Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Any Holiday disasters you want to share with our readers?

Christmas, Avatar, Icon, MySpace Comments Pictures, Images and Photos

Anna Steffl - Nope. Disaster free, that’s me.

Tamara DeStefano - My family and I got kicked out of a restaurant on Thanksgiving one year. My mother was freezing because they had put us in a back room with a huge space under an outer door that was letting in sleet. We asked the manager nicely if we could move. He had a literal meltdown (I guess he was stressed because the place was packed) He grabbed my mother's arm (big mistake, we're a family of 22 Italians with tempers to match) Long story short, he called the cops and we were escorted out. The cops were actually annoyed with the manager because supposedly it was the second time he'd called them that day.

Sandy Elzie - Just the cat turning over the tree once.

Marilyn Baron - Thankfully, no

Tammy Schubert - To understand this frightening disaster, you have to understand where I grew up. My home is in the Appalachian mountains on the New York border. My family literally lived on top of a mountain in a remote area surrounded by acres and acres of woods. The local town is off the map because it is such a small place with nothing to do. Here everyone knows everyone else, and nobody locks their doors or thinks twice about crime. People are trusted until they prove they are up to no good. It is just a quiet place to live.

Our town had a part-time, volunteer police officer, who didn't seem to have any working hours. My family had no actual street address. In order to give directions to emergency personnel, we had to say something like, "it's the road in front of Joe's house about five miles down on the right. There's a hidden driveway on that corner by the third oak tree. Go up and to the right. You'll see the house." Assuming the road wasn't a sheet of ice, we could expect them to arrive in about forty minutes or so.

Get the picture?

When I was sixteen, I had a weird experience that just has to be shared. On this particular Christmas Eve, ice storms had passed through the night before. The ice had started melting off during the day, so the roads were clear for the moment. My family was home for the night, and my younger sisters were all wound up about Santa making an appearance later that night.

Around 3 p.m., a stranger showed up at our door. Although it was unusual, I assumed he was there for my dad. I let him in and my dad came out. I returned to my romance book, which was much more interesting.

As it turns out, this man, who was 21 or 22 years old, came to see me. In front of my parents, he asked for permission to go out with me that night. Remember, nobody knew this guy. He said he lived in town, but we had never seen him or heard about him before. My parents, receiving such a courtly request, were so impressed it was nauseating. He completely won them over.

So what's a shy, inexperienced, naïve you woman to do, especially when her parents put the pressure on? Against her better judgment, she decided to make her parents happy and go out with the stranger.

Off I went on this date scared, nervous and unsure. About 15 miles into our 30 mile trip to a nearby town, he confessed it took him six beers before he had the nerve to ask me out.

Did I mention he was driving?

He seemed to be doing fine, but it just made me more uneasy. We finally arrived at Pizza Hut, one of the most fine-dining establishments around. Conversation was stilted and awkward through the entire meal. When we were just about done, he let me in on what he thought was a sweet, endearing secret.

Maybe he'd been reading too many romance novels and misinterpreted how to impress his date.

"I've been waiting a long time to ask you out," he said.

"Oh, really." I blushed, which was my standard reaction back then.

He leaned forward in earnest. His hand almost touched mine. "I've been watching you since you were a kid. Waiting for you to grow up."

I barely suppressed the urge to throw up. Oh My God, were the only words to come to mind. All I could do was nod.

Did I mention I lived in a remote area surrounded by woods with no outdoor lighting? Do you remember what I told you about the town cop?

After a few minutes, I politely pointed out that the weather was changing and the temperature was dropping. I didn't even have to lie. Off we went back towards my home. He wanted to continue the date, but I told him I really needed to go home and spend time with my family. I think by the time he dropped me off he figured out I wasn't interested. His last clue was when I jumped out of the car and sprinted to my house.

To this day, nobody in my family has seen or heard from this guy again. Creepy, don't you think? The morale of the story is to go with your gut instincts, even if that means going against parents' wishes.

Maxine Davis - A friend of mine and I put up my Christmas tree one year while listening to carols and having wine. A loud crash woke me up in the night. The tree had fallen over. Now we celebrate after the tree is decorated.

JP Stone - Because I sport an extended family with strong personalities—and because I believe so very deeply in Karma—I’ll pass on this question.

Darcy Crowder - Actually, no. I can’t think of any disasters. We’ve had some last minute surprises and tight deadlines, but somehow the spirit of the season helps keep it all in perspective.

Cici Barnes - Near disaster: on the way to Grandma's house on Christmas Eve, our 6-year old announced that Santa was bringing him a bike for Christmas. "Santa" had no clue about this. He went to the local hardware store at 6 pm -- the only store still open -- and just happened to find a red bicycle to put under the tree. Whew! Disaster averted.

Linsey Lanier - The time my parents spent all day cooking the holiday turkey with all the fixings, only to cut into the bird at the dinner table and find it frozen in the middle.

Susan May - Tree fell when I was seven months pregnant and I had to put it back up by myself.

Michelle Newcome - When I was very young and newly married to my first husband we had just finished putting up our tree. He was napping on the floor under the tree when our cat decided to launch himself from the couch toward a particularly shiny ornament up high on the tree. Yes, you guess it. The tree came down – complete with yowling cat – right on my ex asleep on the floor. I laughed so hard I peed my pants – he did not appreciate that reaction.

Tami Brothers – The only real disaster I can think of is when my husband and I were first married, we adopted two young cats. As soon as we put up that Christmas tree, we knew we were never going to be able to keep them out of it and were we ever right. We were awakened several times during the month of December to the crashing of the tree each time they knocked it down.

Every year after that we had to figure out how to arrange the tree so that we could tie it to the stairway banister or nail it somehow to the wall. It’s funny to think that most people arrange their decorations by how they will look. Not us. We arranged our holiday decorations according to how easily we could tie the tree to something.

Eighteen years later, we now have to worry about the same type of thing with our new kitten. She’s already been halfway up the tree twice this year. This is the very same tree we had that first Christmas. This is fine because we know exactly what we need to do to keep it upright. It’s kind of funny. At least until the next ornament gets broken.

Debbie Kaufman - The first year I cooked a Christmas turkey, I failed to properly estimate the time it took to cook one. Our Christmas lunch became our Christmas dinner! We all scrounged for snacks and studiously avoided all the side dishes until the main course was ready. Let’s just say that the Christmas stocking candy was decimated by dinner!

Sally Kilpatrick - Early in our marriage, my husband's family traveled to Tennessee to spend Christmas with my family. We had my parents, his parents, and the two of us in one house, and we all passed around a particularly nasty cold. I can't remember opening presents, and I'm not sure how we even all drove home. When the pictures came back, over half of us were wearing Breathe-Right strips so we refer to it as the "Breathe-Right Christmas."

Ana Aragon - Watching my grandson upstage the entire Children’s program this year at church...he was a “little chickie” who flew the coop within 2 minutes and ran around the stage, climbing up on benches. Thankfully, he didn’t upend the set!

Cynthia Hamer - Um...thankfully, haven't had any real disastrous holidays.

Carol Burnside - Well, there was the year my family came to my house for Christmas dinner though it was really too small to accommodate everyone. This was in Texas and we got one of those ice storms that froze up the water lines. Couldn’t flush the toilets, couldn’t shower, no running water at all, but somehow I put dinner on the table for eleven people and we survived it all.

Nicki Salcedo - Spending Christmas Eve with my in-laws in California and Christmas Day with my family in Atlanta . It worked, but red-eye flights are brutal and I can’t really remember much from that Christmas Day because I was so tired.

That's all for us. How about you? Any Holiday disasters you want to share with us??


Nicki Salcedo said...

I love the cat stories. If I had a dollar for every time my cat climbed up the Christmas tree...

Four years ago my cat knocked off AND ate every low hanging glass ornament on our Christmas tree. We'd catch her chopping on glass! She's still alive, so disaster averted. Needless to say, we don't put any glass ornaments on our tree anymore. Felines are Christmas crazy.

Nicki Salcedo said...

Tammy S, please turn that story into a short story, novel, or something. Most fascinating and frightening story I've every heard. Creepy!

Carol Burnside said...

Tammy S - Christmas EVE and your parents didn't think this was strange? I'm glad you lived to tell the tale, for sure!

Dianna Love said...

Great stories...and one creepy one. Tammy S - what an experience! I'm still laughing over the others, particularly 22 Italians being kicked out of a restaurant by some crazy man. Geesh. Talk about holiday stress.

I can't recall any particularly memorable disasters, but I do remember my mom hiding my dad's gift one year and not finding it until the following June. We didn't have a lot of money so Christmas wasn't huge, but with a small house full of kids my mom had to be creative on where to hide each person's gift and lost that one.

Cyrano said...

To tell you the truth, getting kicked out of that restaurant was not only one of the worst Thanksgiving memories I have, but the best.
First of all, we all high tailed it to another restaurant, were accomidated immediately, treated like kings and queens and had the best TG dinner ever (Killer Creek in Roswell is the bomb!)
Secondly, we still laugh about that fateful holiday. It's become the story to re-tell at winter gatherings!
Tammy, just one phrase for your experience...O...M...Geeeeeee!! We're glad you're still with us.
Loved all the stories.
Thanks for sharing girls.
Have a lovely Tuesday,

Marilyn Baron said...

Tammy S, I loved your story. You should expand that.

Tamara, your story about being kicked out was hilarious. It was their loss.

Linsey, I remember the first time I cooked a Thanksgiving turkey and I didn't know what I was doing, I cooked the frozen giblets along with it and when the turkey was cooked, the plastic bag was still in there.

Dianna, I liked the story about your mom losing your Dad's present. If that had been my house, we would have found the present in my purse. I lose more things in there. It's like a black hole.

Marilyn Baron

Barbara Vey said...

Nothing really disastrous, but when I was a kid my mom was always bringing home people who were alone for Christmas. Usually there were no extra gifts for them, so my mom would get one of us to "volunteer" to give up one of our gifts for the guest. When you're a kid, it feels like a disaster, but as an adult I can appreciate it.

Linsey Lanier said...

This is hysterical! I feel like a lumberjack after reading all the falling tree stories. Who knew cats were so dangerous with Chritmas trees? I had a beagle who never did anything around the tree but yawn at it, LOL.

Tammy, that's one spooky story! I think you should expand it, too. Sounds like a paranormal. Tamara, ooh, I've been to Killer Creek. It's, well... killer. Glad your story turned out well. Hope the restaurant manager who kicked you out is reading this post.

Oh, Carol. Yuck! Lost the present until next June, Dianna? How funny. Guess that would almost be Christmas in July. Wow, Barbara. Sounds like a scene from Little Woman.


EC Spurlock said...

Um, I was married on Christmas Eve, and while that does seem like a disaster sometimes, it'll be 21 years on Thursday, so I guess not!

That first Christmas together we were pretty poor, but I worked down the street from three different orchards that all sold Christmas trees. I waited until pretty much the last minute hoping to get a price break so we could afford a tree. The first place I went to I gave the attendant such a sob story I had him begging the manager in tears to give us a tree cheap, but that Scrooge would not break down. I finally found a place that was selling the last of their trees at half price, picked out the best-looking one and brought it home in triumph. Note to self: Never pick out a tree by yourself. You can't see if the trunk is straight. This one had a curve in the trunk that we couldn't see. We set it up and I started decorating while my husband was taking a congratulatory call from his brother in California. As soon as I had about half the ornaments on it, it started to topple on me. No matter how we put the ornaments on, we could not get that tree to balance. We ended up just propping it up in the corner and throwing the bows from our presents all over it for decoration.

Now here's the cool part. We left the tree up while we went on our honeymoon and when we got back most of the needles had fallen off. Only then could we see that there was a bird's nest inside the tree! One of my coworkers said that that was a very good omen, that we would have a very happy marriage, and moreover that I would be pregnant before the next Christmas and have as many children as the bird had had eggs in the nest. I of course laughed at this superstition and trusted in my birth control.

By the next Christmas I was six months pregnant with our first son.

Tammy, you are lucky you are still with us, girl! As a parent myself and child of very strict Italian parents (waving at Tamara) I can't imagine your parents actually making you go out with somebody they had never met, especially when you were reluctant yourself. Thank goodness it all turned out ok. And we've lost our share of presents too. In fact, just last year my son misplaced one of my husband's gifts and didn't find it until he came home for summer vacation, and gave it to him then.

Thanks for all the great stories and holiday cheer, ladies!

Maxine Davis said...

Great stories everyone. Hopefully this year won't provide anyone with a 'worst ever' story!

Happy Anniversary EC. We were married Dec. 21st. Thirty Five years yesterday!

Carol Burnside said...

Happy Anniversary EC, and a belated one to Maxine & hubby!

Tami Brothers said...

Hi Everyone!!! These are all wonderful stories. And the comments are just as good. So many tree incidents... I'm laughing as I read them (while squirting the cat who is halfway up the tree - I hope the water doesn't short out the lights...hmmm... Note to self, stop squirting the cat).

Dianna, your story reminds me of Tammy Schubert's favorite Christmas movie, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, when he goes up into the attic and we can see all those dusty presents through the crack. Too funny!

Happy anniversary EC and Maxine. What a great way to remember that special day!

Hey Barbara! My mom made us do that, also. When my husband suggested something similar to teach our son the power of giving, I almost kicked him (hubby) in the shins. Knowing how hard that was, I didn't want to make my son resent that part of giving. So, we ended up taking him to the store to pick out a gift himself for the Toys for Tots drive. I think that was a great lesson learned. (And we didn't stand the chance of him giving away the $250 game system that took me 3 months of saving to buy!).

Thanks everyone for all these terrific stories. I love reading them all!


Ana Aragón said...


That story is too scary. Did you ever share the story with your parents?

I thought of something else. We moved to Atlanta during Christmas break (arriving December 19, 1997) and all of the Santa presents were boxed up and labeled. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember what I had labeled them (so that the kids wouldn't know what they were, of course!) and most of the "extra" boxes were put in the basement. When I went down there to look, there were literally hundreds of boxes, and I had to set up a house, put up a Christmas tree, etc. I took a couple of hours each day to search for the boxes while the kids were away.

By the 23rd, I hadn't found them and cried myself to sleep. On Christmas Eve, I just prayed to God to please help me. I tiptoed into the basement with all those boxes and started opening them one by one. Halfway through, I found two dishpacks full of Santa presents!

The label: Christmas dishes!


Tami Brothers said...

Ohhh, I got chill bumps, Ana! Great story. I can totally see that happening. I've 10 times in the last 10 years. Believe me, I know the feeling!


Tammy Schubert said...

Thanks for all the comments on the story. Believe it or not, my parents and I never spoke of the incident again. The next time I go home, I'm going to bring it up and see if they even remember. (My mom's memory is not what it used to be.) As for the suggestion of making it into a story, I never thought of it. I'm going to have to give it a try. Thanks for the suggestion.

EC, that is a wonderful first Christmas story. It is romantic. You should consider working that into a short story as well.

Nicki, and your cat still lives? Guess it's true what they say about cats having nine lives.

Ana, I love your present story.

With cats climbing Christmas trees, presents hidden and never found, the importance of the Christmas tree, a birds nest in a tree, and relatives thrown into chaos, it sounds like an updated version of National Lampoons Christmas vacation.

Merry Christmas!