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The Holiday Plans

Today is my last day of “work” (put in quotes due to the fact that I’m getting absolutely nothing done today), before taking almost two weeks off to spend with my family over the holidays. I’d like to say that I’m going to spend that time doing nothing but lounging around and playing games, but alas, my time will instead be spent following the steps below:

Step 1: Pick up Transformer.
Step 2: Wrap Transformer carefully in newsprint.
Step 3: Place wrapped Transformer in moving box.
Step 4: Repeat for the next several hundred Transformers.

A couple of months ago my wife and I signed paperwork to have a new house built for us about ten minutes up the road in the neighboring county. Property taxes are lower, the house will be roughly the same size as our current house, mortgage rates are low and we can conceivably sell our house, put that money towards the next house, get a lower rate and come away with a lower set of expenses every month. We’re putting our current house on the market after the holidays and while our realtor is confident that our house offers many attractive things for prospective buyers, a basement full of Transformers is not one of them, hence the aforementioned steps.

Granted, it’s mindless work, or it should be mindless work, but every time I wrap one of those bad boys up, I’m going to be worrying that the event that this whole plan hinges on, namely the sale of our current house, won’t happen, or when it does happen it will be after months of us carrying two mortgages. When one is looking to move to lower one’s monthly expenditures, adding a mortgage payment is counter to that plan. I’d like to think that we’ll move into our new house with no problems and I’ll be standing in my family room, happily chomping on a cigar like Hannibal Smith, marveling at how well my plan came together but I have the sneaking suspicion that I’ll end up like one of the many hapless jeep drivers on the A-Team, rocketing off of a ramp before landing in a copse of trees.

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On the other hand, maybe we’ll sell our house early and my whole family will have to move in with my in-laws while we wait for our new house to be finished. If that happens, my gaming habits will change considerably, moving primarily to the iPad and possibly my laptop if I can find the right game. If that happens, what will I write about here? What will I talk about on the show? It’s no secret that I haven’t been doing any paid games writing work in quite some time. That part of my life is in the rear view and I don’t see that changing. I still love talking about games, but if I’m somewhat forced to play fewer games, will I still enjoy them when I come back? Will I still want to talk about them? If I am forced to live with my in-laws, dear reader, I hope that you will indulge me in chronicling the slow descent into madness come about by living with my in-laws and not playing any games. I can tell you from past experience that my pain is generally entertaining to others, so there’s always that to look forward to.

When I’m not packing up all of my toys, as well as everything else in the house that the realtor deemed unfit for prospective buyer consumption, I’ll be hanging out with my brother-in-law. He’s flying in from Oregon, which is nice as I haven’t seen him in a while and he’s always fun to hang with. Unfortunately, his visit means that my mother-in-law’s normal levels of pre-holiday lunacy have been jacked up to code red levels. Serious discussions regarding meal planning have already taken place, as if modern food storage methods are incapable of handling something as complex as a turkey breast. As someone who handles all of the meal planning in our house, I don’t know where this is coming from, but that’s like asking the wind why it blows, or asking my son why he can’t figure out that he has to use the bathroom prior to the evening’s meal coming to the table. These are questions that simply can’t be answered.

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Don’t worry, there will be games played too. I know that Need for Speed: Most Wanted will be under the tree, having purchased it myself in a pre-Black Friday sale. I asked for AC III from my mom and sister and they’re pretty good about getting my my requested games. I have a bunch of clean up to do in Sleeping Dogs, the last piece of Darksiders II DLC to tackle and the Ni No Kuni demo to marvel at. I’m also hip deep in Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition on the iPad and am looking at the new Penny Arcade/ Playdek collectible card game for the iPad. Finally, I have Rise of the Guardians at home, a tie in game for the recently released animated movie. Going from one open world game to another isn’t something my OCD can handle, so a simple romp through a movie tie-in game, complete with an easy 1000 points, is just what I need to end the year on a relatively stress free note.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a challenging year and the beginning of next year has the potential to be a blighted hellscape of financial stress and psychic trauma. If I spend more time next year talking about things that aren’t games, I hope you’ll put up with it and keep coming back. Writing here has continued to be a bright spot for me throughout the year and I’m eternally grateful for the support of all our readers and listeners.

So happy holidays, my friends. I hope that your holiday season is safe and filled with joy and hope for the coming year. I hope that you get everything you asked for, and maybe even a surprise or too. Mostly, I hope that good fortune comes your way and continues to shine on you throughout the year. Feel free to sound off in the comments with your own holiday plans. Hopefully they’re more exciting than packing Transformers.

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Brandon loves games, which shouldn't be a surprise given where you're reading this. He has written for GameShark, The Escapist and G4, and made them all less relevant as a result.

9 thoughts to “The Holiday Plans”

  1. If you have any… oddly colored walls (pink girls room, etc.) I suggest painting them something neutral.

    My wife an I just sold two houses recently, and you’d be really surprised how the thought of having to paint a wall themselves will really throw off a buyer. Also, get rid of any wallpaper. Everyone hates wallpaper, no matter what HGTV tries to tell you.

    1. Yeah, man: how do we know this story isn’t an elaborate cover for you to sneak off and start a new website podcast with Troy Goodfellow and Jenn Cutter called The Cuttcowski-GoodSchnellow Event?

      On an unrelated topic, I’ve recently decided to spend the holiday working on a new script about what happens when three friends exceed the recommended occupancy limits of the teleportation pod from The Fly. Laterz!

      1. I’m emailing Troy and Jenn now. That name is too good to pass up.

        I was going to take a picture but I forgot before I started packing. There’s a lot of them, trust me.

  2. I’ve been sticking to my schedule of one Walking Dead episode every Sunday. Just finished Episode 4.

    I really hope Jumping the Shark sets aside the spoiler lamp and lights up the spoiler lighthouse once Todd and Bill have finished it. Brandon is a paragon of willpower for having kept all this to himself…I don’t think I’ve played another game that made me shout at the television so much.

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