Thursday, December 23, 2004

Dashing Through the Wrapping Paper

Fortunately Hubby wraps most of the Christmas gifts, since gift-wrapping technically falls under my Arts & Crafts disability. I can DO it, of course, but sometimes I have trouble getting the lumps out of the wrapping paper. "Lumps?" you wonder idly. "Since when does wrapping paper come with lumps? Perhaps she is thinking of gravy." Exactly. So let's move on, shall we? I just put out the pre-holiday trash. This is the stuff we are desperately trying to get rid of before our house gets inundated with more stuff. I believe Jesus specifically instructs us in the New Testament that we should not mix New Stuff with Old Stuff. No matter how much you've had to drink. So anything with fewer than half its original pieces, missing an important anatomical feature such as the head, or that looks like it has gone through a cow's digestive system gets put in the Rubbish Pile. The biggest problem, of course, is that the moment I start the pile, the children are attracted to it like tourists to a theme park, and they begin carrying off these trash-bound items and start playing with them. My subterfuge is to explain to them we are making room for Santa's toys, so we need to "store" some of the items in special bins in the attic and garage. Now the attic stuff does indeed get stored until it is cycled back down into the playroom, say, during the next hurricane season. However "garage" is just a euphemism for our donation to the Polk County Landfill. Yes, I do feel slightly guilty when the children search for toys in the garage, all wide-eyed innocence and expectation. So guilty that I distract them with a promise of chocolates. Final note on the Christmas cards. We just started sending them out this week. Yes, STARTED. My friend Shari Antonio gets the first card. Every year like the Catholic School student I was raised as, I start at the beginning of the alphabet and don't stop until I reach Z. Well, actually "W." I would not dream of doing it in reverse or starting in the middle and expanding outward like a slowly melting popsicle on the floor. (I don't know WHAT created that imagery in my mind.) Christmas time is confusing enough without trying to get fancy with the alphabet. Incidentally, Shari Antonio then went on to marry a fellow named Dave ANDERSON, and I'm sure the reason was so she could remain at the head of everyone's Christmas card lists. There are plenty of people who will receive our cards after Christmas, but hopefully before 2005. In some years I have even allowed myself a grace period up to the Epiphany. This year I tried to get the children to line up in front of the Christmas tree next to the manger scene so I could take their photo for the Christmas card. The 5-year-old turned on his cherubic smile, but the 3-year-old became very, VERY angry. He was making loud exclamations in his Imaginary Language: "This is too FLUVIN. Going to RACHENT you. I have to FRIZBOP." It is not a good sign when he starts speaking his Imaginary Language. But we can tell by his tone that a tantrum is not far off. Hubby tried to nudge him into the photo with his brother. The 3-year-old started snorting and making horrible faces. Both the manger scene characters and the holiday village structures were endangered. I took a few photos of the 5-year-old with the 3-year-old's: elbow, butt and back of his head, respectively. Finally I was desperate. I said to my grimacing 3-year-old: "Did I forget to ask you about the poopy butt?" He looked over at me, with a bit of disbelief. "Poopy butt?" Then I saw a small smile. "POOPY Butt. Poopy FACE." "Poopy Helicopter!" the 5-year-old chimed in. They were off to the races, or at least the latrines, anyway, while I snapped away at these gleeful smiles in front of the Christmas paraphernalia. Honestly, I wasn't even going to object to "Poopy Jesus." Well yes I would've, but after I had gotten a good shot. Turns out that although many of these bowel-inspired shots were nice, they will probably end up on a calendar or mug, or something, because I liked their smiles better in the Helping with Dinner shot. I am also done shopping for the stocking stuffers at our local Walgreens and CVS stores. Floss! Toothbrushes! Toothpaste! Chapstick Brand chapstick! Yes, I got them chocolate santas too. And pencils that glitter. And bendable Scooby-Doo characters. Maybe, just maybe, tomorrow there will be time to pray.

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