Dear Future Stella,
Well, that was weird. Almost an entire month went by since the last time I wrote you a letter. This was partly intentional as I like to take a break from this blog when Current Stella is out of school and partly unitentional due to the awesome flu that 2016 decided to welcome me with. I am back to feeling tip top and I am so overwhelmed by everything you have missed in the past month that its almost debilitating to begin, but I will do my best to skim through it all.
First of all, Christmas happened. You wouldn’t know it is over at our house though because we still watch Home Alone on the daily thanks to a bizarre obsession by Current Stella. She has the whole thing memorized and makes the scream face in just about every picture these days, even the professional ones we had taken during our Christmas Extravaganza that I will explain more below.
This year I thought it would be fun to host our family here in San Francisco for 4 days. That breaks down to 11 adults, 4 senior citizens, 3 teenagers, 3 small children, 5 dogs, 1 puppy, and a partridge in a pear tree. It took months of planning, weeks of stressing, days of recovering, but resulted in hours of fun and many moments of disaster. Some of the highlights include:
The Scavenger Hunt
I put together a 3-day competition between 2 teams; Team Shelby and Team Casey. Team Shelby was mostly girls with the exception of my Uncle Mike. Team Casey was mostly boys with the exception of my sister-in-law, Connie. This race had us ubering around San Francisco, swimming in Oceans, caroling down aisles of Walgreens, and my personal favorite, re-inacting the nativity scene on a stranger’s lawn. My team won and if you are a hardcore feminist cover your eyes and skip this part because we really couldn’t have won without our single male on our team. He carried our team to victory.
Christmas Caroling on Christmas Eve
I made a big batch of hot toddies, forced everyone to don gay apparel and then we hit the streets singing our tone-def hearts out to the houses in my neighborhood. Most people were not home, some were not interested, but most were really into it. I am also fairly certain we serenaded some sort of serial killer rapist.
I was so nervous to have the full group of 21 humans and 6 dogs in my apartment all at once. Its just a lot of beating hearts in a small space and there isn’t anywhere to sit or be all loungy-cozy the way one should be on Christmas morning. I made a spread of breakfast finger foods for people to enjoy off a toothpick while trying not to step on a dog or small child. In an effort to streamline the process, I allowed Current Stella to indulge in the Christmas morning I always longed for. I let her open all of her presents all at once, in rapid fire succession. At one point, she was opening a gift and then tossing it (literally throwing it) in a giant pile of new swag before going for the next one. When I was a kid we had at least a dozen people in a giant circle. First, we usually had to wait for my Uncle Ricky to wake up and join us. This took forever and always pissed me off. Then, someone would put on a Santa hat and dig through the enormous pile of gifts to find one gift for each person. Then, someone would usually have to pee so we would have to wait. Once everyone was accounted for, we would go around, one by one and open our gifts. There was always a story that went with each gift so the process took hours. Once each person had opened their gift, the adults would break to make Bloody Marys and then we would repeat the process all over again. I am not exaggerating when I say that it took all day. All day. My version this year took around 20 minutes. It was glorious and you know what, when we went to write our thank-you notes, Current Stella remembered EXACTLY what each person got her. There was not one thing forgotten or unappreciated so you can suck it to those who might find my method a bit unorthodox.
Later in the day I had planned (slaved is a better word) this amazing dinner party at the Big Four Restaurant in Nob Hill. We rented a private room with sweeping views of the San Francisco skyline and I decorated the tables with festive flower arrangements and framed photos of my entire family on Christmas over the years. It was so fun to stroll down memory lane while eating some outrageously good food.
The day after Christmas all of the girls in our group got all dressed up and went to go see the Nutcracker. The costumes were unreal and I couldn’t take my eyes off the male dancer’s bulging pants. I also re-learned a valuable lesson. If you want something done right you should do it yourself. Throughout this planning process I tried to outsource as little as possible because I am a perfectionist and I have a certain vision in my head about how I want things to go. One of the few things I did outsource was asking my mom to call this number on the morning of the Nutcracker to pre-order champagne for the intermission. I heard about this tip from a friend who said waiting in line leaves only a few minutes to chug the bubbly. Needless to say, my mom “tried” calling the number but couldn’t figure it out. My friend who gave me the tip was at the same show as us and she was leisurely sipping her champagne while the rest of us were standing in line. Strange how the number worked for her….
In the middle of planning this multiple-event holiday, the mom of Current Stella’s best friend, mentioned that she was going to get the kids a puppy for Christmas. She was trying to find someone to keep the dog for the week leading up to Christmas so it could remain a total surprise. I stopped thinking clearly or listening after the word puppy and I was like, hell yes I want it. I got all weird and sentimental because we got Gail the Puppy for Christmas only a year ago and I can still taste her puppy tongue mixed with the smells of fresh pine and I needed this again in my life. A puppy is like a newborn baby but worse because they don’t wear diapers. They need like total undivided attention which seemed totally doable with hosting 21 people and working some of the busiest days I would ever see at the salon so I said yes quite enthusiastically. Then you add my parents’ dogs, my aunt’s dog, and throw in my existing two and what you get is a really fucked up episode of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan minus Cesar Millan. The pack would tear through my house like a tumbleweed of hair, each one trying to exert their dominance. Like their ancestors before them, their territory was being marked with urine and it appears this year’s coveted real estate was the wrapped presents under the tree, our white shag rug, and Current Stella’s special chair in her room.
If I ever do it again (which I won’t), it will be dog-free and kid-free (Current Stella included). It will last for way less time, involve less people sleeping and peeing on my couch, not as many events, and cost way less. Basically, next year I am just going to send a Christmas card like every other sane family in America. Who am I kidding, I am already buying Christmas decor on sale to make my Second Annual Christmas Eve Caroling 2016 a bit more festive.
Almost as soon as the last car pulled out of my driveway I got hit hard with some kind of super virus. I remained down and out of commission until basically this week. It was dreadful and so unfair. I still cough like I have smoked since I was 5 and my nose is just a constant stream of liquid. Everyone around me is all New Years motivated and my social media feeds are just bogged down with healthy recipes and workout motivational quotes and tips about decluttering my desk and I just can’t even. I just want to go back to my happy place where I am surrounded by every single member of my Christmas celebrating family, where there is a cold egg nog cocktail in my hand, some dog is taking a shit on my pillow, and someone is getting a tattoo of Macaulay Culkin on their ass in my living room because, you know, the scavenger hunt.
Your cousin, Danielle turned 5 on New Year’s Eve. You two are pretty cute together and one day her birthday is going to be some of the drunkest nights of your life. Trust me.
Your Gma also celebrated a birthday on January 2nd. What a total shitty birthday, no? The party is so over by the 2nd. Most people cannot even deal with one more celebration or cocktail. I was so cracked out on Sudafed that I barely remembered to call and wish her a good one. Your G-ma is such a loving, wonderful grandma to Current Stella. She’s not too shabby of a mom either.
Future Stella, I Love you. Current Stella, your new favorite thing is announcing when things are not fair. Its not fair that I get to stay up later than you, its not fair that I get to wear lipstick, and its not fair that I don’t have to go to school. To be fair (lol), I would give just about anything to go to bed at 8pm, abandon makeup all together, and spend the majority of my day being a student. Out of frustration today with all of life’s injustices you declared that you just want the whole world to be fair. Preach child.