Dispatches: Holiday Edition

Well, the holidays have come and gone and by golly, it's been stressful! Back in Austin, under the assumption that we'd surely be flying out of California for Christmas, I bought stupidly expensive airline tickets to the east coast (where my family resides). 

But in the midst of all the hoopla surrounding our road trip to California, I was beginning to think we'd be spending Christmas at a Roadway Inn in the middle of Texas. Aware of our ever-changing schedules, however, I was sure to purchase refundable tickets this time around, noting my prior brain lapse after booking a  non-refundable Vegas trip. 

Obviously, we made it to California and are living rather comfortably with our gracious host family. As much as we miss living in a Winnebago, we couldn't have asked for a better way to acclimate to the area and get back into "work-mode." Pete's been enjoying a rather enjoyable work schedule and I've been accomplishing my daily household duties while relentlessly job searching at the same time. Life's peachy.

The Winnebago is doing rather well, too! All the parts are set for a transmission conversion. We purchased a junkyard Lesharo for $650 about a month ago, and it turns out that not only is the manual transmission in great condition, but the diesel engine is too! 

Our mechanic, Jonathan, even got the junk-ebago to cruise at 40mph! Definitely worth the measly price tag, even with the copious amounts of mold within. We're hoping to be back to our old lifestyle sometime in February. California weather is ideal for full-time RV living!

I was hoping we'd be able to at least reach our official Winneversary before the thing broke down, but alas, no such luck. December 17, the day in 2010 when we moved into Miss Marty McFly, flew by without much regard. But as I've said in the past, we're not really much for anniversaries, so I don't know why I'm trying to force this into such a big deal. Not everything has to be a moment, ya know?

Speaking of moments, there were many of them in front of Christmas trees this festive holiday season. You are now entering the "Allow Me To Bore You With Family Holiday Photos" section of the blog.

Here's one Christmas tree photo, at my parent's house in Maryland:

And another, this time at my aunt and uncle's in Pennsylvania:

And yet another, at my grandparent's crib in New Jersey:

And then there's this Christmas tree portrait, which makes it look like we have children:

COUSINS Nick & Joe
Thrilling, no? Christmas, despite the long, uncomfortable plane rides, missed connection and mid-flight hangover, was most definitely a treat. Not only did we get to see some of my old high school buddies (shout outs to Nikki, Gio, Julie, Zoe, Lucy and family!), but we were able to spend some quality time with my big ol'  Italian/Jewish/Loud family. 

We had coloring contests:

Cousins Joe and Nick, my sister Ashleigh, Kara & Pete
And we took whiskey shots in my grandma's pantry:

Uncle Frank, Pete & Uncle (Re)Pete
 And then came the aftermath of said whiskey shots:

There were myriad photos taken of various familial groups. Below is a photo of half the grandchildren:

Lexi, Joe, Kara, Nick, Ashleigh, Julie and Sad Jacob
And now with more grandchildren, grandma, grandpa and even Aunt Nicole! (My grandparents have 15 grandchildren in total. Phew!)

After opening some presents, a few of the kiddos discovered that their sweet new "Claw" Electronic Candy Grabber Machine Arcade Game wouldn't work. With the Amazon.com proclamation, "It's so much fun, once you start you just can't stop," it was fairly disappointing not to get the damn thing to just...start. 

Total bummer. Send it back to China, right!? NO WAY! Not only is Pete a Mr. Fix-It, but my Uncle Pete is a handy electrician in his own right. Pete and Pete to the rescue!

Once they figured out which wire was disconnected, it was literally a 30-second soldering fix. Viola! Candy for everyone! Thanks be to Santa!

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Yadda Yadda Yadda.

Pete and I made it back to California for New Years, for which, unlike last year, we were determined to stay up past 9pm. Midnight or bust!

Sara, our housemate/host, invited us to chill with some of her high school buddies to ring in 2012. Low key. Relaxed. Lots of wine. And fancy whiskey too!

I'd say 2012 started off pretty well!

I know Dick Clark had a pretty good night:

Pete spent the remainder of his 4-day weekend fixing a car, sprinkler system & a washing machine and laboriously trimming fruit and maple trees. He's got a way with trees! What can this man NOT do?!

I offered support and admiration from the comfort of a lawn chair. My little pal Tucker and I spectated while basking in the 75-degree sunshine. I needed to relax, you know, because unemployment is so difficult...

I also slaved over some reading while working on my tan. HARD WORK.

So yea, I like reading...

...but I prefer the dog.