Return From Holiday Tuesday

The worst thing about Holidays?  The return to work after the long weekend.  I was fortunate enough to have yesterday (Monday) off from work as we observed the Christmas holiday.  It was nice not having to actually go through a Monday, even though the day “Monday” itself isn’t all that bad.  I actually feel bad for that day as it gets the short end of the stick from all of the other days.  Monday isn’t the real problem, its the feeling you get from returning to work and the dread sets in of another week of working.  Though this week will be a short week, I am still feeling the “Monday” vibe.

However, I did have a great weekend which makes the day seem not as bad.  I got to leave work early last Friday so that I could prepare for my weekend with family and friends.  I didn’t use the time to get ready and pack, or drive or wrap presents.  I would have in the past needing to drive from North Dakota down to the Twin Cities, but this year I didn’t.  I was close.  I could stay in my own bed one extra night because I had no driving to do.  I got to lay around and do nothing.

So when I got home from work on Friday, I jumped under my blankets and closed my eyes trying to fall asleep, but then it hit me.  I had a video game that I had been meaning to play and never opened yet.  So I did just that.  I unwrapped the game from its plastic casing and inserted the disc.  I was emerged.  I couldn’t pull my eyes from the screen.  I hadn’t been this emerged in a game since Far Cry or Skyrim, but this was a game I loved on Xbox (yes I’m a traitor and left Microsoft, but damn, those Playstations are nice.  The game was Fallout 4.  I had spent about three hours playing it before I left for the gym as the gym was going to be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I got there at around 7:45pm and I was all alone, minus the worker, and I loved it.  I had to relish the moment because in a few short weeks it was going to be packed with New Years resolution freaks (though my gym is pretty small and I don’t think there will be an issue.)  I got a very short and mediocre workout in and grabbed a sub from subway before heading back to my house to play some more video games.

I popped a bottle of wine and started to play again.  I played until the wee hours of the morning and couldn’t put down my controller.  I was lost in the game and a little buzzed form the bottle of wine (I may have drank the whole thing, don’t judge) and my eyes were heavy from sleep deprivation.  I decided to “take a break” from playing and watched an episode of Friday Night Lights before my eyes closed for the final time that night.

Speaking of Friday Night Lights.  Tim Riggins is the coolest guy ever.  I idolize him.

The next day (Christmas Eve) was spent with family.  I woke up hungover and with a headache.  I filled up with gas and grabbed some gummy worms and an energy drink.  I needed a jolt.  I had went to sleep the previous night/day at 4:00am and had to be in Burnsville at 10:30am.  I made it to my grandpas and had coffee and muffins and we gave my Grandpa and his wife their gifts.  It was nice to see my mom’s dad since I had been so far away from family for the past seven years.  I never really realized how great family was until I graduated college and was ready to move home.

My grandpa’s house is in such an awesome location if you love wildlife.  It is located in Burnsville and you would think a city so close to Minneapolis, that it would be very populated and have very little countryside, but his house is pretty secluded.  You get into Burnsville and pass all kinds of retail centers, restaurants and houses and then all of a sudden you are on a road that has trees up to the shoulder of the road.  Blind spots for deer to leap out in front of your vehicle at any moment.  When there is snow on the ground and the trees have that fresh powder draped over their branches, it is such an awesome sight.  Go take a drive sometime.  I suggest Murphy Hanneran Park.

My Grandpa’s house is in the back of a cul-de-sac and you have to drive down a long driveway to his house.  Its a beautiful house, but my favorite part about it is his down stairs living room. Either living room for that matter.  You have these big windows to look out, and they face the forest.  He has a bird feeder right outside the window which gives ample opportunity to watch birds and squirrels feast.  Sometimes a doe or two will come to the feeder and eat any of the seed that spilled over the bird feeder’s edges.  Sometimes a buck will stay back in the woods looking over the feasting doe watching for signs of danger (Future blog post).

After visiting with my Grandpa my mom, dad, sister and two brothers went back to our house in New Prague.  The house is tiny in comparison to my Grandpa’s, but its home.  We all were pretty hungry so my mom served us all a delicious ham that she had made in the crock-pot.  It was a recipe I suggested.  We ate and then opened gifts.  Everyone picked someone to buy for and we exchanged gifts.  Everybody had such thoughtful gifts.  Nothing was to extravagant or elegant and expensive.  Everything was meaningful and exactly what each of us wanted.  I got camping supplies and a large map of the united states.  I plan on using it to map out my future endeavors.  My sister also thoughtfully got me some dog supplies for my future dog.  Everyone seems to be so excited for it.  Sometimes I feel like they are more excited than me.

Later that evening I went and joined my friend and his brother at their dad’s house.  We played some NHL and had a few beers before we needed to bring his brother to Burnsville, where he would depart to the airport from.  The lucky turkey is in Mexico right now soaking in the warm rays of sun while I sit in my office with a space heater and long johns under my business clothes.  When my friend and I got back we watched a movie which I fell asleep during, leaving my friend to fend for himself against the scary movie (sorry dude).

The next day I met with my family and we went to Mystic Lake Casino for brunch.  We saw my dad’s sisters family (missing two of them and their significant others) and we all caught up with each other.  It was a great Christmas morning.  I departed from the casino in a rain storm and went home.  I showered and went to my friends house where I spent the night with a group of guys I am lucky to be able to call my friends.  It was a really good night and we celebrated well.

Yesterday, the day after Christmas, I spent in bed watching Friday Night Lights and movies.  I made it to the gym and lounged the rest of the night.  It was a very quiet but great Monday.  Yes, I said it, GREAT MONDAY.  Today, the real “Monday of the week” isn’t so bad though.  Sure its starting to set in that Christmas has come and gone once again, but it also teaches me, that you shouldn’t take time for granted.  Spend it with family and friends.  The holidays are great, but you shouldn’t need an excuse to see people.  Sure everyone needs a day after Christmas, Monday, like I did yesterday, but whats more important is that I got to see family and friends this past weekend.

Overall.  I guess Mondays after holidays aren’t that bad.  You just need to remember what you were lucky to take part in.  A lot of people don’t have that luxury.

So here are my three challenges.  First, go out and see some family and friends.  Don’t use holidays as an excuse.  You may have enjoyed this past weekend like I had, but if you didn’t, you have more days ahead of you, and don’t need a holiday as an excuse.

Second, take a day to yourself.  Do what you love to do.  Lounge for the day, workout for the day.  Whatever gives you time for yourself in your own mind, do it.

Third, go check out some wildlife.  You may not have access in your own backyard, but you can go to a wildlife management area, drive through some wooded areas, you can even make your back yard into a place that contains wildlife.  Plant some trees, shrubs and flowers.  Put up a birdhouse, a bird feeder or a bird bath.  Bring the wildlife to your backyard.

Sincerely,

Daniel Eric

p.s.  Plant some trees this Spring.  I suggest ones that flower or fruit.  This gives bees places to get nectar and will help pollinate the world.

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