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I bought myself a Christmas present today.

Is it too early to do that? I was feeling a little guilty. To be completely honest it was actually something for my business and something I’ve needed for about a year so it wasn’t exactly an impulse buy.

And… that’s about as exciting as my day got.

Oo! Hang on. I need to plug in my Christmas lights. I’ll be back.

Ah… much better.

This holiday can’t come soon enough. I sat down to start writing this thing and… Okay, you know how sometimes when you’re on edge from being busy and stressed and you finally know you’re done for the night and your entire body takes that cue and just goes all wiggly and relaxed? That’s what happened. It felt good.

My dad used to have this habit when he finally relaxed for the day (often when he would get into bed) of giving off this huge sigh. It was kind of like he was letting go of the stress of the day. And he told me that his dog Pete would always do the exact same thing right after he did. It was pretty cute.

Almost as cute as when Pete would try to purr like our cat Pepper. When anyone was around he hated that cat passionately. Refused to even acknowledge her. But we caught them on many an occasion both snuggled up together on his chair, both purring away.

Ha! That reminds me of another Pete story (and I advise you to bail if you get squeamish… or if you don’t find my rambling stories endlessly fascinating).

So when Pete was young Dad kept him in the basement when he was at work. Pete could wander between the utility room and a small bedroom. The other room down there was a large-ish family room, but that was blocked off.

One night, around this time of year, Dad and I came home and noticed that Pete had seemingly thrown up everywhere in the utility room and bedroom. But it was all a bright red color. After we determined it was not blood (Pete looked fine, if a tad nauseous) we did some more exploring and found plastic candy cane wrappers scattered everywhere on the floor. Just the wrappers. No candy canes in sight.

So we ventured into the family room, only to find… nothing wrong. Everything looked just like it should. No puke. No wrappers.

A lovely Christmas tree.

With zero candy canes below Pete height. All the way around the tree and about three feet up there were no candy canes. So we figured, Well that explains the red puke.

It didn’t. We didn’t figure that one out until we realized that the only other things missing from the tree were styrofoam red apple ornaments. About 12 of them. Pete had apparently assumed they would be just as tasty as the ones from the tree in his yard. Why he thought the candy canes would be a tasty treat I never figured out, but it was pretty impressive how well he stripped everything edible (or not so edible) from that tree.

Figuring that he had suffered enough, we could only laugh. And Pete eventually recovered. Recovered enough, apparently, that a few days later when we were out of the room he took it upon himself to jump up on Dad’s drafting table (which we thought would be out of his reach) and scarf down a huge plate of butter cookies.

If you think red-dyed vomit everywhere is gross, you don’t even want to know what butter cookie dog farts are like. It wasn’t the last time we all left the family room en masse that night.

He finally learned his lesson after that Christmas. Or at least got a lot more polite about it. For instance, any time I’d be eating peanut brittle Pete would get off of his chair, grab his bone, and drop it in my lap. He’d then stare pointedly at my peanut brittle.

Apparently he thought that was a fair trade.