Meeeeeerry… okay, fine, whatever

This weekend it became clear that 1) Christmas is going to come whether I want it to or not, 2) I have about eighty billion things to accomplish between now and then, and 3) I am starting to hate everything and everyone again.

What a delightful combination! (STEP RIGHT UP, watch the Amazing Grumpy Woman attempt to get into the holiday spirit! Just don’t, you know, breathe too loudly in the same room with her. Just a friendly warning.)

In a completely transparent attempt to jack up my holiday spirit with zero effort or personal growth on my part, I gave Monkey this year’s LEGO Advent Calendar on Saturday. See, it says it’s for ages 5-12 right there on the box, and my sweet baby boy is HEARTLESSLY turning 13 shortly after Christmas this year, so I figured it would be a good way to celebrate his last non-teen year by buying into a overhyped consumerist trend of paying too much for tiny little toys.

It totally worked, by the way. He bounces out of bed to open a compartment every morning, and his joy is infectious. Also, on Day 2, the door opened to reveal… a tiny LEGO chainsaw. Day: made.

[“Merry Christmas! Why are you BREATHING SO LOUD?? Hold still.”]

By yesterday evening I was enough in the spirit of things to get out the candle lamps and festoon our windows. Confession: of all the holiday hoopla, the candle lamps are my favorite. Sure, I love the years of history and stories behind our Christmas ornaments, and I’m as much a sucker for a cute snowman (particularly here in Georgia) as anyone else, but to me it’s the flames in the window that quietly say, “There is never total darkness. Hope lives here.” That, to me, is always the official start of the season. (Then again, maybe I just like them because no one ever tries to “help” me with those. Could go either way.)

So I went around and got all the lamps situated and put our wreath on the front door. “Hey Otto, I put up all the candle lamps and put the wreath on the door!” I reported, ready to be lauded for my productivity.

“We have a wreath?” he responded, with mild surprise.


In Otto’s defense, earlier that day I had nearly bitten his head off over something really inconsequential. I did apologize, after. And in my defense… well, I’m an asshole.

Other weekend-y things:

1) I finally replaced the missing clipper kit, which means the original one should be showing up aaaany day, now. Regardless! Both of my boys are looking much neater and tidier and less like they’re homeless. Monkey, in particular, was looking pretty scruff-tastic, but I was dismayed to behold the freshly-shorn version of him and realize that he’s looking an awful lot like a teenager. So I yelled at him to stop it, and told him to go play with his LEGOs. Otto, on the other hand, had broken down and gone to the barber at one point during the where-the-heck-are-the-clippers limbo, but the way they cut his hair resulted in something very similar to a mullet while it was growing out, so you know, relief all around, now.

2) There are several very specific clean-and-organize tasks yet to be done in Chickadee’s bedroom that we never managed to finish before she left, so I spent a few hours in there yesterday. Then I called my darling daughter to tell her what I did, and she was very pleased. “But I’m telling you right now,” I told her, “When you’re home in a few weeks, you need to clean out your closet. I purposefully did the other stuff because I knew there wasn’t anything personal of yours there, but in the closet you have tons of stuff I didn’t want to go pawing through. So just be aware that that’s a project I expect you to complete while you’re here.

I said all of this to prepare her and hopefully ensure it gets done because I’m an asshole, and Chickie quickly rejoined, “Oh I don’t mind if you want to do the closet, too!”

“Nice try!” I said. There was some grumbling. “I’ll help you,” I said, ever the sucker, and that got a “Thank you!” So all is well until it’s actually time for her to do it, I guess.

3) You ever get into that thing where you do laundry and then put it in the basket and put the basket in your room and never put stuff away and just take stuff out of the basket as you need it and then eventually you have to do laundry again and you end up adding the new clean stuff to whatever was left in the basket before? No…?

Oh. Me neither, then. But, uh, if I HAD, I probably put all of my laundry away yesterday, finally.

4) Monkey had a birthday party to go to this weekend, and it was at a skating rink. I did not have high hopes. Let’s just say that when you take a kid who’s easily sensorily overloaded and put him on WHEELS in a noisy place, it’s not unreasonable to feel some trepidation. We don’t go to a lot of parties for just this reason. (Though with Hippie School, Monkey now gets tons of invitations, which still reduces me to a blubbering pile of mush because YOU LIKE MAH BABY.) Anyway, he had a BLAST. He skated (and by “skated” I mean “shuffled his way around the rink, partially bent over, arms flailing back and forth”), he ate pizza, he socialized with all of his friends, and on the way home he said, “Wow, I’m pretty tired out! That was exciting!”

While chatting with some other parents at the rink—and watching him do so well—I mused aloud that it had been YEARS since Monkey had had his own birthday party, but he’s come such a long way and seemed to be having such a good time, maybe it was time to try it again. Everyone there (fellow Hippie School parents) totally got where I was coming from and were kind and supportive and encouraging, and I couldn’t wait to ask Monkey what he thought.

So the next day I brought it up and asked him if he’d like to have a party and he cheerfully shook his head. “Nah, you know I don’t really like parties that much.” I pointed out that he’d had a great time at his friend’s party just the night before. “I know, that was fun, but I don’t need a party for me. Kind of overwhelming. I’d just like to do something with one or two friends, thank you.”

Not gonna lie, I was almost a little disappointed. But then I realized that hey, no one can say Monkey isn’t in good touch with who he is and at peace with it. (And THEN I realized WOOHOO I don’t have to throw a party!)

5) I took Licorice to the vet this morning because she’s been trying to eat off one of her paws for about a week now, and of course on the day it appears to be improving I am finally overwhelmed with guilt and I take her in. I was fully expecting a Cone Of Shame for her, but the vet (the same vet who pulled out all her teeth and tried to tell me I should switch her to crappy generic dog food) (come to think of it, why am I still using this vet?) said she’s much better and some topical ointment should fix her up. Then he tried to tell me she’s allergic to her dog food. I pointed out that she’s been eating the same food for YEARS and he said “Well, allergies can develop at any time, plus they change the formulations around, sometimes!”

Meanwhile, poor Licorice was sitting on the steel table shivering from nervousness, refusing to eat the treats the tech offered, and generally acting Very Concerned throughout this whole ordeal.

We then had a lively discussion about whether her wound was a true hot spot or just a nail bed injury (I vote nail bed injury; translation: not allergies), and then he started asking me other questions about what she eats and does and tried to convince me that dogs who eats poop may have pica and be lacking in essential nutrients. I know he went to vet school and everything, but you know what I think dogs who eat poop are? DOGS. I love Licorice more than is reasonable or healthy, but her brain is the size of a walnut. If she eats the occasional cat turd she finds in the yard, I figure that’s because SHE’S A DOG AND THEY’RE KINDA DUMB.

Then I give her a breath-freshening treat and move on with my day. Simple.

6) I have no number six, unless you want to listen to me whine about my hand some more. (What? No? But… it’s so NEW and INTERESTING!) All of my hair-cutting, decoration-wrangling, cleaning-and-laundering, and dog-playing this weekend left my hand really sore today and I am so so SOOOOOOO tired of it hurting at all the time. Bah. On the bright side: they gave me some kinesio tape to use on it, the last time I was at hand therapy, and now I look JUST LIKE an Olympic athlete.

Or, you know, not. But at least it covers up the ugly parts and people don’t stop me to point and ask “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HAND??”

Maybe I should’ve asked the vet for a cone for ME. It might’ve been a good distraction for the whole family.


  1. Jenne

    She’s baaack! Sounds like a great weekend :)

  2. victoria

    you funny.

  3. SillyMe

    Maybe this will help: Close your eyes and imagine a crowd of people standing around you with sympathetic eyes saying “Poor Baby” and hugging you. Completely indulge yourself for 5 minutes. A full out pity party. Then stop and laugh at the ridiculous scene you’ve just created for yourself. It’s kinda fun. I never last a whole 5 minutes but it still works. -you know, until it doesn’t

  4. Megan

    I’m trying very hard to ignore impending holidays what with – oh my god – not shipping ANYTHING yet. I think a lego chainsaw would a) be FAR too appropriate and b) possibly give me very, very bad ideas.

    However, candle lamps in the windows I can and will do (as soon as they are delivered that is, ’cause, yeah I was behind on that too. Sigh)

  5. Trish

    1) I may or may not have 4 laundry baskets for my 2-person household. I may have trouble finding an empty one to take the dirty clothes to the laundry room, because they are all full of clean clothes.

    2) I think all dogs eat poop at some time. Your vet sounds confused.

  6. Barbara H

    Wait – the clothes can be *washed*? That’s crazy talk.

  7. Susan Getgood

    LOL at Licorice. I’ve had 2 of my dogs in and out of the vets the past couple weeks. One recently diagnosed with the extraordinarily expensive disease Cushing’s. Pills cost $3 PER DAY! FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE! The other was neutered so, you know, expensive but over.

    As for Christmas, I finally got my s*** together this weekend too and started on the tree. Next weekend – cookies.

  8. Nancy R

    I know someone with a ‘laundry couch’. I say if all you’ve got is a basket you’re doing fine! I shamelessly load up my baskets all morning and then fold while I watch The Chew on ABC.

  9. Jen

    Ya know…a Cone of Shame Family Christmas card would be epic, especially after the year you’ve had. Just sayin’.

  10. Sarah

    That does it, you mentioned teenagers and mullets in the same post. I know that you mentioned that Monkey is ahead of his grade a bit in math, but he (or hippie school) might get a kick out of this post and lesson (I didn’t manage to pull it off for my students this year, but maybe next year …)

    Check out all the pictures, even if you’re not up for the math part (but finish your coffee before starting!)

  11. deva

    I rummaged through a basket all of last week to get clean socks. :-)

  12. Kim W.

    Hmm… a dog that eats pre-digested cat food that smells like a cat’s butt? That is soooooooo weird. Never heard of such a thing. (My dog ate a used disposable diaper last night. At least we think he did, because we can only find a few scraps and that gel stuff on the carpet. Luckily the baby is still a newborn and doesn’t have stinky poo. But still… ewww, dog.)

  13. Valerie

    LOVE #3. You don’t fold your laundry straight out of the dryer?

    Totally hypothetically, what about when you live in a constant state of clean laundry piled up in baskets on the floor until they get furry from the cat who figured ALL of them were a cozy bed? No? Me either.

    Also, i have a 10-year old who loves Lego, and now I feel like a jerk for not ponying up the cash for the Lego calendar. I thought he was too old, but you know, he loves legos and he loves Christmas. Next year it is happening!

  14. Angela S

    My favorite is Monkey turning down a party with such well thought out responses. It makes my mommy heart want to cry with joy!

  15. Jen

    When I asked my teenaged son yesterday for a basket of laundry to wash, said basket was filled 3/4 with clothes that were not only clean, but still neatly folded (not by him, of course). He denied that they were still clean, and actually claimed that he folds his dirty clothes now, and of course he put his laundry away last week. He acted surprised when I didn’t believe him.

    My house seems to be in the same situation as Trish above. A few times a year I get the idea that I am going to have a system for laundry and we will each have a laundry basket and they will get fully washed and put away every week and I make a schedule of what is going to get washed every day, and that lasts about 2 weeks until I have a few extra busy days or am tired or something. I don’t know how 4 people can make so much laundry.

  16. kapgaf

    Christmas decorations already ? Now that the children have left home and we go to them for Christmas dinner, I rarely do more than fill a huge glass vase with baubles and a glass bowl with glitter and fairy lights. It all looks terribly chic, takes a minimum amount of time and is easy-peasy to put away again on twelfth night (that is in April, isn’t it?).

    Lego is brilliant and I even still occasionally give it to some of the grown-up kids. With a little luck, the worst you will do is walk on the chainsaw with bare feet but if I may make a suggestion, please do not try and use it for slicing apples (just sayin’).

    As for laundry, I very carefully and neatly fold everything and then leave it in the basket, so this is obviously perfectly normal behaviour for highly intelligent people.

  17. Pamela

    My husband is 35 and he is not too old for the Lego Advent Calendar. (Granted, he gets the Star Wars one, and it’s technically for our son, but since our son is 16 months old, guess who it’s really for?)

  18. Brenda

    I’m usually all about Christmas decorations and such, but this year I’m feeling decidedly meh. I helped my mom set up their tree the day after Thanksgiving, and I loved seeing all the handmade ornaments, but I have yet to set up a tree in my own apartment.

    I currently have 3, actually maybe 4, baskets of clean laundry that are waiting to be put away. The last minute “I’m going to be late for work but I can’t find two socks that match” routine is getting old, so it’s on my to-do list. My goal is to have that done by Christmas because I’m highly ambitious.

  19. RuthWells

    OH GOD with the people breathing too loudly in rooms with me, already.


  20. Tracy B

    I think you might be drinking out of my cup. I’ve got the bitchy-whines too. And frankly, I don’t really care! I’m not a “grinch” but I feel before Dec. 24th, I will be. And again, I don’t really care!

  21. suburbancorrespondent

    Myself, I hate pawing through that clean laundry basket at dark o’clock in the morning, looking for matching socks and realizing that it would have been quicker to just put the clothes away where they belong.

  22. meghann @ midgetinvasion

    Our dog eats rabbit poop as if it’s a delicacy. At least that poo is mostly grass and therefore healthy, right? That’s what we’re going to go with. Yes.

  23. CuriousCat

    On the UP side, we ony have 18 more days, if the Mayans knew what they were talking about.

    On the Down side, the Mayans didn’t know what they were talking about..

    (you put your clean clothes in baskets. huh. i just throw mine on top of the dryer (once i actually get them out of the dryer. this could be hours, or days) and then once i’ve worn them i throw them on top of the washer. a simple system, but it works for me. i don’t have a lot of clothes. i used to, but they wouldn’t fit on top of the dryer, so i had to get rid of them.)

  24. The Other Leanne

    I had a veterinarian friend at one time, and when his dog would get the occasional “sore toe” or whatever those phantom foot things are that dogs are prone to chew on, he would daily rub, squeeze, prod, and mash the dog’s foot–“you have to just exacerbate the wound sometimes for it to get better.” And, miraculously, the thing would heal. It’s not much different than what the dog is doing, really–increasing blood flow, massaging tendons, working it through the pain cycle, etc. Kind of like what you’re doing with your hand!

  25. Corey

    If only I had larger closets, I could cheerfully get rid of any and all dressers in the house since the clean clothes fit JUST FINE in the laundry baskets. Those baskets of fluffy, fresh-smelling clothes could just live in the closets, and I’d have more floor space.

  26. karen

    About that holiday spirit. I think it’s about letting yourself enjoy the little things and stop focusing on the work or expense of it, or the things that aren’t going as we want them to at the moment. Like taking a long look at those candles in the window as you pull in at night… (always heartwarming in my opinion, and I loved your analogy). The look on Monkey’s face when he opens that days’ lego surprise. Christmas cookies baking in the oven, and shared with hot chocolate. The memories you create, little traditions your kids will remember and share with their kids years after you’re gone. If you throw a big party every year but you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t do it! Have a smaller gathering that you can relax and enjoy.

  27. Heather

    I’m sure you’d look utterly charming in a cone ;-)

  28. Lori N

    Yay for no birthday parties! Or rather, no large parties. My daughter prefers to do small things with just a couple of friends or go out somewhere special with family — she says she feels pressured to make sure everyone is having fun at a birthday party. Whew. My son has never really liked parties for whatever reason, though that might be changing. Bummer. Oh well, I’ve had it good with him for a number of years & I can bite the bullet and do the party thing if he wants is, as long as I can have a glass of wine after all the party goers leave. :)

  29. Cheryl

    This year I foolishly committed to doing the advent book calendar for my two youngest niece and nephew. Mother, who was meh on the subject tells me at Thanksgiving that she’s decided I should do it for the next 2 and she’ll pay for it. She then tells the parents it’s coming and how can I say no to that? So, I’ve been buying and wrapping 96 books to be delivered this past Saturday. I’m already in the grinch spirit. On the plus side, I’m mostly done with buying presents. Anybody left is getting a gift card. I’ve just decided.

  30. s

    my boys always ask for that dang lego advent calendar, but the boys and my daughter all fight over who opens which door on the normal (ie no toy/candy or other fun surprises) advent calendar we have, so I’d have to buy 2 to keep them happy and then figure out an equal one for my non lego teenage girl (I’d say chocolate, but the boys would fight over how that is unfair tooooo) so I just stick with the plain ol advent calendar and listen to them fight over whose turn it is to open the little door to the cute little picture, and hear how lame-o I am to only have a REGULAR advent calendar and NOT a chocolate or toy filled one, and why the heck don’t we do “Elf on the Shelf” (bc its CREEPY and I have a hard enough time getting the dang toothfairy to come, nevermind ensure a little elf goes in a different spot everyday)…why haven’t we decorated yet, and on and on and on!!

    but…I really would like a little tiny chainsaw!!!

  31. Jodie

    That’s what that was?! I honestly had no idea when I put it together.

  32. Lisa

    Yesterday’s chainsaw with tree trunk was AWESOME.

  33. Julie

    I moved out, got married, and came back to clean my room… And I still needed my mom to hold my hand to finish cleaning out my childhood room! It happens I’m starting to realize that my husband and I still need someone to tell us to clean our house and hold our hand while we do it. Being an adult is hard!

  34. diane

    Totally #3. And I’m single with no limb injuries, for what it’s worth.

  35. Melissa

    I do the same thing with my laundry. I just keep piling. And then I dig to the bottom for that oneeeee top. Then I pile some more. It’s fun times!

  36. Korinthia Klein

    I have nothing useful to add, just wanted to thank you for the laugh!

  37. addy

    Fish clean clothes out of the laundry basket? such piffle – just snag the next one out of the dryer – you always know right where to find it!

  38. nelli

    you are the best! and the bravest! and really funny!

  39. Brigid

    Forgive me for stating the obvious, but window candles: “symbolize the warmth and security of the Family hearth and signal loyalty to Family members and loved ones who are not present in the home.”
    So yeah. Window candles FTW.

    Once when I had a horrible reaction to medication used for poison ivy, think chemical burn, I actually had mothers shield their children’s faces from seeing my arm. Zombie hand > leaking arm.

  40. js

    My husband, who is the only person in the world who enjoys the Christmas carols that start in October, is even feeing decidedly blah about the holidays. We always put up our Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving because we are Type A holiday overachievers but there is just SO MUCH and it seems like a much better idea to watch Hallmark Holiday movies on the couch instead. His parents aren’t coming for the holday like usual since his Mom just had hip surgery, my sister and I aren’t on the best terms right now and he and his brother have a very tense relationship. My grandmother is sick and I don’t know what’s going to happen to my Mom if anything happens to her. So the magic is missing this year. I have decided the best way to find it is to step outside myself and do something for other people. But do you know how tough it is to volunteer? (Leaderdogs for the Blind, I’m looking at you.) So I’m eating all the sugar cookies and storing fat for the long winter instead.

  41. Celeste

    Do I ever have days where I hate everything? Umm, here’s a clue. I have a SONG!

    I Hate Everything

    (to the tune of “I’d Do Anything,” from the musical “Oliver!”)

    “I hate everything
    Yes, I hate everything
    I do hate everything
    but you

    “I hate everyone
    Yes I hate everyone
    Oh I hate everyone
    but you!”

    Enjoy the ear worm. You’re welcome.

  42. ememby

    I also had some of that fancy kinesio tape for my neck and felt all Olympian like, until I reminded myself that my neck hurts from when I sleep on my back. Yup, I have myself a sleep-related injury. So no, not really an Olympian because even if sleep were an Olympic sport, I would still be failing because not only does it hurt me, I don’t get enough. But celebrate the little things :)

  43. Heidi D

    About the food allergies: That’s exactly what I said to my vet approx. 4 years ago about my cat when he said animals can develop allergies anytime.
    When her paw became so infected that she almost had to have it removed if it didn’t improve soon, that’s when I swtiched brands. After researching online, I found Halo Turkey (I tried other flavors, but she reacted badly to it).
    I had to keep applying a pet version of hydrocortosone, but she hasn’t had any problems since.
    It’s something to look into anyway. :)

  44. Heidi D

    *side note: I only applied the hydrocortosone until the sore healed. It really didn’t take long after switching foods for everything to heal up.

  45. Kim

    I had no idea there were such things. Will be looking into this each fall. In the meantime, I spring the couple of bucks and get each girl their own chocolate calendar.

  46. mamaspeak

    I didn’t read the whole list of comments, but about the cat poop. Our cats, (now cat, since March,) went from being indoor only kitties to outdoor kitties last year. The decided the litter box was optional, (as cranky, OLD cats will do,) and we decided indoors was optional, because we have no desire to LIVE in a litter box, thankyouverymuch. Anywho, the dog decided that cat poop is very yummy, and can not seem to stop herself. She is a vile smelling animal now; at least her insides are. I googled, “how to get your dog to stop eating cat poop,” and found that, to dogs, kitty kibble is their kryptonite. (We knew that.) They can not resist. Kitty poop smells more like kibble than poop to them, so if they can get to it, they will eat it. NO MATTER WHAT! Your vet might mean well, but really ought to read a book or something. Also, most dogs will eat all manner of things; wood, plants, dirt, etc… bc they are DOGS! And dogs to that, mostly for boredom or to follow a smell. I’m wondering how many dogs your “doctor” has actually treated in his/her lifetime.
    Off soapbox now.

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