I resolve

I tend not to make New Year’s Resolutions because I tend not to care all that much and always end up forgetting about them.

Had I made them for 2009, I’d have hoped I would have had the foresight to say:
Do whatever is necessary to make sure JewelrySlut stays healthy during the pregnancy.
Do whatever is necessary to make sure Chicken is healthy and comes out with 10 and 10.
Don’t kill Shmuppie
Travel less for work
Find a better job

I would like to have thought that I said something like that. Because then, I could sit here smugly and say “Look at me. I did it”.

I probably said something else and failed to meet it. I spent most of the year miserable at work and got dealt the most horrific humiliation of my career. But, everyone was healthy so that’s got to count for something.

But, the Emerald Isle trip was great. I got chased by the bodyguard of a midget stripper/prostitute. I didn’t feel that strong of an urge to murder anyone during the holidays. And, I got the new job. It wasn’t the best year ever, but it could have been worse. Plus, we got a baby out of the deal. She’s OK.

2010:
As I have said, I think this is going to be a good year.
The first full year with a baby is fun. She’s going to do so many new things this upcoming year.

I’d like to do the right kind of travel: like for fun. I’d like to try to relax more and not be so wholly engrossed in work that I don’t have time to do anything else. (Good thing is that my new coworkers seem to embrace this. Sure, we work hard, but they expect you to find a balance). 2010 is the year of the St John Redemption Tour. Plus, we’re taking Shmuppie with us for the first time. I hope it goes well

I need to keep going to the gym. Since I refuse to stop drinking, I need my daily workouts to keep me from dropping dead.

In the end, I’d like to have a good 2010 and make time to enjoy myself and try, if possible, to bitch a little less about things.

Nah…there’s no fun in that. (The less bitching thing). I’ll always find reasons to bitch about things. It’s in my nature. I’m hard-wired that way.

Happy New Year.

Christmas afternoon Part 1 (Because WordPress is a douche)

Having finished Christmas, it was time to prepare for the assault.
My mother called: “We’ll be there in an hour”

Oh boy…up to the kitchen we went.
(Mind you, I’m in a pair of warm-up pants and a t-shirt. JewelrySlut is in the same outfit and the girls are in pajamas…we’re not exactly in the mood to start entertaining. )

It’s also teeming. Like I expect to see Noah ride past soon.

OK…time to get cracking in the kitchen. I had potatoes to prep, beans to cook and a prime rib to keep an eye on. My new mandolin works like a charm by the way.

They arrived. It was absolutely pouring. My mother sweeps into the house and immediately starts shrieking. Seeing her, Chicken immediately starts crying.

Fun subplot:
Chicken seems to hate my mother. The moment my mother walks into the same room as her, she starts crying. Of course, it could be that my mother insists on poking Chicken in the face with her index finger while shrieking “Oh Shug…Oh Shug”. Now, tell me this: if a shrieking frail-looking blonde lady got all in your face and poked at you, you’d scream too, right? So, Chicken freaks the hell out whenever they’re in the same room. My mother invariably tries to pick Chicken up…this only leads to even more vigorous screaming. Then, she tried to feed Chicken. This is done by holding the baby and bouncing her all around while also bouncing the bottle in opposition to the bouncing of the baby (bay goes right, bottle goes left). All the while, the kid is screaming and bobbing her head around; mouth open, looking for the bottle. “Oh Shug…” POKE! Then, I pour another drink.

Phew…where the hell were we?

Oh yes…it’s raining. I run out to their car to see it loaded up like they’re about to go on a month’s trek through the Andes. The back seat is packed with leftovers from the night before and the trunk is ready to burst. And…it’s now raining even harder. I gallantly run back and forth to the car and hand all the packages off to my father. Anything to be out of the dining room and the shrieking.

I unload roughly 43 bags/boxes/plates and step back inside. I’m drenched and freezing.

“Let’s open the gifts!”
“Can I shower? It will take 10 minutes”
“NO! Stop being an asshole”

OK…we haul everything downstairs.
Shmuppie goes at it. She has received a huge doll…roughly 2+ feet tall and about 30 outfits for it. During this process, I lean to my father and announce “We bought her a football.” He cracks up.

My mother still is trying to convert Shmuppie into a girlie girl. It’s not happening. The kid has no use for dolls. But, there we have it, several cubic feet worth of dolls and assorted clothes. I’m now about to have a stroke.

Christmas Afetrnoon Part 2 (because WordPress is being a Douche)

Now it’s time for us to open gifts.

Mind you…with the exception of last year, I have thrown out, unused, nearly every gift I’ve received from my parents since I moved out of the house. If I didn’t throw them out, they went to Goodwill. Why? Because my mother buys me clothes that don’t fit. They’re bought under the whole “It was on sale” premise. That’s great that you paid $2 for this pair of jeans. A: I don’t wear hip hugging jeans and 2: I don’t have a 28″ waist. Last year, we got a bunch of cookware…good Calphalon stuff (I know it all came from TJ Max or someplace, but it’s still good stuff). I was almost hoping that this year would go better.

Right

I got a Panini press. It’s fine, but it’s huge and is a unitasker. What I really wanted (when she bought me a waffle iron) was one that did both things. One with reversible plates. No…

JewelrySlut got 2 sweaters and a wooden box. I think the explanation for the box was that it could go in the bathroom. (??)

We also got a set of sheets.

Yup.

Of course, we got my parents a leaf blower. Apparently, my mother had told my brother that they needed/wanted one. So, the kids went in on a fancy leaf blower. My poor father was not happy. More yardwork for him!

Then, rather suddenly, my father realized that he’d forgotten all the wine at home and packed up Shmuppie’s doll crap and left.

Bye, dad.

He returned an hour later. He then started fixing drinks for JewelrySlut. This is where things started going downhill…fast.

At this point, JewelrySlut had consumed her wee bottle of champagne, the last of the punch from the night before and a glass or 2 of wine. Then the chocolate martinis started. She had 3.

M&K arrived some time later to much shrieking and yelling. K is 8+ months pregnant and was not feeling well.

I was getting dinner all ready and to the table when I noticed that I hadn’t seen JewelrySlut in a while. Where the hell was she? I wandered the house and found her in our bathroom…puking. Yup…she was hammered.

We sat down to eat and she emerged for 5 minutes before going back upstairs and passing out.

Merry Christmas!

We ate and then my father started wigging out. He needed to get home to feed the dogs and wanted to leave. They (my parents and Shmuppie) had decided to drive to DC on the 26th to surprise my brother for his 30th birthday.

(Side note)
I totally win the 30th birthday game. I spent it on Tortola, drinking beer at 10:30AM. Js did well; a weekend in Cape May, but my brother certainly loses. A surprise visit from our mother. Anal rape is a better option
(End side note)

So, they left and M&K hung around for dessert. JewelrySlut emerged after a long winter’s nap and sat with us.

Then, they left and I think we went to bed.

It was, all in all, a good Christmas. And, for once, I wasn’t the drunken puking one!

(Rant)
As they all decided to go to DC, my father’s plan was to drive up and back in the same day. Sure…what’s 10 hours in the car for fun? I immediately went to Marriott and saw that I could use points to get them a room at the hotel right near my brother’s house. After much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, my father decided that 2 of the dogs would be OK if we promised to go care for them and that the other 2 dogs would go. In the end, my parents sent my brother and Dear SIL to the hotel. He used MY POINTS to get laid on his birthday. 20,000 points. I didn’t offer HIM the points; I offered them to my parents and Shmuppie. I’m still fuming. It takes 4 trips to earn that many points. Sure, I still have 150,000 left, but in 2009, my parents used them to stay a night in Honolulu and my brother used them to get laid. We didn’t use any.
(End rant)

Christmas Morning

I had a hard time sleeping on Christmas Eve night. Trust me, it was not because I was so excited…I don’t know what it was.

The neighbors screaming out behind the house at 3:30AM didn’t help.

I guess my “concern” was that Shmuppie would get up and want to bounce downstairs while we still had Chicken on the tit.

So, 7:30 rolled around and I nudged JewelrySlut and told her to hook the kid up. Time was short and we’d better be ready. I actually had time enough to go downstairs, turn on all the lights in the basement, get the coffee and tea made, and cut up some panettone for breakfast.

(Sidenote)
What a wonderful thing is panettone. And it’s so bad for you. But it makes a lovely Christmas breakfast.
(end sidenote)

By this time, Shmuppie was up and I’d had half a pot of coffee. At least I was awake. She was bouncing around upstairs as JewelrySlut and Chicken got changed and ready to come downstairs.

And off she went…

“Oh look! Santa put things in my stocking!”
Down to the basement she went. I was 3 steps ahead of her and able to get a few photos snapped as she hit the family room.

“Whoopie! A Zeppelin!”
Wait…wrong movie.

Shmuppie tore at the tree and started finding all her gifts
Lightsabers (or as she calls them lightsavers)
Some games
A mini safe for all her secret shit that usually ends up hiding under the couch
A football and tee
Other shit
That all came from Santa.

I decided that perhaps we could establish order and get things organized.

So, I passed JewelrySlut her loot
A new camera
Accessories for said camera. (Now we both have cameras and never will be without one)
A gift certificate for the nail place
A little turtle bracelet.
From Shmuppie, she got a gift certificate for a local movie theater.

She didn’t get a lot of items, but they were OK.

We (as her parents) got Shmuppie a Flip Video. She immediately opened it, turned it on and went upstairs to take a shit…and filmed it.

Me:
I got a new mandolin. Not the instrument…the kitchen slicer
I got a hat and gloves that I had been subtly eyeing.
I got a few books.
I got a GPS (WOOT!)

Then, we opened stockings. This is where I pulled out all the stops this year.
JewelrySlut got a wee bottle of champagne, a beer, a salami, some crackers and some horrid-looking lobster pate. She sat on the floor, drank champagne and snacked.

I got the usual things: A toblerone, Biscoff cookies and other things I frankly can’t remember…oh yea…the new Buffett CD and the new Transformers DVD (It sucked by the way).

Shmuppie got assorted snacks. She promptly ate them all and developed a sugar rush.

As for Chicken, she got things you gat a 4-month old; an assortment of cloth toys that can be gummed to death.

And with that, Christmas was over at roughly 10:00. I think I fell asleep on the couch. Of course, the day had only just begun.

And with that, I shall leave you all breathlessly waiting.

Christmas…in a few parts

I figure if I milk out the 3-4 holiday days, I can make an effort to write every day this week. A lot happened.

Dec 24:
I went back through my head and figured that the last time I had off for Christmas Eve when it was not on a weekend was 1998. Maybe 1997. Needless to say, it’s been a while. But, I had off this year. Yippee for me.

The plan for the holidays was this:
On the 24th, we go to my parents’ house. The last thing I wanted was an elaborate sit down dinner. The past 3 years involved my brother very slowly cooking dinner. We wouldn’t sit down until at least 8 and, by then, all I wanted to do was go home and get Shmuppie to bed.

(PS…in case anyone wants to throw a pity party for me and my typing…there were 5 typos in the first draft of that last sentence. I cannot type to save my life)

So…my mother and I decided to keep things simple. We were anticipating 10 people plus the kids. So, we made enough food for 49 people. It was up to us to bring the salmon, the quiches and the fixins for the punch. Ok…shopping done, we started our day.

We had to prep the food for the 24th, cook anything that needed advance cooking and then prep for the 25th (we were hosting Christmas Dinner).

Of course, this called for champagne. At 10:30. Don’t look at me like that? You don’t have to deal with my family. Drinks in hand, we chopped, sliced, baked and cooked. All in all, it was a good time. We had everything done and prepped before lunchtime.

Now, the plan was to be up the road by 3:00. Little did we know that we were all about to be held hostage by a cranky 4-month old. She started getting pissy at about 2:30 and continued being so for over an hour. We rolled in a little before 4. All was well…at the moment. We set up the food, I mixed up a batch of awesomely rummy punch and we chilled.

Then the noise started. Chicken started wailing. She was pissed off about something. But, because she doesn’t have one of those collars like the dog in Up, we were out of luck. Was this the hungry cry? The tired cry? The “I crapped myself” cry? We didn’t know. What we did know was that she was screaming with ferocity that we’d never seen before. Just utter screams. She sounded like she was in pain. We checked her temperature…not hot. We looked her over, no noticeable broken bones or open wounds. Since JewelrySlut was tapped at the moment, we tried a bottle. Hell no. We tried laying her down. Heller no. We tried to hook her back up to JewelrySlut. Not happening. This kid was on fire and pissed off at something. This was the kind of crying that makes people with no kids solidify their decisions not to have them.

All the while, the party is getting into gear in the kitchen. I’m shuttling back and forth; getting food ready and trying to do anything to calm Chicken. Nothing is working. After about an hour of this, somehow, JewelrySlut got the kid to quiet down.

At the time, I was in the kitchen fighting with Phyllo dough. Did you know it needs to thaw for 4 hours before you use it? I didn’t. So, wrapping the salmon with it was going to be difficult. Fortunately, we had a vat of punch to keep us plugging along. M & K were there so M helped me get the salmon wrapped. It looked ugly but tasted really good.

Chicken asleep (or at least quiet) we got to enjoy the party. One of my mother’s friends was double fisting punch and chocolate martinis and postulating on anything and everything from a seat at the kitchen island. It was good times!

We cleaned up, had some dessert and then headed home. No DWI checkpoints tonight!

Chicken was starting up again, so we quickly laid her down and got Shmuppie ready. We had cookies and milk to get out, reindeer food to scatter in the yard and a sugared up kid to get into bed.

(Sidenote)
Christmas really is a lot of fun with kids. Shmuppie was bouncing off the walls all day in anticipation of her gift bonanza. For now, she still believes and comes downstairs in a state of wide-eyed wonder on Christmas morning. It makes all the shit worth it.
(end sidenote)

We got Shmuppie tucked in and told her to sleep late (Fingers crossed). Fortunately, even she admitted to being tired so we figured we had a chance at a decent night’s sleep.

We fed Chicken again (or better yet, JewelrySlut did) and got her tucked in for the night. With the 2nd screening of A Christmas Story just starting, we got to work.

There wasn’t too much to do. Shmuppie was not getting any toys that required assembly. Intentionally or not, we’d gotten a lot of small things for Christmas this year. We’re tearing the basement apart in about 5 weeks and probably figured that a lot of large toys would be a bad idea. I’d rather move out some board games than another round of Playmobil toys.

Anyway, we needed help doing this. Help arrived in the form of another bottle of Korbel. This bottle had been in the basement fridge for exactly one year. I put it in there on December 24, 2008. Of course, when it came time to pop it, someone had peed on a stick and put the champagne-fueled celebration on hold. It was still good a year later.

We set out all the gifts and I gave JewelrySlut one present…the one that comes in the pink box from Victoria’s Secret.

Then we screwed.

Then we went to bed.

Merry Christmas Eve.