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Christmas Presence…

January 8, 2013

Welcome to 2013, fellow woodworkers and kilt wearers! By now I’m sure everyone has settled back in from their Christmas/New Year vacation? Our holiday vacation started a little rough, and two days early, when Finley was admitted into the hospital with breathing difficulties. He was finally diagnosed with RSV, which is nothing more than a common cold to you or me, but can be so much worse for toddlers and infants, especially when they are already susceptible to upper respiratory infections. There is nothing worse than seeing your child under duress. Honestly, though, I think the fact that he was tethered to a 6’ oxygen tube was more of a problem for him than the breathing treatments and the pokings and proddings by the nurses. He hated being confined to such a small space.

But we stuck with it, so he was able to leave after two days. We went home and all three of us slept for 12 hours straight. We had originally planned on leaving for Ohio (to visit the in-laws) that next day, but decided to rest up for another 24 hours before beginning the arduous three-state journey.

His recovery went much better than expected (though his sleep routine went completely out the window), so we quit the nebulizer treatments after another three days. He was even left without the nagging cough the doctor told us would linger for another four to six weeks.

He figured this part out pretty quickly...

He figured this part out pretty quickly…

This year, he became fully aware of some of the traditions of Christmas – namely, the one of giving and receiving presents. Ok, there was a little more focus on the receiving bit. Very quickly, it seemed the act of opening the present became more important than the actual present itself. Hopefully this is just a phase all children go through? Fortunately for him, being the only toddler on his mom’s side of the family meant a few extra rounds of presents to open. I believe this has sated him for some time. While we understand the desire of others to give him presents (as well as his desire to receive them), we really do try to focus more on the other meanings of the season aside from the gift-giving.

After several days of visiting with family and friends and eating good Amish food whenever possible, we started the journey back. Though we stopped in Dayton on the way to northeast Ohio, we decided to pass through Cincinnati on the way home. This left us with a few hours to meet up with Chris Schwarz and Megan Fitzpatrick (he says with a healthy dose of nonchalance…) at an Irish pub in downtown Cincinnati, where all the staff wore kilts and they had a long, long list of beer on-tap. My clever wife took charge of watching Finley for most of the time, which allowed me the opportunity to talk shop with the former and current Executive Editors of Popular Woodworking Magazine. (Merry Christmas, Ethan!)

Can you guess which pair of shoes is mine?

Can you guess which pair of shoes is mine?

The next day, with the intention of stopping at Indianapolis for lunch, I called my friend, Jeff Skiver, to see if he and his wife were free to meet up. They were, and so we spent another two hours visiting and enjoying the true gifts of the holiday season – laughter, joy, and good friendship.

From the wonderful staff at the hospital all the way to the friends we met with on the drive home, we could feel the Christmas presence in our lives. And I was very grateful for every bit of it. It helps me recharge my batteries and prepare myself for whatever challenges the new year might bring my way. (It isn’t quite as good as a week on the beach, but it is a close second.)

I must admit, I received some Christmas presents that made me grateful, as well. I can’t wait to tackle Matt Cianci’s Build A Backsaw class in April with my new Auriou cabinetmaker’s rasp and my Gramercy rat-tail rasp, which will be perfect for shaping saw totes. My experience with rasps thus far has always been with the machine cut variety, so I’m looking forward to trying out my new hand cut ones.

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. Thank you, kind readers, for being a part of my 2012. I look forward to spending more time in the shop and more time with you on my blog as I tackle the challenges of 2013.

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