Bad Santa

My one regret as a parent (Oh, ok, I have a gazillion regrets, but this one particular one wasn’t my fault!), and that is that my two sons never got their picture taken with Santa. We tried but failed miserably. It happened that my first son was born on the 10th of December – a little too young for a picture with Santa, mainly because as a new mother, I was NOT going to let just anyone hold my brand new baby. Not even a jolly old saint of a man, wearing red pajamas and ho-hoing loudly, giggling his large belly. No way.

We settled for dressing the baby in a Santa outfit and placing him under the tree for endless adorable pictures.

When my son was one year old, I figured now was the time. I bathed him, powdered him, lotioned him, dressed him in a new outfit, just for the occasion, and set off for Santa who happened to be sitting in repose at Newberries in Val d’Or Quebec, where my husband was stationed in the Air force. And, yes, this little French Canadian village boasted a Newberries – right out of downtown Spokane, Washington – seemingly. I was looking forward to some English speaking Santa and elves.

We got there, all polished and shining and stood in line for eternity waiting for our chance. So, I don’t know if it was time for a bottle, or time for a new diaper, or time for a nap – I know I needed a nap, and fairly certain my one-year-old needed a nap, and possibly for sure Santa needed a nap too. It was finally our turn, and I started toward the great man of my childhood, so excited! And then suddenly I could feel my son tense in my arms, he took one look at Santa and then slowly held his breath. His face turned red, and then his nose crinkled up, his eyes clenched close, he then made a humming noise, opened his mouth, and WAILED. He sounded like a siren on a careening ambulance, going down for the crash. Arms flaying, legs wagging, lungs screaming.

I took a hasty retreat down the hallway, leaving my $10 behind me – knowing that this child would NEVER sit on Santa’s lap.

When I had my second son the following April, I practiced letting him sit on people’s laps, getting used to it before the big day in December. Only now I had two of them and no matter how much I “rehearsed” the picture-taking moment – we had a repeat, down to the last whimper, of the Christmas fiasco of the year before.

I just noticed a contest called “Santa Makes Me Pee My Pants A Little” for pictures of those precious moments when our children are flat out terrorized by Santa. I would offer up pictures of my two little ones – but it never happened! And now, in their 30’s, I think I’ve lost my chance.



Tea and Apathy and a Little Sloth

Oh, my God! It's happened! In just two weeks of unemployment, I have digressed to a new low of uninhibited disorganization and total disregard for structure and rules and standards. Take baths, for instance. I mean, I find it absolutely unnecessary to actually “take a bath” every single day. Who cares? Mechanic Man? Yeah, right – a guy that spends his days elbow deep in grease, dirt, and oil; running his fingers through some vile smelling fluid, wiping his hands on his shirt and/or pants and even his hair. He's going to notice if I miss a bath?

I've stopped even looking in a mirror. And that usually gets a reaction from Mechanic Man as I head out the door to go to the store. “Whoa, there little wild woman. Have you even looked at yourself lately?” Who cares? And then I'll glance in a mirror and hair is tousled every which way, no make up, little squinty eyes looking back at me. Who cares?

I'm worse than Scarlett O'Hara. “There's always tomorrow” has become my motto – I'm thinking of having it monogrammed on my sweats that I wear all day long. On my butt.

Why do today what can be done just as easily tomorrow. Take my Christmas cards. I have had all good resolutions to get my cards out right after Thanksgiving. There they sit – labels ready to peel and stick, the dreaded form letter typed and printed (at UPS because my printer, that I need to fix or replace is still on my list of stuff to do), ready to fold and stuff.

I have plenty of stuff to do – it's motivation that I lack. When I was working, I was Wonder Woman. I could have a million tasks on my plate and still manage to handle three bosses, filing, copying, writing, typing, mailing, scheduling, and plan dinner, clean the house, tune the car, organize my financial portfolio, keep track of Mechanic Man. It was a miracle!

Now – I am not working and my very full calendar was efficiently maintained - - - - at work! And the same calendar is NOT here at home. And I am helpless and paralyzed to do any single thing. I have a list of chores I plan to do but I keep getting them out and then putting them back and thinking – there's always tomorrow – and the list doesn't get any shorter and in fact gets longer every day.

I need to replace my printer because the really nice one I have doesn't work and the really cheap one is sitting in a box (over there) just waiting for me to make the switch. But the printer that I have next to my computer has become a shelf for two feet (I do not lie) of bills, notes, files, envelopes, and a shoe box (holding more bills, notes, files, and envelopes) – all belonging to Mechanic Man. I started moving them last night and then decided that my life (staying alive) depended on NOT putting any of this stuff that appears totally disorganized to me – into a different order. So there they sit. Now he tells me that the pile just needs to be organized and I am thinking, yeah, but – that skill has evaded me for the past two weeks. I don't think I can handle it. At all.

I don't set the alarm. Who cares? I have to go to my computer and hover the mouse over the time in the task bar so I can see what day it is. Today is Wednesday. Who cares? I'd get dressed – but it's just as easy to stay in my sweats and thick socks with rubber daisies on the bottoms, and just putter around the house. Do the dishes??? Where are they going? Will it make a difference in my life if I leave a couple plates and forks in the sink?

I think I need one of those organizational coaches. They need to be a drill sergeant or some kind of handler. I think he/she needs to move in. Maybe tomorrow.



Cookies with Granddad

I was seven when I went to stay with my grandparents for the summer. It was all I had ever dreamed – I was a star! Little Jerome, Idaho had a brief paragraph in its small town weekly paper, all about ME. “Welcome little Jeanie Rice, age 7, granddaughter of Floyd and Marvel Rice, who is visiting for the summer, , , ,”

My granddad was the postmaster of Jerome, Idaho. I could send letters to him, and they'd always get to the right address even if I only put “Granddad, Jerome, Idaho” on the envelope.

Granddad and I spent the days of that summer delivering mail in the countryside. Every farmer's wife came to the mail truck to greet me and hand me cookies! We had dozens of cookies. Every day we would leave the house with carefully packed lunches so we wouldn't starve to death and every day we would wind our way through town and the rural farmland, and find our way to a little fishing hole, with an old worn dock, and we'd sit on the edge of the dock, dangling our feet in the water, and take our lunches and all our cookies and eat until we had ate every single cookie.

When we got back home and Grandmom asked what we wanted for dinner, we'd both sigh and say, oh, you know – a little fruit, a little cereal – we're just not that hungry. And grin at each other with our little secret. I'm sure she never caught on.