White Dog woke us all to the haunting music of Enya and a call to "Happy Solstice!" She reminded us that this day, the mid of winter, marked the beginning of days getting longer. It is the tradition to festively honor the calm sleeping contemplation of the winter season in preparation for Spring's rebirth.
The vision the White Dog Army and Steve had of the day was a nice leisurely breakfast intermingled with adding the final touches to the packages that needed to be shipped this day. Fussing to make bows just so, nibbling on toast and scrambled eggs, adding clever notes to gift tags, then lovingly tucking all everything into boxes and sealing them with love and tape. We would then all load the boxes into the van and head over to the post office and send our best wishes and gifts flying around the world to our loved ones who would receive them in time to put them under the tree so in a way we would be with them on Christmas morning. Calm. Orderly. Relaxing. Leaving us the afternoon for Celebrating at the Park. That was the vision.
The reality was Michael (who left earlier for his last day of school before break) melted something into abstract sculpture in the microwave, left it there and the kitchen reeked of overcooked plastic. Oso vomited on a roll of wrapping paper causing too much interest from some of the White Ones. Bella discovered the box, not the one filled with bags of dog treats, but the one nearly packed box that contained a bag of a friend's favorite candy, caramel bullseyes. A romp of Steve chasing her with the bag in her teeth being chased by Puff, YoYoMa, and Taiko convinced me that White Dog Solstice was NOT going to be serene.
We expected Valerie, our wonderful candy making friend, to deliver her goods midmorning, the last things to go into packages all ready to be sealed as soon as her goodies were added. She arrived a bit after 1pm. The WDA had been pacing for over an hour as they nervously watched the clock knowing the boxes needed to be at the post office by 4pm when they closed.
Bella had a followup check of her ear infection (all clear) at Dr. Julia's at 2:30pm, so we finished a few packages, spent twenty minutes trying to corral and nab our still reluctant to be touched girl and headed over to our vet (even remembered their gifts). They were running late and after, all wanted to hug and exchange Christmas wishes as we nervously felt the tick tick tick of time.
We got a small reprieve when Steve discovered that because of the shipping deadline, the post office by the airport was open until 6pm. The WDA and Steve madly rushed to add sweets and find new boxes where the contents suddenly did not fit and I wrote out shipping addresses. At the sound of the tape gun's last "zip" across the last box top, we took a nanosecond to high five all around. Michael was pressed into service to help carry packages out to pumpkin and to be Steve's assistant once they arrived at USPS. The WDA was disappointed that they would not get to see the boxes off, but the rush was on!
Pumpkin flew down the driveway and the WDA watched out of the door and windows with paws crossed that the lines would not be overwhelming or the process too stressful. We had just settled into waiting mode when 15 minutes later Steve called to say he was on his way home. We started to cheer, but he interrupted. He was on his way home to get the checkbook. The credit card processing computers for USPS were down all over the city!
It was 5:30 when he threw open the door and I handed him the leather wallet. "Please," the White Ones asked the ethers, "let him get back in time!" We knew if the doors were locked without our packages being processed there would be no guarantee of delivery by Christmas.
Michael announced "the machines were back up when we got back to the Post Office, we should have just waited." I caught Steve's look and kissed his cheek. The packages made it out. "Three cheers for the best dad in the world," I told the White Dogs. "Better than Santa, dad gets the job done!" The WDA sensed Steve's need for gratitude and crowded around to smothered him in love.
"OK let's just clear up so we can collapse in peace," I suggested. "Turn the music back on, I will call and order dinner, no one needs to fuss in the kitchen. Let's try to catch a bit of that Solstice contemplation and calm." No one disagreed.
THE WHITE DOG ARMY NEEDS YOUR HELP SUNDAY! It is White Dog's birthday and we are having a Comment-A-Thon. Share the word because if 48 wonderful friends leave comments, we have promised that the WDA can donate a case of new blankets (and birthday treats) to Animal Crackers Senior Dog Hospice and Fat Katz Rescue in their sister's honor. PLEASE HELP us keep some fur friends warmer this season.