Friday, December 30, 2005

Ah, The Power!

Daughter-Only wanders home from a friend's house last night around 5. She's in the door two seconds and quizzing me already:

"What's for dinner?"

"Um, leftovers."

"Leftover what?"

"Ham and scalloped potatoes from the night before last and meatloaf and mashed potatoes from last night. There's also..."

"Stttttooooooppppppp! You're gonna make me puke!"

It's a good thing I'm a superhero and not a supervillain. Imagine all the havoc I could wreak if I used my powers for evil instead of for good.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Ho! Ho! Holy Crap! Is That What I Think It Is?

A leftover slice (or two) of Christmas cheer for those of you who still have room:

---Little Sister and I were on our way for some almost last-minute Christmas shopping (the weekend before the Big Day), when I saw one of those lighted reindeer hanging from a tree by its feet, much the way a hunter would hang his trophy (dead deer for the uninitiated, non-rednecks among you). As an added artistic touch, the guy (c'mon, you know it was a guy) had hung a strand of red lights right down the center of the deer to make it look field dressed. Ewwww...but hey, the giggle I got was worth the gross factor.

---In a related note (and in yet another argument for Decebuary), a friend of a friend came up with a brilliant plan to put one of those reindeer on a spit, rotating over flames made of orange tube-lighting. Alas, he ran out of time before he could execute his plan this year. I share this with all of you on the condition that no one steal the poor guy's demented idea before he gets the chance to get it all together. I mean, I'm pretty sure that all the higher-ups involved in the holiday season would frown upon theft of intellectual property. If they're out of coal, who knows what you might get in your stocking?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Santa's Elves Are Everywhere

To give you some idea of my current mental state, when I wrote the word "everywhere" in the title of this post, the voice in my head wasn't mine--it was the voice of Ray Stevens in his song "Santa Claus Is Watching You." In the background of the chorus, Stevens says in a panicked, bordering on insane, voice, "He's everywhere! He's everywhere!" That's the true voice of this holiday season...

Anyway. Santa's Elves are everywhere, spreading joy and Christmas cheer. And, generous blogger that I am, I'm happy to share some examples with you.

---Customer calls the shop the other day says, "Hi, my name is So-and-So Massengill..." and just as I'm thinking "great, I'll bet she's gonna be a real douche bag," she says, "yes, my last name actually is Massengill." I thought it was uncommonly kind of her to immediately acknowledge the giggle power of her last name.

---In the space of five minutes on Tuesday night, I experienced not one but two true Christmas miracles. Years ago, I inherited two waffle irons from my grandmother that she used to make two varieties of waffle cookies every Christmas. The first few years I had the irons, I diligently turned out cookies to share with friends and family. Then we moved and I somehow lost track of the recipes--which were written on two stained 3x5 index cards in my grandmother's hieroglyphic handwriting. So for going on six years now--no traditional waffle cookies. No one's mentioned them, probably everyone assumed I'm just neck-deep in the details of daily life and too busy to bother with recipes that begin "1 dozen eggs." Anyway, it's been a nagging thought and several times a year, I dig through all my recipe cards and cookbooks and other likely places in search of these damned cards. Tuesday night, while looking for something else altogether (a burned CD with Christmas classics such as "Chipmunks Roasting On A Open Fire," I feel compelled to confess, in part so you can see just how undeserving I was of the miracles about to come my way), I found both of the recipes, one right after the other, in two separate places, places I'd repeatedly looked, by the way. The only thing more miraculous would've been finding them a month and a half ago when I might still have had time to make the cookies.

---I ventured into a Wal-Mart this weekend--I know, I know, THE INSANITY! Anyway, it was exactly as horrible as you'd imagine and maybe even then some. No room to manuever in the aisles crowded with all those other shoppers with their glazed eyes and haunted expressions. Most of the people were too dazed by their own misfortune to be nasty to anyone else, which I guess is a blessing. There was one guy who seemed to be having entirely too much fun. He was dancing around in circles with his cart, while waiting for his wife to paw through the clearance racks of women's clothing. Along comes a woman, clearly on an urgent mission to fill her cart with even more crap, and runs her cart right up the guy's leg, above his ankle and over his foot--and she did not even slow down. No "excuse me," no, "oh--I'm sooo sorry," not even a "please don't file a lawsuit against me." The guy looked sheepishly at his wife, who said, "That's what you get for whipping that cart around like that." And the guy kept on a-grinning. That's some Christmas spirit. Too bad it's not contagious.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Headless Chickens and Other Signs The Holidays Are Here

Have you ever thought about the expression, "Running around like a chicken with its head cut off?" I mean, is that to imply that pre-beheaded chickens are somehow orderly and organized? Head or no head, chickens are a fluttery, chattery, ditzy species, right? So do we have to be so very graphic and insensitive? Can't we just say we're running around like chickens period?

So. I've been running around like a proverbial chicken with or without its proverbial head. I've often bemoaned the shortage of time in December and the long list of things we all expect to get done in so few days. Between the Day Job and Christmas shopping for four increasingly picky children (with increasingly expensive tastes) and trying to scribble out a few Christmas cards to the nearest and dearest (a good portion of whom I only hear from (and vice versa) this time of year) and trying to get a little ritual baking done (it's therapeutic--what's NOT therapeutic is trying to schedule it around everything else that's going on).

In years past, I have suggested to friends, family and coworkers that we start a movement to add the 28 days of February on to December. I mean, what's the point of February, really? Especially in the areas of the country that experience the joys of winter weather, February is just one more trial to be survived before spring's arrival. Though it's the shortest month according to the calendar, it often seems to drag on and on. And December, though it has a full allotment of 31 days, seems to fly on by with barely a chance to catch your breath. Borrowing a page from the best episode of Rugrats ever, we can call it "Decebuary" and we can have the 28 extra days all at the beginning before Christmas, thereby at least moderately upping the chances of me getting all this stuff done on time.

You know what else would help me get things done in a more timely fashion? Spending a little less time blogging (and compulsively reading everyone else's brilliant blogs)...but I gotta say we stand a way greater chance of pushing this Decebuary thing through than of me cutting back on the blogging.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Other Kid--The End of an Era

Other Kid, you may remember, is the little boy we've been babysitting since he was six weeks old. He's our reason for getting out of bed in the morning--at least the reason we got out of bed all summer at the cruel and unusual hour of 4:40 a.m. Anyway, due to changes in his parents' schedules, we're off Other Kid duty at least for the moment. This change is bittersweet--he has been part of our daily lives for years so it's kind of like sending one off to college--at the tender age of four, but it also means no more arbitrary and insane fluctuations in our schedule based on the arbitrary and insane fluctuations in Other Kid's parents' schedules.

Being so closely involved with someone else's child is a strange thing. I love him dearly; I'm tempted to say I love him like one of my own. But the truth is, the investment's entirely different. I care very deeply about him and do my best to protect him and provide him with the things he needs in his parents' absence, but I don't see his growth and behavior as reflections upon me so I can face any problems with him with a bemused sort of detachment that I didn't (and don't) have with my own kids. It's sort of like what I imagine grandparenting will be--love 'em a lot, hope for the best, and send 'em on home. When, for instance, potty training wasn't going well (this is a massive understatement--potty training was failing miserably: there was screaming and tears and bribes and threats--it was like nothing I'd ever seen before), I never spent sleepless nights staring at the ceiling, envisioning Other Kid having to wear Depends to his high school graduation.

For another instance, when things come out of his mouth, I don't wonder much who taught him that or what his saying that means about my skill level as a caregiver. A week or so ago, we were waiting for his grandmother--who happens to be none other than Cranky Boss Lady (oh what a tangled web we weave when first we agree to babysit for the Boss's grandon)--to pick him up for Montessori. She was, as is very usual, running late. Other Kid said, "Where's Grandma?"

I said, "She's just running a little late. She'll be here soon."

Other Kid said, "Grandma's a loser."

Ya' know, I'm really gonna miss that kid.