Ahh the holiday season. The weather is crisp (usually). Football is in high gear. The aroma of fattening treats fills the air. Francine, our Elf On The Shelf, makes his annual pilgrimage from the North Pole to play a month-long game of cat and mouse with our children. Described in this manner, the holidays sound like a fun, stress-free time with Santa, Frosty, and the gang. However most of you already know how cruel the holidays can be at times. Here are a few super happy fun holiday tales from my family. Hopefully, I have not pulled the trigger to the shotgun in my mouth by the time you have finished reading…
Holiday Decorating: Other than the actual putting up and taking down of holiday decorations, I do not mind a little festive decor. I rather enjoy seeing the lights that adorn the neighborhood homes and businesses. This being said, try decorating a Christmas tree with a 4-year old and a 16-month old. I drag the decorations in from the garage one excruciating box at a time. Meanwhile the wife and kiddos destroy the den unpacking the boxes. Despite the mess, the initial setup of our tree looks normal. Within 3 hours of hanging the ornaments the bottom two feet of the tree are as bare as the tree had been in the woods…before it was sacrificed in the name of baby santa jesus. We must have collected the wayward ornaments from around the house and replaced them only two or three times, when we succumbed to having a bottomless tree this year.
Francine: Let me start by singing high praise to Carol Aebersold and Chandra Bell, the creators of the Elf on the Shelf. Without our little Francine, the holiday season headaches would be ten fold. The relief that comes along with threatening your child with no Christmas if they misbehave is truly a gift in itself. I cannot tell you the joy that I feel when M acts up and I get to use the F word (Francine) to put her back in check. Ahh the delightful sounds of M fanatically crying, “NO! NO! NO!” as I pretend to call Francine on my cell (yes, he is sitting right on the shelf in front of me, but the phone adds a dramatic flare). However, I am not sure what the long-term side effects of using the EOTS might be. We have noticed M having a conversation with Francine on multiple occasions. I am talking full-blown two-way conversation. I just hope that she is not actually hearing Francine talk back to her or we will have a schizophrenic on our shelf.
Toy Assembly: Is there any activity in the world that is more painful than assembling toys on Christmas Eve? I almost wish that fat ass Santa was real so that he and his fairy posse could fight through toy assembly while I watch internet porn, er I mean bake Christmas cookies for homeless kids. This year we are tabbed with the assembly of the Barbie Dream House. This “toy” is almost large enough to house Lil B and as you might have guessed, it comes in 4000 pieces. Approximately 2 hours and 2/3 of a bottle of Crown Royal are down when we place the finishing touches on Barbie’s new crib. All the work (and hangover) was worth it to see M’s face Christmas morning, and more importantly to see Lil B doing his best Godzilla as he destroys Barbieville. He is eerily reminiscent of the giant marshmallow man on Ghostbusters…
Christmas Light Viewing: One of my favorite childhood memories of the holidays is when we all piled into the family truckster and headed out to Bishop Hills or Southwest Park to look at the Christmas lights. We mention seeing lights with M in an area of Plano that is known for its Christmas light display and naturally, she seems excited so we plan the event. We shuffle dinner around so that we are eating along with the Senior Citizens, we bathe the kids in the speedy dual bath, slap some PJ’s on them and then just as darkness falls, we are off to see some lights. A quick stop at Starbucks for mom and dad suddenly turns ugly when they inform us that they are out of Pumpkin Spice. Mom had to be subdued by a chop to the throat while I order us a peppermint mocha in place of our normal latte. This is not good and should be taken as a sign of things to come. As you can imagine, the traffic flowing through a neighborhood that is well-known for its light display is similar to rush hour traffic. Once you enter the subdivision, you don’t leave until the subdivision is says you can leave. We take our place in the car line and crawl down the first street filled with lights. I am unimpressed, but holding faith that the good stuff is further back in the maze of overpriced houses. Apparently M is unimpressed as well. Approximately 3 houses in she wants to go home and does not stop whining until we pull out of that subdivision some 30 minutes later. Lil B enjoys the lights so much that he instantly falls asleep. I am thoroughly underwhelmed by the “famous” display and Bishop Hills sounds pretty good right about now.
This & That: Lil B has officially entered the biting stage. He shows no pattern for how he selects his victims and certainly shows no remorse. Mark my words, if that little punk bites me again he is going to be looking like Sloth from the Goonies when I finish with him.
M & Lil B are starting to play together and this is such a wonderful time. We are trying to soak it in before the fighting begins and the years of tattling and brawling ensue. Speaking of playing, Lil B is quite the Barbie fan. He particularly enjoys Ken in his sleeveless tuxedo…pink tuxedo…I am thinking that if Ken were real, he would look more like Perez Hilton…
For any of you guys out there that are looking to escape the fam for just a bit from time to time, I have a solution for you. Install an outdoor TV. I have done this and it is quite possibly my greatest accomplishment (other than the creation of the two kids…which led to the outdoor escape TV…hmm). Seriously, if your patio accommodates, get the escape TV or forever risk your sanity.
Recently I became a member of an elite fraternity…of sorts. I am talking about an organization that most or some of you actually belong to, but will most likely never admit to having a membership card. Unless you are a member, you have not likely heard of this secret society. This club is steeped in tradition and its members pride themselves on the secrets that lie within the order.
You may be thinking that I am referring to the Freemasons, Shriners, or a college fraternity. Or maybe you are assuming that I am a Parrothead, Deadhead, or perhaps even a pothead. Of course, you would be wrong. While the afore-mentioned clubs share many similarities to my new fraternity, they are very different in nature. Most of these other clubs will accept new membership at any given time. My club can be impossible for some to gain membership. I have attained membership. You are in luck because I am going pull back the shroud of secrecy this one and only time and reveal to you…The Club.
Gaining membership to The Club can be simple for some, while others will strive their entire lives and never make it. Actually, it has taken me 35 long years to earn my admittance. I know some brethren that were initiated very early in their lives , and others that are still trying to get in. The Club is open to any and all. In fact, the official motto of The Club is “Six to sixty. Blind, Crippled, or Crazy.” Many of you may recognize this motto as it has been leaked into mainstream vernacular in recent years. This is an indicator of The Club’s influence on today’s society, which continues to grow. As a member of “society”, you may be asking, “How do I gain access to such an influential yet so secretive organization?”. Well I am going to share with you the story of my initiation, which should provide the answers to many of your questions.
My Initiation Into Greatness
A friend and I were nurturing our alcoholships for the better part the night recently when my path took a fortunate turn toward the golden entry portal of The Club. However, I did not feel like I had done near enough to earn my official membership card…I was ever so wrong.
My codependent friend had long since been gone and I was in bed and well into a very enjoyable dream. In my dream I was back camping in the wilderness. This dream was one of those dreams that you could swear was real. The fire was crackling and warm. The air was crisp, but not too cold. I was sitting there in my camp chair when I received the call of the wild. Man, oh man there is nothing better than being a man out in the woods and having the urge to urinate. In the wilderness a man can simply whip it out and fire away without a care in the world. It was at this exact moment of extreme enjoyment in my dream that I was awakened by the sounds of my wife yelling.
It turns out that call of the wild that I had heard in my dream was real. Many other details that I was dreaming were real as well. I had whipped it out. I had started to fire away. Most men’s wives do not shout at them when they are urinating…in the toilet. My problem was that I was not urinating in the wild like in my awesome dream. I also was not urinating in the toilet…I was not even close. In fact, I was urinating on our bedroom floor…
“What’s that noise? It sounds like water is running. Did you spill something?” the wife yells. My stream immediately halts. I am now in pain, but somehow I am able to pull myself together and lie to her like the pro that I am. I simply told her to go back to sleep and that I was just up going to the bathroom. (Every good lie is 90% truth!). I did go finish my business in the bathroom like a normal adult if that saves me any face here.
So the next morning I lay in bed trying to shake the fog of a light hangover. As I attempt to drag myself out of bed I see the wife and she casually says, ” Why is the floor all wet?” All of the sudden it was like someone must feel coming out of a coma or an amnesiac regaining memory. BAM! I had vivid memory of standing at the foot of our bed and urinating on the floor in a half-sleep state and waking my wife up in the process. Oh my God! Did I really do that? I get up and inspect the floor. Sure enough, there is a small wet spot in the carpet. It was at this point that I had to come clean and tell my wife what I had done…
What I had done was earn my life-long membership into The Club! Yes, the exclusive club of the drunken idiot that urinates somewhere in the house other than the toilet (or sink)! I am truly honored. Although, as I fired up the steam cleaner I couldn’t help but think that membership to The Club doesn’t have many privileges.
I think I have finally hit the age to where my recovery time from binge drinking is now quite lengthy and somewhat miserable. Remember the good ole days of closing down a bar on Wednesday and Thursday nights and having no trouble getting to work the next morning? Friday and Saturday nights often lasted till dawn. There was the unwritten rule between you and your friends that nobody was to be disturbed before the hour of noon…then came children…The awesome spectacle of bringing a life into this world is truly amazing. As amazing as it may be, the Gods do not give life without a sacrifice. The sacrifice that they demand is a life for a life. You get beautiful children, the Gods get your free wheelin’, binge drinkin’, late sleepin’ party life. Of course we are all happy to make this sacrifice to the Gods because the reward easily outweighs anything we give up…However, now and then the Gods show mercy and we are awarded the opportunity to relive that free wheelin’ life. When we are given this chance to step back in time as it were, we often think that we can pick up and party like we used to…oh but we are abruptly brought back to reality the next morning…after this morning I can tell you that I am not looking forward to my next trip to the past anytime soon…