Happy Holidays, You Bastard

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but my family does everything a little over the top. We are an all or nothing kind of family which means I don’t sleep from Halloween until about January 3. My husband literally packs up the hand painted trunk or treat decorations and starts planning the theme for our annual Christmas card while I walk around the house with a glitter filled fire hose decorating and baking enough cookies to feed half of South America. Some years the theme for our card comes quickly, some years we have to brainstorm for a month, but we always have at least one theme that would offend half of our friends and family and my husband tells me no repeatedly while I beg him to hide a little easter egg of something offensive in the background. He and I have a different idea of “holiday cheer” sometimes.

Some past themes have included snowball fights, plans to kidnap Santa and baby Riley dismantling a tree. I think my daughter’s favorite was the year we strung her life sized bear up in the woods so she could have a winter wonderland themed party in the snow wearing a ball gown. She especially liked that I had to carry her into the woods to save her shoes and keep her bundled in a fur blanket until our perfectionist photographer was ready. I literally fell in the snow and used my body as a mattress to save her highness from wrinkling her dress. She really became the part that year, making demands like a seasoned super model. I was lucky to have walked away without having a cell phone thrown at my head.

Christmas Card 2018 Elf of the shelf takeoverMy favorite card to date has been the Elf on a Shelf takeover, mostly because it took a full day to shoot all of the photos used, and I got to play little elf to the photographer. We used 2 toy elves to create 100 of the little monsters destroying our family room, climbing shelves and ziplining from the fireplace mantle. There was even an elf wielding a cocktail sword holding the child hostage. Plus, she had to stay still tied up in lights for a large part of the shoot. I spent the day climbing ladders, hanging elves from fishing line and keeping out of the shot. The best part about this card is that we don’t even have an elf in our house. We don’t do that cliché bullshit (although I may get myself a Snoop on a Stoop next year). 

Based on the feedback we have received so far, our card this year has topped all others. Maybe it’s the magic of it, or the fact that we actually have the whole family in the photo for the first time ever, but the consensus has been that this is the fan favorite. I am the first to admit that I participated in approximately 3 minutes of the making of this card when I sat in front of the green screen that resided in our living room for a month. I didn’t even lend a hand when my husband was photographing himself flying through the air. Believe it or not, he took that photo entirely on his own. I was probably in the kitchen elbow deep in powdered sugar at the time. But sometimes that is how it works, and the final product is even better than expected. I wish I could say the same about my cookies this year. They are still a work in progress…

Daddy’s Girl

When I was little, my dad and I were part of a dad/daughter group called “Indian Princesses”. I’m not sure what the organization’s purpose was, but our group was under the impression the goal was for young girls to get into trouble while their dads drank heavily and played cards. It’s the place where I learned that too much of anything will make you barf and peeing on the side of the road is only illegal if you get caught. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to be learning survival skills and how to be a proper young lady, but our entire group was asked to leave a camping event before I learned any of those skills. This may explain why I can’t start a fire or engage in cocktail party chatter today.

Years later I met a man who was taking his daughter on an Indian Princess campout and he stated that alcohol was no longer allowed in the cabins because “a few bad apples ruined it for everyone”. I refrained from telling him that I was one of those bad apples he was referring to. The same year we were asked to leave was the year my dad brought several cases of whipped cream and we covered half the grounds with it while having a massive whipped cream fight. I vaguely remember leaving the event early and heading to someone’s cottage for the rest of the weekend. It was the equivalent of being called out in class and told to go to the principal’s office. Every eye in that mess hall burned our backs as we packed up our RV and headed south. Our exit bypassed the principal’s office and headed straight out the back door with two middle fingers in the air. Years later when I literally did the same in high school, my dad couldn’t really say much. That was a life lesson I got from the Indian Princesses, when the man tells you to shut it down, pack up your party and head to the lake. Here are a few other things I learned while hanging out in the woods with feathers on my head:

  1. Gambling is fun, especially when you win. The men used to play a game at restaurants called “Queen Bee” where you bet to see who pays the bill. Once someone “wins” and gets stuck with the bill, they have a chance to win back double their money from everyone else. My Dad let me sit in on his turn and I cleaned out every old guy at our table. I walked out of there with my pockets loaded only to leave the general store 10 minutes later with a handful of change. I spent the whole wad buying toys and candy for my fellow princesses. I have been a master liar’s poker player since then (as well as a pretty good liar which is a whole different lesson).
  2. Driving is a hell of a lot easier when you can see over the steering wheel. Did I mention the dad’s partook in a wee amount of alcohol consumption while on these adventures? Letting the children drive was really the responsible thing to do in that situation. I may have been the youngest driver on the roads in Canada, but I was one of the better drivers nonetheless. In my dad’s defense, I was actually a pretty good driver at a young age since I had been riding a motorcycle since I could stand it up by myself.
  3. If your stomach hurts, you’ll feel a lot better if you just get it over with and barf. This applies to a lot of things, but I barfed a lot when I was young and I always felt better once all the whipped cream evacuated my body. I’m pretty sure this was also how my dad learned to put a little girl’s hair into a ponytail.
  4. Doing your own thing is usually a lot more fun than following the crowd. Sometimes that means being asked to leave and that’s okay. Somehow a group of dads and their daughters who had no business joining a group like the Indian Princesses managed to join anyway and have fun for about a year before blowing it all up. The little group of misfits still managed to stick together for several years after making their own adventures that didn’t even require using outdoor bathrooms and identifying poison oak.
  5. Frog legs really do taste like chicken, and escargot tastes like salt water. Adventuring with my dad always meant I got to eat whatever I wanted and I was always ready to gross out the other 8 year old girls with food choices. This may also have contributed to lesson #3.
  6. The 80s was the decade of oxymorons. A group whose name was both racist and sexist certainly had a lot of rules about proper behavior. Maybe if the dads were actual Native Americans, their drinking would have been overlooked, or if the girls had been shooting whipped cream rockets at each other while wearing tiaras, it would have been cute. Either way, I’m glad I was raised during that time and I’m even more glad that I can look back on it and laugh.

**Of course I listed to some classic 80s music while I wrote this!! 

Terrorize

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I mean, what’s not to like about free candy and having an actual reason for peeing your pants in public. I have always decorated indoors, but since we are rarely home on Halloween night, we have not done much decorating outdoors in the past. I changed all that this year and decided to buy as much spooky décor for the outdoors as I could get my grubby little mitts on. For the last month I have been slowly turning our yard into a mess of zombies, witches and bones of all kinds. It’s hard to walk to our front door without being harassed by an animated doll or wolf.

Before going all out on the decorations, I talked to a few of the neighbors who have young kids. The people across the street assured me that they loved scary decorations and their kids weren’t afraid of any of it. Since their 5 year old told me there was no such thing as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny within an hour of meeting me last year, I figured they would be cool with a few screaming witches and howling wolves. As I watched them hang up their decorations in their own yard I quickly realized that “scary” is a pretty subjective term. It was clear that their idea of terrifying was a fuzzy spider, not a glowing eyeless doll head. The little boy has cried at least three times after our life sized witch asked him for a kiss and offered him candy. I guess at least I can say I asked them before I put it out. The mom informed me that the kids keep looking out their window at night at all of our floating heads and glowing eyes, afraid they are coming to get them. I told her just to tell them they aren’t real. I left out the part about how she already ruined Easter and Christmas for them with that line, she may as well turn another holiday into a giant dumpster fire.

The rest of the neighborhood seems to be enjoying the decorations. Almost daily I hear the grim reaper and witch screaming out to kids on the front porch and I have come out a few times to find a child crammed up under the witches dress trying to figure out what makes her tick. I even caught the UPS guy laughing at some of the one liners coming from the grim reaper. I suppose you see and hear everything when dropping off running shoes and tampons on suburban porches. I am guessing by the time Halloween actually rolls around, most of our visitors will have already heard plenty from all the animated ghouls posted in our yard.

My most recent purchase was a couple of howling wolf skeletons and barking dogs. As soon as I came home from the store I set the bones up in my flower beds and listened to them howl as the kids ran in front of them. I next heard the same howling and barking at 6 am the next day when it started raining. The screaming beasts actually managed to wake the dead, since that’s about as heavy as I sleep. I had to run out in the rain in a tank top and pajama pants to pry open their mouths and find the switches to shut them up. By the time I was done, I had a giant mound of plastic and cobwebs screaming and barking at my on the porch. If the glowing red eyes from the zombies didn’t traumatize the kids across the street, the sight of me beating up a bunch of bones at the crack of dawn surely did.

During the past month as I have been purchasing an entire gang of life sized decorations and their once furry friends, I failed to think about the future (as I often do). My basement is already packed to the gills with other holiday decorations and I have at least 5 orange and black storage bins of indoor décor to contend with. I’m fairly certain that at the end of the year we are either going to have to buy a bigger house or rent a storage unit. We already have one skeleton that stays out year round. I put festive hats on her for different seasons so I don’t appear completely insane. One house skeleton makes you quirky, a yard full of skeletons and witches year round makes you bat shit crazy. So at some point before the lights go from orange to green and red, I am going to have to find a home for all these beasts. I don’t know how the rest of my family feels about taking a shower with a talking witch, but the idea is growing on me. Either that we are going to have a receiving line in the foyer to ensure we never have house guests. That kind of seems like a win to me!

And in true Logan fashion, I just learned that we are not in fact going to be home on Halloween night. I guess I will totally deserve it when the first kid on the porch dumps the entire bowl of candy into his bag and eggs our front door. Hopefully the screaming grim reaper at least makes him wet his pants on the way out.

 

**Halloween is the best time of year to listen to the Misfits. Just sayin!

 

Queercore

While my daughter was doing volunteer work at school last week, the organization they were working at passed out a survey to get some background information about their volunteers. While in theory, this is a good practice, the volunteers on this day were fifth and sixth grade girls who didn’t even understand many of the questions, especially about sexual identity and orientation.

I received an e-mail later in the day from the head of school explaining what happened and offering an apology. The surveys were collected by the school since the girls did not have parental permission to be giving their phone numbers and addresses to strangers at a homeless shelter. I’m sure the surveys were pretty useless anyway since most of the girls had no idea what the options meant. I just felt bad for the teachers who had to field questions about the meaning of terms like pansexual and transsexual.

After reading the e-mail I asked my kid about the survey since she had not even mentioned it. She said her concern was that she couldn’t remember her phone number. Luckily an older girl next to her instructed her not to write her address or phone number on the form. I asked if any of the questions were confusing and she assured me she understood them. When I prodded for more information she told me that she answered “female” for her gender and “straight and homophobic” for her sexual orientation. This second answer gave me a little pause. I will concede that a lot of straight folks like myself are pretty vanilla, but we are not all bigots. Either she misread that question or the survey takers think all straight people are homophobes. I was leaning toward her not remembering the answers so I asked if she knew what “homophobic” meant. She informed me she did not and when I said it means you are afraid of and dislike gay people, she was horrified. I told her the term that meant the same thing as straight was heterosexual and she started laughing and said “yeah that was it!” I could not even contain myself to continue the conversation by that point. I guess we are getting to that sex education part of parenting a little sooner than I expected!

**Of course I am listening to the Queers while writing. How could I not?!

Let’s Go To The Mall

Apparently I have not been out of the house in too long and life has changed quite a bit while I was taking this self-isolation thing to a whole new level. My daughter dragged me to not one, but two malls in 48 hours and I have discovered many new and horrifying things.

First, there are vending machines that sell false eyelashes. I shit you not. Vending machines stocked full of spidery looking little beasts in plastic cases. The first thing my daughter asked was “where is the glue?” I thought she meant what people must be sniffing to make them shove a credit card into a machine and wait for it to spit out some eyelashes at them. My first question was who is walking through the mall thinking “you know what would make this experience better…. giant fake eyelashes!” I mean, are that many people experiencing the loss of lashes while shopping that they need vending machines? I would have thought this was a joke but there were multiple machines at this mall containing thousands of eyelashes. If they are going to be dispensing beauty supplies in the same fashion teenagers buy chips and soda, I would prefer it be something useful like a nail file. I broke two nails carting around my kids’ bags and couldn’t find a file to save my life. You would think I was in a prison, not a mall. Although the similarities of the experiences are strikingly similar.

The second thing I learned is that there are no actual stores at the mall. All I wanted was a new pair of Chucks and the Converse store is apparently only open half the week. Most of the clothing stores I was planning on shopping at had signs on their closed gates stating their limited open times. Strangely, the store that sells wedding and prom dresses straight from the 80s was booming. I guess big lashes and big dresses are all the rage. The pretzel place that smells like barf was closed which was the only saving grace. The stores that were open were only about half stocked. We went into at least three stores that had nothing in my daughter’s size and about half of the selection that I saw online the week before.

Somehow, in the last two days of putting in 20,000 steps at the mall I managed to schlep home a carload of bags full of landfill and sugar. My kid now has enough fidget toys to keep her hands busy for the next 10 years and I am going to have to walk around the planet to burn the calories packed into the multiple bags of candy we picked up. No wonder all of the stores are closed. They are busy widening all of the waistbands after we sit on our fat asses eating truffles and playing with stress balls.

**While driving from mall to mall, this is the album my kid wanted to hear over and over and over… 

Riders on the Storm

About a month ago my dad soaked the inside of his car when he left the windows open in the rain. My parents had left the house and when they returned, my dad saw his car window open and immediately thought someone had broken his window. I love that his first reaction was that someone else must have damaged his car, not that he left his own windows down. What is most comical about this is that my dad never has the windows up while driving, so him leaving the windows down while parked is not all that unusual. It can be sweater weather and he has at least the moonroof open. Once he saw the open window, he walked out to his car to find all of his windows down and the moonroof wide open. It had been pouring rain for an hour, so needless to say, his seats were a little waterlogged. I’m not going to lie, that car needed a good detailing anyway.

Since my mom told us this story, my child has double checked the Old Man’s windows every time a cloud passes over. She has asked about the status of his windows at least a dozen times and takes every available opportunity to give him a hard time about it. I understand this though, because the man does not learn. A few weeks after he drenched his car, he left me sitting in the same car while he returned to the house to get something. The windows were all open, including the moonroof and within 10 seconds of him walking away, the rain started to pour in on me. He turned around and laughed instead of throwing the keys back to me. Typical. I am now thoroughly convinced that an actual dark cloud is following him.

One would think that maybe the third time is a charm, but one would be mistaken. Yesterday he picked me up to go retrieve one of the wave runners that was being serviced. Rain was expected, but we went anyway. As we were driving to the dealership I mentioned that I did not have a life jacket and we would need to stop at the lake house to grab one. He proceeded to drive right by our turn off and when I told him he responded “you can swim, right?” I agreed that a life jacket was not really necessary and we continued along, with the clouds following. When we got to the dealership, he immediately got out of the car and took the keys, leaving me sitting with the windows down and no radio. When he returned a few minutes later it had already started to sprinkle. He sat in the car talking to me for a full minute before I could prompt him to close the moonroof. He was just carrying on about the Olympics, while we got a shower until I finally said “you might want to close this….” while sticking my hand through the open roof.

As we headed back to the boat launch, the rain started to come down a little harder, and by the time we got to the dock it was the kind of rain that required an umbrella. I would like to say we turned around and headed to a garage until the rain subsided, but we are no quitters. And we are not all that bright either. I got on the wave runner and started it up right about the time a full on monsoon started. But by that time, there was no turning back. I took off and was halfway around the bend before my dad even left the boat launch, where he probably immediately opened the moon roof. I wanted to make sure everything was in working order but I couldn’t bring myself to drive more than 33 mph since the rain felt like pins going into my face. Although I usually like being the only vehicle on the lake, it was not an ideal time since I was not wearing a life jacket, it felt like pebbles were being thrown at me from the sky and a few neighbors were actually pointing and laughing. I managed to make it back to the dock in about 10 minutes. After getting the wave runner up on the lift, covering it and returning the key to the house, I finally grabbed a towel and headed to the garage as the rain completely stopped. I found my dad holding a leaf blower, cleaning the garage floor before backing in the trailer. Although he didn’t mention I looked like a drowned rat my mom later told me she saw me on the doorbell cam and that was exactly what I looked like. We moved the trailer into the garage and when I jumped back into the car I was shocked to see that all of the windows were actually closed for once, and the only sopping wet thing in the car was me.

**I just noticed I haven’t posted anything in over a month. It’s because I have been listening to new music (new to me at least) like this little gem.

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