This week cavalcadeofstars presents Bolton Carley with a holiday story for your reading pleasure.
You Can Find me at the Holiday Inn
“Honey! The timer just went off. Aren’t you in the kitchen? Could you look to see what’s next on the list?” I had blasted from the living room where I’d been putting the finishing touches on the well-lit, brightly decorated, tinsel, silver Christmas tree.
“Janie, you know this is ridiculous, right?” Max had chided from the kitchen.
“I know nothing of the sort! Now, tell me what’s next on the list… Please.”
“According to this, it’s the candy cane wreath. But I still don’t understand why you are doing this to yourself. It’s your one week off…for the entire year! Why don’t we just go to Cancun like normal people?” Max just hadn’t understood. He probably didn’t even remember having said the words, but I had remembered. Specifically, he’d said and I quote, “Your job has even managed to ruin Christmas. We might as well just skip it. Maybe baby Jesus can reschedule.” Oh, he had been being facetious alright, but I had decided right then and there. We were going to do exactly that! I had gone directly to work and taken off the week of June 25. And I’d have been damned if we weren’t going to have Christmas on Jesus’ half birthday complete with a tree, gifts, sugar cookies, fudge, and the holiday movie marathon. Max had suggested it so we would be doing it.
“Max, you’re the one that suggested rescheduling. I’m just going through with it.” I had politely yelled back to him in the kitchen. To which he’d come around the corner into the living room.
“Honey, I was being a smart ass and I think you missed the point. The point was that your job shouldn’t outrank Christmas, or our friends inviting us to parties, or a night out looking at Christmas lights, or going to church, or just laying on the couch watching it snow come December 25ish.” His point had been valid, but what was I supposed to have done?
“Elan’s Event Planning does not just cancel busy season because I want to make popcorn balls with the family. We make the most money in December and you know that.” I had thought it was a rather just argument.
“Listen to you. We make the most money in December. No, he makes the most money in December… off of you! It’s not your company, and you can take a night off once in awhile. You no longer have to prove yourself. Everyone knows you’re his ace go-to!” Max had countered.
“I wouldn’t be if I took a night off.” How had he not gotten that?
“That’s where you are wrong, Janie. I don’t know how you don’t see it, but nobody does a party like you do. I wish you’d have a little faith in yourself once in awhile. I only want you to relax and be happy.” By this point, I had seen the wistfulness in my husband’s eyes. He really has always loved me and I hadn’t a doubt that we had this constant argument only because he does love me, but money has always been awfully important, too.
I had reached out to grab his hand. “I am happy. I have you. And this wonderfully big house with acres of yard and a closet full of gorgeous clothes and a week off to celebrate Christmas properly. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
“Fine. I can see there’s no talking to you about this. So what time should I be back for the movie marathon? I have to go grab the ham for Christmas dinner and the stamps for the Christmas cards.”
“I’ll probably be started by the time you get back, but I know you prefer to avoid my old movies so I’ll watch them first.”
“Sounds good. I shouldn’t be too long.” He’d pecked me on the cheek, grabbed his keys, and had headed out the door. He really was such a good sport about all of this. I was sure he’d considered me completely neurotic to have Christmas in June but I really did have a love for Christmas. It just didn’t fit into the holiday work schedule so well, but I was not going to dwell on that at this point. I had a candy cane wreath to make which I could do while watching my movies. I normally would have considered it sacrilege to work during the movie but Max really hated my old black and whites and since I could quote most of the words, it probably was not a big deal to multi-task while Bing was singing.
I had been mid-Bing when Max announced his arrival home. The minute I’d heard his voice, I had paused the DVR on the big cotillion dresses and the gianormous retro crepe paper Valentine hearts and run to greet him.
“I just made a decision! I’m going to quit my job!” I had said giddily like a school girl going to a rock concert.
“You’re what?” Max might have been less taken aback if I’d told him I was pregnant with twins.
“I’m quitting my job! You’re right. It’s not my money when we work those holiday parties and from now on, it’s going to be.”
“What are you saying? You’re going to start your own business to compete against Elan and work even longer hours to prove you’re better?” One could see how he could have come to that conclusion. It did sound like something I’d do.
“No, we’re going to have a Holiday Inn. Right here. At our house.”
“Are you talking about that old movie you always watch?” Now, Max had seemed a little annoyed, not quite the response I had been looking for, but he’d come around. He always did.
“Yep! It’s perfect. We have this huge house and this huge space to do every holiday up right. We can invite all our friends and family along with all the paying customers and you can no longer accuse me of not being home on the holidays!” Okay, sure, there would be a ton of work to do but it was going to be perfect. I’d already pictured it in my head – fireworks, kabobs, hot dogs, and hamburgers on the grill, and a tribute to American songs like God Bless the USA and Born in the USA for 4th of July with red, white, and blue flip-flop party favors and…
“Earth to Janie. Are you in there, somewhere? Are you hearing me at all? Are you saying you want to make our house into a retro, holiday-themed social hall?”
“Well, when you say it that way, it doesn’t sound nearly as fun, but yeah, kinda. It’ll be just like in the movie. We can celebrate each holiday as it comes up for a few weeks prior and after, and then we can have time off in between the holidays. Just think: I’ll be here all the time and there will be months like January where we’ll have the whole month off!” The more I had talked about it the more excited I had gotten.
“We’ll have the whole month off? What exactly are you saying?” Oh, how I had always loved my doubting Max-aroni.
“Well, I was thinking that you could start using all those years of vacation you have built up and you told me a long time ago the firm said you could work from home whenever you wanted.”
“Okay, so you’re not thinking I’m going to quit my job, too, and help with this whole holiday inn thing, right?”
“Of course not, we’d kill each other! But you do have to be at all the events to be a gracious host and a supportive husband.”
“I think I can do that.”
“So, it’s really okay if I do this? Do you mean it? And we have the money, right? And it’s okay if I invite people into our home? Are you really saying we can do this? Because I’m not going to change my mind tomorrow. I really want to do this!” Although no woman should have had to have a man’s approval, I had been pretty partial to having Max’s.
“Whatever makes my girl happy.” The exact words I had known would come and there had been no question what to do next.
I had snatched up my cell phone and said, “Elan? Yeah, this is Janie, Bing Crosby and 1942 called. They said they need me worse than you do so…”
Bolton Carley is a writer, blogger, and Midwestern farmer’s daughter. A self-proclaimed jack of all trades, you can read find her young adult verse novella, Hello, Summer Vacay! on http://www.amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/), her flash fiction on 6S, and her humor blogs at http://www.boltoncarley.wordpress.com (http://www.boltoncarley.wordpress.com/).