We came home yesterday from a few days of floating with the fishies in Kalbarri, same as last year. Is this our annual thing? Spa baths, quiz shows, mince pies, macarons, board games, wild goats, museums, natural wonders, British Dr Peppers, Cuban chow, and so much snorkeling - I certainly hope so.
Alas, Mike ended our week of celebration and recuperation with a nasty cold, right on top of his last nasty cold, just as I think I'm getting over my nasty cold, right on top of my last four or five nasty colds. Surely we're antibodied up in every direction for 2017... surely. I hope this isn't the same cold the Queen has or 2016 may end with more thematic flourish than I'd like.
But the fish were great. (My old iPhone 4 in a glorified plastic bag, used to take the video above - click to bust out of the static photo, doesn't do them or the white sands under the clear water justice.) I wish I had any artistic talent. I'd recreate in watercolours what it's like to lie on the waved sand just under where turquoise ocean meets pristine shore, my mask just below the water line, everything bright and light, watching schools of tiny striped fish dart en masse to consider my presence from every angle. When I'm still enough, they eventually take harmless nibbles.
The action around the reefs is impressive, but it's amazing what can be happening around your ankles, unseen. (That's not meant to be a heavy-handed metaphor. I just really marvel at the unnoticed sealife.)
Hopefully I do have a little art skill hiding somewhere; on the way home - before overnighting in the Perth CBD - we bopped into Tactics for a starter set of miniature paint. Time to colour-up the mouse warriors of Mice & Mystics or maybe the D&D spawn of Drizzt... or maybe just some green army men for practice. No shaking the primer until we both stop huffing the Symbicort, though.
I wish Mike felt up to snuff. There are Pokémon to hatch and there's Holiday Fluxx to play and lessons about Père Noël on Duolingo to blast. Freaks and Geeks will not re-watch itself. Three kinds of hummus sit in the fridge because chickpea cravings with extra-crisp celery is a bizarrely wholesome event in our lives of late. Less wholesomely, no one has washed The Contentious Christmas Ham T-Shirt yet.
Maybe if I do, symbolising some reluctant acceptance of Mike's nutso-to-me ritual of wrapping a wet shirt around a pig carcass that then dominates the refrigerator for half of December, he will feel better. Twenty-sixteen isn't over; every precaution counts.
Yeah, it's easy to get on the 2016-omg-the-worst bandwagon, but I think I earned my seat legitimately. Mom died. Dad nearly died. Unexpected punches to the bank account. Emergency travel. An 8th grade class so challenging it became legendary. All these damn colds. Family upheavals. Paperwork, paperwork.
Yet... Mom is at peace after years of suffering. Dad is healthier than he's been in years and is free to live again. I get to reduce my teaching load next year without losing any income. My schedule is beautiful. I feel more resilient and confident as an educator because of the support I had while trying to resolve/endure this year's crises. We're both trying much harder to be healthy so we can ditch these colds and who knows what else. I have a niece I get to spoil from afar with books (never too young). The house is coming!
I miss those artists who made our world lovelier. I wish a better person had been elected president. I wish more people would graciously and carefully acknowledge the concerns of those who hold different opinions. I miss the things I can no longer wish for.
But my Christmas is merry, boogers and boring naps and all.