Surviving East Vancouver Christmas cabin fever

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Concept versus reality. It’s a phrase that I’ve been musing over in recent days, since I have once again emerged from the holiday season feeling like an exhausted, sickly, bloated, staggering, Santa sack of shit.

Earlier in December, my best friend came forth with an incredible offer: How would my family like to spend the back end of the holidays at their empty timeshare in Mexico? Free accommodation in sunny San Jose Del Cabo over the Christmas break? Olé!

Grant Lawrence regrettably stayed home for the holidays this year. Photo Grant Lawrence

My wife and I eagerly checked out flights, but decided that, sadly, even with the free condo, we couldn’t afford the last-minute holiday air travel. Besides, I had agreed to some work at the CBC, and my wife said she was really looking forward to “hunkering down” at home over the holidays.

We politely turned down the free condo in Mexico.

Two days later, our five-year-old son emerged from kindergarten with 16 days off. Then daycare wrapped up for our three-year-old. Within 48 hours, my wife had gone from “hunkering down” to hysterical.

Near the starting line of our Christmas Cannonball Run, help arrived when the grandparents showed up from Toronto. Unfortunately, their immune systems aren’t as used to the array of viruses my kids carry around like soiled stuffies.

Soon, our 1,000-square-foot bungalow had turned into a not-so-holly-jolly infirmary, as hacking, sneezing, coughing, sniffling, snoring and farting rang out through several not-so-silent nights.

When I woke up one late December morning with a throat hotter than a jalapeno, I stared forlornly out the window into sheets of rain pelting the windows from rolling charcoal skies. I couldn’t help but remind my wife of our Mexican miscue, proving it by tagging her on Instagram photos of the many bathing suit-clad, smiling, drunken, sunbaked friends who did head south for the holidays.

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?because her favourite colour was yellow ?

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And the puddles weren’t just on the sidewalks this Christmas. My wife decided the holiday season would be a great time to potty train our daughter. She’s doing well, but try as Gracie might, it’s still resulted in many an accident far from the potty, tracked throughout the house in cute and stinky little wet and brown footprints.

(My daughter has a strange understanding of bodily functions: she refers to pee as “yellow poo” and poo as “brown pee.” Whatever! Just keep it off the couch!)

My wife and I finally got a late-holiday break for a date night at the movies. I noticed she was trying to sneak in a coffee, so I reminded her of the Seinfeld episode when Kramer sneaks a coffee into a movie theatre and then spills it all over his crotch. She snuck the coffee in anyway, and spilled it all over my crotch.

But it wasn’t all a nightmare before, during and after Christmas. It was heartwarming to watch my son and his grandfather enjoying the kids’ science kit, my daughter loved being read to by her grandmother and the East Van Panto with three generations was a hilarious, much-needed reprieve from the throes of Christmas cabin fever.

But take it from me: Don’t turn down a free condo in Mexico. Comprende?