I'm fairly certain I didn't, though I did doubt myself there for a while. I put that nonsense away when Ali told me that Jason confided in her that he was glad put in so many hours of labor. "I ate a lot," he said.
Didn't we all, Jason?
Decorating for Christmas has always been a tradition for Ali and me. We put the tree together the morning after Thanksgiving. I do the lights, but she pretty much sets the theme and decides what goes where while I set about with other areas of the house. Most of the decor is concentrated in the living/dining room, the kitchen and the porch. So, we put in a bunch of CDs from the House of Merle Christmas collection and blast the holiday spirit into being into every room of the house.
Ali usually turns off Toby Keith's "Santa I'm Still Here," but this year, she just cried through it like she did the first time she heard it and realized it was a story about a little homeless boy. Most of the other songs aren't as sad, and Jason jumped right in to hum and sing along.
As the weather was good and I had labor, we started outside. Ali and Jason took on the lights while I got rid of leaves that were clogging prime decorating space. I really didn't mean to bag leaves -- I've been mulching to minimize the need for that duty and was planning to chop them into bits with the mower.
But it turned out to be a bigger pile than Id envisioned and I didn't want to spoil the ambiance. At about bag three, Jeff came out and decided we needed to do even more leaves, so it turned into a big leaf production alongside the light display.
With Jason supporting from the ground, Ali went high and was on the roof when Jeff came out, so of course he set her to work on the gutters as well.
At a loss for hands-on work, Jason asked if I wanted him to switch to leaf duty. But I the Captain on that job, which was the worst job in the yard. So Jason went back to finishing up the lights.
Jason's usual holiday job in California involves putting lights on his family's two-story house, so he was in his element albeit 40 degrees colder than his norm. But he was a super trouper and their work turned out great.
After a Thanksgiving leftovers lunch, we turned to inside work, which involved a bit of structural integrity assessment. We nearly worked too close to time to meet the Jacksons for our annual Friendsgiving dinner.
That was its usual amazing time. We love the Jacksons and our tradition, which I think started when Ali was two-years-old. Jason slid right in. It helped that he's a Boilermaker.
I had to return my workforce Saturday morning as Ali was meeting another friend for the Old Oaken Bucket game, which had a 12 noon kick-off. I'd have kept them longer if I could. Start to finish, it was a great, great holiday weekend.
I'd heard a bit about Jason, but hadn't met him until Tuesday when I picked him and Ali up. Before we hit the interstate, I asked them if we needed a snack before leaving campus, and Ali told Jason that, on road trips, if I ever ask if anyone's hungry, it really means that I'm hungry and am looking for support to stop for food. (That is only occasionally true.)
On the return trip, Jason had gotten up later than Ali and me. I made them take a bunch of leftovers and various snacks I had around the house, but only Ali and I had breakfast before we got in the car.
Because I'm polite and also I was fretting a little bit about whether I'd worked him too hard, I advised Jason that we'd have plenty of time to stop for a drive-thru breakfast if he was hungry.
From his spot in the backseat comes, "I'm fine, but are YOU hungry?"
He's going to have to learn to take her statements at face value...