Saturday, December 31, 2005

Gang of Four

I promised something lighter, so here it is. I saw this meme on Tom Tomorrow's blog. I liked it so much I decided to steal it.

Four jobs you’ve had in your life: Paperboy, Potwasher, Stand-up comedian, Actor

Four movies you could watch over and over: Finding Nemo, Bull Durham, Local Hero, Princess Bride

Four places you’ve lived: Painted Post, NY; Ithaca, NY; Chapel Hill, NC; Binghamton, NY

Four TV shows you love to watch: My life is so busy that I've truly cut down the shows I watch. When one of 'my shows' ends, I make a concerted effort to not start another one in its place. Therefore, two of these shows are no longer with us: NYPD Blue, Farscape, The Daily Show; House (dammit--Hugh Laurie just had to go and get a show...)

Four places you’ve been on vacation: San Diego, Kiev, Avon, NC (outer banks), Pittsburgh

Four websites you visit daily: This Modern World, Working for Change, Doonesbury, and the Official Web Page of Whatever Sport Team I Follow Happens to be In Season

Four of your favorite foods: Chicken w/cashews over fried sesame noodles, smoked turkey, my chili, lasagna.

Four places you’d rather be: Keuka Lake, Cape Hatteras, Toronto, someplace in Southern California

Four albums you can’t live without: Damn. I'm so fickle, I don't know if I can answer this one. Right now, Careless Love (Madeleine Peyroux), Twentysomething (Jamie Cullen), Garden State Soundtrack, Live Monsters (Big Head Todd & the Monsters). Ask me again next week and the answers will be different.

Next four tagged: I don't tag. I'd love to see what you write, but it's up to you.

Peace and prosperity to all in the New Year.


Friday, December 30, 2005

And the Outcome...

After a day spent in consternation, conversation and (emotional) constipation, I decided that it would not be in my best interests to let STBEW back into the house.

No shit.*

I spend a few hours of company time rehearsing, in my mind, exactly what I'm going to say to her. I don't know why I do this, I just do. You would think that after all the history I have with this woman, I would know that, no matter how many variations on a theme I can come up with in my mind, what happens in real life always leaves me nonplussed.

Today was a case in point.

About 20 minutes from the end of the day she calls. A little bit of history here: when my wife calls me, she doesn't talk. I'm not kidding. She'll call me, and after saying hello, she'll just not speak. For extended periods of time. And this is what happened today.

So, I'm about to tell her she can't stay, when she suddenly explains that she's got an extra month in the current apartment, which means she can get processed into the next place in an orderly fashion, and won't be needing to stay with me after all.


I'm glad, and all, but I'm kind of disappointed too. I really think it will be good for me to start telling her no. On the other hand, why can't I still?

A pre-emptive strike: if this falls through, she'll have to look elsewhere for support.

Let's see if I actually do it.


*hence, the constipation.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Damned if I Do

Sometimes, when you thnk you're doing OK, life has a way of kicking you in your teeth.

And sometimes, even though you're not where you want to be, life does the same thing.

I just got a phone call from STBEW. She's getting kicked out of her program. Not because she's using drugs or alcohol, but because she's using people.

She had a guy spend the night in her apartment. Then she lied about it.

The guy ended up going to jail. He was in a recovery program instead of jail time, and he got kicked out of his program as well, so he spent time behind bars.

Oh, and the guy--he's about two years older than Lt. Trouble. Our oldest son.

And also, none of this is her fault. It's the fault of the people who reported the rulebreaking, not the people who broke the rules.

And she's also pissed because there's another guy who was also involved in this who didn't even get a slap on the wrist, because he's black, and they don't want to look racist.

Another guy involved.

All of that is actually old news for me. This happened a few weeks ago.

What is new is that there's going to be a gap of a month between when the place she will move into is ready, and the place she's leaving wants her out.

She'll be homeless for a month.

And guess where she wants to stay.

In the spare room, of course.

And I have thousands of reasons to say no, and only two reasons to say yes. One reason is seven, and the other's nine.

Truth be told, it's one hell of a lot easier raising two kids as a couple than as a single parent. I would welcome that aspect.

How much bullshit baggage will come along with that help, is the question.

And the thing is, as bad as all that sounds, she's actually far, far better than where she was 18 months ago.

I'm considering it.

With restrictions, and rules, and things she must do and must not do. None of which I have confidence she'll follow.

I honestly wish my ex no ill will. I do not have a murderous thought in my head, but sometimes I wish she'd just die already. It would be so much easier than watching this slow descent.

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Christmas Song

Once, in a royal David' city
In a lowly cattle shed
There, a mother held a baby
You'll do well to remember the things He later said

When you're stuffing yourselves at the Christmas table
You'll just laugh when I tell you to take a running leap
You're missing the point I should not be making
That the Christmas Spirit is not what you drink

So how can you laugh when someone's mother's hungry?
And how can you smile when your reasons for smiling are wrong?
And if I've just messed up your thoughtless pleasures
Remember this: This is just A Christmas Song.

Peace on earth

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tis a Gift to be Simple

Random holiday thoughts on the first day of winter:

  • Four days til Christmas, and probably 95% of the gifts are wrapped. I'm not a great gift-wrapper. No one will ever mistake one of my packages for something from a high-end trinket purveyor. But, in my childless days, I had devised a very effective way to wrap presents with a minimum of taping, thus allowing the gift to spring open at the slightest of tugs by the receiver, with a bonus of having reusable paper at the end. That style quickly ended with the inclusion of children. Now I tape those suckers down as much as possible. It's the only way I know to slow down my kids' commercial carnage on Christmas morning.

  • If toy manufacturers continue to put their toys into these oddly-shaped transparent blister packages, they should by law be forced to provide specially-constructed wrapping paper to put them in. I'm so tired of wrapping asymetrical polydecahedronal containers that I could scream. Although I do feel better when I can write words like 'asymetrical' and polydecahedronal.' And don't bring up 'Christmas Bags.' They're the coward's way out, and they're damned expensive to boot.

  • The first day of winter, for all it bodes of dark and dreary days ahead, is welcomed by me in a small way: for the next six months, each day will be slightly longer than the next. And this cheers me a little. Conversely, the first day of summer brings me a little bit of sadness. Such is a balanced life.

  • A blogger I read on occasion was complaining about sending out 30 Christmas cards and receiving only three this year. She wrote that next year, she'll only send out three cards. My comment was that if she did this, those other 27 people will, remorsefully, send her Christmas cards next year, and she'll be the one sucking guilt. Of course, if she decides to send out 30 again next year, she will once again only get three back. This is one of the lesser-known Miracles of Christmas.

  • The two youngest got out the stockings in preparation for hanging them this year. Much discussion was made on whether or not to hang three of the stockings: STBEW's, Homeless Son, and Lt. Trouble's. STBEW will make an appearance on Christmas morning, as (most likely) will Homeless Son. The El-Tee, however, will be absent, since the commute from Iraq is a bit much this time of year. Last year, when we got them out, we discovered the orange, still in the toe, of his stocking. Fortunately, the heat and lack of humidity in the attic gave us a perfectly petrified orange, that was then taken to school for discussion by their classes. So, of course, this year the kids checked to see if history would repeat itself. It did. Inside the stocknig was a card from my parents. From the shape I could tell it was a 'money' card. Knowing my mom, it might have been a check, so I opened it up. Nope. $20 cash. I emailed him and told him about it, saying that if he wants it back, he'll have to come home to get it. If I know my son, he'll be sure to duck more bullets if there's a Jackson at stake.

  • On Monday, I was walking through a local mega-grocery store, looking for a Christmas card, when I saw a bunch of shelves done up in green. Not Christmas green. Saint Patrick's Day green. Let me reiterate: On December 19, a store had a display up shilling gifts for a holiday that takes place on March 17. Here's another way to look at it: Two days before the first day of winter, they were pushing gifts for an event that happens three days before the first day of spring. Take Three: It's 89 days away. To sum up: They were bypassing Christmas, New Years, President's Day, Valentines' Day, Ash Wednesday, and Mexican Flag Day. For Saint Patrick's day. Saint Patrick's Day. A holiday known for green beer, and (most recently) homophobic marchers. Are retail stores just a bit too far ahead of the curve these days? I think so.

Don't know how much I'll be posting between now and Christmas (which, to the non-retail world, is the next event on the calendar), so Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Happy Saint Paddy's day!


Friday, December 16, 2005

Of Dougs and Muffins and Sacks

Maybe it's my Methodist upbringing, but I love to play board games.*

Monopoly, Clue, Risk, name it, I've probably played it.

Growing up, one of my favorite board games was The Game of Life. And I'm talking about the original, 1960's style Game of Life, not the updated 1990's Life, which had too many subroutines to it to be much fun. Who cares about careers? The original Game of Life had it down: You drive a car, you make money, you make babies, and if you die rich, you win.

Pretty simple.

And the best part--besides that perfectly balanced wheel that, if you spun it right, you could get a good 10-second whizzzzzzz--was that it was endorsed--nay, heartily endorsed--by Mister Art Linkletter himself.

Even had ol' Art's picture on the money.

I always appreciated that hearty endorsement. It meant a little more to me. A hearty endoresement means you've really thought about it. A hearty endorsement is not settled on just a handshake. It's a two-handed hold-for-a-second-with-one-extra-shake-at-the-end handshake of a reccomendation.

And with that in mind, I wish to not just endorse, but heartily endorse, a blog.

Guy Wonders knows how to play the Game of Life. His observations about his friends and neighbors on the cul-de-sac he calls home are thoughtful, amusing, and completely engaging. He writes in much the same style as O Henry and Garrison Keillor, two masters of detail who find the beautiful, the hilarious, and the ironic in the most common places. Although he includes himself in the action, he is rarely, if ever, the focus in his writing. Instead, he plays the bemused observer, wryly noting the comings and goings of his friends and neighbors. He rarely comments on the action, letting his descriptions speak for themselves. (And they speak with a Canadian dialect--they're all very colourful up there.)

Visit Guy on "the sack," and read about the mystery muffin that appeared at the end of his driveway; discover the true reason why his friend Oscar's wife always asks for an impossible gift for Christmas each year, and pick your favorite Doug*** in the 'Doug of the Year' contest. (I'm pulling for Big Doug).

I love where I live, but If I ever get tired of living in this country, I'm selling my place, changing my name to Doug, and moving into Guy's neighborhood.

Stop by for a visit. You'll be glad you did.


*Because Methodists, as a rule, aren't allowed to have much fun. We aren't allowed to smoke, we aren't allowe do drink, we aren't allowed to dance.**
**That's not true. We were allowed to dance. We belonged to a small subsect: the Rhythm Methodists.
***There's Computer Doug, Rental Doug,**** Little Doug, and Big Doug, all neighbors on the Sack.
****Who may or may not be a servant of Satan

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I'm A Year-End Meme Thief

That's right. And I don't care. I took this from an Australian Pirate named Elaine. Please feel free to steal it from me.

It's kind of cathartic to look back on a year. I suggest you try it.

1. What did you do in 2005 that you hadn't done before?
Man—there’s so many things. Lots of changes, but they all come from little things, many that seem insignificant. This will sound like a trite answer, but it’s sincere shorthand: in 2005, I really started to live.

2. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Define ‘close.’ The wife of my manager at work dropped her load, as did the new wife of an old friend. Of course, I haven’t seen him in since he started dating her, and I’ve never actually met her…so short answer would be ‘no.’ Sorry for giving the long answer first

3. Did anyone close to you die?
I put one of my cats out of my misery. Does that count?

4. Did you travel? Where did you go? Best holiday memory?
Not much travel this year. Went to visit my brother on the other side of the state a couple o times with the kids. Would have gone more, but the transmission is going on the van, so I’m keeping it local, and praying the thing stays together until I can afford to get a different car. I also flew out to Las Vegas and helped Lt. Trouble close up his apartment in preparation for deployment in Iraq.

Assuming that ‘holiday’ here translates into the American colloquial ‘vacation,’ then it would be watching my 9-year-old do a series of cannonballs into my brother's pool. Close second: firing 21 rounds with an assault weapon in the desert. I discovered that 1) I'm a pretty good shot, and 2)I don't like shooting.

5. Best thing you bought?
A very nice pair of khakis.

6. Where did most of your money go?
Creditors. STBEW ingested a large amount of my income for several years (and I didn’t have the will to make smart financial choices at the time) and I’ve got a bunch of debt to pay off. The rest went towards home, heat, food and kids.

7. What do you wish you had done more of?
I wish I could have spent more time with my kids.

8. What do you wish you had done less of?
Work. I have a full-time job and five part-time jobs. See #6 above.

9. What kept you sane?
The serenity prayer; contact with a large number of sane people, prayer and meditation.

10. What drove you mad?
The current President, his regime, and its supporters.

11. What made you celebrate?
UNC-Chapel Hill 75
Illinois 70

Hey, I went to grad school there. Plus, I freelanced for ESPN and Jefferson down there, and really became a fan.

12. What made you sad?
Making my 20-year-old addict son leave the house.
Watching STBEW squander even more opportunities for help, and blaming it on other people.
And #3 above.

13. How was your birthday this year?
I honestly don’t remember. My birthday is about 2 weeks after Fathers’ Day, which I spent in the Emergency Room with a swollen face and a high fever due to an infected tooth. I’m assuming the birthday was moderately better than that.

14. What political issue stirred you the most this year?
Oh, Lord, don’t get me started. You really wanna know? Go to my other blog.

15. Were you in love in 2005?
Are you speaking of fabulous, shmabulous, sunshine-lollipops-and-roses love? No.

16. What would you like to have in 2006 that you didn't have this year?
Money. I’m not avaricious, but I want to be able to put some money in my children’s college fund, pay for braces, be able to take a nice vacation (oops, ‘holiday’), and buy a new car. Unfortunately, it looks like funding for all that will be at least one year away.

17. What date from 2005 will be etched in your memory and why?
Sunday, April 3. I told my son he had to leave. Watching him stuff clothes into his backpack, take his guitar and head off into the world, looking like every other lost boy on the streets, will stay with me forever.

18. What song will remind you of 2005?
Just give up
And admit you’re an asshole
You would be
In some good company
and I think you’d find
That your friends would forgive you
Or maybe I
Am just speaking for me

When I look around
I think this, this is good enough
And I try to laugh
At whatever life brings
Cuz when I look down
I just miss all the good stuff
And when I look up
I just trip over things

I’ve got no illusions about you
Guess what
I never did
When I say
When I say I’ll take it
I mean
I mean as is
-Ani DiFranco

19. Compared to this time last year are you happier?
Oh, hell yes.

20. Biggest achievement this year?
See #1, above; losing 55 lbs.

21. Biggest disappointment this year?
Steelers didn’t make it to the Superbowl. But guess what? The sun came up the next day.

22. What is the one thing that would have made you more satisfied?
If I have to rely on any one ‘thing’ for satisfaction, then I ain’t doing something right….

23. Best new person you met this year?
Take a look at the links on the side. They’re all cool folks, plus a bunch of others: The wonderful Jessica, the conservative but thoughtful Mallory, Misty, and others. They’re all in consideration. As is Dave, the new guy at work who fit right in from day one. But the top two spots are Angel—a woman who, if anything, is even busier than I am, and with whom I’m having a long-term ‘not going out’ non-relationship—and Bruce, my sponsor.

24. A valuable life lesson you learnt this year?
Although I didn’t learn it from her, Rowena says it best: “I need a mess of help to stand alone.”

25. Question you made up yourself?
25a: Am I worth the effort?
Hell yes.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Oy. Tannenbaum.

Posted by Picasa

By the numbers:
  • Height: 8'7"
  • Lights: 400 (not including star)
  • Garland: 80'
  • Ornaments: more than 250
  • Number of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ornaments: 4*
  • Support: tree stand, 25 lb weight on back of stand, monofilament line attatched to baluster.
  • Test weight of monofilament line 40 lbs.
  • Number of times I have used the 25-lb weight in the past three years for anything other than keeping our christmas tree from falling over: 0
  • Number of times I have wondered if perhaps I'm overdoing it: 35
  • Additional footage of garland not on tree: 40
  • Instructions for 'care' of garland: Dust with soft, dry cloth. Store in a 'Martha Stewart Everyday' storage box in a cool, dry place, and do not crush.
  • Percentage chance of any of that ever happening: 0
  • Percentage chance the garland will get stuffed into a plastic grocery bag and thrown into a box in the corner of the attic: 75
  • Percentage chance I'll just throw the garland in the trash: 25
  • Number of kids 'helping' me with the decorations: 3**
  • Number of ornaments rendered unusable by their 'help': 5
  • Number of ornaments I managed to smash all on my own: 2
  • Ornaments destroyed per kid: 1.6
  • Ornaments destroyed per adult: 2
  • Chagrin level at just figuring this out, scale 1-10: 9
  • Number of 'musical' ornaments: 1
  • Number of 'musical' ornaments destroyed during decorating process: 0
  • Number of 'musical' ornaments I wish had gotten destroyed during decorating process: 1
  • Number of 'Santa' ornaments: at least 30.
  • Number of 'Santa' ornaments that, no matter how many times you adjust them, always turn themselves so that they face inward on the tree: at least 30.***
  • Number of ornaments that remind me of Lt. Trouble: 5
  • Number of ornaments that remind me of homeless son: 6
  • Number of ornaments that remind me of STBEW: 4
  • Number of ornaments that remind me of my parents: 6
  • Number of times I have made slight adjustments to the ornaments since taking the picture: 11
  • Time devoted to tree procuring, set-up, and decorating, in hours: 11
  • Number of times I have wondered if perhaps I'm overdoing it: 36
Happy Holidays


*Leatherhead, Donatella, & Rafael plastic ornaments, plus one traditional 'ball' ornament featuring the turtles in various 'santa' poses. I have yet to find the multi-tentacled, snarling fanged pink brain-thing. Still searching.
**My youngest two, plus their 12-year-old cousin, who at first was too cool to help decorate, but was soon on the ladder, finding the coolest places to put the ornaments.
***Adjustments tried: twisting the ornament; flipping the ornament hook's axis by 180 degrees; bending the metal of the hook; hanging the ornament in a different place; and hanging the ornament backwards on purpose with the hopes that it will get confused and think I want it to hang that way, and twist around frontwards out of sheer spite.

Friday, December 09, 2005

This song goes out by request..

From Balloon Pirate to his STBEW, who says you can't be his EW fast enough. It's an oldie but a goodie by Phil Collins, from back in the day when he was putting out interesting music instead of being the house voice for Disney Cartoons. From "Hello I Must Be Going," it's "I Don't Care Anymore."

Because If I keep repeating it, maybe it will be true.

Well you can tell ev'ryone I'm a down disgrace
Drag my name all over the place.
I don't care anymore.
You can tell ev'rybody 'bout the state I'm in
You won't catch me crying 'cos I just can't win.
I don't care anymore I don't care anymore

I don't care what you say
I don't play the same games you play.

'Cos I've been talking to the people that you call your friends
And it seems to me there's a means to and end.
They don't care anymore.
And as for me I can sit here and bide my time
I got nothing to lose if I speak my mind.
I don't care anymore I don't care no more

I don't care what you say
We never played by the same rules anyway.

I won't be there anymore
Get out of my way
Let me by
I got better things to do with my time
I don't care anymore I don't care anymore
I don't care anymore I don't care anymore

Well, I don't care now what you say
'Cos ev'ry day I'm feeling fine with myself
And I don't care now what you say
Hey I'll do alright by myself
'Cos I know.

'Cos I remember all the times I tried so hard
And you laughed in my face 'cos you held all the cards.
I don't care anymore.
And I really ain't bothered what you think of me
'Cos all I want of you is just a let me be.
I don't care anymore D'you hear? I don't care no more

I don't care what you say
I never did believe you much anyway.

I won't be there no more
So get out of my way.
Let me by
I got better things to do with my time
I don't care anymore
D'you hear? I don't care anymore
I don't care no more
You listening? I don't care no more
No more!

You know I don't care no more!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

While I'm on the subject...

...what subject was that, again?

Oh, yeah. Memory. Or lack thereof.

My STBESIL* emailed the following to me. And although I am loathe to simply cut and paste stuff onto my blog, this seemed appropriate, considering the responses I have received:**

Recently, I was diagnosed with A. A. A. D. D. - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden.

As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only 1 check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered.

I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:
----the car isn't washed,
----the bills aren't paid,
----there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter,
----the flowers don't have enough water,
----there is still only 1 check in my check book,
----I can't find the remote,
----I can't find my glasses,
----and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really
baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for
it, but first I'll check my e-mail.

Do me a favor, will you? Forward this message to everyone you know, because I don't remember to whom it has been sent.

Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!!


P.S. I just remembered, I LEFT THE WATER RUNNING IN THE DRIVEWAY!!!!!!!!!


*Sister of STBEW--figger it out.
** Just wait, Daniel. I haven't had a hit in 20 years, Polanco. And Colleen: Is that why they call what a brain fart?***

***Seriously awesome pun, Colleen!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My Memory is in My Ass

That is what my journey of self-discovery has unearthed today, kiddies.

Brains in buttocks.

Not all of my brains, mind you, just the memory part.

I work out of two separate areas at my job. Two offices, about 40 feet away from each other. I spend quite a bit of time at both places.

I was in one room, doing my work, when I realized that I needed something from the other.

I get to my desk, sit down, and remember that I need to make a phone call. So I make the call, and smell fresh coffee in the break room. I get the coffee, and go back to my original spot.

Not until I sit down do I remember that I didn't get the package from the second place.

I spend much of my day walking back and forth between these two areas. Don't ask me why they aren't combined; to do that would make too much sense.

So, if you ever see a confused pirate ambling around looking lost, just give a kick in the ass.

That's how we jumpstart our memory.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Meet My Holiday Nemesis

Yes, it's good ol' Leather-
face. He's been dogging my Christmas since 1989.

ber '89? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? My kids were into it. Big time. Turtle shirts, turtle jammies, turtle toys, turtle videos, turtle lunchboxes, turtle name it, if it had a chelonial connection to a rennaisance painter, we had it.

That Christmas, a friend of the family--who had kids held in turtlethrall and should have known better--got the kids these little 'suncatcher' painting kits. One of Leatherface, and one of...I don't know his name. Krang? Kang? He was a fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing.

Turtle-related. The kids loved them. They painted them, and for some reason, rather than sticking them on their windows with the little suction cups, they decided they would be Christmas ornaments, and they have hung on our trees ever since.

Despite my best efforts otherwise.

When I took down the tree, I tried to give the things to the kids. But no: they went into the ornament box.

The next year, when it was time to decorate, I left them off the tree.

"Where's our ornaments?" they wailed, and went back into the box, digging through the packing material until they found them.*

And placed them in prominent positions.

Ho ho ho.

I would, as best I could, move the suckers out of the prime positions on the tree, but they always found them, and moved them back in place, pushing aside the delicate, colorful, hand-blown holiday ornaments to better show them off.

This took place every year. Long after the Turtle craze faded. And I knew they would dog me.

I knew that, no matter how hard I would try, these freakish things would appear like Marley's ghost.

I imagined myself in my 80's, a dottering, doting, granddad, coming to see my children.

"Look, Da!" they would exclaim, "Look what we saved for you! It's the fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing! You get to hang the fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing on the tree, Da!

"Because nothing says 'Christmas' like a fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing!"

Well, here it is, Christmas 2005, and they're still here. My oldest will be spending it in Iraq, watching over his troops. Number two son isn't here either. I'm not sure where he is, or where he will be at Christmas. He's in a war, too. His is internal.

But these things persist. At least, one of them does.

I found Leatherface right at the top of the ornament box. The fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing is currently MIA.

There's a few boxes left. If he's not in one of them, I'll go back up to the attic and search some more.

Because nothing says 'Christmas' like a fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing.


*They had plenty of ornaments. We get them one or two a year, on the assumption that they would eventually move out, and decorate their trees in their own houses with their own ornaments.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Happy Half-Frozen Thursday

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Light Snow
Feels Like
UV Index: 0 Low
Wind: From NW at 5 mph
Humidity: 75%
Pressure: 29.85 in.
Dew Point: 28°F
Visibility: 7.0 miles

I've been outside decorating today. I can't feel my fingers. I can tell I'm typing because I can see the letters scrolling across the screen. And yes, I was wearing gloves. The were fingerless, but I needed the dexterity.

four (4) 18' rope lights, alternating red and green, around the three pillars and the front railing of porch,

five (5) holographic stars above the entranceway

100' faux pine garland with gold flecking wrapped along the posts

100 miniature lights wrapped around pine shrub in front of house

two (2) small lighted christmas trees in upper windows

21" lighted wreath suspended between upper front windows

I'm debating on when or whether to bring out the 4' tall nutcracker.

I don't know if that sounds excessive to you guys, but it's kind of below average, decoration-wise in my neighborhood. It's sort of an all-or nothing place when it comes to the holidays.

Colleen wants me to do a photo essay. I may do that. I'll probably wait a week though. There's still a few stragglers out there.