Watch out, folks, Christmas is just a day or two away.

Myself, I enjoy the holidays. The days are short and cold, and the nights are long and even colder. People are friendly, and, if they can't accomplish that, they try to be friendly, and, if they can't accomplish that, they try to appear to be friendly. I'll settle for that. I've always said that I'd rather have someone who hates me, but treats me good, than someone who loves me, but treats me bad. The pretense of gentility is just as good as the real thing, as far as I'm concerned.

As usual, my wife and I are having the family Christmas dinner at our home. My wife likes to have it at our house because, as she says, we can cook whatever we want and invite whomever we want... it's our house. Our family has grown to the point that we have a lot of grandkids and non-family guests.

The house is already decorated with Christmas decorations. We began decorating the day after Thanksgiving, and we'll probably keep everything up until after New Years. It's what we usually do.

My grandson, who's three, helped me decorate his playhouse outside, the trees in the court yard, and the front yard. As long as there are kids, we'll continue to decorate the house inside and out.

My wife, as usual, goes all out preparing dinner. She always has enough food to send everybody home with doggie bags. There can never be too much food and dessert.


But it's also that time of year when I deep clean, polish and buff the oak floor. It seems like I'm always buffing and polishing that floor. It's a two to three day job. If I could just do the job myself, with no interruptions, I can finish it in one. If my grandson helps me, it takes two. If my Dad helps me, it takes three, because his idea of helping is getting in the way. I find myself having to work on the floors when he goes into his room to do whatever it is he does in there.

So, for three days I'm busting my butt, deep cleaning the floor when my father is not around. As soon as he walks into the house, I stop working. Yesterday, he walked in and sat in his-my-favorite chair, turned on my TV, began drinking a hot cup of tea my wife brought him that my retirement paid for, and helped himself to one of my favorite oatmeal cookies, he tells nobody in particular, "Ahh... hmm... huh..." Smack smack smack! "You know... you know, that polish sure is bothering my eyes."

"What, Dad?" my wife asks him, because she's nicer than I am.

"That polish," he says, turning to her and nodding in my direction, "It's tough on my eyes..."

"The polish, Dad?"

"...and it's cold in here."

Cold? I'm on my knees, cleaning the floors with my bare hands, and, man, I'm sweating. My back and knees are killing me. I turn and look at my wife. She gives me a smile that's equal parts compassion and laughing at me.

"Well, Dad," she tells him, "it'll clear up after he's finished."

"When he's done?" my Dad says, plaintively.

"Don't worry, Dad. He's almost finished."

"Well, let me tell you, it's rough on the eyes." This from a man who spent the majority of his life on Earth smoking. "Mumble mumble... ahhh... that wax is hard... and I'm cold. That wax is making the room cold."

Okay, I'll kick this dead horse one more time, my Dad has his own little father-in-law apartment built in the front property of our house, and it's fully equipped. It has a large TV, a convertor box, a genuine soft leather recliner, a full bathroom, stereo system, and it's own air condition and heater. He can set the temperature there to any degree he wants. The only thing his apartment doesn't have is a stove and refrigerator, but even if he had one, he wouldn't use it,. Not when he has my wife to make his tea and serve it to him on a silver tray as he sits in his-my- favorite chair. She'll also serve him cookies, muffins, a piece of cake or pie with his tea. Anything he wants.

But all this hard work is making me cranky. I get up angrily to my feet and yell, "Why don't you go to your room if you're cold, old man? Can't you see that I'm slaving on this floor?"


...that's what I feel like doing.

But, being the good son that I am, I stop working, get up... and go upstairs to decompress until he leaves. I have a weight room upstairs with actual weights. I don't just use them to hang my clothes on, like so many people do. I use them to stay in shape and work out various frustrations.

Having to do this, however, irks me to no end, because, when I do something, I like to get it over with. I'm not a hard worker by nature, in fact, I'm pretty lazy, but I give the impression of being a hard worker because I work hard at getting something done fast, so I can enjoy the free time it leaves me.

At 2000 hours (which is eight o'clock at night for you non-military types) I'm able to start again on the floor. Two hours after that, I'm finally done. My, Dad, meanwhile... probably sleeping like a baby in his room.