Christmas Miracles and Everyday Madness

xmas_tree_before_1214It’s been an eventful few weeks since I posted anything fresh here for you. First, a bit of an explanation. Christmas was my mom’s favorite holiday. The tree was always up on the day after Thanksgiving and every inch of the house was covered in something that lit up, jingled or played holiday songs. More than once, I walked into the room at my parent’s house and had a motion-sensing, dancing, singing Santa scare the living shit out of me. As far as holidays go, my mom never wavered. She was all in.

Not surprisingly, since her death, the holidays kind of suck for me. Add to that an always lingering residual bit of depression, a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder and the stress that comes with planning a major holiday and a child’s birthday party at the same time, and you’ve got the perfect storm. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at writing in the midst of a storm.

Now for a little public service announcement…If you are considering getting pregnant (or knocking up your wife, significant other, or surrogate) I would highly recommend that you carefully plan the fateful insemination so as to avoid having a child born in December. Or the beginning of January, for that matter. Many moons ago, my darling Biggie was our Christmas miracle. She was born on December 12th after three years of trying to get pregnant culminating in three rounds of in vitro. But here’s the thing…we really should have timed the whole miracle thing much better.

Everyone worries about the kid when they find out he or she has a Christmastime birthday. “Oh, the poor thing! He/she really gets the shaft having his/her birthday so close to the holidays.” But, I say…remember the parents! (Or, in our case, the mother. Let’s be honest.) Ever try making candy flames while shopping online and addressing holiday cards at the same time? It’s a challenge even for the sanest parent and we all know that’s not me.

The last few weeks have been such a blur, I’ll just try to fill you in with a few main events. First, there was the aforementioned birthday party, which was another sleepover because I’m a masochist. I did put my foot down this year, though, telling Biggie she could invite only two girls from school and two girls from the neighborhood. Last year’s sleepover was significantly bigger and a bit of a debacle actually (at least for me).

campfire_cake_1214For once, Biggie liked and went along with my idea for the party theme… a camping themed, birthday slumber party. The girls slept in an eight-person tent Ad Man and I just barely managed to erect in our downstairs living room. But, before that, there was an outdoor scavenger hunt, pizza, a movie by the fireplace and a campfire birthday cake. I’ve included a photo of the cake here because I think I got more comments about it on Facebook than I’ve gotten on any cute kid or puppy post ever. Honestly, that cake was the highlight of my last few weeks. It came out so much better than I’d ever imagined. In fact, I’m considering never baking another cake for as long as I live. Why not retire at the top of my game, right?

Despite all the preparation that went into Biggie’s party, it actually turned out to be fairly easy and she was happy. Yay for me! I have to savor the little victories in parenthood because, lord knows, they can be few and far between.

Unfortunately, there have been some low points in the last few weeks as well…for example, when our Christmas tree came crashing down yesterday. I will elaborate, but I should first mention the wonderful way my day began. I was lucky enough to spend the day with a friend’s sweet, beautiful, eight week old (ish) baby boy. Oh man, is he delicious! We had a lovely day of snuggling, snoozing (him, not me), smiling (both of us) and sniffing his luscious new baby smell (Birdie and I). It was a bit of a challenge managing a puppy and a newborn at the same time, but I still found myself thinking, “See? I’m not too old for a baby. I could totally do this again!”

That is until I was attempting to calm little man who was squawking with hunger while I tried to heat up his bottle as fast as humanly possible when we heard an ungodly crash from the adjacent living room. Squawking turned to screaming, Birdie ran around like there was a squirrel in the house, and I reluctantly peeked around the corner only to find shards of glass and spilled water everywhere! The poor Christmas tree that had been so elegantly dressed just moments before, lay sadly in a bed of its own debris.

xmas_tree_after_1214I had the sense to put the the baby in his bouncy seat and unplug the tree lights before one of us was electrocuted in a pine-scented cloud of sparks. That was the last coherent thought I had, however. I looked at the mess, the hungry baby, the bottle of precious breast milk warming on the stove and the puppy threatening to run through broken glass and picked up the phone to call Ad Man. Luckily, another Christmas miracle occurred and he actually answered the phone. I said something like, “I need you! Come quick! The tree fell and there’s glass and water and I have a baby and a dog!” in not my calmest voice. Ad Man’s office is only three miles away, so after telling me to put the damn dog in her crate and doing about twelve additional things at the office, he headed home to face the destruction.

Eventually, Ad Man arrived, cleaned up the mess and we took inventory of our destroyed ornaments. By then, the baby was sleeping contentedly with a belly full of warm milk while Birdie slept off the adrenaline rush from dodging an enormous falling tree. As it was too early for a drink and I was babysitting, I got my stress relief from gazing at the perfect, peaceful face of little man. Demonstrating my remarkable skills of denial and self-delusion, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought again, “I could totally do this.”

The following day, I was again entrusted with the care and keeping of another living being, but the outcome was less successful. Birdie tends to be a pain in the ass about getting her nails clipped, so I’ve given up trying to do it myself and now take her to Petco for monthly pedicures. Because she apparently has the same short memory as her adoptive mother, she blocks out her nail terrors and is super excited to go to the pet store every single time.

Yesterday’s trip was no exception. She bounded out of the house with her tail wagging as soon as I said, “Birdie, want to go to the store?” We hopped into the car and I carefully lowered her window to a level where she could stick out her snout and enjoy the breeze, but not hang half her body out the window like a teenage boy in a limo after prom. In an abundance of caution, I hold onto her leash with a death grip the entire time she rides with me. I’d like to point out that Ad Man thinks I’m a neurotic freak (for this, and many other reasons). He just loops her leash through the seat belt and lets her hang out and gulp oxygen to her heart’s content.

Luckily, I can rarely, if ever, be convinced that his method of doing something is better than mine. And, it’s a damn good thing I stuck to my neurotic guns, because I’d just pulled into the Petco parking lot when Birdie jumped out the damn window! Of a moving automobile! Who does that?! Freaking the f*ck out, I managed to pull the car over and park all the while clinging to her leash. I’ll never forget the panicked look she gave me as she dangled outside, with just her eyeballs reaching the level of the now completely lowered window. I steeled myself for what I would see as my mind ran wild with images of her wrecked body flashing before my eyes.

Instead, I opened the passenger door and she hopped right back in, fresh as a daisy. It was as though she jumped out of a moving vehicle on a daily basis! A woman in the parking lot who had witnessed the whole scene called to me, “Is your dog OK? Are you OK?!” In a state of shocked disbelief, I told her yes. Birdie and I caught our breath and continued into the store as planned because, well, I didn’t know what else to do.

Not once did I think to wonder how the car window had gotten rolled down. That is, until we were back in the car on our way home and Birdie had her nose and paws out the 3 inches of open window I allowed her when the stupid thing rolled down again! All I could figure was that it was broken and would roll down whenever she put pressure on it. However, after we returned home and my scrambled brain started chugging back into action, I thought to myself, “You dumbass, the dog was stepping on the window button!” Erg. Anyway, this was the very difficult way I learned to always, always turn on the child safe window locks whenever doggie Evel Knievel is riding shotgun. Public service announcement #2.

Aren’t you glad you read this whole rambling post? I provided you with two nuggets of wisdom so you don’t have to learn them the hard way like I did. I also told you a couple stories that undoubtedly made you sit back and think, “Holy crap…I’m glad I’m not her!” Don’t say I never gave you anything. Have a great holiday! I’ll have lots of updates in the new year. Now, go tether that Christmas tree to the closest immovable object you can find. You’ll thank me someday.

Our Christmas Letter Is Better than Yours 2, Electric Boogaloo

clife thu Rockettes 1118_1165.JPGBefore I sit down to shop online for cheap, plastic items for Biggie’s birthday goodie bags then address 1,000 holiday cards, I thought I’d repost a piece from last year and provide a photo of my close, personal friends The Rockettes for your entertainment. Thank you so much for not mutinying against me for the stale content! I promise, when my brain returns to working condition, I’ll be all over that writing shit. xoxo

https://mommyennui.com/2013/12/23/our-christmas-letter-is-better-than-yours/

The 15 Suckiest Things About 2013

george_and_friendsI’ve been in a bit of a post-Christmas funk lately. This happens to me pretty much every year, so it’s not unexpected. Christmas was my mom’s favorite holiday which makes me miss her even more at this time of year. There’s the typical holiday let-down after spending so much time and energy planning for something that’s over in just a day. Also, the weather is crap, which never helps.

Anyway, I thought rather than fighting my gloominess and attempting to write a hopeful, looking-forward, end-of-the-year post, I’d just go with it and make a list of all the things that really sucked about 2013. So, let’s say goodbye to all the bullshit of the last year.

The 15 Suckiest Things About 2013

  • The Boston Marathon Bombing.
  • Due to Congress’s pissing match over the U.S. budget, government employees and contractors spent two weeks in October doing yard work and growing beards when they could have been, you know, working for the government.
  • Kim Jong Un appeared to be filling his father’s notorious shoes quite nicely. 2013 was a particularly rough year, however, for his uncle and ex-girlfriend.
  • The weather continued its epic rager with tornadoes in Oklahoma and the midwest, flooding in Colorado, northern India and central Europe, a massive typhoon in the Philippines and wildfires in California and Arizona.
  • Rush Limbaugh continued to exist. Lou Reed did not.
  • #Hashtags became ubiquitous. #Annoyingashell #Deargodpleasemakethemstop
  • Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” forced a jury of otherwise reasonable adults to acquit admitted murderer, George Zimmerman.  Zimmerman apparently failed to learn his lesson and continued threatening loved ones at gunpoint.
  • The Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own citizens. Syria’s standoff with the United States and the UN scared the crap out of everyone.
  • Justin Bieber made his bodyguards carry him up the Great Wall of China and speculated that Anne Frank may have been a “Belieber” if she weren’t so busy hiding from the Nazis.
  • The NSA made Orwell’s 1984 seem quaint.
  • Miley Cyrus gained even more notoriety with her infamous AMA “performance” with Robin Thicke and that foam finger.
  • Mustaches became a “thing.” Kids held mustache-themed birthday parties. Huh?
  • Mass shootings continued. Gun control fizzled.
  • Lance Armstrong whined to Oprah like a little girl. No offense to little girls.
  • George W. Bush finally found his true calling as a celebrated painter of dog portraits. (Or maybe that’s one of the most awesome things of the year. It’s a tough call.)

Please join me in bidding good riddance to 2013. Here’s wishing your 2014 is crammed full of love, health, happiness, success, unicorns, rainbows, bushels full of money and adorable newborn babies in flower pots!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Our Christmas Letter Is Better Than Yours

holiday_newsletterMommyEnnui has quite a few readers from outside of the United States, so today I thought I’d provide a little cultural lesson about a beloved American holiday tradition…the Christmas Letter. The origins of the Christmas Letter go way back. I’m pretty sure the first letter was sent by one of my Dutch ancestors, but don’t quote me on that. The purposes of the annual Christmas Letter are to update those whom you haven’t seen in a while as to your family’s many successes and occasional health issues over the past year and to give a shout-out to the Christ child. The following is a compilation of every Christmas Letter I’ve ever had the pleasure of receiving. (Well, except for my friend Ed’s. His are actually pretty damn funny.) Only the names have been changed. 

Dear Friends and Family,

The time has come again for our yearly Christmas letter. First, I’d like to start by quoting the Bible extensively…[Bible verse, Bible verse, Bible verse, Bible verse…]

Last year, a few of you brought to my attention that there are people of other religions and ethnic backgrounds who also celebrate holidays at this time of year. While I strongly feel y’all are just trying to steal the spotlight from the baby Jesus, the Bible teaches us that everyone deserves love and forgiveness. So, I forgive you for your attention seeking. Anyway, I hope you enjoy lighting your Kwanzaa wreath this year.

With that said, I’d like to fill you in on all the details of our family’s busy, busy year. We are just so blessed. I can’t believe our baby, Sienna Brianna is in preschool already! We actually had a bit of a challenge finding the right school for her since, as I mentioned in last year’s letter, she had memorized the Periodic Table and was conjugating verbs in Mandarin and Latin before she was 2 years old. We didn’t want to rush her right into middle school though (where she rightfully belongs) because that would disqualify her from the Junior Miss Mensa Brains and Beauty Pageant. We’d hate to deprive her of one more first place award she could add to her college applications next year.

Kiffany Mackenzie is still reeling from the IOC’s denial of our application for an exception to the minimum age requirement so she could compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The committee ruled that, at 12, she is just too young. We, of course, know better, but rules are rules I suppose. The good news, however, is that we’ve built a regulation Olympic-sized bobsled track on our property, just behind the pool, and a guest house for her live-in coach and tutor. So, you know she will be working hard to take across-the-board gold medals in 2018!

The twins John Thomas and Harry Willie are, not surprisingly, taking the college world by storm. While it has been an adjustment for them being at two different schools (Yale and MIT, respectively), that hasn’t stopped them from building their software company together via Skype. They got a call from Microsoft’s attorney recently, but they’ve decided to put the sale of the company on hold while they spend a year overseas on a mission to help train orphans to make microchips for minimal-to-no pay. Their dedication to helping the world’s children learn a valuable trade is just so inspiring.

Bob recently took a bit of a sabbatical from the firm after 23 years without a vacation. It was so sad always seeing our yacht just sitting in the harbor with no one to take her out for a spin. That is, except for when the boys’ high school friends tricked them into bringing those underage girls and illegal drugs onto the vessel and disappearing to Catalina for a week. We’re blessed to have such kind and trusting sons. Anyway, Bob took out the Golden Parachute and has been sailing around the Caribbean and down the coast of South America for the last six months. He is scheduled to return home just in time for Santa’s arrival!

Sadly, I could not take the time off from my extensive volunteer work in order to join Bob in his travels. After all, the Junior League doesn’t run itself! I also didn’t want to leave my tennis partner in the lurch especially since we recently took first place in the All-Star Tennis & Rackets Association’s All-Region Tournament and are on a 47 match winning streak.

We did endure a pretty terrifying health scare this year. Bob’s mom Marjorie had been feeling a little out of sorts for the last few months. She had severe diarrhea, a sallow complexion, her hair was falling out in clumps, her urine was a shocking shade of safety orange, she had one droopy eye, excessive earwax, a tweak in her neck and recurrent toe fungus. Well, she finally went in to see the doctor and received a devastating diagnosis. She is gluten-intolerant. We were all shocked, but she’s been so brave. The person who has taken the news the hardest though is our cook Winnie. She is just beside herself trying to rework our traditional holiday menu to accommodate Marjorie’s disease. Please pray for Winnie as she adjusts to this difficult change.

And so my friends, as 2013 draws to a close and we look upon the dawn of the coming year, let us all turn our hearts into pools of golden sunshine and praise the Lord for our many blessings. In closing, I would like to share the remaining portions of the Bible not quoted above…[Bible verse, Bible verse, Bible verse, Bible verse, Bible verse, Bible verse, Bible verse, Bible verse, Bible verse, Bible verse, Bible verse…]

We hope you are blessed with all the blessed blessings that we’ve been blessed with this year!

With love,
Coralee, Bob, John Thomas, Harry Willie, Kiffany Mackenzie, Sienna Brianna and Barkley (woof, woof!)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wishing You a Fully-Medicated Holiday

green_smocked_xmasI’m sitting in Starbucks writing and celebrating the fact that I have, once again, survived the yearly elementary school holiday program. Ad Man is somewhere in Pennsylvania attending meetings and freezing his ass off so he’s missed the holiday celebration, yet again, this year.  I know he feels terrible for missing it, but that doesn’t keep me from being bitter. (Hell, if I wasn’t bitter, what would I write about?) Year after year, I’m the lonely mom sitting in the overheated gymnasium, frazzled from getting the kids up and on the bus looking somewhat decent at 7:05 am and managing to make myself presentable–generally by spraying lots of dry shampoo on my greasy roots–so I can get to school early and stake out my spot near the front so my kid doesn’t think I’ve forgotten her and freak the fuck out.

Smalls and the rest of the kindergarteners led a celebration of Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year and Las Posadas.  When I was growing up, I didn’t know any Jewish people, let alone the dreidel song!  Today’s holiday program did more than just give lip service to all the many holidays though. The kids learned about the culture and traditions of the diverse groups of people who celebrate each holiday and performed a couple songs from each of them.  It really was a breath of fresh air from the vanilla-white-Christian-only suburb I was raised in outside of Chicago.

Where there is little diversity here, though, is in the way Southerners dress their children for the holidays.  We were eating breakfast this morning, Smalls in her usual uniform of skinny jeans, a paint-stained t-shirt and leopard print Vans when I realized in a panic that she needed something festive for the holiday program or I’d likely be ejected from the PTA.  So, I threw her into a red Crewcuts dress with black polkadots, black tights (miraculously without holes) and sparkly purple shoes. Close enough.

Most of the other kids were all decked out in their holiday finery.  Many siblings were dressed alike, or at least, in coordinating outfits. The typical Christmas uniform for a little girl in the South is a red, green or red-and-green plaid, smocked dress with poufy sleeves.  The smocking is usually adorned with Christmas trees, snowmen, ornaments, Santas or a combination of all of the above.  The more, the better, actually.  In the absence of Christmas iconography, the dress must be monogrammed. In fact, monogram everything!  The outfit is not complete until you add frilly white socks, patent leather mary janes and a monolithic hairbow.

The boys generally wear matching holiday sweater vests or red polo shirts with plaid or khaki pants.  A few really do it up in tiny versions of their daddy’s slacks, starched shirts, sport coats, ties and loafers.  I was just glad Smalls’s hair was kinda brushed, her face was free of chocolate and she wasn’t wearing yesterday’s underwear.

Parents vie for seats at the very front of the gym to get the best view from which to watch their darling children through an upheld iPad. Moms and dads who didn’t manage to set their alarms early in order to beat the rush, worm their way to the front regardless, where they elbow other members of the mom-and-dad-arazzi for a prime spot on the imaginary velvet rope.

There are always a few working moms and dads (but mostly dads) who stand outside, negotiating deals on cell phones while pretending to peer through the smudged gym windows at their children belting out Christmas carols and doing adorable, choreographed arm movements.  These are the ones who will later cross their fingers when they hedge their bets and tell their kid that their favorite part of the performance was “when you sang…um…Jingle Bells?”

I have a soft spot in my heart, though, for the parents who rush in after the program has begun, dressed in week-old jeans and a sweatshirt smeared with spit-up or jelly, dragging along a crying younger sibling.  You can always spot the kids that belong to those parents. They’re the ones with bedhead, rocking a football jersey, pajama bottoms and untied sneakers.  These are my people.

I’ll also accept on my team the “holy-shit-I-thought-the-performance-was-at-10!” mom who you see running down the street carrying the crucial Santa hat that is conspicuously missing from her kid’s head.  You know, as she runs, she’s hyperventilating and calculating how much therapy will be needed before her child is able to trust again.

However, I’ll most likely never be friends with the festive, but tastefully dressed, mom with the perfectly coiffed hair, impeccable nails, diamonds the size of grapes, handsome husband who never travels on important days, and five well-mannered children all in coordinated holiday ensembles.  That is, unless I happen to run into her at my psychiatrist’s office and catch her wild-eyed, clutching to her breast a bouquet of prescriptions even bigger than mine.  In that case, I’ll put an arm around her, assure her that I understand and invite her over for a mid-morning cocktail.

After all, it’s the season of goodwill to all men and women…even the crazies.

Is a Birkin Too Much to Ask?

hermes_boxes_xmasGrowing up, my Christmas lists were legendary. I truly embraced the concept of a ‘wish list.’  My mom would always have a gentle conversation with me prior to Santa’s scheduled arrival in an attempt to lower my expectations. (Ad Man has now taken up the tradition, much to my chagrin.) She explained that Santa had so many toys to make for so many children, he couldn’t possibly afford to give a Barbie Dream House and a pony to every girl who asked for them.

As I got older, I added things like diamond earrings, an Hermes Birkin bag, Johnny Depp and various luxury automobiles to my annual lists. Did I expect to receive them from my parents? Of course not. I wasn’t stupid, but a girl can dream, can’t she? To this day, I still include a few shoot-for-the-stars items on my wish list every year. Below are my humble requests for 2013. While I won’t be holding my breath, I’m still hoping for a Christmas miracle!

  • A cashmere Snuggie
  • A live-in IT guy (No, unfortunately Ad Man does not fit the bill.)
  • A French Bulldog puppy guaranteed not to chew, pee or poop on anything and never to wake me up before 8 am
  • Butt implants
  • A television that automatically mutes Christina Aguilera whenever she speaks on The Voice
  • The back and neck of a 20 year old…oh, and what the hell…throw in the boobs too while you’re at it
  • A teleportation device so I never have to spend more than 20 minutes in a car with my children ever again
  • Self-cleaning toilets
  • A self-emptying dishwasher
  • A new car just fancy enough so that I don’t continue to surprise valets when I tip them
  • Botox that never wears off…one Groupon and I’d be forehead-crease-free forever!
  • A beach house, a mountain house and someone other than me to clean them (This item is dependent on the teleportation device. I’d like the complete set or nothing, please.)
  • A cabana boy with bad eyesight who’s a good listener, gives amazing backrubs, makes a mean Dirty Martini and never, ever calls me ma’am
  • Sets of dishes, glassware and towels that all match and have no chips or stringy bits
  • If I can’t get a teleportation device, my second choice would be a high-speed rail system between Atlanta and Los Angeles
  • Some goddamn peace and quiet
  • Zero calorie wine that doesn’t taste like ass
  • A new HVAC system (Remember, I’m shooting high here.)
  • Oops!  I almost forgot…peace on Earth
  • My pre-pregnancy memory back

What are you hoping for this holiday season?

I Am Not Worthy

bandaid_handsI want to thank my dear friend Kanye West for filling in for me last Friday.  I hope you found his parenting advice helpful. I must apologize for being a bit of a slacker this week. I’ve been (gasp!) working. Yes, I’m engaged in some seasonal labor. No, I’m not the mall Santa’s new grumpy middle-aged elf. I can barely manage my own children let alone hundreds of kids who are up past their naptime, wearing their itchiest Sunday best, and wired from a steady diet of candy canes and goldfish crackers.

Actually, my friends K and G own an amazing gourmet sweet bread company and cafe here in Atlanta called Breadwinner. I can’t help but boast…their bread was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things in 2011. And you know Oprah is the world’s foremost expert on Things. Anyway, they do a ton of business at the holidays, shipping thousands of breads across the country. So, I’ve been doing some pretty serious packaging and shipping these days. As I sit here, I have a heating pad on my neck and shoulders and band-aids on the bloody stumps that used to be my fingers.

This little trial run as a working mother has been eye-opening. Thus far, I’ve worked a total of three, five-hour days. I’m still getting home in time to meet Biggie and Smalls when they get off the bus, but I am completely exhausted! Granted, as I mentioned, it is fairly physical work (I mean, those bows don’t just tie themselves!), but you’d think I could handle a few measly five-hour days. Instead, until now, I have not managed to write one word for this blog, do a moment of exercise or wash one piece of laundry. The house is in shambles and our dinners this week have been, shall we say, uninspired. As far as experiments go, I wouldn’t exactly call this one a rousing success.

I bow down to working mothers everywhere. I am clearly not worthy to stand in their shoes. When I was first out of law school and working as an associate at a law firm, there were weeks on end when I didn’t get a day off. I always worked at least one day each weekend and rarely left the office before 7 pm. Twelve-hour days were typical. I’m not saying it was fun, but I managed to keep up that pace for a few years without falling apart physically or losing my mind, which I’d say is a win. So I have to question whether I am a weenie now because I’m old or just because I’m out of practice.

Don’t get me wrong, there have also been some very positive aspects to working outside the little fiefdom of my house. I don’t fall into the Today Show/Facebook black hole in the morning while drinking my tea, failing to emerge for hours. I actually get up and shower every day. I’m eating an actual lunch instead of scarfing an energy bar and a handful of nuts between errands. I’m having contact with human beings other than the person working the Starbucks drive-thru. I take pride in my work. My ribbons are tied and trimmed beautifully, my breads are carefully packaged and I only occasionally find a crucial enclosure card left on the table and have to unpack 50 boxes to figure out which one is missing a card.

Most importantly, I get a real sense of accomplishment from the work. You can’t wrap and pack 300 loaves of bread for a corporate order without feeling a certain satisfaction. That is one thing I’ve sorely missed from my days of working full-time. Being a stay-at-home parent is a marathon rather than a sprint, and you rarely even see the finish line on the horizon, let alone cross it. Most of the things you do accomplish in a day…cleaning the house, doing laundry, cooking, helping the kids with homework…just need to be done again tomorrow. I really miss the finish line.

Luckily, in the next few weeks I have, among other things, a birthday slumber party to throw for Biggie, Christmas presents to buy, wrap and either ship out or hide, stockings to stuff, cookies to bake, a holiday party to throw for Ad Man’s employees and a blog to write. Maybe it would help me to visualize all those tasks lined up before a finish line beyond which lies copious amounts of wine, a pint of ice cream and a nice, warm bed. If not, I’ll just take the wine and a few Xanax-laced Christmas cookies, thankyouverymuch!

I Blame the Elf!

elf_in_captivityOK, you little shit…I know you’re hiding around here somewhere. You’re already late. It’s December 3rd and you were supposed to make your long-anticipated arrival two nights ago.  Ad Man, the official finder in this house, is on an island in the Caribbean, so not only am I already in a pissy mood, I’m also flying solo in my search for your skinny, red ass.  I have torn apart closets and dug through every Christmas decoration box.  You’re not hiding in the guest room, the utility room or the laundry room.  I even checked the doll bin in the toy room just in case. Nada!

Tomorrow, Biggie and Smalls will undoubtedly be regaled by their classmates’ tales of elves who appeared, as scheduled, this morning.  I’m sure many of them performed crazy acts of mischief that made the kids laugh and laugh.  But not my daughters because they have an unreliable elf who doesn’t turn up when expected and never does anything more mischievous than hanging upside down from the kitchen light fixture.

We’ve explained to the kids that you don’t pick your elf…your elf picks you.  And, we just happened to get one who is a serious underachiever.  You hide in a new place almost every night (except for when you’re snoring on the couch “watching TV” by 9:00 pm or when you collapse into bed exhausted because you’ve been all over town trying to locate that one toy that’s the only thing your kid wants for Christmas) but, that seems to be the extent of your commitment to providing holiday spirit around here.  You never make snow angels in powdered sugar or paint Ad Man’s toenails while he’s sleeping.  I’ve never once seen you have a rave with the Barbie dolls, “accidently” squeeze out toothpaste everywhere or spell out festive messages in mini marshmallows.  I’m beginning to suspect you never even look at the creative suggestions I send you from Pinterest.

I suppose I could just run out tomorrow and buy a new elf, but I really never wanted you here in the first place.  You were a gift from a dear friend who couldn’t possibly foresee the unrelenting stress you’d cause me from December 1st (or whenever you deign to bless us with your presence) through Christmas Eve.  As if I don’t have enough to worry about during this neverending month as it is!  Heaven forbid I buy another elf and then you decide to pop out from one of the girls’ underwear drawers. How would I explain the sudden appearance of two of you little #@$%ers?

Bad Elf

I have this eerie feeling you’re sitting in a corner somewhere being entertained by my frantic search while eyeballing me with that smug, retro smirk on your face.  You’ve probably snuck behind a long-forgotten stack of size 4 jeans assuming (correctly) that I’ll never need them again but knowing I won’t dare donate them because that would be admitting defeat.  Not cool, man.  Not cool.

I’m tempted to tell Biggie and Smalls that you went out for a cup of hot chocolate and just never came back.  They’ll forget about you soon enough.  Just wait until I pull out that Lego Friends advent calendar…you’ll be yesterday’s news.  So, I’m giving you one more chance to crawl out of whatever peppermint scented hole you’ve hidden yourself in and bring some g*dd@mn joy to these children or, I swear the next time I see you, I’ll set fire to that unflattering red and white felt jumpsuit you insist on wearing year after year!  Consider yourself warned.

And by the way, tell your friend the tooth fairy that I’ve seen the two wiggly front teeth in Small’s mouth so she’d better be prepared with some dollar coins or at least some crisp bills. That bitch is totally unreliable.  I’m not about to cover for her again with a handwritten IOU slipped under a pillow as the sun is rising and a toothless kid is stirring.  She’s got one job to do…how hard can it be?  Seriously!

Holidays in Hell

Pumpkin HouseI know it sounds crazy, but we’re still in the midst of Halloween planning and decorating around here.  I just finished sewing a tiny, waterproof Marie Antoinette costume for Jacques, our beta fish, and now I have to hand-bead the gown for Smalls’s Donatella Versace costume and carve Biggie’s pumpkin into an intricate Victorian lace pattern.  After that, I will set out luminaria to light the path down our sidewalk, up the driveway, down both sides of the street and around the block.  In an effort to be culturally inclusive, I’ve also cast 100 Dia de los Muertos sugar skulls that still need to be decorated with frosting. I’d have the kids help me, but I just can never count on them to be historically accurate in their decorating.

I’m so thankful I thought ahead last week and already made the beds with our candy corn and skull-and-crossbones patterned sheets and changed out the Columbus Day throw pillows for the Halloween ones.  It’s also a relief to know that the dough for the bone-shaped bread sticks is pre-made and in the freezer with the butternut squash and squid ink pasta lasagna.  I’ll just have to pop the dry ice into our drinks at the last minute and our Halloween dinner will be on the table in plenty of time to get a balanced meal into my family before trick-or-treating begins.

I’m hoping I’ll be done packaging the handmade candy bars in butcher paper and orange and white striped twine so I can join the rest of the family for the evening’s festivities.  I’d really hate to miss it, especially since I’ve been walking around in this green makeup and fake nose with warts all day!  Ha, ha!  Oh, and I can’t forget to change out all the lightbulbs with orange ones before we leave the house.

I sent Ad Man out to replicate the cemetery from ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ in the front yard, but I’m afraid he may need help from the neighbors since I had the headstones and statues hand-carved from stone.  I’m also waiting for the guys with the cherry-picker to arrive so I can finish hanging the faux Spanish moss from the top of the maple tree out front.

Whew!  I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it and this is only the beginning of the holiday season!  I don’t even want to think about all the Indian headdresses and pilgrim hats I have to sew, the organic cranberries I have to harvest from the bog in the backyard, the creche I have to carve from that olive wood I ordered from the Holy Land and the tiny dreidels I have to sculpt, glaze, fire in the kiln and deliver to our Jewish friends.  And, Hanukkah starts early this year!

You know, every year I swear I’m going to scale back, do more with less, volunteer for fewer class parties and just say no to the holiday whirlwind.  But, I just want things to be perfect for my family.  I know the kids will look back fondly at the moments we shared gold-leafing the walls in preparation for New Year’s Eve and they’ll never forget the magic of seeing actual, authentic reindeer shit on the roof on Christmas morning.  I’m not going to lie, it is a lot of work but, it’s worth every late night spent in the kitchen or the wood shop or sitting at the loom.  After all, as they say, a neurotic, overachieving, competitive, control-freak-of-a-mother’s work is never done!

Photo via Apartment Therapy

Follow my blog with Bloglovin