Dear Readers, Dr. S wishes to put an end to the Annual Christmas Argument. He proposes that he take the boys, and *not* me, up there every other year (including this year for complex reasons which I will spare you). In return, I will not argue about it any more. I would be fine with NEVER AGAIN but in the interests of marital harmony, I think this will make everyone equally unhappy.
(My mother-in-law's surgery went fine and her breast cancer is Stage I. Odds are very good that, God willing and like her own mother, she will die in bed, of extreme old age, after 98+ years of life. And by the way, she chose to have surgery at a time that would 'ruin Christmas' because it was so important to her to go to my brother-in-law's sixth helicopter-pilot-school graduation [I am completely serious] which, it turns out, isn't even happening in February anyways, rather than see her grandchildren. So no, I don't have any sympathy left. Also, imagine that there was something you found morally repugnant or inedible in some way - pork trotters, or chicken feet, or chocolate-covered slugs, or lutefisk, or, if you're my spouse, shredded coconut. Now imagine someone served nothing but that to you, for nine years, every time you went to see them, knowing that you hated it, with an exclamation of "But it's our tradition!" Then tell me how often you'd go visit.)