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Sometimes changes in the life around you can pile up.

Christmas is definitely not the same this year, since my religious and spiritual feelings have changed. This makes it much harder to go through the motions of gift buying and so on. I’ve never been much for the secular trappings of Christmas, either, so the big attraction for the holiday season this year is a few days off work. It doesn’t help that without the weekly church service, the weeks seem to go by faster, which means I’m a bit less prepared for next Wednesday than usual.

Second big thing is that my younger sister is getting married next March. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve grown used to her “being there” with Mum and Dad and that’s just not the case anymore. I’m trying to pay careful attention my own reactions because it’s a big change and it’s way too easy to resent that. (Doubly so because I have a failed marriage of my own behind me.)

Third big thing is my father is deteriorating mentally.

Okay, this hurts more than I expected. It’s the same thing that happened to his father, though we all know about it much earlier this time. Big flag was a recent holiday Mum and Dad went on and for the first time he forgot to print out an itinerary for my sister and I so we knew where they were and when they were coming back. This is why Mum asked for a computer of her own this Christmas. That’s a big request.

The computing landscape is always a difficult one with relatives. I run a Linux desktop myself and won’t support Windows for anyone – not even as a job. That is why Dad’s PC runs Linux – I can support him. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be so simple for Mum. She’s not so easy for me to teach, plus she has an e-reader and Adobe’s DRM software doesn’t run in Linux. The latest Windows is very different from what even I know, so I couldn’t support that at all. That means the only viable option is a Mac. Fortunately, I have had a Mac at work for about a year, so I can support that for her. But I can’t afford to just buy one for her, not even a second-hand one that’s moderately recent.

I was hoping to get buy-in from Dad and my sister. And I’ve just discovered my sister can’t afford to help, either, as she has a wedding to pay for. That means it’s not really going to happen. So I have to find another gift.

My sister also objected when I messaged her this morning at work. That’s a conflict I don’t need and don’t want. I hope my apology was not too late.