Friday, December 24, 2010

Under House Arrest And Too Close To A Casino

So this Christmas, I'm just not feeling the spirit. I'm also starting to think it's not going to happen.

My original plan for the holidays was to avoid the usual stay home, clean, and eventually visit the relatives to exchange gifts to each other's children and eat too much routine... by driving coast to coast with the family to visit people we know and, um, go someplace warm. I'm 41 now, and increasingly not good with the cold. It's been 4.5 years since I lived in California, and my body has not adjusted. My home is 55 years old and despite my best efforts, not great on the insulation. So I can either run the heat hard or shiver. And since no one else in my family seems to have a problem with the shivering, shiver I do.

But that didn't work out for several reasons, not the least of which is the money.

I've also been depressed by, well, living where I do. It's halfway between New York and Philadelphia, halfway between work and family, halfway between two things that don't overwhelm me with wonder and desire right now. The house we bought is now worth about 75% of what we paid for it, and since we bought with no money down, we have no actual ownership of it. Which means that even if a new employer that's out of the area were to offer me a gig, I couldn't take it, unless it also came with a ludicrous bonus to cover the housing shortfall.

So I don't really go anywhere, or do anything. And a a couple of months ago, Parx Casino in Bensalem, not more than a half hour away from my home, opened up poker tables. I've been twice, and gotten felted on both occasions. The place has now added dozens of tables, which means the wait for a seat should be less... which does not, of course, change the fact that I don't really have the cash, or the track record of making bank at the place.

There's also the fact that I should be spending time with the family, right? Decorating the tree, putting up decorations, wrapping presents, inventing goofy traditions and just being Dad and all... but, um, why this week more than any other? Christmas has become so politicized, so over-the-top, so pressure-packed that it doesn't even feel like the same holiday I celebrated as a child. In my twenties, Christmas became attached to my first marriage, then my second. In my thirties, we had a child, and the holiday became new again... but my eldest is ten now, and there's nothing that we're going to do this year that's new, or novel, or even all that interesting.

And sure, that's Grinchy, and sad, and... economically viable? A small moment of discipline during a season of excess? Really just whatever I want to tell to myself. But it's very hard to see how spending time at the tables right now wouldn't make me the Worst Dad Ever, or how you avoid meeting the most degenerate players in the world if you play that close to the holiday. So I guess I'll go decorate and do, and pretend to be in the mood until I actually am. It is, I suspect, what parents have done around the holiday more often than not...


CMJDad said...

Here is something new and novel for you: Go to church. Doesn't matter which. Go in, sit down and......listen. Just open your mind, sit back and take it all in. Best thing is, its free. You may not believe, but what is the worst that can happen, besides the roof falling on you?

DMtShooter said...

It couldn't top the Rookie The Clown moment, which is a whole 'nother post.

And I appreciate the sentiment, but that ship has sailed. See Marx, Groucho, on accepting memberships.

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