Christmas morning, and it seems like an exceptionally noisy one, especially considering the fact that I'm the only one awake. I'm at my sister's house, and although it's a really nice house, it''s noisy as hell, and there's nothing to be done about it. She swears that because of their various air purifiers, I'm free to move about the house without waking up everyone within a two mile radius, but it sure doesn't feel like it when you're making a midnight bathroom trip or creeping down the stairs at five in the morning.
And yes, it's five o'clock on Christmas morning, and yes, I'm one of those people who have enough goofy inner child that he wakes up and can't get back to sleep. I'm sure you're all surprised. Truth be told, though, it isn't entirely Christmas excitement that has me up this morning. I think that's what originally woke me up, but then I started thinking.
You don't really want to do much of that if you're a person like me. As I mentioned, I'm currently staying at my sister's house. She and her husband have three children, and they're great kids, and that's about all I'm allowed to say about them on this website. I will mention that her first two children were basically angels as babies. They've grown into these incredible little people who are uncannily intelligent and quick with a wienie joke. Needless to say, I find them awesome.
Her third child is also awesome, but he is not quite as angelic as his older brothers were at his age. This is not to say that he is a bad child. It's not even to say that he's an average child--he's still much better behaved than most of the little monsters you encounter roaming around in public. But he is what old timers might refer to as a "firecracker."
So when I woke up at 4:23 this morning, my thoughts eventually turned to children, and how to raise and discipline them. This, of course is something I know absolutely nothing about. Which would be fine, except for the fact that my sister's children are also exceptionally cute. Exceptionally. I should also mention that my princess is with me. If you have a wife who eventually wants children, and you spend most of your time trying to convince her that this is a bad idea, the last thing you want to be doing is bringing her around exceptionally cute children who are hilarious and charming.
Every cute little thing they do, you glare, you shake your fist, you drag them to the side, "Hey, knock it off! What are you trying to do to me here? Five bucks if you act like a little jerk for a while."
But even paying them off doesn't work, because being adorable is ingrained so deeply, I guess. Punks.
So you hear your princess say something like, "Oh!" in that kind of sing-song voice, that thing that girls do when they see something super cute, and you shake your fist even harder, and you find yourself staring up at the bottom of a top bunk at 4:23 in the morning, wondering how in the hell you're ever going to manage to bring a kid into the world and not screw it up completely.
And then you just figure screw it, and you get up to do some writing.
And here we are.
Creeping around in a strange house at five in the morning is always a weird thing, if you aren't robbing it. Even then, it can be a little odd, I suppose, but when you're doing a little burglary, you expect some of that, you know?
The first stop was the bathroom. I've managed to tweak this little trip over the last couple of days, but I still hit about 98% of the creaky floorboards between my temporary bedroom and the bathroom. The first night, I didn't realize that the flooring of the bathroom was slightly higher than the hall. That didn't go very well, stealthy ninja-wise. I caught my toe on the slight rise, which caused me to crash into the bathroom door like a cop busting into a drug dealer's trailer house. Of course, cops probably don't squeal in surprise when they're raiding drug dealers.
Don't worry, though--I've finally learned how to use the bathroom without sounding like a terrified schoolgirl.
I was able to gather all of my stuff without waking my princess, and crept silently down the stairs. Silently being objective, of course. When you're creeping down creaky stairs at five in the morning, trying not to wake up the other six people who aren't neurotic enough to be up this early, there is no such thing as silent.
I got downstairs (only one person trying to sleep down here) and turned on the laptop. Which decided that it needed to beep about pretty much every damn thing in the world. The beginning chime sounded like it was played through a bullhorn, and then it kept binging about updates and battery power and who knows whatever else. Stupid little paper clip pops up, dancing to a jingle, "Looks like you're trying to be quiet! Would you like some help?"
"Shut up, you stupid little paper clip!"
"You need to mute your computer? Here, let me play the 'mute computer tone!'"
It's nothing but the sound of breaking dishes and screaming children. Stupid paper clip.
When I finally got the computer to shut up, I went in to make some coffee. I may not be smart enough to take a pee without making more noise than a freakin' parade, but I can make coffee in complete darkness without a peep. Well, unless you have a coffee maker like my sister does, in which case it will make start beeping when the coffee is finished brewing. During the course of a regular day, this hardly registers as anything more than a background noise. When you're trying to get your daily does of caffeine without waking people up, it sounds like an emergency broadcast system.
Eventually, I got my coffee, my laptop, and managed to write this post.
And two of my three nephews just made their way downstairs (much quieter than me), so I'm gonna take some pictures as they go through the loot Santa brought them.
Merry Christmas, kids.