I sighed as well. “I know, me too.”
“What a bummer,” she said,
“Well, hopefully she’ll be making a cameo here and there,” I said as I put her on speaker and placed the phone on the butcherblock. I pulled a knife from the drawer and took a deep breath. I was trying my hand ONE LAST TIME at making chicken and vegetables for the next day’s lunch. I meant it this time. This was it. Every other attempt I’d tried had resulted in me bringing my efforts to work and then just abandoning them because they were never any good. I told myself, if I opted for pizza one more time instead of eating my prepared meal, I was never cooking again.
I shook my head. “I don’t know. They were really the heart and soul of The Team. Everyone else is so busy at work, I’m so busy at work, the enthusiasm’s kind of gone out of the project a bit.”
“Tracey!” she gasped. “You’re not quitting the blog, are you?”
“No. I’m not, no,” I said as I pulled a head of cauliflower out of the fridge. Wait. Did I even want to go down this route again? I paused and then I decided I did not. I put it back, grabbing an easy-to-manage zucchini instead. “But I am taking a break.”
“Why? Wait, hold on a sec…,” she said and then her voice became muffled as she covered the phone and shouted to the next room. “Sweetheart! Can you prep Jordan for his bath? I’ll be up in a minute.” I heard her husband’s agreement. “Thank you! Love you the mooooost!!” Then she was back and I heard her opening a bottle of wine. “Okay, so what the fuck? You’re taking a break?”
“To be honest, I’m just burned out on it all.” I placed a cutting board on the table. “Writing and publishing every week takes a lot of time, I’ve been stressed out at work and I just want to take a holiday break. You know, like everyone else.”
“Crap,” she said. “I’ll miss the blog.”
I laughed. “Well Tina, I’m sure we’ll still talk so you’ll still know what’s going on with me.”
“It’s not the same,” she said.
I rolled my eyes. “Thanks a lot.”
“Oh, you know what I mean. And on that note, I saw the info on Hometown Holiday Drinks. We have the tickets home but we just don’t know yet about Hank’s work schedule. It’s the 26th, right?”
“Yep. And I think it will be a good turn-out this year.”
“Oh, I hope we can come! I would love to see everyone! It’s been too long since we’ve been home.”
I pushed the sliced zucchini to the side. “Well, they’d certainly love to see you. I know that.”
Hometown Holiday Drinks is an event I’ve hosted for the past seven years. And by “hosted” I mean I send out the information to everyone who’s from our town with a date, time and place for us all to meet and ask them to forward it along. And whoever shows up, shows up. Sometimes we have a ton of people, friends coming in from all over the state and beyond. Sometimes we only have a few locals show up. But it’s always a blast. Being from a small town, most of us have known each other since we were kids or even toddlers, so we have that kind of close bond that only small-town folks understand. There are no cliques, no dramas, just a bunch of old schoolmates drinking too much together for one night. It’s seriously one of my favorite holiday traditions.
“Wait a minute!” Tina exclaimed. “Is Your Boyfriend going to be there?”
“Well, considering he’s staying with me the whole time I’m home, I would imagine so.”
“Ugh! We have to be there! It’s like your coming out party as a couple!”
“Okay, let’s not get carried away,” I said as I pulled out the defrosted chicken breasts. I was then supposed to put them in a bowl, season them and stir them all around. I think. “There’s going to be a lot of people there. I doubt we’ll be the focus of the night.”
“No! People are going to FREAK OUT when they see you guys together!”
“Well, they won’t freak out if they read the blog,” I said as I turned and rifled through the spice cabinet. “It’s kind of old news by now.”
“Ha! Exactly! Now you’ll know who reads the blog, and who only says they do!”
That made me laugh. “I suppose so.”
She paused to take a sip of her wine. “So are you guys staying at that same hotel where you always stay?”
“Yeah, the one not too far from my Mom’s.”
“And is he going to Christmas with you?”
“Indeed he is.” Aha! An all-encompassing poultry seasoning. Why hadn’t I tried this before? I unscrewed the cap and poured it on the chicken pile liberally.
“And will you write about it?”
“Well, I won’t write about my family, no. But I will write about anything else on the trip that happens to be interesting.”
“Yay! That will be so much fun! I can almost forgive you for taking a break.”
“Well, thanks,” I said. “But between you and me,” I said as I grabbed a spoon to stir the chicken mound. This was going great! “There’s going to be A LOT to write about in the New Year. Not just about Christmas.”
“Oh my god, like what?!”
“I can’t get into it right now.”
“I hate you.”
I laughed and reached for my trusty red apron as, after all, if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it right.
So that’s it, all! We’re taking the rest of the year off. We’ll be back the first week of January. If you haven’t yet subscribed to the blog, please add your email so you’ll be notified when we’re up and running again. Or Like our Facebook page and you’ll see updates there. Here’s wishing you & your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!