One awesome holiday down and one epic holiday to go, and then the truth sets in: it’s all downhill from here, kids.

I’m kidding. It’s all uphill.

But let’s not be distracted by what the future may or may not hold. It’s party time. New Year’s Eve is next and it looks like my plans to celebrate it in a mountain chalet in Whistler have been dashed. (I don’t ski, but I aspire to be a ski bunny because you have to have goals).

Instead, I’ll be ringing in the new year at home. This is because I did not win the lottery, despite receiving a Christmas stocking full of festive instant win cards, or as I think of them, instant sorry-about-your-luck cards.

The cards were given to me more in jest than in any hopeful sincerity that I’d win.

The Carpenter knows I do not like scratch and win lottery tickets, so every Christmas, without fail, he gets me a gift packet full of them. I don’t care if it is a crossword game or a match the impossible-to-read symbols or numbers, or worse, Bingo, I don’t want to play.

It’s a crapshoot. It’s a temptation fraught with disappointment. It’s like your wedding night if your wedding night were a scratch and win ticket. (Oh right, your wedding night was wild and passionate. Sure thing.)

Every Christmas, as the relatives gather around the Christmas tree for the annual gift exchange, the Carpenter stands up and hands out the instant win gift packs like he’s dealing poker cards. He loves it. In his eyes, he is Willy Wonka handing out the golden ticket. Delusional. But everyone who receives them seems as genuinely excited as he is.

Not me, though. I don’t like “maybe” gifts. Did I win? Maybe. Argh. Stuff it. I know my Visa bill is thick come January. Am I going to win some cash or not? It’s that simple. The most I ever won was a free ticket to further increase my hopes that I too could go to Whistler and apres-ski, without having to pre-ski or actual-ski. I’ve never been to Whistler, so draw your own conclusions.

The not winning infuriates me, but it’s also the impossible task of scratching off those teeny-tiny grey patches. Even with bifocals and a lucky penny, I cannot manage to clear off the squares. It makes me tense. I want to go rogue and scratch the whole playing field.

Everyone around me starts scratching like my dog that one summer she got fleas. They hunch over their cards creating a dust pile of grey smudge on the edge of their cards. My favourite moment is when they casually blow the grey smudge off the cards, or flick it off with the back of their hands, sending flecks of it into the atmosphere like it’s no big deal. Nobody says a word. There is always one joker who gets the grey stuff all over their clothes and then stands up and shakes it off onto the furniture, the floor and the tray of holiday hors d’oeuvres. It’s disturbing.

You know what isn’t disturbing? Spending New Year’s Eve in a chalet on Whistler mountain. I’ll pass my lottery cards to the Carpenter so he can scritch-scritch-scritch to his heart’s content. Besides, he has to split the winnings either way, so have at it. 

Happy New Year, everyone.



Kelly Waterhouse