Where Are You Fisher Price?

pile-of-gifts

I blame my mother for my Christmas obsession.  What is my Christmas obsession, you ask?  The ridiculous problem of not knowing when to stop purchasing gifts for Miss Spoiled Pants (aka The Kid).  I know.  I know.  There are children starving, poor and living in the streets all around the world.  I am aware of that.  And for the record, I also buy gifts for underprivileged families every Christmas.  And contribute to charities throughout the year.  So it makes me feel just a little better about my obsession.  But just a little.

Here is why I blame my mother:  When I was a kid, we couldn’t even walk into our living room from the gifts spilling out from under the tree.  Granted there were 3 of us and our living room was about the size of a shoebox.  But still.  We couldn’t walk into the room.  That right there is a child’s best dream come true.

My parents did not have a lot of money in the early years.  Mother started recycling before it was in fashion.  Purchasing used toys from the local Salvation Army.  Before you get all germaphobe on me, she cleaned them thoroughly with Clorox.  She swears.

And then later on, when there was a double income, I received gifts that would stack up practically to the ceiling.  This would happen until my last Christmas at home.  It was pretty awesome.  Until I became a mother.  What is the expression?  Nature or Nurture?  I think this had to do with the latter.  And I can’t seem to stop.

When The Kid was little — and when I say “little” I mean under the age of 10 — she was incredibly easy to buy for.  Or should I say CHEAP to buy for.  Because anyone who gives you a list a mile long is easy to buy for.  I could buy 100 bucks worth of Fisher Price shit, throw it under the tree and make it look like she hit the mother lode.

When she got into the early double digits, it started getting a little more expensive.  A little.  She wanted stuffed animals and Jonas Brother’s CDs.  Along with an i-Pod. Still, it did not pose much of a problem.  Totally manageable.

Now?  Good Lord.  I’m on the verge of robbing a bank.  One weekly paycheck from My Retail Job barely covers one single item on this kid’s list.  Just so you know, she does not get this from me.  I am a bare-bones kinda gal.  The cheaper, the better.  I can get 5 outfits with $100.  Even if it all falls apart after 2 washes.

DH is not completely onboard with the over the top Christmases.  I basically have to sneak the purchases into the house.  Sometimes hiding them in the trunk or at a friend’s house for days, even weeks, until the right moment hits.  Pulling the “oh that?  I bought that in August when there was a giant sale at K-Mart” card.  Totally works.  I think.  I also feel the need to fulfill most everything on her list.  I don’t understand it.  I never had half the shit she gets.  To make matters worse, she won’t share her closet with me.  But that is a subject for a different blog.

All I can say is that she should count her lucky stars she is an only child.  Because I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t be getting almost everything on her list if she weren’t.  I’m pretty sure.  Well, I think I’m pretty sure.  There is no way of knowing now, is there?

I just really miss Mr. Price, Melissa and Doug.  They were more my speed.  They have been replaced by Apple, Jack Wills and North Face.  North Face.  She doesn’t even ski.  I’m really confused.  Oh well.  Three words that don’t seem to be a part of my vocabulary this time of year:  “Just Say No.”  I think I need help.  In the meantime, if you need some tips on how to hide purchases, just inbox me.

Oh Christmas Tree In My Living Room, Oh Christmas Tree In My Living Room

Christmas treeThere is a tree in my living room.  A big ass tree.  Big.  There is also a motorcycle in my living room, but I already talked about that last winter.  So I’ll talk about the tree.  In my living room.  Drinking water.  With lights and all kinds of crap hanging from it.  Crap that literally took me years to collect.  Years.  Who came up with that tradition?  I’m sure if I took a minute and googled it, I could find out in the flick of an enter button why we do this.  But for now, let’s imagine that there is no way of knowing why we take a tree from the great outdoors and put it in our houses for at least a month.  Even longer if you go for that “Little Christmas” thing.  Which is something else I don’t understand.  But whatever.  I’m going to stay focused here.

Let’s imagine that about 200 years ago (I know this tradition has to be at least this old because of the Little House on the Prairie Christmas episode I watched when I was 10), a man was taking a walk in the woods.  With his axe, because what man took a walk in the woods in the 18th century without an axe?  He saw a tree.  He liked it.  He cut it down.  And put it in his house.  He decided it would be a great place to put his Christmas presents under.  Because just putting them on the floor seemed a bit lacking.  This guy was the male Martha Stewart of his time.

What?  You were expecting an epic tale?  That’s all I got people.  I am not Ernest Hemingway.  I write a blog.  Anyway, the real reason?  ‘Cuz I googled it.  It turns out the Greeks started doing it centuries ago.  It actually had nothing to do really with Christmas or Christ (I always thought maybe Jesus had a little something to do with it even though they didn’t have evergreens in Jerusalem.  Or did they?  I don’t know.  I skipped that class.)  Anyway, they used evergreens to celebrate winter festivals.  Or something like that.  I kinda sped read through it.  Because I’m tired.  I spent half a day decorating the tree in my living room.  With 20 year old ornaments.  And lights.

Fire hazard?  I think possibly.  Again, whatever.  It’s a tradition and who am I to forego the risk of losing all of my belongings to a house fire because I forgot to water it for two weeks and it’s sitting next to the baseboard that is set on 72 degrees.  It’s cool.  Not the baseboard.  Me being okay with a fire hazard.  I also sometimes wonder what kind of critters could be living in there.  It came from outside.  There’s got to be something, right?  I don’t want to know.

I sound bitter.  But I am not.  Really.  I was brought up with a fake tree.  But I love the one from outside.  It’s the real deal.  I thoroughly enjoy our little tradition of going out to a farm and choosing our own tree.  It’s awesome.  Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I stare at my tree because it is so beautiful.  I am in awe.  Then I snap out of it and think, “WTF?  There is a tree in my living room.  That is really, really weird.”  So what if I have some anxiety about it?  A few years and thousands of dollars worth of therapy is nothing for the memories we are making for our child. 

By the way, I said if the motorcycle was still in my living room this winter, I would move out to the shed.  Well, I’m not in the shed.  And neither is the motorcycle.  Like I said.  Thousands.  Dollars.  Therapy.  It’s cool.

 

So Much To Be Thankful For. Let Me Count the Ways.

thanksgivingOn this cold and windy Thanksgiving Day, I sit and I wonder at all that I am thankful for.  I am thankful for my family, good health, a warm house, my friends, both old and new.  I am most definitely thankful for all that I should be thankful for.  For all those things that we take for granted.  But I’m also thankful for other things.

  1. I am thankful for you, DVR and On Demand.  Without you, how would I get my weekly fix of Dr. McDreamy.  Even though McDreamy was a second to McSteamy.  I am NOT thankful that they killed him off.  Why did they do that?  I still mourn.
  2. I am thankful for washing machines.  As much as I bitch my life away while throwing in a load, I think I would just die if I had to squat down next to a river and bang rocks on my undergarments.
  3. I am also thankful for dishwashers.  And I am thankful that I can ram that little machine to the hilt and still get my dishes clean.  (DH begs to differ on the ramming it to the hilt thing, but do I care what he thinks?  No.  Because then I would have dishes in my sink waiting for the next load.  I have a “dishes sitting in my sink for any length of time” fear.  It’s a real phobia.  Look it up.)
  4. I am thankful for down comforters.  I am especially thankful for the down comforter when it finds its way downstairs on the couch (thanks, Kid).  The only problem is I cannot get off the couch once I’ve sat my ass down with that comforter pulled over me.  It’s a real problem.  Thank God for dishwashers and washing machines.  That shit gets my shit done.  Fast.
  5. I am thankful for those little tin foil pans.  See #3.
  6. I am thankful for indoor plumbing.  I’ve been camping.  Getting up in the middle of the night, getting dressed and going outside in the cold to relieve myself is not my idea of a good time.  Especially when there is a skunk giving you the hairy eyeball as you make your way to the latrine.  So, thank you toilet.  Even though I do have to clean you once in a while.
  7. I am thankful for tweezers.  Thank you for keeping my face from looking like that of Sasquatch.  You are the gift that keeps on giving.
  8. I am thankful for elastic waistbands.  Without you, I would run the risk of losing my pants when I have to unzip them to let out the turkey belly.  Or as The Kid says, “my food baby.”

I could go on, but I have to go and prep some stuff for my Thanksgiving Day.  Which brings me to being thankful for maids, cooks and butlers.  Even though I have none of them.  But I promise I will be thankful if I ever acquire any or all.  In the meantime, I will be thankful for my toilet brush, oven and furniture polish.  Those are the next best thing, right?  Yes.  That’s what I will continue to tell myself.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!  Go and eat too much!

Boo.

There is a house around the corner from us.  It’s a really cute one level ranch.  I’ve always liked it.  The problem is, it goes on the market every year or two.  In the 11 years we’ve lived here, it’s changed hands half a dozen times.  Rumor has it that it’s haunted.  And I believe it.

I love haunted houses.  I think that they are totally cool.  Not in the Amityville kind of way.  That’s disturbing.  But if Casper haunted my house, I’d totally be down with it.  Which leads me to my story.

I have an aunt who passed away a few years ago.  The kid and I drove up for her funeral.  It was in upstate New York.  In Osh-kosh-b’gosh land.  There was this really cute old village in the middle of town where I booked a hotel.  I believe it was the only hotel around.  It was so old, you literally used a real key to open the door to your room.  If you lost that key, you were pretty much screwed.  There was no swiping of a card and getting a new one.

We checked in at around 3:00 in the afternoon, then went to the funeral home for the wake.  We had dinner with some family then had to get back to the hotel by 10pm before the lobby closed.

It was about 9:45 when we pulled into a spot directly in front of the hotel.  I pulled out the key and the kid asked if she could hold it.  I said, “sure, but please be careful and don’t lose it.”  She was a very responsible child.  And anyway, what could happen?

She lost it.  Literally 20 seconds after I handed it to her, it was gone.  I completely freaked out on her.  It was late, I was tired, it was an emotional day.  So, I lost my patience.  She started crying.  And I was pissed.

Even though it was dark and late, I ripped everything that wasn’t bolted down out of the car.  I looked between the seats, under the seats, behind the seats.  I got out the flashlight from the glove compartment and got on my hands and knees.  I literally crawled under and around the car looking for that ever-loving key.

At this point it’s just about 10 o’clock.   We called it quits and went inside in hopes there was another key available.  We would continue our search in the morning, in the daylight.  After apologizing profusely, the clerk handed me another one.  He had a sly look on his face. I thought it was weird because he didn’t even comment, he just looked at me strangely.  The guy kind of creeped me out.

The next morning, we went out to start our search again.  We even got some family members who were staying there in on the act.  Again, we ripped everything out, searched high and low, in and out.  We couldn’t find it.  I was completely perplexed.  That damn key was no where.

When I went to check out, I told the clerk (who is a woman this time) how sorry I was that we lost the key and that I would pay to have a new one made.  She just looked at me and laughed.  She said not to worry because “they” like to play games with the patrons who stay there.  Specifically with the keys.

This is the actual haunted hotel
This is the actual haunted hotel

Legend has it that a woman jumped to her death from a top floor balcony in the 1800’s and her spirit haunts the hotel.  Along with some others.  There is also a little boy.  And he likes to mess with the guests.  My aunt, who was staying in the room next door, said she had an encounter as well.  Apparently they also like to play with people’s showers.

We had that car for a couple more years after that incident.  Before we sold it, we had it detailed.  Thoroughly detailed.  The key never showed up.  Ever.

Look you nay-sayers, I can see you rolling your eyes.  But how is it possible that a key get that lost in a matter of seconds?  And stay lost.  Forever.  It’s just too weird.  And I like my little ghost story.  It’s the only one I have.  So I’m keeping it.