10 Reasons Why I have a Love/Hate Relationship with Christmas

I have the best memories of Christmas growing up in my house. My parents didn’t have a lot of money but they were sure to make every holiday special.

They made decorating a family affair, with the Jackson 5 Christmas album at full blast on the hi-fi (no, younger generation, I did not mean wifi) and showering us with second hand Salvation Army toys washed in bleach. As we got older and the financial situation got better, bleached toys turned into Atari and Jordache jeans.

Then I got married and became a mother myself. I continued the tradition (minus the Salvation Army and bleach) with my child.

Then suddenly, it wasn’t as fun anymore. Fisher Price turned into Abercrombie which turned into Lilly Pulitzer. The cost per item substantially went up.

But that’s not why I’m stressed. I’m just saying having a teenage girl is costly. Don’t know where she gets that from. I grew up in Cal-pros and homemade polyester bell bottoms. But I digress.

I find as I get older, I lose the energy for it. I love Christmas. Don’t get me wrong. I love the carols, the lights on the houses, the festivities, the cheer, the eggnog. I love it all.

I love it all except what I don’t love. So I am here to tell you these are a few of my least favorite things:

  1. Sending Christmas cards – Choosing a perfect good enough picture, sending it to Costco via the inter webs, putting them in envelopes, licking them closed, printing the labels and stamping them is too daunting a task. And if you don’t have someone’s address? It sits on the corner in the “to-do” pile until next year because you are too lazy to go look it up.
  2. Decorating and Un-decorating – I love to go Christmas tree shopping. I love putting on the ornaments. But that’s where it stops. Because inevitably there are some lights that won’t work, I will break a favorite ornament and run out of extension cords. I find if I don’t have a nice stiff glass of spiked eggnog within arm’s reach, I just can’t get through it. And then putting it away is an entire weekend and makes me wonder what the point was. That requires much more eggnog but can be dangerous with the fifty trips down into the basement. I could fall and die. Which wouldn’t be the worst thing because then I wouldn’t have to do this again.
  3. Gift Buying – I love the gift giving part of it. Just can’t someone else do the work? With half a million nieces and nephews and cousins and now another generation in the world, my brain is overloaded with who I have to buy what for. There will never be an end. Well, until I die. If I drink too much eggnog during my un-decorating weekend, that could happen.
  4. Teachers, troop leaders, dance teachers, pastors, co-workers, neighbors, friends, bus drivers, UPS person, mailman, garbage man – Oh, did I already cover the gift part? Well, let me revisit. There are only so many $5 gift cards we can give from Dunkin’ Donuts.
  5. Parties – No, I like parties. How’d that get on my list?
  6. Elf on a Shelf – I remember when this guy was a thing before it was a thing. I acquired him years ago and he lasted precisely one-half a season. Now I just get tortured by seeing pictures of His Creepiness posted on Facebook. Well, unless you do something completely inappropriate with him like posing him with Barbie in a compromising position or have him hanging out of a wine bottle looking completely schnokered. Also, I feel like he follows me with his eyes.
  7. Crowds Every-freaking-Where – You cannot go to the mall without spending half a day looking for a parking spot. Then when you finally find one in the next town over and walk two miles to get inside, you are pushed and shoved until are bruised and feel like you’ve fought in a battle. The body heat alone is enough to send a peri-menopausal woman into orbit. You wait in line for whatever it was you settled for because they ran out of what you really wanted three weeks ago and will not be reordering. Even the internet is crowded.
  8. Wrapping – We spend hours, and I mean HOURS wrapping that crap up. We make it as pretty as possible with tissue paper, wrapping, bows and tags. Our backs hurt from leaning over for hours. And then we run out of tape. Where was that eggnog?
  9. It’s over in 3.6 seconds – After a month of decorating, cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, bruising and sweating, it’s over in a nanosecond. Those pretty, perfect packages ripped to shreds by greedy, anxious children (and some adults I know).
  10. The gift that keeps on giving – That credit card bill that comes in the mail a month later after all the festivities have died and the decorations have been boxed up and put away with the moth balls. You sit there with your mouth hanging to the floor and swear next year will be different but you just kid yourself…you know it won’t be because let’s face it, we love Christmas.

So, Merry Christmas everyone. Here’s to working lights and extension cords galore. Go pour yourself some eggnog and take a deep breath. It will all be over soon.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. It means different things for different people. For some, it means four generations of mothers/daughters dressing up in the same outfit and flaunting their threads at the local Chinese buffet.

For others, it means hosting a party and inviting every mother within a ten mile radius.

And others still, a nice quiet day with the family or breakfast with mom is all they wish for.

I have done all of the above at least once in my nearly seventeen years of being a mother (except the twinsie thing; as cute as that may be, it’s just not for me).

Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate and appreciate your mother. Or if you are a mother, for your children — those little creatures you’ve helped bring into the world and raise — to appreciate you. Or both, of course.

Since I am lucky enough to still have my mother, I will stop and show my appreciation with a phone call, an e-card and a gift she practically ordered herself. She knows I appreciate her. But it’s my day too. Call me selfish, but I’m still raising my kid and that shit is hard work. I need a f*cking break.

Every year there is really only one thing I want to do. Be alone. I know, I know. I should want to spend the day with my kid. I’m being completely selfish (again). What kind of mother am I? But can I ask one question? If I do decide to spend Mother’s Day with my child, what makes this day any different from the rest?

I have a friend who used to get completely incensed at me for wanting to just be left alone on Mother’s Day. “Mother’s Day is so you can spend the day with your children.” No. Not for me, it isn’t. Oh and hey. Do me a solid. Don’t judge my decision and I won’t judge yours.

I love my crotch fruit more than I do myself or any other being, dead or alive. I will lay myself down in front of a speeding freight train and move mountain and earth for this kid. I will drop what I’m doing at any given moment if she needs me to. I am there for her through thick and thin. I don’t need to spend my Mother’s Day with her to prove that.

Quite honestly, I would like to let my family off the hook. Go. Go do something else. Go to the mall. Go to a museum or for a walk. Go read a book. Go pick your nose if you want to. Just don’t do it within ear or eye shot of me.

HAPPY MOTHERS DAYAnd when The Kid is a grown up with children of her own? A phone call or card will be fine with me. I know we are always mothers until the day we depart this fine world, but my job will be done. It will be time to pass the torch.

So, what am I doing today? What I always would prefer to do, whether I get there or not…sit on the back deck with a good book and a pitcher of margaritas. Alone.

I think I make it pretty easy. So, happy Mother’s Day to all mothers near and far. I hope you get what you want. Now, I’m going back to my margarita so leave me alone.

 

Why Winter Sucks More Than a Hoover

NOTE: As I am writing this, I get an email from our local Patch with this headline: “A Little More Snow, Dangerous Winds, 25 Below Zero Wind Chills.” It’s time to move.

I realize not everyone has the distinct pleasure of living in a place where you get projectile vomited on with the white stuff before winter has barely started. But I do. Which gives me the qualifications to get my bitch on.

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Don’t be fooled by it’s beauty. It’s really just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I have lived in the Northeast for about 40 of my nearly 48 years of life. Which is a strange choice seeing that I have no outdoor winter skills to speak of whatsoever. I don’t ski, I can’t stand up on a pair of ice skates, and snowboarding? The thought makes me hyperventilate and I’m not even claustrophobic. I used to be able to build a mean snowman, but I lost that skill somewhere around 1982.

With that being said, I usually don’t mind a good snowstorm. As long as I have a bottle of my favorite wine, some french fries and working WiFi. Which, by the way, can be touch and go if the storm is bad enough.

But something happened to me this year. I snapped. And I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m just about ready to join the Snowbirds in Florida. Hell, they have it right with their afternoon cocktails, early bird specials and bed by 8.

Also, I realized the other day that I was in dire need of some sunshine when, while watching television, I paused the TV on a commercial advertising an island vacation and I put my face up to the screen to get a dose of some Vitamin D. Just so you know, it didn’t work so don’t bother.

Anyway, I’ve devised a list of why I just can’t take it anymore. It wasn’t hard to come up with.
  1. Static. If I get shocked one more f***ing time when I touch anything, I will kill something. Same thing goes for my flying hair, sticking clothes and the blankets on my bed. Every time I move, I fear going up in flames. It’s a good thing I’ve got 911 on speed dial.
  2. Slipping. I wonder how many people wind up in the emergency room this time of year? I swear Mother Nature and the medical industry are in cahoots. It doesn’t matter how careful I am, it’s a constant struggle to keep myself in the upright position when I venture out-of-doors. It may look funny but it doesn’t feel funny because I’m not laughing.
  3. Mud and slush. It’s on my car. My coat. My shoes. The back of my pants, my butt (okay, so that’s when I do #3). There are footprints all over my house, and that’s after everyone has taken off their shoes at the door.
  4. IMG_0229Piles of snow. Every-freaking-where. The piles are so big, I can’t see around or over them. I run the risk of getting slammed by a car because I can’t see it coming. And space is running low. What I like the best is when you ricochet off of one of these guys. Last time I checked, I wasn’t living in a county fair on a bumper car ride. If I was, it’d be warm out. And I’d be happy.
  5. Cold. The cold is permeating through the windows and doors as if there are no windows and doors. Making my oil bill go through the roof. My house isn’t built like Alcatraz. Even if it was, I don’t think it would help.
  6. No school. Please. Just go to school. Enough said.
  7. Dry everything. The mucus in my nose has hardened up so bad from the dry air that I need a chisel to remove it. The skin on my heels so sharp, I’m afraid I’ll stab my husband to death in our sleep. The skin on my legs flaking so much that I can feed the entire population of bed bugs. Yeah, that was gross. The truth is ugly.
  8. The prep. It takes a half hour to get ready to go outside. And although you are wearing a t-shirt, a long sleeved shirt, a sweater, leggings, jeans, your parka, a hat, scarf, gloves, two pairs of socks and boots so big and heavy it’s almost impossible to walk, you still run the risk of hypothermia.
  9. Shoveling. Although shoveling does burn a lot of calories, the process is a major pain in the ass. After you get dressed (see #8) you have to fight to stay upright (see #3) and then have nowhere to put it (see #4).
  10. Not enough sun. Wait. What? What is the sun again and where does it come from?

So there you have it. I’m sure there is more but I’m too depressed to think any more. I’m going to go sit under my desk lamp and pretend I’m in Cancun. Or hibernate like a bear.

PS – After the writing of this post, our furnace died. I believe it tried to hibernate as well. What sucks worse than winter? Having no heat when it’s 7 degrees outside.

PPS – You know what also sucks? Ice DamminIMG_4225g.

 

My New Year’s Resolutions That Are Meant To Be Accomplished, Maybe.

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Happy 2015! Is it going to be happy? I sure hope so. I do hate when a new year starts though, really if only for the fact that it takes me 5 weeks to remember to write the new year on my checks.

If I’m being honest here, there is something else I hate about a new year: the dreaded Resolutions. They are tweeted and Facebook’ed about on the daily, declaring life changes for “real this time.”

You see the “I’m gonna lose 50 pounds this year” one day and 2 weeks later, that same person posts a selfie of them scarfing down a plate of fries at Red Robin (guilty as charged – uhh, bottomless fries — hello?).

With that being said, I am here to declare my New Year’s Resolutions to you. I have all good intentions. I really do. (“Good Intentions.” That counts for something, doesn’t it?)

  1. I will try something new. That something new is Hot Yoga. I came, I conquered (sort of), I paid $20 for 2 weeks of unlimited classes. Prediction: after the 2 weeks is up, I will most likely not set one more painted toenail in a yoga studio – look for a post on that coming soon to a timeline near you.
  2. I will come out of my comfort zone more than once this year. See #1. Also, by “comfort zone” do they mean to choose the salad bar over the raw bar at the local chinese buffet? Prediction: my natural ability to be lazy may take over my unnatural ability to leave the comfort of my cozy couch. I mean, come on man, it’s cold. And when it’s warm? I will be on the beach. Maybe I’ll set up my chair in a different spot.
  3. I will lose 10 pounds. Repeat after me: I will lose 10 pounds. I will lose 10 pounds. Yes, I will lose 10 pounds. I will exercise 5-6 days a week and write down everysinglething I put in my mouth on the LoseIt! app on my iPhone. And I WILL lose 10 pounds. Prediction: I will revel in my svelte new figure that will be able to house the size 4 jeans without too much of a muffin top that fit the last time I lost 10 pounds. I will repeatedly swear I will never, ever gain weight again. This will last precisely 8 weeks or until the next family party (if you have met my family, then you understand what I mean). How do I know? It’s called deja vu.
  4. I will spend time trying to gain new fans on my Facebook page. I will spend hours befriending other bloggers, swapping out “likes,” selling my first born so that I can reach into the double digits. Prediction: After about 2 weeks, I will realize that it’s just bullshit. Besides, it’s so much more fun to stalk people from high school instead. (Note: I really do love my blogger friends, but I love them for them, not to do favors for each other, well, unless we want to)
  5. Think before I speak. Before I open my mouth, I will think about what I allow to come out of it. Prediction: I will forget to think.
  6. I will take a writing course and develop my skills. Actually, here is one resolution that I hope to accomplish. I have signed up for a writing course which starts this Tuesday and lasts 6 weeks. Prediction: I will pass with flying colors and be the star of my class. Okay, maybe not the “star” but I will pass. I swear. Because I have $400 on the line and if I don’t, I would have wasted a good Christmas present. And you all know how I hate wasting.

So, there you have it. The Resolutions of 2014 2015 according to Mo. Good luck to you all. I hope this year brings health, happiness and at least one accomplishment that you resolved to do. If you don’t? Eh. There’s always next year.

The Day She Stopped Believing In Santa Claus

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This time of year inevitably brings about the curiosity from children on the cusp of what to think of Santa. You can see it in their eyes. They aren’t quite sure what to do. Their brains start to wonder how it’s possible but yet they are afraid of the answer.

This is how it went down in my house when The Kid was on that very cusp about 7 years ago:

Her: Mom, is there a Santa Claus?

Me: Yes honey, of course there is.

Her: Mom, please. I’m asking you to tell me the truth.

Me: Well, what do YOU think?

Her: Mom, just tell me. Please…or I’m screwed.

Did our 9 year old just say “screwed?” Yes, yes she did.

After DH reprimanded her for using bad language and after I stopped laughing because come on, that was funny, I needed to know what she meant. There are a few different meanings to “screwed” and although I knew she wasn’t referring to the one “screwed” that I automatically think of because I have a dirty mind, I needed clarification.

Me: What do you mean by “screwed” exactly?

Her: Well, what am I going to tell my children? How will I know if there is a Santa or not if you don’t tell me the truth?

And that’s how it happened. It is known as “the night The Kid stopped believing in Santa” around here and it saddened me. A little.

There was a part of me that was happy the facade was over. No more lying to my kid’s face. No more having this big, fat lie of a man taking credit for all of my hard work. No more trying desperately not to slip up, hoping some loud-mouthed brat on the school bus wouldn’t break her heart.

But it was sad because it was the end of her innocence. She had stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy the year before and I’m not even sure she really ever understood the whole Easter Bunny thing. I’m not even sure I understood the whole Easter Bunny thing. That right there is just plain creepy. If I saw a large, life-sized rabbit hiding eggs in my house, I’d probably stab him with a kitchen knife.

Because a fat man in a red suit coming out of my flue like a raccoon who went into the wrong hole is any less creepy. The only reason I wouldn’t stab him with a kitchen knife is because he is bearing gifts. Eggs? I don’t need to elaborate.

But I digress.

I knew it was coming. I’m pretty sure she was a little apprehensive the prior year. I could sense it. I’m guessing she was afraid to say she didn’t believe anymore for fear of receiving fewer presents. Little did she know it really wouldn’t have made a difference. One of the perks of being an only child? Maybe.

Even though she doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, she believes. She believes in the magic. The love and the generosity. The giving and of course, the receiving. And now that she’s driving? The crowds and the traffic.

Santa may be a lie, but only in that there is no fat man in a red suit flying all over the world delivering toys (damn, kids are gullible). But the spirit of Santa, what he stands for, is alive and kicking.

Merry Christmas my friends. Let the spirit of Santa be within you. And if your kids hate you for lying to them for the past 9 years? Eh. They are going to probably hate you in about 4 years anyway, so get used to it.

 

Really Stupid Post About Why Today Kinda Sucked For Me

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What’s left of my next best thing to a “Cronut”

I had a really off day today. Actually, it was more than just “off.” It was downright B.A.D. I don’t know if it’s the weather, the fact that Christmas is 2 weeks away and I’m not ready for it or if my PMS is working double-time.

Every-freaking-thing is annoying me. Ev-er-y-thing. From the sound of human voices to the oil man in my driveway giving us $23,000-an-ounce liquid so we don’t freeze our asses off during this ridiculous winter that technically hasn’t even started yet.

What else is pissing me off, you ask? Let me tell you…

  • The fact that I have 100 Christmas cards sitting in Costco waiting to be picked up so I can spend an entire day (note the exaggeration there?) addressing and licking envelopes to send out to people. Some people who we haven’t seen or heard from in 22 years. People who will most likely take the card I spent 2 hours making sure was perfect and just throw it in the trash on January 1st (guilty).
  • The fact that I signed up for a cookie exchange and I committed to making 8 dozen cookies. Do you know what that involves? Shopping for ingredients like almond extract that I will use an 8th of a teaspoon for and then never use again. Not to mention a full day standing on my feet baking. Can’t I just go and drink wine and eat? I’m really good at drinking wine and eating. I am. You can ask anyone.
  • The fact that I have to get down on my ever-loving hands and knees to water a Christmas tree that, no matter how much aspirin or TLC we put into it, seems to die 2 days after putting it up. Have you seen a 47 year old woman with bad knees try to extricate herself from under a pine tree that is in a house and then proceed to try to get up from a half lying position on the floor? It ain’t graceful, I can promise you that.
  • The fact that I had 2 thousand phone calls to make today. I don’t want to make phone calls. I hate making phone calls. Why in the hell are there always phone calls to make? Does someone have an answer to that one? Because I’d like to know.
  • The fact that I have three loads of folded laundry waiting to be put away and just as many loads waiting to be washed.
  • The fact that 2 of the 3 toilets in my house need a scrubbing. Rugs that need to be vacuumed. A coffee table that needs dusting.
  • The fact that I sat in my PJ’s all day long, didn’t pick up my 100 Christmas cards at Costco, didn’t make but 1/2 a phone call. Or did the laundry. Or any of the above.

Do you know what I did do today?

When The Kid got home from school, it looked like she was having a bad day too. So, instead of saying, “it’s okay, shake it off, have an apple.” I say, “freak this, let’s go get french fries. And when we’re done with that, let’s get some of those new croissant donut things at Dunkin’ Donuts.” So we did.

Except DD didn’t have any croissant donut things left so I freaked and almost died right there in the drive-up lane. All I can say is that it’s a darn good thing they sell other flavors.

Now I’m pissed that I didn’t have the willpower to say, “let’s have an apple.” You know, as I watch my muffin top grow larger with every bite.

Oh freak that, no I’m not. I’m not pissed. Not at all. I enjoyed every minute. And The Kid and I laughed so hard during our little jaunt. We both needed it. Even if at the cost of a pound or two. Eh, maybe three (for me, not her).

(Yes, that’s me eating a donut in slo-mo, because why not?)

Yes, I appreciate my life. Yes, I’m grateful for our health and safety. Yes, I love Christmas. Still, I’m allowed to have a bad day.

So, I’m going back to bed. And starting over. Tomorrow. I hope.

If I’m lucky Dunkin’ Donuts will burn to the ground while I sleep. But then I will never get my Cronut. Looks like I may have a problem, Houston.

Our Family Christmas Letter – Volume 2

Dear friends and family (yes, that includes you, high school friend who I haven’t seen or spoken to since 1986…remember me?),

So, here we are again. Christmas time. Why does it seem like I just vacuumed up the last pine needle from last year? Because I did. Literally. Just in time for those little bastards to make another mess all over my wood floors, mocking me from their safe little crevice haven. Just so you know, I’m coming back as a pine needle in my next life. Those guys have the shelf life of a Twinkie. And who doesn’t want to live as long as a Twinkie? Wait…let me rethink that.

I am sitting here, sipping my irish cream, making up every excuse in the book to not start decorating. I mean, I love the look and feel of my halls all decked out, but I just don’t want to do it. Besides, sipping irish cream is so much more fun.

But let’s face it, after I bust my back from lugging up the 500 pounds of Christmas shit from the basement, most of it leftover from my mother’s leftovers but have to put up because otherwise The Kid will throw a fit and say something stupid like, “but it’s a tradition,” I’m damn exhausted.

Why the hell can’t someone invent a magic elf to come and perform some holiday decorating magic? You know like that little Elf on the Shelf guy but not as creepy. Or annoying.

C’est la vie or feliz navidad or whatever.

Anyway, I know you are all dying to know what our little family has been up to in the last 12 months. You can take a breath now, because I’m going to tell you.

The Kid is great, awesome, smart, healthy, lovely, sweet as pie. She’s perfect in every way. Oh, who am I kidding? She’s 16 years old. Did you hear me? Sixteen. Sure, she’s smart, healthy (thank you God) and she is lovely looking. She has good genes after all. And she can be sweet as pie. You know, when she needs something or has the stomach bug or she knows she’s in trouble. Otherwise, the only pie she’s as sweet as is a pecan number left out in the sun for 14 days.

I will say she has the gift of negotiation otherwise known as “taking advantage of her parents.” Kudos to her. Damn. If I could have gotten away with that when I was her age, I would have the gift too. Oh, how times have changed.

She got her license a couple of months back. Sure, it makes my life easier. I love sending her down to the corner for bread or milk or something I forgot at Shop Rite because that’s what I do. Forget stuff. But the level of stress that comes with having a child out driving a 2 ton machine? It’s high. You think that time when you lost your kid for 40 seconds in the mall and you were pretty sure she was stolen and already halfway to Mexico was bad? This has got nothing on that.

God bless all mothers of teens. Why can’t we eat our young like they do in the wild? Because we’d get arrested. Stupid laws.

My Dear Husband is great. He is working hard. Keeping a roof over our heads so I don’t have to. He doesn’t have his motorcycle anymore because he had a little mishap. He is fine, thank goodness. His bike, not so much. I’m sad. Mainly because it doesn’t spend its winter in the living room as usual. Now I have to find something to put in that space. First world problems, what can I say. The man looks as damn good as he did in the last holiday letter I sent out. Can’t fatten him up, no matter how hard I try. It’s okay though, because I’ve done it for him. Fatten myself up, I mean.

As for me…I love keeping my sweet house and making sure order is maintained. Just call me Carol Brady. Oh wait, that bitch had a house maid who cooked, cleaned, did the laundry, grocery shopping and everything in between. Yes, I am a Carol wannabe. Because I actually hate all of the above mentioned bull crap. Instead, I live vicariously through her while watching old episodes of The Bunch on Nick At Nite. I have been known to salivate at the screen. And not because Mike is hot. Even though he’s dead now. Poor guy. Also, I guess it turns out he was probably more into Greg than Carol. I never knew.

We went to Hawaii over the summer. Jealous, are you? Well, don’t be. Because that’s a lie. But we did go to a luau-themed party. It was so much fun. I got to drink something alcoholic out of a plastic coconut. Probably the closest I’ll ever get to the real thing so I’ll take it. Hawaii? Maybe next year.

Well no. There won’t be a Hawaiian trip next year either because our kid is going to college the year after that and we will not be able to afford to drive to the outlet center let alone take a trip to paradise. So, we had to make a decision…exotic trip or educated kid. Unfortunately, the Kid wins, once again. Mainly because we don’t really want her mooching off of us for all of eternity. I know, it’s selfish of us.

That just about sums it up. We are happy, healthy and alive. What else could I hope for? Well, a live-in maid and a million bucks would be nice. But since there really is no such thing as a Magic Genie, I’ll have to settle for my Clorox Wipes and our water jug filled to the brim with coins. Hey wait. Think there’s a Hawaiian trip in there?

Sincerely,

Mo

Oh, and my family. Of course. Even though they were not harmed, or involved in the creation of this letter in any way.

Happy Thanksgiving. I’m Bringing the Ham.

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It is no secret that I am not a fan of cooking. Sure, I make dinner pretty much every night for my family. But that’s because if I don’t, they will starve, wind up eating crap or I will be talked about behind my back for being a terrible wife and mother and it’s bad enough that it takes me a month to clean my house so I figure I should do something that resembles some sort of domestic act.

I’ve had a running joke for 22 years about holiday cooking. I’m like a broken record this time of year. Especially if I run into a friend or acquaintance at the local Shop Rite. “So, Mo, are you cooking Thanksgiving dinner?” My answer starts out like this, “Umm, that would be a HELL NO!”  I then repeat for the 253rd time, verbatim, the only speech I made on my wedding day. The gist of my little speech? I basically made it very clear that I would never, ever host a holiday dinner EVER.

Last week, this exact thing happened. I saw a friend of mine ahead of me in line. “So, Mo, are you cooking Thanksgiving dinner?” My reply? See above. Of course this friend just laughed and laughed. But the woman behind me? She snapped her head in my direction and glared at me as if I had just fed my child some glass shards.

I risked a peek at her. Suddenly, I was a little ashamed and felt the need to make sure this stranger knew that I loved the holiday and even though I won’t host, I am willing to help out in any way I can. For some reason, I thought I should rectify myself in front of this person who I have never seen before in my life and who I will probably never see again.

Even though I felt like Scrooge lost in the wrong month, my feelings of regret were short-lived. By the time I paid for my groceries, the exchange was forgotten about. Besides, I stand behind my nearly quarter of a century declaration, DAMMIT!

The other day, my sister-in-law, the same sister-in-law who has been hosting Thanksgiving for the past umpteen years — bless her heart — called and asked me to bring a ham. I swallowed hard, my heart rate doing double-time. I think I even broke out in a little sweat.

A ham? I don’t even know how to buy one, let along cook one.

Twenty-two years into my marriage and I have yet to prepare one of these things. I can slap down a couple of slices on some bread but that’s the extent of my experience with ham.

The problem is, every time I make some kind of meat dish, it winds up resembling more of a piece of shoe leather than something that you want to actually eat (I said I cook for my family, I didn’t say I was good at it).

The day she called me and asked for this thing called a “ham” was the day she put the life of our Thanksgiving dinner in my hands. It’s not my fault. Like I said, it’s not a secret.

I find comfort in knowing that there will be other options on the table. So, the meal will not be lost just because I feel the need to keep meat in the oven longer than necessary to prevent anything like E. coli or Salmonella from happening. After all, my heart is in the right place.

So, go forth my people and enjoy your Thanksgiving Day. May your turkey or ham or tofu be perfectly prepared. As for me, I will not be having the ham. I heard the cook isn’t very good.

My Wrapped Up Holiday Thoughts

Christmas In October Cartoon

What’s my problem? I mean, when am I going to get it through my thick middle-aged skull that Christmas starts in October? Before Halloween?

Why is it that every single year I blow my shit because I see Christmas decorations in Kohl’s? Or see a guy on a ladder applying lights on the big pine tree on the property of the local jeweler? Or see effing Christmas commercials on TV before Halloween has even happened. Every year. Like I’ve never seen it before. “Holy crap, is that Rudolph?” Surprise, surprise.

Can I at least enjoy the 3 Halloween decorations I put out for a couple of days? I mean, I am definitely not a lover of the holiday called Halloween, that’s no secret. But still. Give me a break.

Everyone is so quick to pull down those decorations though and I’ve always been happy about not having to look at them for all of eternity. Until I figured out why they are so quick to pull them down — to make room for their Christmas crap.

Christmas crap that is left up way too long. We get to drive around town looking at sagging, dead and sunburnt wreaths hanging on doors and windows until April. Deflated Santas and Reindeer lying in yards, even the life sucked out of them.

1ace59493697d4d541a38cadc9a3240fI totally love Christmas. It was a well loved and cherished holiday in my house growing up. My mom would put up those cheesy plastic popcorn figures of Rudolph and Santa.

Dad would meticulously place our million multi-colored blinking lights on the tree. But not before spending an afternoon testing every single one. Making sure they all worked. And if they didn’t? An afternoon often turned into two days because finding the one light that made the strand dead was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Ahhh, those were the days.

But this was done after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving. One of my favorite holidays. Because, hello? Food. And sitting and drinking and relaxing and laughing with family. No stress. No shopping for months only to have all that work over within 32 seconds by eager and selfish children.

So, I’d like to enjoy that holiday too and not feel rushed with Christmas that is so overdone that by the time December 25th is here, it’s all I can do to keep myself from vomiting up jingle bells and reruns of holiday specials.

Where was I? Oh right, Christmas in October. Santa in the mall. In October. When he should be at the North Pole making presents for all the good little boys and girls of the world. When are our children going to smarten up to this process? How many times are they going to buy the whole, “oh, that’s one of Santa’s helpers” bit? Please.

Do you know when this all started? I’m not really sure. But they call it “Christmas Creep.” Because it’s creepy. Like Santa in October.

Now some retail establishments have gotten so greedy they think it’s a brilliant idea to open on Thanksgiving. A day when people should be with friends and family. You know, not shopping and definitely not working. There is plenty of time for that. Shame on you retail establishments. The ones who partake? You kinda suck.

I feel like I’m having a bit of road rage here. Except I’m calling it Holiday Creep Rage or HCR. I think I’ll go pour myself some spiked eggnog. Yes, eggnog. That is also available. But I don’t have a problem with that. Eggnog should seriously be sold all year round. That stuff is good. Especially when added to some rum. Which is what we all need to get through it all. So, ho ho ho. Merry Hallothanksmas.

Labor Day Equals Pineapple Juice?

This week’s writing prompt is brought to you (or me) by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. She wants me to describe what I did this Labor Day. So, here you go:

Labor Day weekend, to me, starts on Friday and runs all the way up through Monday (of course). I don’t usually work Fridays but I did last week because I traded one of my other days. Because something must have come up. Another of many millions of perks of My Job.

The Kid had field hockey practice until 4:30. Then Driver’s Ed until 8. So, I had to sit and behave and not have any wine because, well, drinking and driving don’t mix ever. But most especially if you have a kid that you need to pick up.

Friday. No score. No party. No fun. Damn kids.

Saturday was better. We had two parties on the calendar. The first one was an annual event thrown by good friends of ours. It’s always sure to be a great time, we can count on that. The host with the most at this annual party always serves pineapple infused vodka. I’ll get back to that in a minute.

The second one was a themed party. A “Redneck” party thrown by my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. This is also turning into an annual affair. Again, another great time.

I know you can't tell, but that's me.
I know you can’t tell, but that’s me.

Now getting back to the pineapple infused vodka. It’s delicious. And dangerous. I started out at the friend’s party drinking 2 glasses (maybe 3…okay 3) of the vodka. After about 5 hours we left there to go to my in-law’s party.

At that party, I drank two glasses of wine (no pineapple vodka because they didn’t have it, a blessing in disguise. They did have margaritas, my favorite, but I steered clear of them because vodka and tequila? Probably a “NO”). We stayed at this party for about 3 hours, then left to go home to our beddie-bye.

It’s late. I think I’m tired. On the way home, I get a text (or did I text her? Hmm.) from my friend with the vodka letting us know that they are still partying and if we’d like to come back.

Hells yes, of course. I am not one to turn away from a good time. Ever. I show up in my Redneck attire and guess what’s waiting for me? A nice cold glass of pineapple infused vodka. Also, it turns out I’m not tired at all suddenly.

I do not have one, but two more of these glasses of pineapple infused vodka for my enjoyment and everyone else’s because by now I’m three sheets to the wind (whatever the hell that means) and I’m at my best in the comedic sense, according to me. It’s a good thing I kept my clothes on.

Actually, I’m not known for doing that when I’ve had a few too many. Pee my pants? Snort a little? Dance up on a table or two? Say a little too much about just about anything? Sure. But the clothes, they always stay on. Pinky swear. But I may subject my peeps to something like this:

photo 2
This may or may not be my friend. Whoever this is has been dramatically changed to protect the innocent. Could it be Gene Simmons? Perhaps.

The night was a blur after — count ’em — 7 cups or something of alcoholic beverages in as little as 12 hours. Oh wait, that’s not so bad. That’s less than a drink an hour. And just so you know, I drank plenty of water in the in-between. In between what? Who knows. I just did. This I remember. Let’s just say I tried to pace myself. I really did.

Sunday was a day spent with The Kid watching old classics like The Breakfast Club (my fave) and Mean Girls (hers). It was a good thing too, because I needed the couch pillows to keep my head from spinning.

Sunday. I could say “bust” but it wasn’t totally because I spent it with my daughter watching movies. I ate nothing because a spinning head makes a girl nauseous. And I went to bed at 7pm. So let’s just call it a partial bust.

Monday. The actual day of no-Labor. Eh, let’s just say it was kind of a bust. I was still feeling a little funky (not horribly bad, I mean I could have mustered up the energy to do something, but glad I didn’t). There was a chance of rain, so we didn’t go on the boat. DH kept saying stuff like, “let’s do something” but then we didn’t because, well, I was still a little dizzy to think of anything and so was he I guess. Well, not dizzy. Just…I don’t know. I can’t answer that.

He did make a trip out to Kentucky Fried Chicken and came back with an extra treat called A Dozen Donuts. So, we ate our sorrows (or my sorrows for having too may pineapple vodkas that is not really juice even though it tastes like it) and I gained about a pound and a half past what I probably lost from not eating the day before.

Was the weight gain from the vodka? Maybe. But it was more likely the fried chicken, jelly donut and whatever went down the hatch on Saturday before the big spin. But it was good and it was fun and I don’t regret it. Except at my age, I really can’t hold my liquor like I used to. This I know to be fact.

So, there you have it.  Hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day. See you next year. Same place, same time, same freakin’ pineapple infused vodka I’m sure. Except next time I’ll only have 2 glasses. Maybe 3. Okay 4. Damn, do I love that stuff.

Mama’s Losin’ It