Wednesday, January 08, 2020

A New Year A New Tradition

I hope your holidays were fantastic and law enforcement free like ours. We started out the year with a tradition that I’m hoping takes hold in our home.

There was a time when Jamie and I cohabitated in King, NC. I would usually get out of bed before Jamie and the boys. Most of the time I would turn on some music and start preparing a late breakfast type meal. The music was just loud enough to tickle sleeping ears awake so the nose would be alerted to eggs and bacon frying in the kitchen. I would usually assemble a sandwich of eggs, bacon, and cheese on toasted bread.

Most of the time, these breakfast Sunday mornings were on special NASCAR race days like the Daytona 500, Martinsville, Talladega, Bristol, Darlington, Watkins Glen, and Sonoma. And the non-NASCAR related Sundays were because the Washington Redskins game was being broadcast on the local television station. So, these breakfast Sundays were usually because I was excited about the events that were to take place that day. And I was trying to spread the cheer by making everyone hot, delicious late breakfast foods.

It wasn’t uncommon that beer started flowing as soon as I waddled into the kitchen. Especially on race days. 100% flow on Watkins Glen and Sonoma race days! I LOVE the road courses!

A breakfast tradition began in our current home in Clemmons decades ago with my father-in-law and his buddy Bait. They would all gather at 7am for the communal reading of the newspaper and the general discussions of current events.

This tradition continued to where my father-in-law lives now. His place is maybe 200 yards away from what we refer to as “The Big House”. We moved into the Big House back in May of 2016.

Bait usually arrives first around 7am and everyone else just kinda filters in. I’ll slap on some clothes and show up. My brother-in-law Andy will eventually get out of bed to join us. The newspaper tradition has been dropped and the cast of characters have changed over the years. Hell, I resisted going for a long time because it just felt too damn early for me. I keep the same sleep schedule as my wife and 2 days without an alarm clock seems very appealing. But I eventually dragged myself out of bed for breakfast with the Hampton Hellcats.

I like the Hampton Hellcats breakfast mornings. I like the discussions. I like the camaraderie that it promotes. It’s usually the same cast of characters every Sunday morning… Jim, Bait, Andy, Randy, and myself. There’s also the usual cast of guest Hellcats like Tom, Matthew, Sam, Jamie, Rick, Bobbie, and Connie.

So, I thought that I would try it at the Big House with my family. But it would be a monthly event that takes place on the first Sunday of the month.

The plan: I get home from the Hampton Hellcats breakfast between 8:30 and 9. I turn on some music just light enough to tickle the ears awake and loud enough that I can hear while cooking. NO TV until Noon! Take a seat at the dining room table. Talk. Eat. Be social.

Of course, the ONLY person that pushed back immediately with an exasperated sigh… The MIL. It was like telling a child that they were to take the worst tasting cough medicine whether they had a cough or not. This one-day once a month event was going to ruin her life. I’m sure that if she were in good physical condition, she would have flopped onto the floor to wail like an animal caught in a beartrap. It was humorous and yet annoying.

It goes a little something LIKE THIS.

At first, I thought it was her inability to turn on a television.

She is the Creature of the Black Lagoon of habits. If you disturb her routine, things can get ugly. She gets mopey or it fuels an anger that will manifest in some ridiculous way.

I have tried reviving the Sunday morning late breakfast on race days before… turning on some music and just loud enough. And believe it or not, the MIL would plop right down in her usual spot, turn on the TV, and start watching some of her usual choice of programming.

I would give in to her passive-aggressive BS and just switch off the music. The old dog has her habits. There was no reason to start a fight. Just prepare her sandwich and pray the bread was properly choke worthy.

Her latest and thrilling TV viewing habit is watching people shop on YouTube. Yes. People shopping in stores from Dollar Tree to Macy’s and that’s what she’s watching. And those videos have thousands of views! WHY?!

I gave warning of the new monthly breakfast plan 2 months before it became a reality. NO TV until Noon. I had originally planned on cranking up this tradition in December, but I thought that the new year would be a better starting point.

So, to further pacify the 73-year-old toddler in the house I decided to kick things off musically with the Chris Stapleton Radio feature on Spotify. It’s really a playlist instead of an actual randomness of related artists. And that seemed to calm her down a bit. She’s not the most adventurous woman when it comes to music. She’s ALWAYS complaining that the Big House Mix playlist on Spotify never plays anything that she likes. Yet at some point you’ll see her bopping along to some melody that she seems to be enjoying. Go figure.

Oddly, almost every time she verbalizes the “never plays anything that I like” complaint… She’ll then step out of the room or into the house to freshen her drink or powder her nose and MISS one of her favorite songs in the world by one of her many “men” like Stapleton or Lionel Richie. It has become a regular moment that should be acknowledged by every witness immediately downing of the rest of their alcoholic beverage.

But she managed to live through the new tradition Matthew has coined Second Breakfast Sunday. Or SBS for short.

After two full plays of the Chris Stapleton Radio playlist, I went seamlessly into the Big House Mix. It more or less went unnoticed as we air-fried tots, fries, jalapeno poppers, and buffalo chicken bites. And the MIL has set the bar that may never be reached again! She went 2 hours and 36 minutes past Noon without turning on the television.

We had a great time with our guests Bait and Bobby. I think their presence made the MIL a little more social than usual. But as soon as everyone stepped outside to “look at something”, the MIL in comical fashion went straight to her spot to flop down and turn on the TV.

I just closed the game room door and when everyone came back from looking at whatever it was, the MIL rejoined us. Only a few minutes had elapsed, but the Creature of the Habit Lagoon was loosed for a quick TV fix!

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