Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Husband and I: Doing Our Part to Spread Holiday Cheer. No, Christmas Cheer. Kwanza?

After going on a tour of Christmas lights last night, the husband and I launched into an in depth conversation on the meaning of Christmas. Or something.

Me: Have you noticed lately how offended people are when you say Happy Holidays?  They respond with MERRY. CHRISTMAS.  It makes me not want to say anything.  Like sometimes I say Happy Holidays because I mean Christmas and New Years.  And besides Christmas is a holiday.

The husband: If someone says Merry Christmas when you say Happy Holidays you should be like: oh you’re one of those people.  And they’ll be like: one of what people?

Me: What’s even better is when someone says they like something and you say: you look like the kinda person who would like that.

The husband: For an entire week any time anyone says they like something we should respond with: you look like the kinda person who would like that.  And they’d say: what do you mean.  And we would say: You’re a little paranoid aren’t you?

Me: Or we could inhale sharply, like when you suck the air between your teeth, and say: Ohhh…  And walk away.

The husband:  I like chicken fingers.  Ohhh, you look like someone who likes chicken fingers.  We’d be creating mass amounts of paranoia.

Me: If someone says MERRY. CHRISTMAS. when I say Happy Holidays, I’m going to say HAPPY. HOLIDAYS.

The husband: MERRY! CHRISTMAS!

Me: HAPPY!! HOLIDAYS!!

The husband: MERRY!!! CHRISTMAS!!!

Me: HAPPY!!!! HOLIDAYS!!!!

The husband:  Happy Chanukah

Me:  Happy Kwanza.  What the heck is Kwanza?  Does anyone even celebrate it?

Me: Do they celebrate Christmas in China?

The husband: No.

Me: What?!

The husband: no

Me: WHAT?!!!  Why not?

The husband: Because they’re not Christian.

Me: So?  Christmas so become so secular.  So many people celebrate it without celebrating the true meaning.

The husband: Well maybe they put up winter decorations.

Me: What does Merry Merry mean?  People say it but I don’t know why.  I don’t know what it means but I said it an email yesterday.  Merry Merry!

The husband: People are so worried about offending people by saying Christmas that they say Merry Merry?  If someone said Happy Chanukah to me, I’d say Happy Chanukah back.

Me: No.  I think they just say it.  Like for people you see a lot and get tired of saying the same thing.  Merry Christmas.  Merry Christmas.  Merry Christmas.  So they say Merry Merry.

The husband: Oh. Weird.

That’s pretty much where it ended, which isn’t a very good ending.

So…then an evil troll pounced on our car and declared Christmas was canceled.  The husband and I jumped out of the car and I said, "no one messes with my favorite holiday."  And the troll said, "Ohhh, you're one of those people."  And I was all HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!  And the troll did this obnoxious little jig on the hood of our car.  Because, apparently?  He's Irish.  And then the husband retrieved the gun that was secured to his back with packing tape, pointed it at the troll and said, "Yipee Kai Aye, motherf*cker," and shot the troll and Christmas was saved.

You’re welcome.

The End.

Oh, and, P.S.  MERRY. CHRISTMAS. to all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just Because I Fear Them, Doesn't Mean I Want Them to Die

People wonder why I fear you. You are small and therefore, they think, harmless. But what you lack in size and sheer force, you make up for in cunning evilness. I suppose you have targeted me because you can smell the fear. You are determined to make an example of me to the rest of humanity, to let your minions know just how powerful you are, to warn them of your eventual world domination. They aren’t buying it, but I’m getting the message loud and clear. You are determined to see me die. Your initial tactics of death by fear inducing heart attack didn’t work, so you’ve moved on to more direct methods.

Today in the stairwell when I saw you and shouted, “Dammit!” I briefly thought that maybe you were trying to help me. I have heard that an effective therapy method for those with extreme fears, is to continually expose them to that which they fear until they are no longer afraid. Maybe that’s what they are doing for me, I thought as I scurried passed you and out the door to the safety of my car.

But before I had even started the engine, it all became so clear. You. Stairs. The perfect combination for my demise. Everyone already knows stairs and I don’t mix. I fall up them; I slide down them. In fact I have almost busted my head open on the stairs of my work building no less than four times. The very stairs in which you lie in wait.

I have told my co-workers that if I ever don’t show up for work to come look for me in the stairwell. They will find me at the bottom of the stairs, limbs bent in unnatural angles and think it was an accident, the product of my lack of coordination. They will never suspect that I saw you, little ole’ you, freaked out and in an effort to claw my way through the concrete wall, tumbled down the stairs.

They will open the door for the paramedics and you will scoot out, but not before some na├»ve soul says, “Look at the cute little lizard.”

I thought saving the life of one of you brethren last week would score me some points, give me a reprieve from the death warrant you have placed on my head. But alas, there is no end to your evilness. I know this and still, when my boss returns, I will tell him about you, how you will starve or perish from the frigid temps, and together – he with a bowl and piece of cardboard, and me supervising from a safe (safe, ha!) distance – we will save your life.

Why do I do it, continue to save your life when your evil species wants nothing more than to see me die? Because I’m freakin’ Snow White, that’s why.

Animals come from near and far to be in my presence. Like that spider in my car the other night. The one terrorizing me with its dance on my dashboard, forcing me to pull over, take off my shoe and kill it.  I will be in therapy for years over that.

Just because there are creatures that I fear - like you, evil lizard - doesn't mean I want them to die, especially at the hands of me, whether intentional or accidental.

Like when the husband, some friends and I were in Costa Rica and I organized a cadre of volunteers to save a colony of starfish - mutant, alien, most likely highly poisonous starfish, but starfish none-the-less.

We were on a day retreat to Tortuga Island and in a burst of creative genius, I wrote mine and the husband's name in the sand and decorated it with strategically placed pieces of dried coral washed ashore.  The husband, ever supportive of my creative whims hauled over the largest piece of coral I had ever seen.  Seriously, it was YUGE.  Definitely larger than a breadbox, but smaller than a really large dog.

I would like to take this opportunity to digress from my story, as I usually do.  Several of my friends have recently become parents.  And as new parents usually do, they are always seeking advice on how to "be a good parent."  Luckily for them, they have me.  I am not a parent, but am somehow uniquely qualified to give "how to be a good parent" advice.

The YUGE cluster of coral that the husband brought to me was pink and black.  Which reminds me of story from my childhood.  I was a wee lass of about eight and my stepdad was going to visit his family in New York.  He told my mom and me that he was going to return with sand that he had collected on one of his travels.  This wasn't just any sand, though. It was pink sand.  I'm sure you can imagine how utterly exciting PINK sand is to an eight year little girl whose entire room is painted in the upset-stomach/nausea/diarrhea remedying color. 

My excitement over the next several days could not be contained.  As my mom and I waited at the gate, I thought I was going to pee my pants waiting for my stepdad to emerge.  Finally he did.  He knelt down and retrieved a container from his carry-on.  He peeled back the covered, I peered inside and what did my wondering eyes behold?  Not pink sand.  Not rose, nor salmon, nor magenta, nor red, nor blush.  But black.  Black sand.  WTF, stepdad?  Seriously.  W.  T.  F.

Which leads me to my advice: parents, you want to build up insane amounts of excitement in your child and then crush it a few days later?  Promise her pink sand and deliver black.

That concludes my digression.  Back to the pink and black coral, which my husband gallantly brought to me.  And dropped in the sand.  And the thing exploded.  And a million, literally a million, black mutant alien starfish emerged along with a thousand unidentified creatures.

Perfect. We  just destroyed their home.  This was completely unacceptable to me and I made the husband help me transport all million mutant starfish to the ocean so they didn't dehydrate on the beach.  I delicately scooped sand beneath a mutant starfish, the sand providing a barrier between it's writhing spiny appendages - did I mention they were mutant? oh, and also black? - and gently placed it in the water.  The husband scooped up a handful and flung them at the ocean.

"What is the point of saving them from dehydration if they are going to die from a traumatic brain injury when they hit the water!"  I cried.

The husband: eye roll

Me: Go away. Stop helping.

I continued placing the mutant starfish in the ocean one by one, and soon a small crowd formed and everyone began helping me.  I closely monitored them to make sure they were all adhering to the appropriate transporting procedure while hoping that no one got stung by the surely deathly poisonous appendages of mutant alien starfish.  I of course couldn't tell my altruistic group that there was a very good possibility they would be poisoned to death.  They might stop helping.

That's how much I care about animals. I'm willing to sacrifice my life and that of others, apparently, in order to save them, whether evil lizards or mutant aliens.

So dear lizard in the stairwell, go torture someone else will ya?  Clearly I am on your side.  I'll even help you when your plan for world domination is complete.  As long as you promise to never send one of your siblings to crawl up my pants again.  All bets are off then.

Oh, and also.  I'm sorry I forgot to ask my boss to save you. If you survive tonight in the stairwell, I promise I'll have him rescue you first thing in the morning.  I'm so sorry you have to spend the night on the cold concrete. I really am.  My night will be miserable as I worry about you.

But if you think about it, you kinda deserve it.  You were trying to kill me after all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

We Wish You a Tacky Christmas

Sometimes the only thing left to do is traipse around a golf course at 12:00 in the a.m. (that's midnight for those of you who get confused by the whole 12:00 a.m./p.m. thing. For those of you who say "no one gets confused by that, everyone knows 12:00 a.m. is midnight and 12:00 p.m. is noon, duh" to you I say you are wrong.  There is at least one person on this planet who does not know the difference and is therefore convinced everyone else wallows in the quarry of confusion that is 12:00 a.m./p.m.  This is also the same person who says "ironical" and doesn't know how to find a 10% increase and thinks he invented the phrase "it's what's on the inside that counts.") with 11 other people, all of whom - you included - look like  escapees from the state insane asylum.  I mean, honestly, what else is there to do after cheese balls have been consumed, 20 questions have been played and a Christmas gift of human hair has been opened?  Wandering around a golf course in pitch black with the threat of death by alligator consumption or serial killer like a scene from a horror/science fiction movie hybrid gone horribly wrong seemed like the next logical course of action.

Confused yet?  You're not alone.

How does a tacky Christmas sweater party turn into a night of Geo Caching and the re-emergence of a disease eradicated years ago?  I can't really give you the answer to that other than to say, It. Happened.

The night started off normal enough: gold lame pants (there's supposed to be a little accent thingy above the e in lame, as in la-may pants not lame pants, because gold la-may pants may be a lot of things, but lame they are not), candy cane ties, feetie pajamas, black tutus and a FUPA.  In short, it was the annual Tack Sweater Party hosted by the Stootzmans (name has been changed to protect the innocent).  The concept is simple, really.  Wear the tackiest Christmas sweater/outfit you can find, bring a dish to the party, drink some punch that tastes way too good to have alcohol in it - but it does  - parade your tacky self in front of the crowd to be judged (because honestly, who doesn't like to be judged at a party?), vote on the tackiest dresser who is awarded a prize, participate in a white elephant gift exchange, hang out awhile with friends, take a group photo, the end.  Except it wasn't the end, and the whole group photo thing never happened.

I wore a cream colored knee length dress and brown knee high boots.  Doesn't sound too tacky, right?  Did I mention the long sleeved bronze and gold la-may flowered upper portion of the dress with pinkish pearls running up the arms and down the back?  My look floundered somewhere between creepy American Girl doll and Norman Bates' mother.  The husband wore green trousers -  because "trousers" are way more fun than "pants"- a sparkly gold "vest" aka lady's sleeveless blouse, and completed the look with a grayish/blueish jacket flecked with red and green...flecks.

Together we were really quite dashing, but sadly we did not win the coveted tacky schweata fashion parade prize.  That went to gold la-mayed pants Tina (again, name changed to protect the tackiest).  She completed her outfit with a red (tacky) sweater, red scrunchy socks and tennis shoes.  She looked like a Christmas obsessed aerobics instructor from the eighties.  She really was quite deserving of the award.  In fact, I voted for her, which I only  mention because I always like to take some degree of credit for other people's success.

The fashion parade was shortly followed by the white elephant gift exchange in which the husband and I did not participate because I forgot to bring a gift.  And by "forgot" I mean, intentionally did not bring a gift because white elephant gift exchanges cause me extreme amounts of anxiety.
 

I spent the first half of the exchange trying to convince my friend who gifted a giant tub of cheese balls to end up with the balls so I could eat them.  She did.  Because, seriously?  She's one of the greatest friends ever.  And a tub of cheese balls?  Greatest. Gift. Ever.  I spent the second half of the exchange shoveling cheese balls into my mouth, until someone picked up a gift bag, reached inside and pulled out what could have been a kitten.  But it wasn't.  It was hair.  Human hair.  From the heads of two of the party-goers.  Who had shaved their heads that day and thought their hair would make the perfect gift.  Some may find that weird, or gross even, but actually?  Genius.  I mean really, what else are you supposed to do with your hair once you've separated it from you body?

Someone received the game 20 Questions, which is a battery operated device the size of golf ball, as their gift and a group of us spent the better part of an hour trying to stump it.  After it had guessed everything we'd thought of, we became convinced it could hear us so we used sign language to decide on our next word.

I would like to say that a group of girls thinking a battery operated device had the ability to hear and a gift of hair were the weirdest things that happened that night, but I would be lying.

Bring on the geo-caching.

What's geo-caching?  It's kinda like a scavenger hunt.  You go to some website and get some coordinates which you enter into your phone or GPS or something and follow the coordinates to find an object and then you write your name down on piece of paper that has the names of all the other people that found the object and then you feel like you're a part of something special and your life is complete.  Or something like that.  I don't honestly know.  If you really want to know what geo-caching is, Google it.  Or Yahoo-it.  I recommend Yahoo.  It's way more betterer.

I first heard about geo-caching from a friend who hiked around in the woods and up mountains and across streams to find "the object", whatever "the object" may be and got bit by a spider and almost died.  The husband has absolutely no recollection of the deathly spider bite, so it's possible I just imagined the whole thing.  But probably not.  A 2009 report by the U.S. Department of Health reported - because that's what reports do, report things - that the third leading cause of death in the United States is geo-caching.

It's entirely possible that I just made that up.  Do we even have a U.S. Department of Health?

The second time I heard about geo-caching was at the party. Drue (spelling of name was changed to protect the identity of the geo-cacher from Muggles.  What?  You thought Muggles was just a Harry Potter reference? WRONG!  A Muggle is someone that has no idea what the hay a geo-cacher is doing when in the midst of caching and therefore the cacher must cease and desist caching until Muggles are gone.  At least that is what Drue told us.  I am starting to think he was just f*cking with us.) was extolling his geo-caching adventures with much gusto and enthusiasm. The interest of the group was piqued and there was much jubilation when Drue announced there was a cache just .3 miles away from our location.  Why, we could walk to it!

And that's exactly what a dozen of us did.

And it was an epic fail.

Because the cache was in another neighborhood. Surrounded by a canal.  Which half of the group knew was there. But that did not deter Drue.  So we walked along the road, through a golf course, behind a maintenance shed - where a crazy serial killer surely lived - and along a canal - surely filled with alligators.  We brought along a camera to document our death, I mean our adventure, and used the flash to provide intermittent light.

We all agreed we shouldn't split up, because that's how people die in horror movies.  And there was certainly no way anyone was going to sneak off and have sex or the nymphos would be permanently joined together by a stake through their chests.  We debated whether Tina in her gold la-may pants would be the first to die or the only to survive.  We laughed at our wit and from our drunkeness and blindly followed Drue.  And we STAYED TOGETHER.  Until Tina said she didn't know how to work the camera and I decided to stop and take a look.  "It probably doesn't have anything to focus on," I said.  I took the camera from her and she posed - a fingers at the lips, brow furrowed, worry-eyed, poor frightened girl look.  I snapped the photo, we had a look on the screen, and the rest of group was gone.  We had been separated.

And then we were cut in half by chainsaws.

Just kidding.

This is a Christmas story.

We reunited with the group and all made it back to the Stootzman's where we piled into two vehicles to drive to the geo-cache location because once this group of tacky sweater lovin partiers sets its mind to something, there is absolutely no detering us.

On the drive, Drue decides to share a story to distract us from our overwhelming excited anticipation of finding the cache.

Drue: I went to Tallahasee.  I played beer pong.  I got Shingles.

The rest of us: Insane amounts of laughter.

Drue: It's not funny.  The medicine costs $180 a pill.

The rest of us: Insane amounts of laughter and mocking the rest of the night.

Here's a tip you may want to keep in your back pocket, just in case: if you ever feel compelled to share a story in which you contract a disease that no longer exists, do not tell it to a bunch of drunk, delirious idiots on a geo-caching adventure in the middle of the night.  You're not going to get much sympathy.

The husband: Of all the things you could have said after I went to Tallahasee.  I played beer pong.  I got Shingles would have been last thing I would have guessed.

The rest of us: insane amounts of laughter.

Boy #1: I got drunk, maybe.

The rest of us: insane amounts of laughter.

Drue: It's not funny.  It was incredibly painful.

Boy #2: I would have guessed Aids before Shingles.

The rest of us: insane amounts of laughter.

Drue: I was so sick I actually drove myself to the doctor, which I hate.

Boy #1: So, what's Polio like?

Drue: I got Shingles, not Polio!

The rest of us: insane amounts of laughter.

The laughter and mocking ceased only because we arrived at our location: An island of palm trees, pebbles and an electrical meter in the middle of a round-about.  Our clue to finding "the object": it doesn't belong.

The twelve of us parade around and amongst the island, kicking up pebbles, feeling up palm trees and dismantling the meter whilst repeating, "what doesn't belong?"

What doesn't belong?  How about 12 fashion challenged assholes dancing around a round-about in 40 degree weather at 1:30 in the morning?  This occured to no one but the husband who kept the thought to himself, like his own private joke.

Prepare yourselves for what I am about to say next.

We didn't find "it."  Shocking, I know.

Does that mean the party's over?

No!

On to the next location!

Let's get tetanus as we molest a guard rail or perhaps we'll get electrocuted as we deflower this electrical pole.  We're only four feet away now! No, eighteen. Now, six inches away. It should be right here!  Nope, eight feet away!

Needless to say, we didn't find "it."

Three strikes and we were out.

Dejected but still jolly - it is Christmas, after all - we piled back into our vehicles and drove away.  Sometimes the only thing left to do is gather up your white elephant gift - oh wait, you didn't get one because you didn't bring one...because you have The Issues - hug the hostess good-bye, and go home.