74. Prepare

In every story you read when you’re younger, Christmas morning is supposed to be calm and peaceful: a time for reflection and contemplation. Santa having come and gone, the children are tucked back in bed with their spoils, and Mom and Dad can finally have a quiet moment together alone.

“What do you mean you took the wrong shirt to the cleaners?!”

This was clearly not going to be that kind of Christmas morning. The hot cocoa had been replaced with a red eye espresso as the moment the kids were back in bed.

“You said the blue one. You didn’t say WHICH blue one. So I picked and-”

“That’s indigo, that isn’t even blue.” She hissed. “Now we aren’t going to match.”

“We aren’t cartoon characters, Jessica. We don’t have to match.”

“Kristin and Dustin are going to match.”

“Kristin are sociopaths that somehow managed to reproduce. Besides, it’s close enough, and it isn’t like there’s going to be another cleaner’s open-”

“Tell me you at least picked up the pie order yesterday. Two apple, one pumpkin, and the french silk.”

“Yes, I got them. And the vanilla ice cream. It’s all in the freezer.” He nodded proudly, sipping his coffee. “Nothing to worry about, just like I said.”


“Yes, vanilla. That’s what was on the list- Jess would you just sit down please?” he groaned when the woman, his wonderful beloved wife, got up and practically ran into the kitchen.

But, it was quiet again for the moment. He took another long sip, sighing contently as he closed his eyes. Maybe once she calmed down a little, he’d be able to-

The scream sounded like she’d just gotten stabbed. He almost dropped the ceramic mug as he moved, in the kitchen doorway quickly.

“Jess, what-”

“It was supposed to be vanilla bean!” The woman was crumpled on the floor, the freezer door open high above her head. “Not vanilla. Who eats apple pie without vanilla bean ice cream?”

He raked his hand across his face, shaking his head. Careful not to step on her, he walked in and closed the freezer door. Was she-yep, definitely crying.

“Okay, well I’m going to go to bed while you have this nervous breakdown here.”

“I had everything written out perfectly. It was all going to be perfect. Now it’s going to be shit. You can’t have Christmas with regular vanilla ice cream.”

“Everything is going to be just-”

“And indigo is NOT blue!”

“Daddy why is Mommy on the floor?” the scream had woken up their seven year old, the little boy rubbing at his eyes sleepily. “Did she not get what she wanted from Santa?”

“Heyyyy, Ty.” He scooped the boy up. “Mommy is just having a little trouble getting ready to visit Uncle Dustin and Aunt Kristin later today.”

“But why? Uncle Dustin and Aunt Kristin are the best.”

“Even my own child! Why god why?!” the woman on the floor groaned.

“Let’s just get you back up to bed, Ty. Long day ahead for you and your sister. You and your cousins are going to have so much fun.” He hushed the very confused child and carried him back up the stairs and to the bed he’d abandoned.


Yes, holidays were supposed to be calm, reflective…And apparently to be enjoyed with a side of vanilla bean ice cream. At least the grocery store was open 24 hours right now.


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