All I Want For Christmas Is For The Holiday Debating To Stop

It’s the 21st century, and I would wager a bet that there is one thing historians will one day point to as defining these earliest decades of the age: the Internet debates. 

You know them. 

They are the debates in which everyone has an opinion that is confused for fact, and it needs to be heard. Loudly.

They are often arguments about the right way to parent. Or, generally speaking, how people do things in different ways, all the while believing theirs to be the only right way.

Everyone involved is undoubtedly offended at some point.

This year’s Christmas season is not lacking in them, the Internet debates. At the strike of midnight on Halloween night, the holiday-related debates started seeping out the woodwork of every crack and crevice the Internet has to offer.

The people who decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving kicked it all off in the debate against those that wait until their turkey has digested.

Shortly after, people started spitting hatred at each other over Thanksgiving turkey or Thanksgiving ham.

It continued with the people that do the Elf on the Shelf versus the people that think it’s creepy and/or over the top and/or teaching your kids to adhere to an authoritarian government’s surveillance. 

(A bit much on the last point there, wouldn’t you say?)

Then it was the people that maintain Santa Claus is real (at all costs) fighting – sometimes virulently – against those that couldn’t lie to their children for any reason. Ever.

This was around the time it became insufferable, as it does every year.

And this year has, so far, been a real doozy. It’s been a lot of discussion about consent and ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside,’ which I have written about on this blog. It’s been the age old correctness of “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas.” It’s even gone down the dark hole of whether or not Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer has secret and insidious messaging to it.

The most recent debate I saw float up out of nowhere in the comments section on Facebook was White versus Colored. As in the color of lights people put on their trees. I could not believe some of the things people were saying, either. Straight lined, cold blooded hatred and bitterness towards people of the side opposing.

Is it just me, or have things gotten a little weird? Culturally speaking, I mean.

Political correctness and everyone’s opinion suddenly being considered fact has effectively taken over not only the Internet, but daily life. I’m not talking about people giving you actual facts… I’m talking about opinions, and that escalating to being offended. At my local grocery store, the cashiers keep a list of holiday greetings they are and are not allowed to say to people for fear of offending someone while checking out their cheese curds and quinoa.

The folly in it all is it’s destroying everything people have, and for what? To prove a point? To be right? To be less offended? 

So you have chosen not to do Elf on the Shelf for your kids. Great! It isn’t necessary to go on a crusade to therefore stop others from doing it, even going as far as to tell your kids to tell their friends that their elves are creepy and perverted.

Or you are an atheist and offended by the mere idea of The Nativity. Cool. I have beliefs too. That doesn’t mean I insist that every thing inconsistent with my own beliefs be taken down around my hometown, as a group of atheists in my community recently suggested of local nativity displays. 

With all of these debates, there are two camps: those that do, those that don’t. There is no in between, and it all seems to be rooted in a whole lot of judgment. What the proponents of each side fails to realize, though, is that what they do actually bears no weight on anyone else.

All I want for Christmas is for the debates to stop. 

I don’t mean for people to all suddenly believe in the same things. And I don’t mean for people to start ignoring facts, let’s be clear there. I just mean – maybe – for the holiday season we could give each other the gift of keeping our divisive, judgmental opinions to ourselves.

Maybe we could have a little more understanding that other people live life differently. And that it’s okay. Your neighbor can eat whatever they want for the holidays, and in turn you have the freedom to have your Elf on the Shelf engage in all the shenanigans you want, unencumbered. You prominently display your nativity scene on your front yard, the guy down the street doesn’t celebrate any holidays at all and you keep your mouth shut about it.

After all, it’s just a holiday. Let people have it for whatever they want it to be (or not). 

Then again, maybe this – like everything else – is just a debate waiting to happen.

I Can’t Believe I Have To Explain This To You People; How “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “The Little Mermaid” Have Proven Our Cultural Ignorance

I remember the first time I heard the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” I was riding in the car with my mother. It was Christmastime, I was visiting her in Seattle as I always did for the holidays. We were on our way to some dive bar, where she would hang out in the bar while I sat, alone, in the dining room section with a book. I was 15.

She was dressed to the nines, ready for a night out and she sang (more like belted) along with the song as her wild and big hair whipped and gyrated around the car to the melody. It was the Barry Manilow version, and I will never forget my mom oo’ing and ahh’ing with the song.

This was in 1997. Now, 21 years later, I am 36 years old and cannot hear that song without that horrifying memory. But it wasn’t the song that brings up the horror; no, let’s be clear here –  it was my mother.

The song was innocuous then, as it is now.

Similarly, I can remember the first time I saw ‘The Little Mermaid.’ I was somewhere around 8 years old. My parents were still married, ‘The Little Mermaid’ had just been released in theaters. My dad took me to see it, and while I didn’t want to go in the theater (I may have been younger, because I was scared), I ended up loving the film. Since then, I have seen it countless times, hundreds or even thousands in fact, and every time my favorite scene is the “Kiss the Girl” scene. They’re in the boat. It’s romantic. The fish are all singing and – I don’t know … it’s just really magical, okay. 

For almost 30 years, and as a woman with a strong sense of bodily autonomy who is raising two daughters and one son to understand the importance of consent, it is still my favorite scene/song.

You guys can imagine, then, my complete and utter shock at the news that radio stations, a cappella choirs, and all manner of places and people are now banning the two songs of my past.

I completely get that we live in a culture where everyone is offended by everything. All the time. That is our 2018 reality, and I suspect it will only continue to get worse as the years plug along.

I’m not sure how it got to that, although I have my suspicions.

Regardless of the reason, or reasons, for people in general being more offended by more things these days, there’s the real thorn in my side of the issue that has to be pointed out: the hypocrisy of it all.

I saw a meme today that says it perfectly:

Credit: Me.me

Right then.

Here’s a lyric from the last couple of years that I find offensive: 

“You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, yeah you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, yeah you a you a stupid hoe” – Nicki Minaj

There are so many of them like that, too many to mention. They are about rape. They are about gang banging. They are about the objectification of women and their bodies. But I digress… The point is that if you find that stupid hoe nonsense to be perfectly acceptable, while finding “Baby It’s Cold Outside” or a children’s song to be just too far, I can’t believe I have to explain this to you people, but: you are hypocrites.

Honestly.

On the flip side of it, there is that sticky issue of consent, because don’t get me wrong, even though I think that both songs are completely harmless, I also think they do raise a serious point on the matter.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside,” on the surface, sounds like a man trying to pressure a woman into staying at his place and, presumably, getting warm in his bed. A few years ago was the first time I heard someone claim it had a “rapey vibe” to it. As if that wasn’t an intelligent enough analysis of the song and its narrative, this year’s holiday season was ushered in by the pearl-clutching ladies of the Internet sharing blog after blog in which headlines like “Baby It’s Cold Outside – EWWW” took down the decades-old ballad.

‘The Little Mermaid’ – the other of our most recently banned songs – is of the same ilk. She wants to be a human and to marry this guy (after literally seeing him once after a shipwreck, whatever you do you Ariel), but it isn’t socially acceptable in her mer-world to do so. What’s laughable about people calling into question the matter of consent in “Kiss the Girl,” though is that Ariel signed a contract. Literally, in plain English, it says that she can be a human and get her voice back if the guy kisses her, and she signed it. How much more consent do you need?

In reality, both really are about consent; but not the way the naysayers of the Internet would have you believe. They’re both about women who actually want to say yes, each in their respective ways; but who both live in a time or place in which it is not socially acceptable to do so. So if you want to be offended, be offended but for the right reason.D

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You Guys Need To Chill With The Elf On The Shelf Hate

I’m going to drop a real bomb on you guys, here. It’s a doozy. Brace yourselves.

I do the Elf on the Shelf for my kids.

Yeah, that’s right. I have the Elf on the Shelf. Not just the Elf on the Shelf, but one for each of my kids plus an Elf for my older dog and the reindeer for my puppy.

That’s five – count ’em, FIVE – stuffed dolls that I take out every holiday season, and move around nightly, creating hijinks and antics. I even buy the accessories now. All for the enjoyment of my children.

<Insert fainting in shock and horror GIF>

I started about five or six years ago and my kids loved it. I mean LOVED. I never tied it to behavior, like some parents do. A couple times if my kids were fighting I’d have the elves do their thing, but ALSO leave a note: “Santa says quit fighting!” Nothing beyond that, though. If I forget a night, whatever. It becomes a joke that Mom blew it, because they’ve also always known it was me moving those silly things around.  

I always used to say that I would never do stuff like that (I may have even said it here on my blog). You know that arrogant person that has zero kids who knew everything they would and would not do as a parent? That was me, and the Elf on the Shelf was that thing I definitely wasn’t going to do. Even for a period of time after I had my children.

At some point, though – somewhere in the process – I realized something so unimaginable and profound, it may come as even more of a shock to you guys than the simple fact of me doing the Elf on the Shelf:

My children’s’ childhoods are about their enjoyment, not my own personal judgments and opinions. Yours too. 

You guys can imagine, then, that I feel pretty fucking accosted on a daily basis now, when I log onto the Internet to see a stream of hate for the Elf on the Shelf in every feed I come across. Articles. Blogs. Opinion sites. People’s random Facebook status updates…loaded with hatred and loathing for this simple family tradition. 

See that’s the thing I’ve noticed about the people that don’t do the Elf on the Shelf… they’re just like vegans. The old joke about vegans goes like this: do you know how you can tell someone is a vegan? Don’t worry…they’ll tell you. All the haters of the Elf on the Shelf seem to be capable of doing during the holiday season is telling people that and why they hate the thing. 

The Elf on the Shelf is what you make of it. It can be a tool to control your kids’ behavior for the month or so before Christmas. It can be a fun little family tradition you do every night during the holiday season.

It can also be something you don’t bring into your home.

That’s your prerogative. 

Those of you that don’t, though, need to take a serious chill on all the hate. Honestly. Chill the fuck out.

I get that you guys – adults – think it’s creepy. I get that the thing has this sort of voyeuristic look to it’s face. I have a bitchy look to my face, you don’t see people straight up calling me a bitch every time they log onto the Internet. (At least that I’m aware of.)

Some people use it as a weird little guy sitting on a shelf, spying on you – or whatever. Those are the people that call the Elf on the Shelf (to be clear, a doll made of felt and stuffing) a “pervert.” That’s us – adults – applying our shitty experiences to otherwise innocent things. Dolls, for fuck’s sake. Why stop at the Elf on the Shelf? Why not consider every doll or toy or fake-slightly-weird-looking toy “creepy” and ban them from your house? 

I understand that it’s just another lie we tell our kids. Between Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy… adding another make-believe fantasy to lighten up the heaviness of the modern childhood – well that’s just too fucking far. Right, Monica – mother of one who most definitely will not play in to letting her child have an ounce of fucking levity, from Day One?

Chill the fuck out, Monica.

Some people use it as a behavioral tool, as in the elf doesn’t move if you’ve been bad. To those people, just waiting around every corner is some lady, clutching her pearls, ready to comment about how people shouldn’t need a doll to keep their kids in line. Alright, Pearl Clutcher, fair enough. But you know what is better than judging the struggles a parent has with their kids? Keeping your fucking judgments to yourself.

(In the words of our Holy Mother of Orange County, Vicki Gunvalson: “judge me when you are perfect.”)

And don’t even get the ineffable writers at the likes of Scary Mommy or Bustle started on the mere hassle of doing the whole Elf thing every night. I mean, for goodness sakes, you’ve fed and clothed your children, now you purchased a little doll to move around every night, voluntarily I’ll add, and you have to do this for – what, like a month? And the only payment for this unbelievably agonizing task is your children’s happiness?!

I get it.

I get that the thing has a creepy face, like every other doll your kids have.

I get that fantasy is another word for “imagination,” and there is no place for that shit in a child’s head these days.

And – more than anything – I understand that the plight of the modern parent is that you’ve had all these kids, and yet consider the majority of their kid-ness to be a giant inconvenience to your own life.

I get it. We all do.

But really, guys. Chill. The. Fuck. Out.

And, shut up.

I’m Over Christmas

I took down our Christmas decorations on Christmas Day.

I’m not even kidding, you guys. I did. Even before the grandparents were out the door, after watching the kids open an ungodly amount of gifts, I was taking shit down.

I’ve just had it with the clutter and the dust and, well, the holiday.

I know. I’m a scrooge.

We had gorgeous Christmas decorations. Gorgeous. Multiple trees. Beautiful lights. The works.

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But as the weeks wore on, things started to irritate me. The baby was constantly spreading the ornaments around the house, so every night I had to traipse around and find them all, put them back, then start all over the next day. Also, as we drove around looking at other people’s outdoor lights, I realized how uncoordinated and – I don’t know – sloppy ours were.

And then there was that whole fire thing that happened in the weeks that led up to Christmas.

One night, about three weeks ago, my daughter and I were on our way home from the gym and we noticed there was a glare from an apparent fire, still quite a way’s away. Two hours later our power was cut. Our entire county had been cut because the fire was rapidly spreading towards the ocean, and had hit some transformers along the way.

By 11 that night, my mother was on her way to our house, having been evacuated from her apartment. By midnight, several of our friends had been evacuated, many of whom tragically lost their homes in the subsequent days that followed.

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For two weeks, the fires consumed our lives. You may have heard of them – the Thomas Fire, the Skirball Fire… just two of the several that popped up around southern California and ravaged our communities like no fire has ever ravaged them before.

So while all of this was happening, there was no Christmas preparation going on, or holiday activities, because everything was closed. You could see the fires coming over the hills from our window, we were constantly wondering if we should pack things to be ready to evacuate ourselves. (Our town in particular was, fortunately, spared.)

Then there was the air quality that followed; which continues to be on and off now – even though the fires have pushed up to the north. People were stuck in their homes, the city hall and libraries were handing out free respirator masks for people to wear at all times. At times the smoke was so thick you couldn’t see very far at all; the majority of the schools essentially closed for Christmas break two weeks early.

Except no one could do anything but stay inside.

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What this all did to my house was leave a thick layer of dust and ash all over my beautiful Christmas decorations. By Christmas morning, I was just ready for it to be cleaned up.

So I took that shit down on Christmas Day.

While other people were sipping hot cocoa by the fire and helping their kids set up new toys, I was furiously packing up my Christmas music box collection, putting away the ornaments and trees, and dusting and vacuuming.

It felt freeing.

 

It didn’t just feel freeing from the ash and soot of those fires that seemed to cover everything in my house, including my beautiful decorations.

It felt freeing from the gimme gimme gimme of Christmas that it always ends up being about.

It felt freeing from the extensive list of social functions I had to put on a face and wear regular clothes to. The potlucks where everyone wore red, because everyone looks like shit in green; and the work parties where the entire Human Resource department lets loose after one too many cocktails, busting into a grind session on the dance floor in front of the CEO of the company (that. actually. happened. at. my. husband’s. work. party. you. guys. no shits.)

And it felt freeing from the worry that there was someone I forgot to gift to, or a vendor I forgot to tip.

Did you guys know you are supposed to tip your cleaning lady an entire week’s wages for Christmas? You’re also supposed to tip the newspaper guy, the gardener, the mailman, give gifts to all the people that do your hair and your nails; you’re supposed to leave out a bin of snacks and drinks for the UPS and the Fedex guys for the entire month of December too.

I gave my cleaning ladies each an extra $20 and a tin of cookies, and the gardeners got cookies as well (they smoke pot before they get here, so I’m pretty sure they enjoyed those more anyway). But the guy who ruins my newspaper every day, or the lady who delivers my mail opened up and damaged …they weren’t getting anything.

And a bin of snacks and drinks for the UPS and Fedex guys? Fuck that noise.

I think this is all really why I am over Christmas. And, in part, why I took down my decorations so quickly.

Taking them down was not only moving on from the tragedy and difficulty of the fires that had befallen my community in the weeks before the holiday; it was a big middle finger to the obligations and expectations I find myself presented with every year, and yet am finding harder and harder to continue engaging in.

After all, it’s about the meaning of Christmas. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t say anything about exact tip amounts or fucking bins of snacks for service employees that are already getting paid. Neither is it about getting shit faced at the work party or dirty dancing in ugly Christmas sweaters.

I’m over Christmas. Are you?

Repeat After Me: It’s OK If People Want To Do Christmas Early

Ugh.

I am so sick and tired of people and their popular shit to be upset about on the Internet.

Like really.

As many of you know, Halloween was just a couple of days ago. I, personally, had a great Halloween. As in, I didn’t do shit. My kids dressed up in their annual themed costumes the week prior for a Halloween party at the tennis club (see below), and didn’t even decide to go trick or treating until pretty much the day prior.

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But my older kids are old enough to just go out with friends on their own, and the baby was way too young…I mean he probably would have had fun looking at all the kids out and about (he loves kids), but the last thing I wanted to do was run the risk of hearing some local asshole tell me “he’s too young for candy, it’s obviously for you.”

So I stayed home with the baby. We had not one trick or treater.

Sure enough though, the very next day I logged on to the good ol’ Facebook and every asshole was bitching and complaining about people jumping straight over Thanksgiving to Christmas.

I present to you just a few examples of the oh-so-clever memes I saw that morning:

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First thing, I get it. I. Get. It. A lot of people feel overwhelmed with Christmas, what with all the merry and joy and shit going around. I also understand completely that here in America, we love our Thanksgiving.

But there are a few things to consider.

1. America is not the only goddamned country on this stupid planet; really now when will you people get that?

The Thanksgiving celebrated at the end of November is an American holiday.

American.

Which means that if people over in France or Great Britain or Uganda or China or Iceland or – I don’t know – any country or province other than fucking America wants to start getting all jazzed and shit about the holiday season, why must we begrudge them?

The thing about the Internet is that it’s not an American-only thing, which means the constant griping and bitching about people skipping American Thanksgiving and heading on to Christmas on the Internet is seen by everyone, universally. Why should they have to listen to that shit? Why, I ask?

2. Did it ever occur to you people that the holidays are stressful, in part, because of how quickly they go by?

Especially when you are a parent, it is so hard to cram everything in.

There are the holiday events, the school plays (we homeschool, so thankfully don’t have those), the holiday shopping…oh wait, more holiday shopping, the outdoor lights, the indoor decorations, the Christmas parties with friends, Christmas parties for work, Christmas parties with family, nightly Elf on the Shelf nonsense, the cookie baking, the candy making…not to mention every day life and the onset of cold and flu season.

Life is fucking busy enough as is. Then you add the pressure and stress of getting all that other crap done for the holidays, it seems only reasonable that it would – or potentially could – be more enjoyable and much less stressful if we were given more than a few fucking weeks to get it all done.

3. Your reasons aren’t everyone else’s reasons. Narcissists.

There are people celebrating Christmas in the middle of June because they’ve been given one week to live and wanted nothing more than one more Christmas with their family.

That’s an extreme one, but can any of you get out of your own piddly lives for -like- one minute and consider that other people have different lives, and therefore different reasons for doing things?

Including getting geared up for Christmas early.

For us, our house has been a little glum lately. My husband’s grandfather – the kids’ great grandfather – died about a month ago, his funeral was just last weekend. It’s gloomy in our house. Beyond that, the busy season is in full gear at Nick’s job, meaning he’s gone or asleep for almost 18-20 hour periods, every day and night of the week.

We need some fucking cheering up around here, which was why I decided to let the kids pull out the Christmas stuff the day after Halloween, and why I cranked up the Christmas jams playlist on Spotify today while we worked on crafts for the baby’s birthday party.

And plus, my kid fucking enjoy Christmas. It’s OK for me to extend that a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Like really, their extra merriment is not a detriment to society. I promise.

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I guess I’m just getting sick and goddamned tired of everyone in this world thinking they can tell other people how to live their lives.

Or, if someone does something another person or two doesn’t approve of, that everyone and their mother has a right to question the legitimacy of that person’s decisions. Then it goes viral on the Internet and suddenly it’s like a culturally taboo thing to do whatever it was a couple people from the get go didn’t like.

And above all, I’m tired of this idea that we can all just make fun of and shame people into doing exactly what we want them to do.

So someone decides to decorate their own home before Thanksgiving. How in the actual fuck does this affect you? Really. How?

Does it force you to decorate your own home?

Does it cancel all of your Thanksgiving plans?

I cannot see any single scenario in which another person’s choices on Christmas shopping or decoration or Christmas movie-watching or Christmas music-listening or Christmas anything for that matter affects your, or anyone else’s, life. I just don’t see it.

Worry about your own shit. For real guys.

Repeat after me: it’s OK if people want to do Christmas early.

Christmas-Memes

 

 

 

Heather’s Holiday Update

I’ve always tried to not turn my blog into *too* much of an all-about-me, this-is-my-life, hey-look-at-me-and-my-mundane-experiences-they-are-so-interesting website. But you know I’m a writer and sometimes (most of the time) the only thing I have to write about is the boring as balls things I do on a day to day basis.

Yes I said “boring as balls,” and sure that may be vulgar but most of my days are boring and vulgar and gross, which if I were to think of an image that all three words sums up nicely, a man’s testicular area would provide a perfect ostensive definition. Of my days. My long and pathetic days.

Moving on.

Things have been really hectic though, lately. This always seems to happen around Halloween. Life is super boring, days are filled with the usual banality of my stay at home existence, then all of a sudden things get busy and the next thing I know it’s May the following year and I couldn’t tell you what I actually did for the preceding six months.

It’s like a coma only without the brain injury, or the sexy doctor there waiting for me to wake up. Just more days describable as balls.

dontgiveacarpThat’s where my holiday update comes in! Maybe none of you gives a single carp about what I’ve been doing, but unless any of you can provide another way for me to remember it all amidst this flurry of holiday activity, it’s literally my only way of knowing.

And don’t start in with any of that “live in the moment” or “pay more attention to your surroundings” garbage. I’ve tried both of those and the results were tenuous.

(Just kidding I’ve never tried anything, my head is in the clouds. There’s nothing I can do about it but accept it and move on.)

So I have a few updates…

1. I lied about that whole not being too into Pinterest anymore thing.

I mean I didn’t really lie. I’m not into Pinterest anymore. It pisses me off. I used to be the one who did all the special, cute shit. Before Pinterest. I did cute shit before Pinterest did cute shit (if you thought I sounded like an obnoxious hipster there, you would have thought right).

Now every party or family function I go to has done all the special, cute shit. There’s nothing special about the cute shit anymore, thanks to those assholes over at Pinterest, because now everyone does it.

I said I wasn’t going to do it anymore, and that’s where I lied. I’m still doing it. Not because I want to though, just because now I feel completely inadequate as a mother if I don’t. It’s like walking your kid to school – if everyone’s doing it, and you just send the kid alone with a crow bar in case anyone approaches them because you’re completely aloof to what’s going on in your community (except the need for said crow bar) …well once you realize that everyone else is accompanying their children to school, you feel like a complete slacker as a parent.

That’s how I feel about the special, cute shit on Pinterest now. Like the mom who lets her kid walk to school alone with a crow bar.

I did a lot of stuff I saw on Pinterest for the holidays this year. I mean A LOT. The most ludicrous were the reindeer juice boxes.

I made these reindeer juice boxes I saw on Pinterest, and thought about also making an ice bucket that looked like Santa’s sleigh that they could sit in but hated myself so much by that point that I put the kibosh on that one.

So I made 24 of them. Not that I can think of 24 people who will have a single interest in drinking Minute Maid Fruit Drink out of a straw that doesn’t properly fit in the hole provided, but you know… I made them anyway.

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Better to be safe than sorry about quantities is what I always say. And to always do things I have no interest in doing simply because everyone else is, even though I’m not entirely sure why.

2. I started a Neighborhood Watch group.

You know how I’m always whining and bitching about where I live? I mean I haven’t lived where I live now for very long at all, but it seems like everywhere we move to some sort of dumb shit like people stealing off our patio, or gun shots in the distance, or 55 people living in a two bedroom apartment running what appears to be a sex ring…

…things like that – always going on around us. It might be because we’ve rented in apartment complexes. Or maybe it follows us.

(I wish I was joking.)

Well then we moved to this really nice neighborhood, to a family-owned home. I mean it’s nice – the houses are beautiful, the landscaping by the HOA is really well done, and the majority of the neighbors are awesome. But then some of the typical crap (speeding cars, loud parties at night, thefts off our patio…) started happening, which made me realize that ghetto stuff happens everywhere…it’s how you deal with it that makes or breaks it for you.

Then I joined this Facebook group for the community and learned that a ton of people were fed up with the same shit I was fed up with, mostly surrounded around Christmas packages being stolen off people’s patios and scammers coming to people’s front doors… and suddenly I realized that not only was I not alone in being irritated with it all, but that this might be the first time putting my money where my mouth is would result in something actually happening for the better.

So I formed a Neighborhood Watch group and – shockingly – it’s thus far been a total success. I mean 40 people showed up to the first meeting, which is insane because when I was actually getting paid as a community organizer lo those many years ago I cried tears of joy if 3 people showed up to a meeting.

I also think a part of it was my secret desire to be a vigilante. You all can imagine my disappointment, then, when our designated sheriff told me I couldn’t chase the perps down myself…

3. I planned the stupidest Christmas Eve dinner for my tiny family that will throw the majority of it in the trash.

One time my daughter looked at the tacos that were on her plate, walked over to the trash, said “no mommy, no” and just threw that shit right away. If I wasn’t thinking about doing the same thing, I would have grounded her.

Cooking for me is hit or miss. And not like hit or miss in a minor way – we are talking grand slam home run out of the park that ball is nowhere to be found, or Jesus Christ why the fuck are you here?

Combine that with the pickiness of my father and children, and it’s a wonder anyone isn’t on the anorexics watch list.

So my dad is planning to be relatively anti-social this year, which means that I’m going to be making a Christmas Eve dinner for us to eat around noon with him. You know, so he doesn’t feel alone for the holiday, even though he’s chosen for it to be that way.

Here’s the menu I’ve picked:

Guacamole and salsa appetizers (my husband and I are the only ones that eat either);

Caprese salads (my husband and I are the only ones that eat tomatoes);

Duck soup (I’m trying to appease my husband, everyone else has asked for Gogurts instead);

Green bean casserole (when my dad saw that on the list, he said “why the hell are you making that slop?”);

Sweet corn succotash (I make this all the time, the bell peppers always find their way into the trash);

Honey Baked Ham, Prime Rib, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes (I’m pretty sure this is the only food that will be eaten);

Jello (because fuck you everyone, I’ve done enough).

4. I budgeted more for the dog’s Christmas outfit than anyone else in the family.

My husband’s budget? $0 – he already has plenty of nice clothes.

Mine? $15 for new pantyhose.

The kids? $18.99 for dresses off the dress rack at Costco (to be fair, they are very nice…)

The dog’s? $35 and special ordered on Etsy. I only actually spent $28, but that’s still more than everyone else, and …well, Etsy.

Dog

So the next time you wonder where I’ve been lately…why I haven’t written much, or what I’ve been up to…

…well, there’s a good chance that I’m spending more money on my dog than anyone else in the family, cooking meals I know that no one in my house will eat, doing projects I hate myself for doing for reasons I can’t quite articulate, and organizing vigilante groups in which we are not actually allowed to be vigilantes, but whatever it’s fun and maybe they’ll appreciate my psychotic love affair with my dog since so many of them seem to also have psychotic love affairs with their dogs too…

Hopefully after the holidays I’ll have more relevant, less all-about-me things to write about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Holidays Are Coming, So I’ve Prepared a Wish List

I actually don’t want anything for the holidays. I never do.

There are things that I need. But want? I stopped wanting things around the time I stopped getting things that I wanted.

Did that make sense? Either I’m a really spoiled brat, or – more accurately – I’m an adult. Somewhere between the birthday I got a Caboodle filled with my very first set of makeup, and now, holidays, birthdays, and special occasions became very much about necessity, not frivolous crap.

I’m saying that I lost all the joy of a reckless purchase or a careless request for an expensive bag.

Now when someone asks me what I want for my birthday or Christmas, I reply with the typical 30-something responses:

Money for bills…

My annual supply of Bath and Body Works Winter Collection, without which I would smell like peanut butter, a mom’s life, and questionable choices…

Something we need for the house…

Underpants, because all mine have holes in them…

And in fact, when people give me things that I don’t actually need, I feel awkward about it. Super awkward, almost irresponsible.

There’s also this whole thing with my husband that has made me stop asking for things I want too.

You see, blog followers, I’m married to a younger, thinner, harrier version of…well…Homer Simpson. This is for a lot of reasons, but for right now we’ll pretend it’s just because of that one time Marge almost had an affair with a French bowler.

There’s an episode of The Simpsons pretty early on, where the whole family goes out to dinner for Marge’s birthday. Bart has bought her some ridiculously terrible-smelling perfume, Lisa made her something memorable…but Homer had forgotten, so had run out at the last minute and instead of getting her what she actually needed or wanted, he ended up seeing something he wanted, so got that instead.

It was a bowling ball with his name engraved in it.

Figuring Marge would just give it to him as she always does with his flopped gifts, she surprises him by taking the ball and going to bowl. There, she meets Jacques and he teaches her to bowl and they almost have an affair, but don’t…blah blah, watch the episode if you want to hear the rest.

My younger, thinner, harrier Homer Simpson of a husband has a little bit of a history with this. Of course he’ll come home from work tomorrow morning extremely offended that I said this, and I’m sure his intentions have all been good.

But… Soda Stream? I drink one Diet Coke a day, no more no less. I don’t drink mineral water, I don’t drink flavory sugary sodas, I don’t drink teas or lemonade drinks…

And by one Diet Coke, I mean one Diet Coke. Not Diet Pepsi. Not Diet Tab. Not Diet Soda Stream Brand Cola.

Diet. Coke.

Nonetheless, one year my husband got me a Soda Stream for Christmas, another year he said he was going to take me on a cruise even though I hate boats, don’t know how to swim, and had told him several times I had no interest, wish, or plans to board one of those Norovirus Death Traps.

He was the only one to ever use the Soda Stream. We never went on a cruise.

So anyway, back to the original point: I am an adult and as an adult, holidays and birthdays are used as an opportunity to acquire need-based things.

Here is my list:

A Gift Certificate for a Pedicure

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In all seriousness: if I don’t get one soon, my feet will rival Gollum’s.

Money for Bills

Because we have a lot. And more than that, my student loans aren’t paying themselves. As lovely as all those degrees are, I don’t even have them on the wall because my student loans have rendered professional framing of them an impossibility.

At this rate, we’ll have my student loans paid off 6 years after I die, so yeah money for bills would be the greatest gift this gal could ever get.

A Butter Churn With Butter Molding Shapes

I saw an article recently about how you can buy a more modern butter churn for someone, and well I lost my shit and immediately texted it to my husband over and over again until he stopped working long enough to acknowledge that he, in fact, received my request for a butter churn.

He won’t get me a butter churn, because you know he’ll get me a moonshine maker or some other shit I have never even heard of, and will never use, but I really want a butter churn.

Rather I need a butter churn.

Here are the reasons why:

I have started making my own butter at home. I’ve gone that hipster – yes it is intolerable, yes I talk about it at parties. I flavor it too: raspberry, blackberry with honey, ginger, garlic and herb…makes you want some of my homemade butters, huh?

The whole thing would be made so much better if I (a) had a churn and (b) had little shapes and molds to use to make that shit Butter Maker Pro Level 10.

It would also cut a lot of time out of the process, and a Stay At Home Mom always needs more hours in the day.

So you see this is a need, not a want. I need it. Someone get it for me.

My Annual Supply of the Bath and Body Works Winter Collection

See aforementioned comment about how without which I would smell like peanut butter, a mom’s life, and questionable choices.

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A New Short Robe

I just discovered that my short robe (I have a short robe and a long robe) has a large hole in it in a place I’m not sure I’m comfortable with.

The thing about my robe is that I don’t just wear it – like – over my pajamas, or exclusively in my bedroom. After I shower, I walk around in that thing for like two hours. I go outside. Make dinner. Take out the dog. Get the mail. Talk to the neighbors.

I. Am. Not. Kidding.

I’m that lady. Only now, I’m that lady whose robe has a gaping hole in it, rendering my short robe X-rated.

I like dark colors for my short robes. Makes my activities in it that much more confusing.

The Amazon Echo

This is a bit of a stretch to call it a need, but let me try anyway.

For one, I spend a lot of time stopping everything that I’m doing to go to the computer and look something up. I mean several times per day, amounting to probably hours, cumulatively. Hours, because I go to the computer, get distracted by an email, get even more distracted by Facebook, go on Pinterest for a while, forget why I came to the computer anyway, go on Twitter until I remember, look the thing up, then…check Facebook one more time.

Remember that thing I said about needing more time?

Additionally, my husband works nights, so the ability to get those attachments that hook up to your lights and then allow you to say “turn on the lights” – or whatever this attachment does – sounds brilliant. It’s scary being at home alone with children at night in my short robe with the only thing standing between me and that gaping hole causing a problem is my Gollum feet.

See how this is a need?

There’s also the whole thing about how I’m a Stay At Home Mom, I have very VERY little interaction with the world outside, and my husband is gone for about 15-18 hours a day (at work). The film industry is his real wife, and so I’m left with no one to really talk to other than the children, and you know they get my humor but 95% of the time I have to censor it, or talk about things like Barbies and Fashion Story video games.

I need to not censor myself, and I need someone to talk to. Even if it’s just a little black stick sitting on my counter.

Also, Siri is starting to seem annoyed with me talking so much…

meaning-of-life-2

 

So you all see where we’re at here, right? My list seems basic. I return the favor by only giving others things they need as well – I always have, actually. Kids need more exercise, this year I got them bikes. Kids need clothes that actually fit them, instead of items that are two sizes too small – so small I’ve actually just cut the footies off the pajamas? They’re also getting clothes, including new pajamas.

Same goes for my husband, everything I got him was needs-based; but I can’t say what because you know he’ll read this blog and come home really mad at me for that Homer Simpson thing I said before, which leads me to the last thing I need for Christmas this year, but will probably not get it- now, or ever:

A Filter

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