The Owl Flies at Midnight

Christmas was quite nice this year. I was pleased that I was able to pull off an actual Xmas surprise in the form of an X-Box 360 for the family. At the beginning of the month I had set it up the purchase of a Microsoft store holiday bundle with my friend Tim. He picked up the goods and agreed to store them at his place until closer to the holiday. Through an exchange of e-mails with titles like “the Owl Flies at Midnight”, we arranged for him to drop the goods off while Nicole and Kate were off making Xmas cookies the weekend before the holiday. Mother Nature had a problem with that plan, sending the huge windstorm that knocked out our power that very weekend. Tim was stuck in Renton so the drop off had to be cancelled. With Kate out of school and Nik prepping for her visiting family, there was going to be no time that I was in the house alone leading up to Christmas.

Last Tuesday I had an idea. I’d be going out to Rick’s place on the East Side to play Blitzkrieg Commander on Thursday. I suggested that Tim, who works on MS’s Redmond campus, meet us for dinner before our game. This was accomplished and I received the goods in a shady-looking parking lot deal. While Rick and I played BK, his wife Sasha was nice enough to wrap the package. At the end of the night, Rick stopped at the back of my house, so I could secret it in the garage, and then dropped me off in front as normal. Nik and Kate were already upstairs, so no one heard anything. Success.

We had Nik’s family up from Portland over the weekend. She cooked a great dinner Saturday night and then we exchanged gifts, since they were heading back Sunday afternoon. I decided to hold the 360 back, since no one was expecting anything apart from stockings on Xmas day. Once Nik and Kate went to bed Sunday night, I did up their stockings and then snuck into the garage to recover the prize. I put it in the middle of the living room and then went to bed.

The next morning all the skulking paid off. Kate and Nik were totally surprised to find a big gift by the tree. Kate tore it open and beamed ear to ear. We spent most of Xmas day over at Ray and Christine’s place but yesterday we each had a chance to enjoy the new system. Kate is having a blast with Viva Piñata, Nik is enjoying the puzzle-type games like Bejeweled, and I am wiping out the fascist menace in Stalingrad in Call of Duty 2. Nothing expresses the spirit of Xmas more than sending Nazis to hell with sprays of submachinegun bullets. Right, Santa?

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