Monthly Archives: December 2012

Merry Christmas. I know about your affair, part 3 of 3 (finale)

Merry Christmas to you! Gabe and I would like to gift you with the End of Our Scandalous Tale. Yeah, we know, we’re too kind. As usual, Gabe’s voice is in RED and my replies to his voice are in italics. Please enjoy this last installment…if you can make it through to the end without losing your mind. Mwahaha…hohoho!

SO! Remember how last week I’d been trying to hide my excitement at getting Gabe a Wii and he thought I was hiding something else so he was acting like a jerk so I thought he’d figured out what my gift was and was sad because there were no surprises on Christmas? Well, here’s how it all turned out.

Gabe was staring morosely at his box of air mattress, compliments of my friend’s genius husband, and I was trying to suppress all the hideous laughter that was burbling up my throat. I was trying to suppress the feeling of wanting to choke her to death while heartily singing the 12 days of Christmas. “On the first day of Christmas, my true love got from me, strangulation underneath the tree! On the second day…”  He was being a sport about the whole thing. Not a good sport, per se, but a sport. Then he saw Scotch tape on the box flap and since normal packaging doesn’t employ Scotch tape, he started pawing at the box with a little more interest. What’s this? Hmmm I’ll strangle you in a moment, my dear. He opened the “air mattress” and found…a rock. And paper. AND A WII! Wait! What?

Of course, the minute he pulled it all out, I was gushing. “OMGGABE! IwenttoTargetandthelinewaslongandIdidn’tknowitwouldbelikethat (BREATHE) andthenIwentsearchingforotherstoresandIdroveanddroveanddrove (BREATHE) cryingintheparkinglotwhenIrememberedEBXandtherewereonlythreepeopleinlinandIwassohappy (BREATHE) offeredtonotonlywrapthegiftbuttoputitinadifferentboxtothrowyouoffthescent (BREATHE) wassureyou’dfigureditoutanywayandIwassosadthatIcan’tsurpriseyoubutyouAREsurprisedandyouDIDN’Tknowwhatitwas! (BREATHE)
I AM SO GREAT!”

And he said, “I thought you’d been sneaking around behind my back.”

That’s when we looked at each other, both pretty puzzled by what the other was saying, him because he couldn’t understand my gibberish, me because I couldn’t understand his logic. I could only look at her for the moment. I still wanted to strangle her. I’m working on these “thoughts” with my therapist but that’s another story.

It turns out that after my failed breakfast the morning I got the Wii, he thought I’d had a fight with my friends. Because I wouldn’t answer any of his direct questions about the event and because I started being secretive and avoiding him and maybe also because of the whispered conversations I’d been having on the phone when I thought Gabe wasn’t around, he used his past experiences to explain my behavior: I was seeing someone else. Probably one of my exes. Or some hot guy. Maybe some hot girl; I know how Gabe’s mind works. A note from Gabe’s lawyer: My client has no comment at this time. Thank you. Your lawyer. Your lawyer is a paper doll that you made out of leftover McDonald’s bags. I don’t think he stands up in a court of law. He’s pretty flimsy. He figured I’d gone to breakfast that morning, told my friends about Rudolpho and we’d all had a fight over it. He figured the friends told me I’d have to fess up or dump the extra guy and I didn’t like what they’d said so we argued and now we weren’t on speaking terms. (Do you SEE why his logic confused me? Why on earth would I juggle a boyfriend and a hot Latin Lover [they’re always Latin for some reason] when one guy is enough work in the first place?) Because prior to the Wii reveal, you were a skanky skank weasel skanking around the town. Yeah, but I didn’t know that! I mean, that’s the part that just doesn’t make sense to me! Where would I get the energy to skankily weasel around town?  He’d been buying me all these neat, thoughtful, loving gifts for the coming holiday and I was out having unwholesome sex with some dude. I was probably wearing sexy Christmasy lingerie, too. And high heels. And red lipstick and nails. Like I said, I know how Gabe’s mind works. For the record, that’s hot. I am rolling my eyes at you right now.
Despite having known me for 8 years by that time, or maybe because he’d known me for so long, he thought I’d wait until after Christmas to break up with him…because it would be cruel to break up before the holidays. Apparently, I’m evil enough to sleep around but not enough to make him spend Christmas alone? Standard procedure of the bat-faced harpy in my book. Hee hee hee! “Bat-faced harpy” Hee hee hee!
So he’d spent a solid week and a half really mad at me. He couldn’t believe I’d do this to him especially since I knew past girlfriends had cheated on him. He decided to wait it out and then we’d fight when I asked to break up and he’d tell me he’d known all along I had been seeing someone else; he was building up to that last big blow-up. This is so not turning out to be a Gift of the Magi story, is it?
When he saw that box on Christmas, the box with unknown wrapping paper that said “To Gabe, From Santa,” he thought maybe…just maybe…he’d been wrong. Actually, it was more along the lines of, “To choke? Or not to choke?” Gabe has always lived in environment where gifts = love, by the way. The fancier the gift, the more the love. None of this really makes sense unless you know that. So when this big box turned out to be an air mattress, he KNEW he’d been right! I was just giving him stupid gifts that meant nothing because I felt like I had to give him something useful that he could sleep on when he moved out. Because I’m thoughtful that way.
The only thing that kept him from dumping me garroting her with a Harry Potter scarf Geez! I’m glad I didn’t get you a Tom Baker Doctor Who scarf, then! right then and there was the Scotch tape. That piece of cello-whatever-they-call-it-in-England signified my last chance and whatever was inside the box would make or break our relationship.

I had no idea any of that was happening. I just wanted him to see the Wii I’d found for and kept from him for about three weeks.

Turns out, he was surprised. He didn’t dump me. He cried. I cried. We got married. Ok, not right then and there, but later, we totally did. And we still have the Wii.

Epilogue:
I know this story makes us sound shallow and horrible. On many levels, we are. But remember, this was a new relationship. Gabe had come from a short but ugly divorce earlier in the year and I’d come from a spat of unhappy relationships. We’d been friends for eight years and were just-now dating but we both knew there was more there so were eager to impress each other  but also felt wary of being wounded. Plus, Christmas is often so ridiculous when it comes to gift-giving, it’s too easy to get swept up in the contest to show off and buy craploads of crap. Our Christmases have changed a LOT in the past few years and I think we’ve grown since that first holiday together but when all is said and done…I’m still pretty peeved that I had this crazy-mad, hot-n-steamy, torrid affair and DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT!

The End.

Christmas Eve 2007. You totally can’t tell I’m having an affair and Gabe is going to beat me up for it in just a few hours. So romantic!

Oh! Post Script!

It may warm the cockles of your bleedy little heart to hear that we worked together to get our Christmas gift this year. We bought ourselves a copy of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures…for the Wii. We intend to play it with our friends, nieces and nephews, and anyone else who has a little Skylanders dude.

Now really the end.

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Filed under Adventures, For my short story collection, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, My journey to writerhood

Merry Christmas. I know about your affair, part 2 of 3

This is the second part of my favorite Christmas story. Gabe and I tell it together because we always tag-team this tale. His voice is in RED and my replies to his voice are in italics. We thought it would be fun to frustrate anyone who  tries to read this. Because insanity is the gift that keeps on giving.

SO! Remember last week? I’d found a Wii for Gabe’s Christmas gift but had to keep it a secret? This is what happened next.

There I was, newly-purchased Wii in the trunk and a plan in my mind. Oh crap! I had to go back to the house where I’d been staying and get ready for work…but Gabe was there. What was I going to do? If I walked in all euphoric and gleeful, he would KNOW something was up. He’d ask. I’d break and spoil the surprise. After all I’d been through to be the BEST GIRLFRIEND EVER, I couldn’t ruin my own plan. Obviously, I had to tone down my happiness. Actress she is not. Sadly true. Though, I honestly think I’d be great at doing the voices of cartoon characters. I drove slowly and thought about kittens dying of malnutrition and spider bites. I remembered all the bad things I’d ever seen or done. I induced a feeling of triste and self-loathing. When I felt I had properly tamped down my ebullience, I walked into the house, made a beeline for the bedroom and changed clothes. Nothing strange about that, right, folks? Coming home from breakfast with “friends” then changing clothes without even a “Hi, I’m back!” “Spider-sense” tingling… Oh, come ON, Gabe. You knew I had to change for work. It shouldn’t have set off alarms. He asked how breakfast had been and I told him plans had changed and it hadn’t worked out like I’d thought. Then I avoided him. I was bubbling under the surface, tee-heeing and high-fiving myself. I couldn’t even look him in the eyes because I didn’t want him to see the overflowing joy oozing from my pupils. I didn’t want to tempt any information out of myself by talking about…well, anything, really. Also, I suck at lying. Thus, I felt it was best to limit contact and get the hell out of there. I got dressed really fast, gave him a quick kiss, told him to have a nice day and said I’d see him later, then ran out the door and drove away, laughing like the clever little minx I thought I was! “Spider-sense” off the chart! In our quick exchange, I merely asked, “So how did it go, how is so and so,” etc. Usually, I’d get a full report, sometimes with more detail than I want, so when I got nothing, I knew something was definitely up! I had to wonder, did something happen? Was there a fight or an argument that somehow lead to a vicious butterknife battle royale in the wee morning hours at a Dennys? WHAT HAPPENED?! I asked if anything was wrong and I received that “Oh, you stupid man” smile and the comforting phrase, “No. Things are…fine. I’m just tired. Nothing to worry about. Just go back to sleep.” I stared at her as she changed her clothes then slowly sunk under the covers as fear and the beginning of tragic heartbreak settled in. My girlfriend was hiding something! OMG, Gabe. You are NOT Peter Parker. Seriously, when is the last time you were bitten by a spider? Hmm? And I doubt I gave you the “Oh, you stupid man” look. I didn’t even break that out until after we’d been married a year. Jeez.
My friend showed up at work and we made the hand-off. She was as over-the-moon as I was and that just further fed my glorious, self-congratulatory cloud of sparkles which lasted all day long. But once again, I had to return to Gabe…and to silence. I wanted to tell him so badly, wanted him to share in my success, wanted him to know that I am freaking amazing! And I couldn’t. It would totally kill the surprise I’d worked so hard to create.

When I got back to the house, I could tell Gabe knew something was up. He gently probed to find out what was wrong and I cut him off at every turn. The less I said, the better NOT better. I got quieter and quieter as the days went by. When Gabe wasn’t around, I conspired with my friends to figure out how to get The Gift into the house without Gabe knowing. We were soooo sneaky. I concur. I know, right?! We were like Christmas elf ninjas! Of sneakitude! I am still impressed with us. The more excited my friends and I became, the quieter I had to be at home. Our plan was growing, becoming more brilliant every day. My temptation to blurt it all was become stronger and I was becoming more avoidy.

Things were weird. Erica would shy away from the topic – What Happened That Morning – every time I brought it up. I tried talking about it up whenever I could and asked round about questions to try and get her to slip on her story. I would not lay down in her web of lies! Maybe I could talk to her friends and get the story from them but then I knew that they were all pretty tight and chances were good they were all in on it. I couldn’t let them know what I knew so I played along, gathering all the intel I could so I could expose this harlot for who she was! By this time, my friend’s genius husband was in on our adventure and had come up with the brilliant idea of putting the box inside a different box so that it was impossible to tell what it was; he knew of Gabe’s extraordinary ability to know what is under the wrapping paper just by looking at the package. They put rocks in the box, too, to make it super heavy. Oh my gosh, the whole thing was just PERFECT! Gabe was going to be SO surprised Christmas morning! HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE!

Then, out of the blue, Gabe started acting weird. I panicked. He was snappish. He made snarky comments about the few gifts that were under the tree. He’d already guessed what they all were – I told you, he’s got an amazing talent in that arena – and while he wasn’t being materialistic, he said, he figured there’d more than a bit of clothing and some toys on our first Christmas together. He’d bought me a ton of stuff, lots of neat, thoughtful things that he knew I’d like or wanted or needed. I’d bought her lots of stuff and now here it was, almost Christmas day, and lying under the tree was the proof of what I’d feared. I’d be getting just a couple of gifts, a few appetizers before the meal of lies, pain, and heartache. I could only imagine that Rudolpho, or whatever the hell the name of her new lover was, was probably sitting next to his present-laden Christmas tree laughing as he looked at a picture of me. Riiiight. Because that’s the logical conclusion to this scenario. At least he had a festive, Santa’s reindeer-like name. As Christmas drew closer, he got nastier, pettier, and  mean. I didn’t know if he was getting sick or just hated the holidays but I was getting irritated. At first, I loved his “Really? There are only three presents for me?” jokes because the joke was going to be on him! But then he kept harping on it and I began to get a bit resentful thinking that we shouldn’t be counting the gifts under the tree. That’s not what mattered. Oh, but it did! It was having fun together during the season that counted. And then one night, he said a few things that lead me to believe he knew that I got him a Wii and, for some reason, he was disappointed. The jig was up. All that joy, all the excitement, all that pride in my Christmas elf ninja ways, it came crashing down. My awesome surprise was broken and I was sad that I couldn’t even keep one gift from him. He always figures it all out and sucks the fun out of EVERYTHING.

We spent Christmas Eve with our roommate and her family. We had a nice time, laughing and sharing gifts and sitting around the tree…but everyone could sense the tension between Gabe and me. I was watching every move she made. Body language, the way she spoke, and especially how she and our roommate talked. They are best friends and I knew the BFF had to know what was going on so I kept cool, playing the role of clueless sap but the next morning, after we opened presents, it would be on! This game was going to end.
In the small hours of Christmas morning, I snuck out to fill Gabe’s stocking with loot and to drag the hidden Wii, wrapped in foreign paper, to the tree. I looked at it sadly. “Little Wii, you are not to be a surprise. We made a valiant effort, but he knows. Alack and wellaway.”

When it was time to get up for real, we ambled out to the tree. I was trying to be extra loving and nice, hoping that would make up for the disappointment of already knowing what was in each gift. I hoped some of the stocking stuffers would be fun for him, at least. I opened each gift with disdain. How could this shrew of a woman sit here and smile and try to be all loving? Did she think I really didn’t know?
We opened our presents. There were three from him for every one from me. I know he liked his gifts but he seemed a bit sad about them all; I figured that was because he knew what they all were. It’s not fun to open gifts if you know what they are already, as I well know.

Then the big moment came. He was sitting there, playing with his stuff and I said, “OH! There’s still a present back there, under the tree. Who is it for?” He looked at it, didn’t recognize it OR the paper, and pulled it out. It was to him, from Santa. He looked at me and I finally saw that little jolt of Christmas joy, of being surprised, of being loved and not forgotten.
He tore open the wrapping and…stopped. He looked at the box. It was a blow-up air mattress. His face fell again. He smiled weakly at me and said, “Wow. I…guess you remembered I wanted camping gear.”

End of Part 2
To Be Continued ON CHRISTMAS DAY…in the moooorning. But not with three ships, sailing or otherwise.

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Filed under Adventures, For my short story collection, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, My journey to writerhood

Christmas cookies

I baked sugar cookies this past weekend, which was a feat because I haven’t made cookies in years. However, I was feeling festive and Christmas cookies have always been my favorite…probably because it’s usually cold out and I’m doing everything I can to put on fat layers in order to stay warm and survive the winter. I drink a lot of egg nog for the same reason.

Back in the day, my mom was kind of brilliant. She’d whip up a batch of cookie dough, roll it out, then hand us the cookie cutters. Then she’d bake them (the cookies, not the cutters). She’d make some frosting and divvied it all into a couple of bowls and added food coloring. Then, she would sit us all down at the paper-covered table and we’d commence decorating. This was a good afternoon activity because it kept us busy but bad because of the sugar buzz we’d be on for hours afterward. I can only assume she was drinking heavily while we were loudly frosting in the kitchen and her memory was always erased after this event, thus the repetition of said event on a regular basis.

Here’s how it broke down: Chris, Noelle, and Bedot would slap one color on a cookie. Then they’d lick the frosting off the butter knife (we used common cutlery as our frosting spreaders) and add another color on top of the first. Soon, their cookies had about 7 inches of colorful crap smeared messily on top and bottom. They’d pop these confections into their mouths and start on another. This continued for about five cookies and then they’d get bored/sick and wander away. I’d be left with stacks of empty cookies, a destroyed table, frosting everywhere, and a bunch of spitty knives.
In the time it took them to slather sugar all over their cookies, I had maybe finished one because here’s what’s wrong with me : I have a rare condition that makes me go all OCD when I’m frosting sugar cookies. I would painstakingly paint scenes on each cookie, garnishing the right parts with the right sprinkles. If I didn’t have a certain color of frosting, I’d mix the frostings until I had the color I needed. It took me HOURS to decorate my cookies and it was ridiculous. I also had to keep the frosting from getting too thick because MY cookies were for grown–ups, not sugar-hungry children, so there was an extra layer of difficulty in my endeavor to create these artistic pieces. Also, butter knives are not exactly precision instruments. Unless you’re spreading butter. Then they’re fine.
The point I’m trying to make is that there’s a reason it took me so long to paint each damn cookie, ok? In fact, there were many days in which I had to pack up the frosting, put my naked cookies aside, and work on them again after school for the next few days. I’m not sure how we managed to eat during that time since all the knives were always dirty.

Now, back to the present. I made cookies this past weekend. I did the molasses ginger cookies first because they’re just roll-into-balls/dip-in-sugar dealies which makes them quick and easy.

These smell so good but they never taste as good as I think they should.

These smell so good but they never taste as good as I think they should.

Then I made the cut-out cookies.

This part is like math in that you have to try to cram as many cookie cutters onto the dough as humanly possible. I used to be pretty good at this. So why wasn't I better at math?

This part is like math in that you have to try to cram as many cookie cutters onto the dough as humanly possible. I used to be pretty good at this. So why wasn’t I better at math?

They cooled and I then I got to frost them. I only had red and green food coloring so was able to have four colors total: red, green, white, and brown. I really missed blue and yellow, but I made do.

White, red, green, and gross brown

Oddly, the kitchen table is no longer the ideal place to frost cookies, so I made myself a frosting station, complete with somewhere to stick my knees.

Mother of invention, and all.

Mother of invention, and all.

Then I spent the next three hours frosting 3 dozen cookies. Seriously. Who takes an hour to frost 12 cookies? I do, apparently.

These ones aren't so bad. Santa may be a bit elaborate, but not overly so.

These ones aren’t so bad. Santa may be a bit elaborate, but not overly so.

Please note – these are all frosted with common knives and garnished with those little, tiny sprinkles. This would be a lot easier if I had bags of frosting with decorating tips. But I don’t. And, really, where’s the challenge in that? Or the insanity?

Ok, now we're getting ridiculous. Holly on the hat? Really? No one is going to see these before Gabe and I eat them (well except you since I just posted a picture here). Yeah. I should probably feel concerned.

Ok, now we’re getting ridiculous. Holly on the hat? Really? No one is going to see these before Gabe and I eat them (well except you since I just posted a picture here). Yeah. I should probably feel concerned.

When I was finished, I felt both ridiculous and accomplished, but I am definitely ready for Christmastime. I hope you are, too. Unless you don’t celebrate Christmas, in which case, I hope you’re ready to do something else not related to Christmas in any way.

And to those of you who thought this was Part 2 of my torrid Christmas affair – nope! That’s tomorrow. This is just me bragging about my madness. Ha ha ha! Whoops, I mean, Ho ho ho!

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Merry Christmas. I know about your affair. Part 1 of 3

This is my most-favorite Christmas story. It’s about my torrid affair, one that I didn’t even get to enjoy. Gabe and I are going to tell it together because we always tag-team this tale. His voice is in RED because that’s the color he chose and my replies to his voice are in italics. We thought it would be fun to frustrate anyone who even tries to read this. Because insanity is the gift that keeps on giving.

SO!

Gabe and I had been dating for about seven months when Nintendo’s Wii console came out. He was in love with it and wanted one for his very own but, unfortunately, it sold out right after being released and he wasn’t able to get one. Luckily for this story, Nintendo was gracious and shot out another batch a few weeks before Christmas. The stars were aligned: I had the money and the time to get one. Gabe would have a Wii for Christmas and I was going to be the BEST GIRLFRIEND EVER!!! I’d be instantly rocketed into star status AND it would give me gifting options for years to come in the form of games and accessories! It. Was. BRILLIANT!

I want to go on record saying that I had never done something like this before, standing in line to buy something, I mean. Which is why her’s was absolutely the wrong way to do it. The only thing I’ve ever done that was remotely close was getting in line three hours early for a movie so I could get the seats I wanted. I thought it was the same thing. It wasn’t.
I asked two friends who lived near the Target I’d be stalking at 5:00 am. (Love is blind and also hates sleeping in, apparently) if they wanted to stand in line with me. They had also never stood in line to buy crap at Christmas so they said they’d love to. Also, yes, girls who are willing to get up at ungodly hours to hang out in a freezing cold pre-dawn line are obviously awesome.

I was housesitting the morning in question and Gabe had come up to stay the night. That was a bit of a wrinkle so I had to make up some story about how I was going to go meet my girlfriends at a breakfast restaurant really early because one had to go to work at 8:00 and the other would be so busy during the holidays and this was the only time I’d get to see her before the new year blah blah blah. Let me point out I’d had a beast of a girlfriend in the past so this kind of behavior set off my “spider-sense” a tad, though I tried to explain it away. The getting up early and all was a little out of place but nothing to fear right? I loved Girlfriend Erica (now wife) and I trusted her completely! Why worry? That’s what I told myself.  Yes, it was a fairly lame lie, but Gabe seemed to believe it so good enough.

I think I got up at 3:00 that morning and got ready because I was so excited. I wound up at The Target around 4:30, half an hour earlier than I’d planned. I had expected to find a few other morons out there (because, really, who stands in the cold winter darkness for a Wii?) only, I pulled into the parking lot and found a line that wound around the building. A sales associate was supposed to hand out later-in-the-day-redeemable tickets at 8:00 am to the first 20 people in line. I’d figured showing up three hours early would put me near the front of that line. Apparently, I was wrong. It was not enough time at all and I was easily past the 30th person mark. I called my girlfriends to let them know Operation Idiotic Idea was off; I was too late. However, being a trooper (stubborn ass), I stayed in line, hoping there were really more Wiis coming or that maybe those first 20 people weren’t all getting tickets.
At 7:30, the ticket giver came out and told us that everyone from THIS PERSON on back could leave because these people were getting the tickets and the rest of us should start scurrying to be the best gift-givers in the world while we still could.

Holy.

Crap.

Freak-out time.

Christmas was a little over three weeks away. I had only bought stocking stuffers and little cutesey gifts for Gabe. All the other big-ticket items he’d wanted were long gone. I had to find a Wii. I had to find it or I’d be a failure of a girlfriend. I saw my little gold Best Girlfriend star burning and turning to ash.
I started the hunt. Turns out, the next Target up the road had already sent away their extra line-standers. Ditto Best Buy and Circuit City (it was still in business at the time). I even tried Wal-Mart. I went to every store I could think of that might possibly have a Wii. I wound up 20 miles from home, searching frantically and finding nothing. On my way back down the interstate, I remembered there was one last Best Buy I could hit. Of course, I got there and found they’d already handed out their tickets so I sat in the parking lot and cried. I’d been so cocky. I’d had so much misplaced confidence in myself and I completely underestimated the power and evilness of parents who have to give their kids specific Christmas gifts. I felt like an ass.
That last Best Buy happens to be at a shopping mall and as I meandered through the mall’s parking lot, blubbering like a three-year-old on a tantrum bender, some amazing, life-preserving part of my brain reminded me that there was an EBX Games inside the mall. The mall wouldn’t be open for another two hours (it was 8:00 am by this time) but for some reason, the main doors were open. It was a Christmas miracle.
I parked the car, ran inside, and hustled to the store. There were three people sitting outside on a bench. There was a sign taped to the storefront saying that they would have 9 Wiis available for immediate purchase when they opened, first come, first served.
I asked the three people on the bench if they were in line for a Wii and they said they were and invited me to join them. The rightness of the moment, it was like coming home, only not at all because I don’t live in a mall and it was creepy being in there early in the morning before the place was even open. I did find out, though, that the mall doors open at 7:00 am so that people can walk around inside to get exercise. How weird is that?
At 9:30, employees started coming in. There were 7 of us in line by that time, all friendly and chatting and insta-friends. We were all on an “I’m going to get that Wii, after all!” high.
The doors opened, we were ushered inside and we proudly purchased those elusive consoles. I called my girls (my friends, I mean. Not my boobs. I don’t even call my boobs “My girls” but I know some women do and I don’t want to confuse anyone) when I got outside, triumphant and glowing with my success. They whooped and hollered and we were like the conquering heroes. I asked one to meet me at work later that day because I wanted to put the Wii in her car so as to keep it hidden from Gabe. He’s a sneak and will suss out any gift in the house the minute it crosses the threshold. She took it a step further and offered to wrap it and everything so that even the wrapping paper would be exotic and not from my stash, making it that much more mysterious. We were so full of our own cleverness and we giggled and shouted over the phone at each other.

It was awesome. I was SO on the road to being the BEST GIRLFRIEND EVER!

End of Part 1

…To Be Continued Next Wednesday…

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I am why I can’t have nice things

So you know how when you’re a kid and you find a secret stash of presents and you get all excited? And then you realize there may be more gifts hidden in other places and you start looking and soon you know all the good spots? After that, you start snooping around those areas to see what is lying in wait as each holiday draws near? And you think you’ve found them all and you know what every gift is before you get it only somehow, there is always one you didn’t find and it’s a surprise? Yeah, that never happened to me.
Instead, I was both more direct and much sneakier and, as a result, I managed to ruin Christmas for myself.

This is my favorite ornament and has been since I was little and the dog ate my other two favorite ornaments. I don't know how long it's been in my family but my mom was very happy to pass it along to me. She never liked it. Cuz she's a Scrooge or something.And I should mention - I don't have any pictures of childhood Christmases, more's the pity, so I'm just going to post pictures of the ornaments on my tree. I'll tell you about the ornaments, too, so it's sort of like you're getting a little story inside of a bigger story and the two are not really related. I know, I'm great, no need to thank me. I'm just spreading holiday cheer.

This is my favorite ornament and has been since I was little and the dog ate my other two favorite ornaments. I don’t know how long it’s been in my family but my mom was very happy to pass it along to me. She never liked it. Cuz she’s a Scrooge or something.
And I should mention – I don’t have any pictures of childhood Christmases, more’s the pity, so I’m just going to post pictures of the ornaments on my tree. I’ll tell you about the ornaments, too, so it’s sort of like you’re getting a little story inside of a bigger story and the two are not really related. I know, I’m great, no need to thank me. I’m just spreading holiday cheer.

We have a grandmother on the east coast who used to buy us a ridiculous amount of Christmas gifts, wrap them, and mail them to our house. We’re her only grandchildren so she went all out. She’d send boxes full of beautifully wrapped presents and we’d have the BEST TIME EVER just opening the boxes and divvying up the gifts between the four of us, making little piles and counting our treasure. We were like greedy little Scrooge McDucks.
One year, though, when I was probably 12, those shining presents became too much of a temptation. I would stare at them for hours, needing to know what was inside each one. I don’t know why it was so bad that season, but it was and it all came to a head on the day I was left alone in the house with all those pretty bows on those colorful boxes.

I snapped.

I spent the afternoon meticulously unwrapping every single one of my gifts. It was late enough in December that our parents had put out the “From Mom & Dad” gifts and I think ZZ and Poppop (maternal grandparents) had given us our gifts early, as well, because every gift I would receive that Christmas was under the tree. All but the Santa gifts, of course.
I painstakingly peeled the tape back from the seams, carefully unwrapped every present, peered at whatever was inside, then wrapped it all back up. I did a phenomenal job (actually, I think that’s how I learned to wrap gifts, via reverse engineering), leaving no evidence of tampering.
I lorded my knowledge over my siblings for days. “I know what I’m getting. I know what every gift is,” I would tell them and they wouldn’t believe me because it was obvious the gifts hadn’t been touched. I felt amazing, like I had all the power in the world and like I’d gotten away with something monumental.

Those of you who made this same mistake know what’s about to happen. Those of you with kids know what’s about to happen. I did not see it coming, though, and I was blindsided by my own folly.
We liked to all sleep together in one room on Christmas Eve, which was probably a lot easier for my parents, now that I think about it. That year, we were in Noelle’s and Bedot’s room, Chris and I in our sleeping bags on the floor. We’d stayed up late singing Christmas carols and telling stories and doing the things we did during Christmas Eve Night Sibling Sleepovers. Mom & Dad had to keep banging on our door and threatening us to shut up or else Santa wouldn’t come. We must have stayed awake until midnight.

And still, I was ready to get up and go by 4:30 a.m.
I woke my siblings and told them we needed to slip out to see if Santa had come. We were ninjas, slinking like The Grinch out of the bedroom, down the hall, and into the living room. The lights twinkled on the tree, lighting our way, letting us see that Santa had been and gone – our stockings were full and there were four unwrapped gifts lying temptingly around the tree. We checked those out first, softly oohing and ahhing and doing the whispered, “look! look what i got!” Then we snagged our stockings and Grinch-snuck back to the bedroom where we could shut the door and turn on the lights. We emptied our stockings and inspected our loot, comparing with one another. Noelle, Bedot, and I often got different versions of the same thing, like LipSmackers, and Chris usually got something else entirely, like coal. He was a bad kid.

Chris made this ornament in second grade when his classed was forced to learn sewing. Turns out, that skill has come in handy for him throughout his life, though not to make more stuffed ornaments. I think he did a pretty good job, actually.

Chris made this ornament in second grade when his class was forced to learn sewing. Turns out, that skill has come in handy for him throughout his life, though not to make more stuffed ornaments. I think he did a pretty good job, actually.

Once it got a little lighter and we felt we would be safe venturing downstairs into our parents’ lair, we stealthily returned our stockings, then ran downstairs whooping and hollering, “SANTA CAME! IT’S CHRISTMASTIME! LET’S OPEN PRESENTS!” I’m sure there was some negotiating – “Go back to bed, it’s not even light” “YES IT IS! I CAN SEE THE SUN!” “No you can’t, it’s 5:45” “IT’S LIGHT! SANTA WAS HERE! GET UP!” “Just give us 15 more minutes” “OKAY!…one…two…three…IT’S BEEN FIFTEEN MINUTES! GET UP!” “You have to get out of our room and go back to bed” “GET UP GET UP GET UP!”, that sort of thing – but they eventually hauled their lazy asses from bed, made some coffee and blearily watched us tear open our treasures.

And that’s when the full magnitude of my greedy little mistake caught up to me and kicked me in the teeth with steel toed elf slippers. I already knew what was in my stocking but I pretended to be excited over every little item, as if I hadn’t just seen them all an hour ago. And I pretended to be thrilled over finding the already-found Crystal Barbie waiting for me under the tree*. But with each gift my siblings unwrapped and exclaimed over, with each squeal of surprise and amazement, my faux excitement faded until I was left sadly opening the next gift, knowing full well what was inside. It’s not that I didn’t love every little thing I’d been given but doing the unwrapping part was terribly boring since I already knew what was in the gift. There was no point to the wrapping. It wasn’t a surprise. It was a terrible way for a kid to spend Christmas morning. That sounds shallow, yes, but remember what it was like to be 12? The world is big and full of wonder and when some of the wonder fades, say because you let curiosity kill the cat, the cat of wonder, it hurts. It’s disappointing.

I didn’t want to get in trouble for my misbehavior so I didn’t fess-up, but I think I would have liked to have been busted because it would have given me a reason to cry and crying is what I wanted to do most that day.

Guess where this ornament came from? Gabe. Apparently, he collects ornaments of Batman having his boob grabbed, which I think it weird, but hey, whatever gets you festive, right? The cross-stitched "Let It Snow" ornament was from Cecily in 2007. I know that because it says so on the back.

Guess where this ornament came from? Gabe. Apparently, he collects ornaments of Batman having his boob grabbed, which I think it weird, but hey, whatever gets you festive, right? The cross-stitched “Let It Snow” ornament was from Cecily in 2007. I know that because it says so on the back.

Gabe also likes his Harley Quinn posing provocatively on the moon ornament because nothing says Christmas Cheer like the image of a cartoon character gyrating like an exotic dancer.Also...I love this ornament for all the reasons mentioned above.

Gabe also likes his Harley Quinn posing provocatively on the moon ornament because nothing says Christmas Cheer like the image of a cartoon character gyrating like an exotic dancer.
Also…I love this ornament for all the reasons mentioned above.
Oh, and PS? That little brown pig in the background? It STILL smells delicious, Pam.

I learned a valuable lesson and it’s a lesson that shows how truly evil I am: I never ever tried to figure out presents again but I did teach all my siblings how to do it and left them alone with gifts as often as possible.

*Actually, I don’t think I got Crystal Barbie that year because I was 11 when she came out. But I did get Crystal Barbie one Christmas so that’s the gift I’m using for this story because she was really pretty. I still have that “necklace for you to wear”

Toki wears Crystal Barbie. He's very secure in his fashion sense. Also, Evie was unavailable to model at this time.

Toki wears Crystal Barbie. He’s very secure in his fashion sense. Also, Evie was unavailable to model at this time.

In case you didn't believe Toki was wearing the Crystal Barbie necklace, here it is up close and shiny.

In case you didn’t believe Toki was wearing the Crystal Barbie necklace, here it is up close and shiny.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, White trash childhood