Hello hivemind. I haven't posted much lately, and I wanted to let you guys know that a) you're still the best, all of you, tied for number one and b) I'm still around.

I went to Arizona to visit some of my wife's family over the break. The trip was brutal, though not really a nightmare. Basically, we were hoping to get away at 9 pm the Monday before Christmas; we didn't get away until 1 am, after having to remove and reattach a back-end cargo carrier full of crap. PhMom had checked the weather at home, in El Paso, and in New Mexico, but somehow neglected to check between home and El Paso — a considerable stretch of nothing. Basically, it rained on us from just west of Fort Worth until we got to about Monahans, at which point it started snowing. This was also the point at which our 4-year old in the back seat decided that he needed to throw up. Good times. Oh, and the weather was just gorgeous in El Paso.

Arizona was pretty fun, and since we've gotten home, 4yo has been telling us that for next Christmas, we should go to "Arizonas" and that we should have a garage sale to get enough money for the trip. Last time I visited the relations in Arizona, I went to a gun range (the first and only time I've done this). This time, I went to an Indian Casino (there are several in the Phoenix area), which I've never done either. It was... interesting — exciting and depressing at the same time. Christmas was fun. The kids got lots of presents. Too many, actually. I hate to be the guy complaining about gifts, but my wife and I really want to de-emphasize the presents aspect of Christmas. There's no way to talk about this without sounding holier-than-thou, but the whole gift-exchange racket is a scam. But there's just no way to convince my MIL that honestly, the kids don't need piles and piles of stuff. This will be a fight forever, I'm afraid.

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Okay, I need to be productive today — I have dishes and laundry to do and I need to get syllabi ready for the Spring. And hey, all of those are tedious chores I hate! Good times.