Wednesday, December 26, 2007

an unexpected Christmas, 2007

Zander got to see Santa!
We just made it to Santa in time Christmas Eve...I called ahead, and they were waiting...for the 4:30 cut-off. I dashed into the parking garage below where I knew Santa was, and insisted that one of the boys in red shirts make sure that Zander took the elevator to the right floor. I told him -- you only have a minute, so as soon as you get off the elevator, you just keep saying "where's Santa" and run if you have to.

Well, I parked the car, took the elevator (to the wrong floor, of course), ran the wrong way, and finally figured out which floor and where. As I ran through the mallways, I wondered where Zander might be, and how the hell I'd find him if he got lost. Found Santa -- and of course Zander was there -- they'd been looking for out for him, and were really hoping he'd make it in time. He did...with seconds to spare, and had no problem at all! By the time I got there, there was a crowd of people begging to get in after the line had closed -- and Zander was standing proud, the last in line. He then directed me to go around the outside, and wait behind the camera area. Since the line was just for people who were waiting to see Santa.

Of course, when I picked him up, he asked me where his big toy catalog was -- he marks it every year to show Santa. Three flyers from Sunday's paper worked. He didn't even want a pen "I'll remember", he said. He was ready for Santa, for sure.

Santa was so patient as Zander rummaged through the pages. He's pointing out a drum set, and a DVD of Rush Hour 3. After we had the pictures taken, I saw him heading off with the bag. "Wait, I have to pay!" Well, no, now they've decide that special needs individuals get it free. Sweet. So THAT little Christmas bonus we ate in Zander's choice -- Chinese food in the food court. Jackie Chan food, of course.

I had to photo his Santa picture -- the pic *I* took failed to flash. Oh well.

Ahhh...the Christmas lights sure looked lovely as we drove that night!

And then the tree -- well, everyone was gone or closed before Christmas Eve. We drove to all the places we knew...nary a tree to be seen. It was looking grim, until Zander said "AHA!" -- and there was a tree nursery, with the cut christmas trees lining the fence. We pulled in and two trees, rolled up, had been left outside, against the fence. At 7PM on Christmas Eve, outside the place that closed at noon --- well, he figured it was for us! So we had a huge tree I cut in half. Of course I forgot that my drill and saw are loaned to a friend, so the "tree stand" is a pot of water, and it leans against the bookcase! I decorated it with some of my handmade ornaments -- traditional and modern.
Christmas morning found presents under the tree from SANTA!! Santa substituted an MP3 player for the drum set, but did remember Rush Hour 3.There were a few from mom, too, like a new hoodie and a WWE calendar. I told him they were from my Etsy Angels -- the people I talk to on the computer where I sell. Thank you, everyone.

I'll pretty this post up later. Just wanted y'all to see a little of what your generosity has accomplished!

Christmas Love from Astrid & Zander

Monday, December 24, 2007

Etsy Angels

Zander will visit Santa tonight, and Santa will be delivering a few awesome gifts -- a few on Christmas Eve, and some more special delivery later -- those that did not fit in the sleigh!

The Etsy Angels have all made that possible. Thank you all for your wonderful words, thoughts, sales and gifts to me and Zander.

HeatherRLange asked a question and started this thread: Is anyone in need this season? I've never asked for help before, in all my 59 years. It's something I feel very uncomfortable at doing. But this one time, I overcame that inhibition, knowing, I guess, that now, if ever, was the time. So I just blurted out, all run-on and hopeless, a little of what had been happening to me. page 62 I was amazed at the response, so I continued: page 76

And, all of a sudden, the love I felt from some who are even strangers online, miraculously started to help me. catiahades was the first who sought me out. She's an out-of-town Santa who first helped Zander. Then j4mom and gabrielsaunt and a couple of sales gave me the hope to even plan something.

Still, things weren't working out. But after midnight, some more angels appeared. quirkybags , sunnyrising & jenmaestre All made things happen in the last minute! Their help and encouragement buoyed me through further dark hours of it.

So Friday night I went to bed at 4:30 AM, awoke once, and got up at 7:30 AM to call Enterprise rental. They came, picked me up, gave me a better price than Budget, and I'll have that car for a week for the same rate as after Christmas. (That will give me time to get a lot of things done before a week of downtime.) I made it to Phoenix Florist for my day of deliveries. Saturday & Sunday's deliveries will cover the car and more. Today, unfortunately, finds last-minute floral purchases in the same situation as the general economic down-turn. Still -- I have the car, Zander has a reservation with Santa after work, and my spirits are high

But after those two days -- one emotion and stress, the other just hard work on less than 3 hours sleep, I came home Saturday night at 6 PM, exhausted. I started a pot of coffee, took some Ibuprofen, and ate a bowl of oatmeal as I stretched out my worn-out back. Of course you know what happened -- I awoke at 1 AM!!! I thought about getting up and getting online...and fell asleep again, of course. 7 AM Sunday found me refreshed, in great spirits at the prospect of a semblance of Christmas for Zander, and ready to face an afternoon of driving and getting it all together. Needless to say, I crashed again last night!!

I had been very low, and totally discouraged when my confirmed Budget rental turned me away. 10 years and customer acquaintance counted for nothing to the algorithm. At that moment, the love and support I felt from you and others, as each of you did something, unique to each of your own generous souls, gave me me the extra bit of encouragement I needed to try the next place (Enterprise), which in my despair I was sure would turn me down, but I needed to TRY. YOU gave me that urge to try again.

That's so important -- the ability to try. After things go wrong, and the nth thing that could turn bad HAS turned bad, and the nth attempt to turn things around has failed, and one has litigious exes who hang up the phone "on their way to the police", one gets so down it's hard to sustain an effort. And that's the intangible that I have been gifted with the past two days -- the strength to continue to battle forward.

And in the day since then, other people have come forward -- among them the infamous Etsy Five, and our "Threader" friends in the days before the totalitarian Banning -- FunkyQuail sent the word out --
BenCanDance, FunkyQuailVintage , Hurbanski , Luna2005 , SimoneWalsh, Kibbles , eclipse , Quirky (Terrain) , brickmillstudio .

Some of them are buyers only, like Whitefluffydogs, and others used to have a store, like Blondezillabeads4fun

I know I'm forgetting some sales, and I'll go back and edit to include you -- I just wanted to get this up and published for now.

Despite all the hardships, and treacherous courts that I still face, the thing that has saddened me the most is the thought that Zander might think Santa forgot him. Zander knows that the only reason Santa ignores people is if they have been bad. So he must have been bad. That he will get something now, some even a few days later from Santa, is so heartwarming. Any address that I might use he'd know -- Phoenix is the desert, not the north pole -- he knows his geography! Zander is an awesome young man. I've worked tirelessly all his life to get him where he is (like getting school board rules changed, fighting the powers, taking him for his annual trip to Sea World, when *I* had that good-paying job). But this year, I was failing him...but so many helped make that not be so.
(from Clan Destino)
(from Stray Couches)

It will mean so much to him ...and we'll make a paper binder of it, as we do for events. He brings them out...his history. When our kitty Chewy died last Saturday, he went and found the memorial folder of our last cat and dog who died (which I had forgotten I made) -- and told me now I needed to add her to the story.

I feel that right now I'm receiving a little of what I "paid Forward" in the past. That makes it easier to accept. I know I'm too proud and independent...and that has led me to worse trouble. The "humble" part of humble gratitude has always scared me.

Now, however -- Zander will be receiving some special presents through the mail from "Santa" . He will also be getting an MP3 player/radio and a year's worth of music, and a holder for it. It will be a cool radio where he can listen to "his" station -- where they play "the music of the 80's and 90's and today". He talks along with that tag line, and then says, as he points to himself "Today, that's MY music". Right now he's using his Dad's. (ugh). He will be getting an outrageously-priced WWE Wrestling calendar which he gets every year. And a little tree, which we'll decorate tonight!

So from the depth of my soul, my heartfelt gratitude at your generosity, spirit, and support, and help through a very low and desolate time for me.

I want to herald from the rooftops ALL the wonderful hearts who have given me so much more than they even imagined they were. (sniff, sniff ). (names in a list to come)

I've written some of these same words elsewhere, but I figure it's OK to cut-and-paste myself!

(((((big, sloppy hugs from Astrid and Zander)))))))


Astrid -- who's gonna be making a few new custom orders, and packing up all sorts of stuff Christmas day, to mail out on the 26th!