It’s the time of year when I bemoan the schools switching from sales of heavy weight gift wrap for fundraisers to stupid coupon books, coupon magazines, coupon cards and BUY OUR STUFF TO BUY MORE STUFF fundraisers. Since I can’t get wrapping paper delivered by school children, I have to buy a few rolls in the stores. When you buy gift wrap in the store, you have to carry all of your purchases and the awkwardly long rolls of gift wrap while wearing a bulky winter coat. There are very few options for accomplishing this skill that invariably results in looking like you are doing a Jerry Lewis homage.
1. The I’m going skeet shooting unless I trip on a branch and shoot myself in the foot carry:
This works until it suddenly doesn’t work because the rolls of paper slid out of your hand and scattered all over the mall floor where someone’s grandma is going to trip and break a hip.
2. The over the shoulder care-free carry:
This one is great if you’re eight feet tall. Otherwise, you’re going to thwack everyone who walks past you.
3. The “I took a baton class in third grade” carry:
You’re going to twirl it. The victims will be bruised and angry.
4. The load of firewood carry:
Unlike real firewood that breaks your toe when it falls, gift wrap tubes will only trip you and cause the breakage of your nose.
If I order gift wrap online, am I responsible for injuries incurred by the people attempting to deliver it?
He: “Why are you frowning?”
She: “I fell down the driveway and borked my knee.”
What she wanted him to say: Sorry about your knee.
What he said instead: “Do you want me to see if they can put better soles on your shoes?”
How she responded: “I’d like them dropped in an active volcano.”
– – – – – – – – – –
Mom: “Evan, what’s that in the sky?”
Evan: “Pluto? No, wait. It’s Venus.”
Mom: “That’s right!”
Sibling: “I’m from Venus.”
Evan: “No. You’re from Uranus.”
I’m sitting in bed, color coding the family’s various activities in my planner like a good nerd and it looks like a unicorn puked rainbows all over the month of December.
It occurs to me that at the end of the coming four years with the least qualified and most unpleasant (nee racist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynist, xenophobic) administration the United States has known since Andrew Jackson,
1. Andrew Jackson will seem slightly less awful and
2. America will be great again when Trump leaves office, so
3. I guess that’s how he makes it great again. He leaves.
The Kakistocracy/Kleptocracy era we are about to endure is so obviously a deliberate effort to destroy the country while Trump continues to run his businesses with this country as collateral. Trump bought America to use as leverage for his personal business deals. He doesn’t care about Americans. There is so much awful in the staff he is assembling that I am consciously picking and choosing my battles. When the unemployed who voted for Trump because they believed he would bring back jobs that technology made obsolete don’t regain their old jobs, I’m going to shrug. When the olds who voted for Trump because they think he’s a good businessman lose their healthcare, I will shrug. I’m not joking. Life’s too short for this garbage.
Gatlinburg is the place I went with youth groups as a teen. Gatlinburg is where Doug and I were married. Our first weekend alone as a married couple was in Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is where I’ve gone for work related conventions. Gatlinburg is where we take our family for entertainment. Gatlinburg isn’t somewhere we visit for vacations. Gatlinburg is part of who we are.
Now, it’s on fire.
Since the children were small, we have decorated a lighted garland with 24 treat filled mittens to use as a countdown to Christmas morning. Every January, the children give their leftover candies to a sibling. This year, while the middle child explained to me what he currently does and does not like to eat, the two of us realized how to solve the problem of five children with five very different preferences.
The Christmas tree has always been decorated with traditional minty Christmas canes. From now on, if you don’t like what is in the mitten for that day, hang it on the tree and take a plain candy cane instead. Did someone hang a cherry flavored candy cane on the tree because they preferred a minty cane? That cherry cane is fair game for a swap. Our Christmas tree will now be decorated in “take what you need and leave what you don’t” candy treats.
Now I need to figure out how to transition the shelf elf from ‘nightly panic over remembering to move it’ to a decoration that I don’t have to deal with daily.
One of the insignificant details in Fantastic Beasts that tickled my fancy was the different hemlines of pants. Jon Voight, the successful newspaper editor, had pants touching the tops of his shoes. Newt and the other working class characters had pants hemmed above the ankle. The poverty of streets too poor for cobblestones and the mud and sewage that flood them is something that the movie’s makers wanted viewers to notice. No child or adult I pointed this out to understood the relevance of the hems. They only saw costumes. Most of us don’t even recognize that the stores we can afford to shop carry about three non-standard colors every season. True spectrum of color choices is a financial privilege. When you can’t afford to care, you don’t even realize how much of your choices are made for you, to separate you from their world.
Peak happiness is all of the children (who are no longer children) at home.
Today was wonderful. All the children were home. My mother was here. We talked, ate, talked more and laughed. I felt no anxiety. I rolled with problems. It was perfect.
I’m thinking about taking a non-sick, non-stressed, celebrate my state of not-worrying-about-people-and-politics day off tomorrow. I actually feel guilty that I am able to have this privilege. I know that others don’t. 2016 has been brutal. I’m exhausted.
Happy, but tired.
I’m not buying into Jill’s ‘send me money and I’ll make them do their due diligence’ routine. What I am coming around to is the opinion that the new VP, despite his infliction of his beliefs on others, is less internationally destructive than the monosyllabic, insecure, vengeful, wannabe mobster. America could recover from four years of Pence. The world is in danger with Trump at the helm. Pence would step down at the end of his term. Trump will assume dictatorship.