Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas with the Riggotts 2010

As I write this I’m actually grateful to be on a plane heading back to the Northwest via Pittsburg and Phoenix. As a Christmas gift Emily’s parents had bought us tickets to come home for the holiday and my mom had also sent us both money towards the trip as well as
an extremely generous Christmas present for her. We flew out of Portland after both working a little on Thursday to make up for the Monday we would miss (I’ll explain why it is now Thursday further down). We had a pretty uneventful redeye flight and got into Bradley International at around 10am on Friday morning. I had actually been able to get some sleep on the last 2 flights as well because I had a beer in Phoenix and then popped 3 tylenol P.M. for the plane rides. Even so the 4 hours we both got wasn’t quite enough so when Emily’s parents picked us up we both took a 3 hour
nap at the house before getting ready to head to Nick and Jens for Christmas Eve.
Nick and Jen had of course put up amazing decorations around their house complete with frozen ice decorations on the walkway leading to the front door. When we opened the door we of course were greeted by the Riggot family king Sir Sampson who came barking to our feet to make sure we were worthy of entry. Once approved by the king and after many hugs and hand shakes we
made our way to the kitchen where we found shrimp, an amazing alcoholic hot cidar Jenn made and we had brought some beers. Emily and I had finally convinced my mom to come for Christmas a few days before we left Oregon and after a long drive from upstate NY she showed up around 5pm. Everyone was very happy to see her especially Babbs, Jen’s grandmother, who had a great time talking with her last Christmas.
As usual for the Riggott Family things broke down into shots of Wild Turkey American Honey (their new holiday favorite) and before we new it we were all were feeling pretty good before sitting down for dinner, especially Emily and I who didn’t have any food in our stomach after our long overnight flight. Jen had prepared a wonderful roast of beef and plenty of sides. As usual there were plenty of “holiday poppers” which you pull apart with snapping
noise to reveal a silly prize. I actually was pretty grateful to find a plastic shoe horn because my new shoes suck to always have to tie to put on correctly. Jen was pissed because she had been promised to find a whoopie cushion in the bunch but no one did. As dinner wound to a close I as usual was asked to finish up the leftover meat on the table (gotta kill this reputation!). It was great to see Tyler, his girlfriend Morgan, Jim and Sally, and of course Babbs again for the holidays! We hung out after dinner chatting for a while and having a few more drinks and some awesome desert before heading back to Emily’s parents place with my mom and I following in her car.
On Christmas morning Emily and I took advantage of the fact that there would be no small
children early and slept in till about 10am when we wandered downstairs to find Jay and Stacey chatting with Patti. Shortly after Keith showed up and got to making bacon (smoking out the house a little in the process) and his awesome chocolate chip pancakes just in time for Jess and Julia Brusa to show up for opening presents. Emily’s brother and his new wife Julia were on their way from Portland, ME but wouldn’t make it till later in the afternoon. I was diggin’ the big bottle of Bailey’s my mom had brought having glass after glass of Bailey’s on the rocks. Jay, I found out, used to own a liqour store before he became a cop in Hartford and had brought a bottle of some crazy Russian or Middleastern plum brandy to the house to try as a new source of shots. We all lined up of course to try what sounded to be awesome but after cheering and downing the shots instantly regretted our decision! It was the nastiest shot I’d ever taken and
Keith almost doubled over with pain as it hit his chest! The limoncella vodka that other took wasn’t much better as we were told it tasted like lemon cleaning solution!

After the bad shots and breakfast we headed to open presents in the living room. Emily and I got some great gifts including the Pictionary Man game from Stacey and Jay and a bunch of new clothes. We also got a great gift card to a restaurant in Corvallis we had never heard of from Nick and Jen named LUC? We’ll wait until Valentines day to check that out (hopefully it will stay open!). We also got a great calendar of Sampson (who arrived in a Santa outfit). Jay and I and others had bet he would be in a Santa outfit instead of an elf so we got to give out more shots, thankfully of American Honey this time instead of that other stuff he brought! Emily and I also got a very warm cozy Sherpa blanket from Jason and Sue. Both Emily’s parents and my mom were really impressed at the photo frames I had made them each containing 4 prints that I had been working on to possibly start selling. They also enjoyed looking through the stack of 30-40 prints I had brought home for them as well in case they wanted to swap out photos.

Chris and Julia showed up later in the afternoon and I was super excited to catch
up with the both of them and hear all about their honeymoon in Mexico. Sally, Jim, Babbs, Morgan and Tyler showed up later in the afternoon as well making the total dinner party 14 people, unable to fit in the dining room! Fortunately Emily’s parents had kept her soccer team beer pong tables on the back deck which we opened up in the main room and threw some table cloths on for dinner. Unfortunately, the Celtics lost to the Magic as we sat down to eat, upsetting Babbs a bit, but the amazing food made up for it. We again had a roast of beef that was great along with Harvard beats from my mom and many other dishes including beans, mashed potatoes sweet potatoes, rolls, etc. By the end of dinner everyone was really stuffed and only a few of use were able to have some pie for desert. With food-coma setting in guests began to leave (Jay had left earlier for his graveyard shift in Harvard) leaving only Chris, Julia, Emily and I and her parents to play the fun game called “In a Pickle” which had some very questionable calls if I remember right. Can a submarine fit in a barn? Stuff like that.... After the game Keith and Patti headed for bed leaving Julia, Chris and Emily and I to chat about their honeymoon and other things before heading up to bed around 1 a.m...
My mom had retired early after having a great time chatting with everone, especially Babbs and was planning on leaving early to beat a Blizzard that was forecast to hit the next afternoon. The weatherman had been going nuts on the T.V. all night like it was the end of the world.
Emily and I slept in on Sunday morning only to be briefly woken up by my mom to say goodbye as she got an early start on her drive back home. Thankfully she beat the storm and didn’t hit any traffic. I had talked to Nicolette the night before who was in Vermont with Ellie and was planning on swinging by Grandy on their way back to Greenwhich. After breakfast we all enjoyed looking at the photos and video I got from
their wedding before Emily and I had to leave to meet Ellie at a Friendly’s off the highway 10 minutes away. We said goodbye to Chris and Julia hoping that they would stay the night and wait out the storm but when we got back they had left, which was probably a good thing based on the weather coming through. When Nicolette and Ellie pulled into the parking lot I ran up to the window and the look of surprise and joy on Ellie’s face made my heart soar. Her mom had simply told her she had a surprise for her! Ellie was so giggly and excited to see me and couldn’t stop hugging me and crawling all over me in the booth. Emily and I had a wonderful hour of hanging out with my daughter who squeeled with joy to see me! She’s so cute and also so loud! It was really hard to say goodbye to her after only seeing her for a short time but I was glad to have seen her at all at Christmas because it hadn’t been planned. They had a rough time going south into the weather but thankfully made it home safe. They had considered staying with us for the night but they may have been trapped with us into Tuesday if they had.
Turns out the weathermen had been right about the high winds but wrong about the quantity of snow. The snow really didn’t matter though as the winds ended up shutting down all the airports on eastern seaboard for Sunday and most of Monday stranding Emily and I. When we got the call our flight was cancelled we instantly got on the phone with U.S. Airways and Hotwire using an iphone app trick that got us directly to real person to talk to.
Unfortunately it was 1am in the morning at this point and the people we got were idiots who barely understood English and they kept hanging up on us. At one point we had 3 cell phones all playing the same background music waiting for someone to pick up! The first guy didn’t understand that we lived in Oregon but were on vacation in Connecticut. It took forever for us to convey to him that we needed to ultimately get to Portland, not just Washington or Philly... which we needed to CONNECT THROUGH... Idiots. Finally, after getting on Expedia myself and feeding flight numbers, locations and times to the fools we were able to get a flight on Tuesday. We thought we were home free and missing a day of work wouldn’t be the end of the world... WRONG. We woke up Tuesday to high winds and another call saying our flight had again been cancelled! After several more phone calls we finally got through to an American and got a flight out on Thursday (after I again helped via Expedia). Unfortunately our flight would get us back at 2am West Coast time and we wouldn’t get back to our apartment until 4:30am... which would feel like 7:30 am to us... oh well...
Emily and I spent the next couple days relaxing in the house. On Tuesday we drove to Canton, CT to exchange a puffy vest her mom had giving me for Christmas that didn’t fit. They didn’t have any more vests at the store so we exchanged it for cash and got me a couple pair of jeans at Bob’s which I needed a lot more than a new vest. We then went out to dinner at a sushi restaurant called Feng which was absolutely amazing. Emily’s parents ordered their favorites
and I was amazed at all the awesome flavors that the sushi had! After a great meal and a full stomach we went home and watched How to Train Your Dragon, a PIXAR film which was really cute. The dragon’s animated expressions kept reminding me of Dromi. On Wednesday Emily’s parents went to a concert so Emily and I went out for dinner at Chili’s and then to see The Tourist at the local theater. Jonny Depp makes any film great so we liked it. Back at the house late night we also rented Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz which was a fun action flick. Even though Tom is crazy as hell he is still a great actor.

After sleeping in a bit on Thursday knowing I would be up the whole night to get us home safe we headed to the airport and thankfully made all our connections on the way home, literally catching the last flight into Portland Airport. Walking into the apartment at nearly 5am I was exhausted and glad to be done with traveling. It was a very needed relaxing trip home and we both are very grateful to our parents for helping us get home. Although the blizzard made us miss extra work it was nice to veg out without any stress for a few days in a nice warm house on a comfortable couch! Looking forward to next year as well!