Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree - The Battle of The Green Giant

While I set up the tree with the kids, enjoy my story from last Christmas:

My Christmas tree is assembled, the lights are on, and the pepper-berry garland is in place. The ornaments are already beginning to go through a series of trips to various boughs of the tree (as I rearrange them daily) and should reach their final destination on or by Christmas Eve. That is when I shall take one final look at my masterpiece and exclaim, "That's as good as it's ever going to get!" And then resolve that next year it will look even better. :)

I was off to a slow start in filling up my cup of Christmas Cheer this year, but I finally managed to get around to that tree. For those who go the "real" route, getting the family Christmas tree can be a lively excursion - loading all of the kids into the minivan and driving out to the country. Crouched on the snowy shoulder of a dirt and gravel road, knees numb from the cold, you nearly freeze your "aspidistra" off sawing for dear life while the kids keep an eye out for Johnny Law! Of course, the less adventurous folk buy one from a tree lot. I, on the other hand, head to the lowest level of my do battle. To take but one prisoner.

This is my tale....

For eleven long months, my artificial tree has sat dormant in the "Basement Du Frigidaire", waiting under boxes of Easter decorations, old baby clothes, and furnace filters. It waits by the broken lamp, smelling faintly of cat litter, rust and cinnamon candles, for the day to come when I would once again free it from the evil clutches of The Roughneck Tote of Entrapment.

Last weekend that day had arrived. I headed down the narrow and dark basement steps (Note to self: change basement light bulb), holding onto the railing every inch of the way. I pushed aside the clothes basket blocking my path. Pausing for a moment to pay homage to the beloved baby swing that had served us so well over the years, I headed for the tote that contained the beast. I could sense its fury as I began to unearth it from the pile of rubble set atop the mighty tree. It sought the warmth and freedom of the main floor, but in order to get those luxuries it must first bend to my will. I knew it would not leave this place easily.

The Tote of Entrapment bulged at the sides, barely able to contain the incredible mass of the tree. It was secured with duct tape to reinforce its hold and still the tree threatened to break free. Grasping the end of the box, I surveyed the path back to the stairs. It looked clear. I gave a great push and felt the muscles in my legs cinch tight, but the tree didn't budge. I recovered quickly and moved around to the front of the green plastic sarcophagus to see what was impeding my progress. I saw there was a length of two by four under the Tote of Entrapment. Mumbling my frustration into the dank basement air, I dislodged the board and returned to my position behind the box. With another forceful shove I felt the box move smoothly toward the bottom of the basement steps.

I wrestled with the enormous tree, lifting and pushing and lifting and pushing every step of the journey. Near the turn at the top I caught my sleeve on the railing and for a moment I lost my grip on the monstrous, tree-filled box. I felt the tree slide backward. "No!", I cried. I could see I was close to the end of my battle. I couldn't give up now. I wouldn't give up now! Like a laboring mother who has just learned that her baby's head is crowning, I gave one more fantastic push and the tree sprang forth into the kitchen. Carried by the momentum of that fierce push, I charged through the kitchen and dining room yelling a war cry that sounded something like this, "GETOUTTATHEWAYGETOUTTATHEWAYGETOUTTATHEWAY!!!"

At last the battle was won! I was triumphant! I danced jubilantly around the living room while my children sang my praises and my dog cocked his ears, turning his head to one side. The children helped me to unfasten the box that held the tree captive. It burst out of the Tote of Entrapment with the same sound heard when opening a new two liter of pop. Freed from its plastic cage, we set it up in the corner of the living room where it now stands, obediently holding up strands of lights and brightly colored ornaments on its "lifelike" boughs.

Once again I have tamed the mighty beast. Another year...victory is mine!!

Behold awesomeness of the Green Giant:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black and Blue Friday - a poem

Twas the dawn of Black Friday, and in front of the store,
The people had camped out all night by the door,
Their bottoms were nestled in frozen lawn chairs,
As they peered through the glass, plotting what would be theirs.
The veteran shoppers were dressed for the weather
Eyeing new blood, as they huddled together,
When toward the glass doors an employee came near,
With a key in his hand and his face filled with fear
They watched him approach, with their eyes opened wide
He unlocked the door and then leaped to the side.
Like antelope, torn from their watering hole fun,
When the lion creeps nearer, break into full run,
So into the store the patrons did dash,
With lists miles long and buttloads of cash.
More rapid than eagles, they grabbed at Wii Games
They pushed, kicked and called one another foul names.
The Black Friday shoppers went straight to their works,
They prided themselves on behaving like jerks.
They said, "Puck your mother!" (or words of that sort)
As shopping became a full-contact sport!
Black Friday peeps, know this as you roam-
You're fighting without me, I'm staying at home!

Monday, November 22, 2010

They Stole My Snapper!

Sugar Daddy went out to the garage to check out our snow blower to see if it needed any sprucing and primping and oiling and whatnot before it was called back to active duty this winter and discovered that it. Was not. There.

Someone has hijacked our Snapper.

As luck would have it, this story ran in the paper a few days ago.

We may have to pick our snowblower out of a line-up.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Commercialism and Totinos Pizza Rolls

A common theme voiced throughout the fall and winter months is that we're all sick to death of the commercialism that the holiday season brings.

So my question for you is this: What can you do or do you already do to counteract the commercialism brought into our homes via television, Internet and written media? How do you make the holidays about something other than "what am I getting" and "I want that"?

I know for my family, we use it as a time (at least for our nuclear family) to be together, showing each other how much we value one another and enjoying the season for its beauty. We love the snow, the cold, the perfect blue sky (on those days when the sky is blue and perfect), the lights, the warmth of the house, seasonal foods, etc.

We have our own family traditions like lighting a red candle in the middle of the dinner table throughout December. While we enjoy our meal together, we go around and tell one great thing that happened to us that day or something that made us smile and made us feel blessed. This year we are planning to open any cards we receive at dinner as well.

Each year my girls and I watch the movies I grew up with...all those wonderful Rankin and Bass productions, George C. Scott as everyone's favorite crotchety Ebenezer Scrooge and of course my Emmet Otter and his holey washtub.

We got hooked on The Polar Express a few years ago and every year we fall into making fun of the commercials we see. (I guess that's our way of working commercialism in as a source of amusement, no?) Last year it was a Totinos Pizza Rolls commercial. It stuck with us all year long and still brings a laugh every time someone mentions them. So I guess for us, in a way, we prefer not to have our holidays commercialism-free, as some of our holiday traditions are the direct result of commercials!

While the holidays do find us huddled around the warmth of the flat-screen TV for a large portion of December, they also bring us together to be entertained and laugh with each other and that doesn't cost a thing.

What do you do to make the holidays more about you and your family and less about the gifting?

Friday, November 19, 2010


That's where I volunteered this morning.

It was Sam's kindergarten class, which one of her classmates pronounced "kingerdargen". He was adorable.

I get such a kick out of their reactions to new smiling faces. Some recognized me and were super excited to see me again and a few had to first stare at me with blank looks on their little faces. After a bit, even the skeptics decided I wasn't rabid and then proceeded to compliment me on my earrings and ask umpteen questions about "those things in your ears" (my hearing aids). For a minute there, I WAS "show and tell".

As I was leaving, Samantha came to give me a hug and the rest of the class followed her. I was bombarded with hugs from 24 little five and six-year-olds!

I'm totally going back on Monday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dear Corporate Maven on your way to work,

As I saw you stopped behind me at the light this morning, a short film ran through my mind...starring you. I imagined you parking your Lexus in the lot, grabbing your Starbuck's Morning Fix, adjusting your sunglasses and walking in to your job.

I thought of how many people's lives you would touch today.

Maybe you work at a bank where you would be granting someone's loan, making all their dreams of opening their own bait and taxidermy shop come true. Maybe you'd be turning down that loan on the basis that the 1974 AMC Gremlin they drove up in can no longer be considered collateral.

Perhaps you're in real estate and you were on your way to a very important closing that would pay for another month or two of driving that luxury sedan or nearly pay for your youngest child's first year at the University.

Maybe you're one of the administrators at the hospital and you were on your way to meet with your fellow administrators and discuss important things like whether or not the new hospital security cars should be white and blue or blue and white.

The light changed then and we parted company, you headed to the East and I headed to the South.

So, dear madam, wherever it was that you were going at 8:00 this morning, drive safely, do a terrific job and please know that you looked fabulous!

...and I saw you picking your nose.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Human Dominoes!

I have an idea for a novelty product and I want your opinions on it. I've already written this idea down and documented it, so if I see it on the shelves, I'm suing your asses. ;)

When you're standing in the mile-long line at Barnes and Noble this holiday season, bogged down with gifts for others, back aching, feet swollen, serious dent in your wallet, think of giving the person in front of you a nice big shove.

Are you imagining it?

Now we all know the lawsuits we would incur if we really did this, so I propose a way to get the same satisfaction of pushing people down, without the annoying jail-time, community service, anger management classes and courtroom drama.

Yes, that's right. Human Dominoes...people-shaped Dominoes painted with little packages and frowns. Line 'em up and knock 'em down!

I'm trying to figure out a way to put a teeny sound-chip inside so that when they fall they make shouts of alarm and disgruntled noises like real people.

They could be sold in sets of twelve (standard), sixteen (long line) or twenty-four (ginormous Black Friday line).

So who's in?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Parenting Fail #29

We used to watch Friends, right? Right. And remember the scene where Monica divulges the information about Chandler's third nipple? His response? forward (or backward to 2000) and picture me in the grocery store with a 12? 13 month old Madison who wants me to buy gummies she finds in the ever-so-crowded bread aisle. I said no. She said, in her loudest baby voice, "You BITCH!"

Mistake number one was letting the parrot-child watch Friends with us. Mistake number two was saying "WHAT?!" after she said it the first time.


Some Other Stuff I Wrote