Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Eve of all Eves

I don't know how your Christmas Eve went, but mine was exhausting.

It's no surprise.
I did what I do every year. Which is to say, everything.
Except shave my legs. Merry Christmas Hubby!)

Christmas downsizing is not my specialty.

I'm not complaining though (well, maybe I am a little). I
love Christmas. Really, I do. And part of my problem is at the same time I don't downsize - I don't want to downsize.

I'm considering starting a clinic, you know, like Betty Ford did, except this one would be for excessive Christmastime addictions. We would have individual class, therapy-dog visits, yoga, and group sessions . . . . . .

I have a hard time saying this out loud,---" (Bliss)

---Go right ahead, no one is going to judge you." (psychologist, group leader)

Well, I . . I, I can't give someone a gift with curly ribbon on it. I've tried. So many times, oh how I've tried. But . . . like once I made hubby drive 3 miles out of our way, just to pick up the right kind of wired-edged, 2" wide, ruby red ribbon. ---I know it's wrong. I know it's wrong. I just . . I just can't change . . ." (Bliss)

" . .
all the cookie baking was done, but I ate so many I had to start all over, one day before the neighborhood Christmas Cookie Exchange."
(anonymous sufferer #2).

---I get sick just thinking my girls might grow-up and struggle with the same Kohls Early-Bird dependency I have. It's no way to live. . . ."
(anonymous sufferer #3) (whole group nods)

Now, now ladies--and gentleman, --sorry Joe---
---remember we're amongst friends here.
There's no reason to be so hard on yourselves."

. . . I've never found a Christmas magazine I didn't like.' (anonymous sufferer #2) 'They're stuffed in the pantry, under beds, behind the water heater. One day my husband is going to find them -- and I don't know what I'll do! He thinks I'm saving Ensigns and Better Wife magazine!
---Sometimes, when it's late at night, I sneak out of bed and lock myself in the downstairs bathroom to read them over again in secret. I memorize mincemeat pie recipes and cut-out ornament stencils.

I feel like such a failure!" (tears)

" . . .
my calligraphy blows!" (anonymous sufferer #4)

Okay, okay. That's enough, everyone. Let's move on to something else, shall we?"


My day starts out pleasant enough.

I sleep in a wee bit, then the kids and I head out to Hubby's work party. His employer always throws a Christmas-Eve-day family lunch, barbecue.

You ain't seen blue collar 'til you've had a tri-tip with these Real Men.

Every other guy has on a truckers hat with sayings like 'Girls are Wussys' or 'I had Bear for Lunch' or 'Am I
Talkin' to You?'

Most have just crawled out of an air intake or motor of some kind, and haven't washed their hands since last nights shower. And the

When the kids were little, I use to cover their ears, or whisper to them 'he said 'fudge,' '
fudge~ !'

Now with the kids older and mingling themselves, I'm stuck alone trying to hang with PottyMouthMike.

I have no choice but to throw out Utahisms like '
oh my heck,' or 'for sleeping in a bucket!' just to keep up. I start lookin' like a country bumpkin real soon (no disrespect intended, Utah).

I get in the same pickle at boutiques and craft fairs--except those Utahisms are a lot cleaner.)
Jezebel, that's cute!'
I spy, --that's darlin', darlin', darlin'!'
Zip me up and send me to the Celestial kingdom! That's homemade??'

After the work party we go on a round of visits with the relatives, stop for last minute errands, and make a couple of gift drop-offs.

Already dark, and once home--I begin the 400 cinnamon-rolls ritual for Christmas morning breakfast,
plus the recently added apple pie self-made assignment after hearing Hubby sigh,

It'd be great to have fresh apple pie for Christmas eve, wouldn't it?'

Soon he's on the couch unwinding, and in his fourth hour of
The Christmas Story or Elve reruns.
He'd help if I asked him to. But -- I don't. I'm in such a zombie frenzied state -- I can't let anyone in -- even Hubby.

It's my own fault. I leave way too much to do in one night.

At midnight I finally finish wrapping the last kid gifts with whatever is close by.
Strangers and extended family--they got the pretty stuff.

Plastic the newspaper came in? That's fine. I throw a cd in it and wrap a yard of tape around and around the ink stained bag.
Empty Kleenex box? Good. I drop a pair of socks inside, stuff with tissue, and fat-marker a name on one edge.

Don't chuck that empty toilet paper roll, Hubby." ----

I slip a gift card in it and tape over the ends.
---To You Son, With Love---

Just once instead of all that work, I'd like to cuddle the whole evening away with Hubby, by the fire.

Did I say cuddle the evening away with Hubby, by the fire?
---I meant be in bed by 10:00, and sleep slobber'ing on my pillow.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Ice Man Cometh

Somewhere in the mid-eighties (
known to veterans as the Decade-Of-All-Trends-Wrong), popular house decor colors where deemed to be mauve, powder blue, and beige. Although no longer the right colors now (newsflash half of America!) -- back then I purchased a budget friendly cheap plastic beige bowl representative of the period.

However impressive the vaguely southwestern-slash-dawn-of-MTV decorating savvy I possessed then was---
little could I have imagined that same bowl would yet be with me today.

Worse still, could I have possibly imagined it would become Hubby's All-Time, Number One, Hands-Down, --- Favorite Forever Bowl.
Well, favorite
ice bowl, that is.

What is an ice bowl you ask?

Funny you would inquire because it's true, ---no such dining or kitchen apparatus as an 'ice bowl' exists in the books. But because of my first hand experience, I am able to take a stab at explaining to you just exactly what an ice bowl is. ------

An 'ice bowl' is a bowl that keeps ice cubes out where guests can look at them.

'Oh!' you exclaim. 'You mean an ice bucket?' you ask. 'Like what Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, or Bing Crosby use to use!'

Well, no. No, an ice
bowl is different.

An 'ice bowl', is an unsightly, unnecessary, unused contraption, the same beige color of dried desert camel dung.
( . . . and has unsightly brown spots from the heating element of a dishwasher, as well as is accompanied by a just as unsightly slotted plastic oversized spoon.)

An ice bowl can appear at anytime, and at any function (--solely held at Bliss and Hubby's home).

You may find it at barbecues, family gatherings, Superbowl parties, rehearsal dinners, neighborhood socials, family home evenings, Columbus Day soirees, funerals, political events, barn-raising feasts, in-law entertaining, graduation festivities, and retirement bashes.

No occasion is too big or too small for an ice bowl.
If ice exists, it should be melting and center stage in a dumb bowl.

Okay. I sound like a brat. I know.
It's just, I have never had people ask, "
excuse me, where do you keep your ice?"

I mean, we could have the
fanciest of affairs, and there appears out of nowhere--between the Baked Alaska and crystal stemware -- a sloppy dollar store cracked shallow beige bowl of off-tasting ice cubes.

Anyhow, the problem is not
only in the bowl.

Never has a man been more in love with his ice, than hubby is.

The very refrigerator we have exists not because the housewife of the home picked it out after bellowing the merits of its spaciousness and fresh-crisp drawers, or reading 4-star'isms in Consumer Reports, ---
but because Hubby found it deserted outside a welfare home, hosed it off, and gleefully declared (
while haulin' it through the front door on a two-wheeled dolly) ---

"They don't make ice makers like
this anymore!"

The Man Is All About His Ice.

I know if the house were on fire, he'd tell me to save the ice.
When we had our first child, I brought an overnight bag to the hospital -- Hubby brought his ice chest.
Unless Hubby has his mug of crushed ice and Kool-Aid to go with a meal, our dinners are as wrong as Maroon 5.
(catch that? perfect maroon 5 reference!) (they're awful! enough with Maroon 5!)

To this day, no sound pierces my heart deeper than the dreaded words,

Hon - where's our ice-bowl?"

Oh Well.
Maybe time will prove me wrong. Someday we may see pictures of the President in the Oval Office with a plastic bowl of ice next to him -- just-in-case . . . . --- we'll see . . . though time as of yet, has not been a friend to most of my hair-brained theories.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Nose Always Knows

I have to laugh.

A good friend brought me by a goodie bag today. I wasn't home -- but when I did get home from errands, parking lots, crowds, and other such headaches -- an agreeable gift of Christmas cookies and bubble bath gel awaited me.

So here's the thing - one whiff of yummy cookies and I'm off to the races. ---I need you to know I didn't eat them all then and there---
But just in the case I might have eaten them all, and more -- the lovely people at Vanilla Rose Bubble Bath went to the trouble of putting on their label -

"This is not food. Do not eat."

Sadly, I feel quite sure it is for guys and gals exactly like myself, that such labels were created.

So is it just me?
Or do our noses do most of the thinking?

Like for instances,

Hubby put some pine needles from our Christmas tree on the dash of my car. You, know just a little Christmas-scent-fun, for while I'm driving around.

Little does he know (until now) ---that putting a bough of pine tree in my car has me reacting like dogs in Pavlov's famous experiment. ---They heard the bell and went for food.

I smell Christmas pine needles --- and head straight to the mall.

It doesn't matter that I was expecting to pick up kids, have a doctors appointment, or am needed in a charity soup line ---- I'm going Christmas shopping.

Then, once I've stepped out of my car at the mall . . ---I look like a chick just snapped out of a hypnotic trance.

Where am I? Why am I here?

Luckily before I can gain my senses completely, the aroma of mall Cinnabons, Starbucks hot chocolate, or expensive leather purses flows through the air, and I don't need a reason to be at the mall---

-- I just am.

Pine needles have cost my husband many a paycheck.

And speaking of hubby -- my husband smells his food before he eats it. It sounds harmless, I know.

But really it's not.

We could be in the finest restaurants ( um, yeah. okay. So? -- so just use your imagination, alright?!)

. . like I said, --- We could be in the finest restaurant, and Hubby still has to stick his face and nose into a fancy china plate of escargot, filet mignon, or truffle-sauced halibut before he can decide if the food is palatable or not. He looks like a nose-miner.

Now when he does this at home - I just try to ignore it, --you know, look the other way. I mean what can I do? He's an animal.

But with us at fancy restaurants (like, I said -- use your imagination!) ----it's embarrassing. Waiters look at me, -- like I can explain it. Heck!

I tell them he used to be blind, "before miraculous blind-correcting surgery . . . but he's still use to smelling everything before he eats it." (At this point in the story I pat his little hunched-over-smelling-head. He's so busy and so excited, he can't hear a word I'm saying . . )

"It used to be the only way he could tell a meal, from the dirty laundry," I say.

And then I smile politely.

And speaking of the dirty laundry.

A few years back I got what every woman wants. --- (No . . not a pair of these. No, not a day like that. . And no . . not a surgery like those!)

. . .---I got a front-loading washer.

Supposed to be wonderful, right? Well I got news for you. It stinks like-the-dickens when laundry is being done.

Something is going on when the machine tries to drain, I'm telling you. It smells like I've just washed the sickest, foulest, muck off our clothes like you wouldn't even believe.

The cat looks at us like, 'Oh yeah. ---And 'kitty-litters' a problem.'

Once I had hubby go in and try to figure things out. He took a disgusting glob of family crud out of some drain that, well, --I don't want to say this, but, ---- it could be used in enemy-biological-warfare, should word get out.
It was some putrid, reekin', stinkin' funk, I'll tell you.

I don't know what all it was for sure, -- but I don't ever want to see it again.

Hence I just keep washing away, now pretending I don't smell what surely is growing once more in that drain pipe.

Guests take a sniff and assume it is coming from the boy's bathroom. But---

"No, oh no," I laugh carefree'ly. "That's just our clean clothes!" I say, while trying to act sane.

Actually it really does throw them a bit. I mean, what do you say to a nut-lady like that, right?
--They say nothing.

What would solve this problem, you ask?
Well if you think Hubby's about to buy me another new washer before this one's put in four decades, --you're crazy.

And you know what? I bet he's holding out anyway for the day science is so advanced we don't even need clothes.

Funny, but I gotta imagine he's not the only dude holding out for that day to arrive . . . .

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Catalog Shop'ster

Well, since we're on the subject of shopping -- my Sundance catalog came today and ooooo' what a treasure trove!

I can't decide between the Ellis Peak Boots, 'tread lightly but with a sure step in our stylish, pull-on distressed suede boots . . .' at a mere $298.

or the

Open Road Jacket, 'easy going, swings along city streets and country highways in any season of the year,' for a neat $425.

The Pemberton Flip-Top Table ( --
resolute, steady and stable, like the very best of friendships--) would be dandy in the kitchen. $1795 (plus $350 shipping and handling).
But I'm afraid it might 'crack' from the kind of 'friendship' business a family like mine would put it through.
We're no delicate actress-types like Mr. Redford and Sundance might be used to.

What I'd
really like is for hubby to get me the 'Artisan's Organic Cuff', as a stocking stuffer. At $690 it's an 'untamed twist of natural apatite', whose 'organic composition spirals seductively around the wrist' ------
----Now I've never had anything spiral seductively around the wrist . . .

---oh, wait! Yes?
. . . No. . . . . oh, no. No. I haven't. --That was secrete.

I've had something
secrete from around my wrist, --but it was pretty nasty. (I don't want to get into it.) Nothing seductive about it.

Anyways, the Organic Cuff can be ordered Toll Free! So, you see? It's not all about the money, with Sundance.

I think the last thing I did buy from them was the Westminster Brilliant Cut Whirlwind Paperclip, --'a full sweeping twirl of erupting organically molten sterling silver.' 'indisputably fabulous.' It was only $39.95, but I guess in their eyes, good enough to keep me on the mailing list.

("Maybe she has a rich uncle?" they hope to themselves . .)

I don't mind, really. I'm sure Robert Redford would be a friend of mine if we ever met (---
on a plane to China about to go down over the ocean, and I had the last parachute--).

Truly though- there
are affordable items to choose from for the finicky buyer.
Once I ordered a darling prairie dress. I ordered my size, but somehow they mistakenly sent me something fit for an American Girl doll.
I tried to squeeze it on but I couldn't get it past my esophagus without spurting for air.
It might have been my fault, really. I measured around 'the
natural waistline, keeping the tape comfortably loose', just like they said --- but my 'natural' waistline is a little hard to find anymore. I might have mistakenly sent them the measurements to my natural big-toe, line.

It was no biggy though. They took it right back for just the $69 re-stocking fee.

(They gotta make a living too.

Well, if anybody cares, I've got my pile of Sundance catalogs here to look at. It's no doubt you'll find something you'd like to get too.
Just don't go crazy -- we're in a recession you know.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Shop'ster

I went shopping today for a birthday present for my sister-in-law. She's a great gal and really easy to shop for.
I didn't find anything for her - but I did find a nice
sweater for me, a darling chihuahua mug, and shoes my husband might like for work.

Once at home and in
real light--not that 'trick' light they use in the dressing rooms of department stores--I could see the sweater was way wrong on me. I bought it on clearance for such a ridiculously low price though, I'm too ashamed to return it.
I'll just put it in the DI donations for next month. (Helping the less privileged is just something I do.)

And you know, as I really
don't drink coffee, and tea only so rarely -- I think I'll just save the chihuahua mug for a teacher gift? I can like, fill it with erasers - and put a note on it that says, 'You're The Doggone Best Teacher' (they eat that stuff up) --it'll come in handy in five months when school ends . . .

As for the shoes, my husband says he's never worn purple mock-leather loafers in his life and isn't about to start now, -so I return them.
While at the store I notice this
fantastic three legged mahogany chair. It's the last of like, some set - and just might go super in my home office. ( . . I bet hubby can fix it for a song . . . )

I buy the three legged chair, --but not before spotting a cute floral notepad for the sis-n'law. Perfect!

Once home, I prop the chair up with a sturdy paint stick (for the time being) - and notice that it actually gives the chair quite a one of a kind look. I decide I may even keep it that way --kind of vintage like, or something.
With the chair a keeper -- I see the floral notepad happens to match my new pen set, like, exactly!

( . .
I'll just run out one day this weekend and get something different for sissy-in-law.)

Interestingly, that night in bed channel surfing, I come across an infomercial for (
and I'm not usually such a sucker) some sort of contraption-mask thing that if you wear it at night for a week straight -- will make your crows feet disappear.
I pony up the'ol credit card, order it rush delivery, and roll over for some shut-eye.
( . .
some days, just exhaust me.)

The next morning, I decide I'm not keeping some dang screwy chair that doesn't even have four legs, and after a quick errand to return it, I stop at the Walmart to grab a diet coke at the indoor McDonalds, ---when the most amazing crockpot catches my eye.
It does everything but eat the meal itself!
I get it, figuring come summer I'm not gonna want to do
any oven cooking.

At home I put last years crockpot on Craigslist.
It'be sweet if I could make
just enough cash on it, to buy my sister-in-law something for her birthday.

Soon after, Hubby comes home from a bike ride with his buddy and shows me a
darling flower pot Joe's wife was about to throw out.
It's actually in pretty good condition.
Don't hate me . . . but I think if I put a little spit-shine to it, and plant some miniature roses inside -- I could re-gift to my sis-in-the-law, flawlessly!

I grab my purse and head out to a nursery to look at plants.

Sometimes I feel like I just move in one big circle. You know?
always got something to do.