Thursday, December 20, 2018

Ghosts Among the Preparations

Christmas season is in full swing, and that means I'm in my usual near-crazy mode. I shouldn't be. I wrote out and sent our Christmas cards last week, baked and mailed cookies to out-of-state relatives this past Monday, just about finished Christmas shopping except for those last-minute things that pop up, and arranged to have all teacher presents dropped off today while I'm at work. So far, so good.

But I'm still almost-frantic.

That comes, no doubt, from the constant worry that I've forgotten something. You'd think that after all these years of family Christmases, I'd either 1) have my routine totally down-pat, or 2) have a master list that I can use to check things off upon completion. The answer to that is two-fold: Nope, and HA HA HA! That's way too organized for me. Maybe I secretly enjoy living with stress, I'm not sure.

However, one thing I have noticed is that despite my oven-hovering behavior, my rushing out the door to cram a few hours' worth of errand-running into one hour, and my packing boxes seemingly from here to eternity, the other residential occupants of this place have not ceased their bids for attention. I have noticed that despite the fact that I'm currently not writing -not beyond a few notes for future work, or some time spent developing story lines- these pesky phantoms are still banging their way down the hall, knocking on walls, and in one case, STILL hanging out in my laundry room by the garage door. You'd think they'd take a holiday break, or something, but no. I guess maybe they don't take breaks on the other side?

My grandson is still complaining about being disturbed not only in his bedroom, now, but also in the bathroom when he's taking a shower. When he has the door closed and I walk past, he'll sometimes call out "hello" so that he can make sure it's just me walking down the hall, because he knows I'll answer him.

My daughter just mentioned that "there's something really nasty back in the laundry room" the other night.

And at least one of my personal items has disappeared. I'm still waiting for it to come back.

Sometimes I wonder if Shirley Jackson ever had this kind of stuff going on while she was working on things like The Haunting of Hill House or even We Have Always Lived in the Castle. There's no use wondering about Stephen King because he's come right out and said that his house is haunted. Ditto for Terri Reid. But did H.P. Lovecraft deal with this stuff? Did Edgar Allen Poe? Heck, did either Charlotte or Emily Bronte have this going on?

I have two more cookie recipes to bake before Christmas actually arrives. I have a gift card to download. And I have a whole slew of presents to wrap, so even though I'm pretty much on schedule, I'm not done with my holiday preparations yet. And clearly our other-worldly guests don't much care whether I'm doing Christmas tasks or writing a ghost story, at least, not right now. I suppose I don't really mind that much -why should December be any different from the other calendar months?

But I sure wouldn't mind if one of them would gift me with a fantastic story idea: a terrific little Merry Christmas! from the other side.

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