Russ Kent: Is an IOU an acceptable gift?


Often, I don’t know what day it is.

That’s true. Ask my friends and family.

I blame it on my profession. I work in a business that is always looking ahead.

In the news world, if you’re thinking about what you need to be doing today, you’re already a day behind.

I’ve learned to live with my idiosyncrasy.

Besides. That’s what friends are for.

But this year seems more out of whack that usual.

Somehow, I lost an entire month.

How the heck did Christmas sneak up on me like this?

I woke up Thursday morning, saw something on TV and realized Christmas was just 10 days away.

How did that happen?

It seems like just a few days ago a friend on Facebook posted something about there being just 75 shopping days left until Christmas.

I laughed then. I’m not laughing now.

As of today, Christmas is eight days away, and I’ve never been so ill-prepared.

I put the Inquirer print edition to bed Friday night. I had a beer or three and then I in my cap — and my dog and my two cats — settled in for a long winter’s nap. When I awakened this morning, there remained only seven shopping days until Christmas.

I am running out of time.

But there also is laundry to do, a dog to bathe, a sweeper to run, cobwebs to collect and a kitchen and bathroom to clean.

Here’s a cleaning hint — the only one I’ll ever give — if you don’t do these household tasks every 5 or 6 weeks — whether they need done or not — and you have two cats and a dog, well, life can get a little hairy.

So there are lots of chores to do. And, I want to see the next Star Wars movie. It opened Friday.

Holiday decorations around my home?

Not a chance this year.

My lighted palm trees are still in the basement. So is my little fake Christmas tree and my lighted twig tree and the other twig tree I adorn with beach-themed Christmas ornaments.

None of them are going to make an appearance in 2016.

The rope lights I bought on sale in January? Still in their boxes on my front porch.

Maybe I can brighten the place up a little by putting a Santa hat on Beatrix, and some reindeer antlers on the cats.

My Christmas spirit is lacking this year. And I miss it.

I did bake some Christmas cookies, but I doubt there will be any left come Dec. 25.

Plus, for the first time, cooking something didn’t help my mood.

The red and green food coloring I used in the icing made things festive, but it also stained several towels when I dropped a bowl of frosting on the floor, after bouncing it off the head of my white pit bull.

I have no idea why her head isn’t neon red, but for that I am thankful.

A lot of things in life that have conspired to keep me out of my pre-holiday mode.

The search is continuing for my holiday enthusiasm, but I fear I am searching in vain.

I usually enjoy gift shopping … if I get it done ahead of time.

This year I didn’t, and I’m dreading the thought of venturing out this weekend.

Know how many gifts I’ve purchased?

One.

I ordered some flowers, over the internet, for a friend. But that only came about because I get an email from the flower company almost daily reminding me of birthdays and anniversaries and holidays and other special occasions.

I have more correspondence with proflowers.com and 1800flowers.com than I do with anyone else in the world. If I don’t order something, I will feel guilty. Worse yet, they’ll quit emailing me.

So that’s one Christmas gift out of the way.

Not a single Christmas card has been addressed.

Not a single gift card nor stuffed animal has been purchased.

Is it acceptable to give a loved one an IOU for Christmas?

Really. I’m serious.

Is that OK?

I still can’t believe Christmas got away from me this way.

Even though I never know what day it is, I’ve always had a pretty good sense of time.

I never needed a watch. Even if I’m out all day doing something and you ask me what time it is, I’m usually good to within 15 or 20 minutes.

Except for a watch I got years ago as a birthday present from my ex-wife, I’ve never worn one.

I never wanted, nor needed, one.

But I did squander an entire pre-holiday season?

Maybe it’s time to start wearing a watch again, one with a calendar on it.

Come to think of it, except for my wedding ring, I’ve never worn jewelry, either. Well, there were some ID bracelets in junior and high school. You know the boyfriends and girlfriends would buy for one another.

I still have my wedding ring, and that watch, and I’m pretty certain I have an ID bracelet from “Jill” in a box, in a closet, in a room somewhere … I think.

Maybe it’s time to change that, too.

Are “bad-mood” rings still fashionable?

One of those would be perfect.

What color does a mood ring turn to denote “blah”? Grey? Off-white? Mauve?

Anyway, so an entire month of Christmas shopping and planning and prepping has been lost.

The decorations didn’t go up, and I didn’t make it to Columbus to see the zoo lights.

Christmas is eight days away.

I’m not ready.

Sadly, I really don’t care.

Call it the holiday blues. Call it Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Whatever it is, I have it. And I want it to go away.

Sometimes we all get overwhelmed … by life, by family, by work, by bills, by pets.

This is one of those times.

I can’t seem to get caught up.

I know I’m not the only one in that predicament

When I’m down, or blue, or depressed, I write. That’s my outlet. For me, it’s therapeutic.

Thanks for reading.

So today — it is Thursday afternoon as I write this — I put finger to keyboard, and I am writing, and re-writing.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.

And please don’t feel sorry for me. I’ll be fine.

If you want to do something nice, give someone an unexpected hug. Pay for someone’s dinner this week. Make a donation to a charity buying gifts for kids who may not get any. Invite someone you know who is going to be alone over for Christmas dinner. Or this is easy … just smile at every person you see and wish them Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

And then encourage someone else to do the same.

I’m pretty certain I’ll get a good dose of that Christmas “feeling” soon.

Perhaps from a big snifter of egg nog.

But maybe I won’t.

And that’s OK, too.

The New Year is just 15 days away, which means I get a fresh start.

And that is something I’m looking forward to.

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