We always love it and, traditionally, it's on one of the coldest nights, usually in the teens (-16 to -6 C), in the dark, and crunching the dregs of recent snowfalls. We always bundle up and enjoy ourselves. This year, it wasn't nearly as cold. We haven't had the snowfall we usually have in November, and our weather is well on the way to a two-year drought. It was still below freezing, however, and the big bonfire and the giant jug of hot chocolate were very welcome.
We got there early this year, just because we wanted to ride and then go to dinner. The day itself was busy. I'm still making Christmas presents, as is Jet, and he and I stayed home to watch One Piece while I worked on my knitting and he worked on his origami. That was really good. John went to the OUR Center to serve lunch to those that needed the meal, with the other folks from our church, and he was content when he came home.
I've been annoyed by our kitchen sink, which has started to leak for the last several months, or at least be really difficult to turn off, and he cheerfully bought a replacement yesterday and got it in. The other thing that happened was that one breaker, that controlled parts of our livingroom, kitchen, and the stair lights. We spent some time with him outside with the breakers, and Jet and I inside running around flipping switches. It took a little while and a new switch before John figured out what was going on. That was pretty fun.
Then Jet and I tackled one of the old sinks in Jet's bathroom. There's been a lot of leaking around the sinks, if water splashes outside the bowl, it inevitably ended up in the cabinet under the sink! And there were a number of ruined things under that particular sink. I'd noticed that the caulking around the edge was gone or deteriorating, so Jet got to learn about how to completely disconnect a sink, peel it up from the counter, and what it was like to clean all the caulk off before reapplying it, setting the sink down again, and then doing the smoothing work to make the seam solid. We got to recenter the sink, too, which was nice.
John took the downstairs bathroom sink, the one that everyone uses the most as it's on the ground floor, and it turned out that that basin was rusting. So John pulled it out completely and replaced it with a new sink, a porcelain one instead of a steel and enamel one. It's now dead solid.
After being so industrious all day it was nice to just go for the ride at night. We sipped hot chocolate while we waited and got to meet and greet and talk with all our neighbors. I love this neighborhood, as everyone is really friendly, they get out to these things, and we get to know each other and watch out for each other. A stray dog, over the summer, wandered into our yard, and we figured out who it was with some difficulty, but then realized that the father of the family was the son of one of the ladies who constantly came for his kids in the afternoon at the bus stop! *laughs*
The ride itself is always fun. Horses clopping with their sleighbells on, and the neighborhood has fun putting up lights, so there's plenty to see. I've been walking at night, still, since it's been so mild, and it's been wonderful to do at night! So beautiful. And this particular wagonload of people wasn't shy about singing Christmas Carols! *laughs* So we rode and sang and giggled at forgotten words, and it was a blast.
We had dinner at the Outback, as we haven't gone there for a while, and I really enjoyed a simple six ounce sirloin topped with lump crab and Hollandaise. I also loved the chopped pecan and blue cheese salad as always, and the three of us shared a single slice of their new Peanut Butter Pie. It was really good, and I think it even had Nutter Butter cookies in the crust!
Had a quiet evening, and I'm reading John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation to Jet. In part it's because of the Star Fluxx game I bought for John. We've been playing the game a lot, recently, as it's beautifully balanced and we really like how it plays, but one of the Keeper cards in the game is "Cute Fuzzy Alien". Jet knew some of the references for Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who, but he had no idea about the Fuzzy Alien. I knew I had the Scalzi book, and knew about the H. Beam Piper book. I got it free for the Kindle, and went through it in a couple of days, and realized that the Scalzi telling would be far more down Jet's alley. The Piper book is very 50's and 60's SF, lots of people sitting around talking over intriguing ideas with a little action and an interesting set of biases. Lots and lots of tell and a lot less show than Scalzi does so well.
Jet loves the Scalzi version. He really enjoys the more subtle alien behavior patterns, enjoys how the contrast works with Carl the dog, and really loves Holloway's sarcasm, which has been very very educational for Jet. *laughs* I'm very glad I'm reading it to him, as I can answer his questions as we go, and it works out very nicely. So it's been a real joy to read it with him!