've had a lot going on! It sounds like everyone's handled everything quite well, though. Happy New Year!

rosiero said...

Blimmin heck. I hope 2010 is better for you!

maz said...

Hi Robert seems you had a bit of a mixed bag there mate!
I'm glad there was more good than bad bits though!
Compliments of the season!
maz x

Casdok said...

Bealted merry christmas, happy birthday and a happy new year! Certainly all sounds eventfull!. Hope Colm copes well with the plaster and heels quickly.

Robert said...

Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to post your comments. they are most appreciated!

alice - clever you (as always) - things are indeed looking up for Marie this year

agoraphob - This was a Christmas with a difference! I definitely won't forget it in a hurry!

Nechtan - I had hoped that the vision of me searching for a horse with a sore mouth in a muddy field in the middle of the night would be amusing! On balance, it was a good Christmas.

diver - "Here's hoping that 2010 proves a less alarming year for you and the family" -Thanks for the kind wishes even if they are couched in a dreadful pun! Marie did do well at the party, didn't she?

Michelle - happy new year to you too! (Yes, I know that it's late!)

rosiero - Thanks. I hope that 2010 is a better year for everyone that I know!

maz - I definitely had a mixed bag. This year I just want the goodies!

Casdok - Thanks for all the kind wishes. Colm is getting fed up with his plaster and there's still 4 weeks to go!

Robert said...

GOK - Yes, I'm a survivor. I've had plenty of cr@p in my life, and I'm still here, making the best of it!

Faith - You should see Matthew now! He's looking so well! Collisions - who cares? It's only the people you care for that matter. And I'm truly blessed in that department!