Countdown

Oh, man, I love Christmas. The twinkling lights, the cherub-faced children’s excitement building, the husband coming home with armloads of gifts, mostly expensive jeweler…. Ah, ha, ha, ha. Shit, I can’t even do it.

I find at least a few of the days during the week preceding Christmas maddening. I mean, there’s so much to do, and never enough time, and the kids are excited– TRUE– but it starts to manifest in the form of their kinetic energy crackling so fiercely that they’re getting on everyone’s last nerve… ESPECIALLY MINE.

And then there’s the issue of the division of labor. I’m not sure how it is at your house, and I hate to make sweeping generalizations here because a) no one appreciates sweeping generalizations and b) as soon as I DO make a sweeping generalization SOMEONE will pipe up with how, actually, in THEIR household the men do ALL the work while they sit back, sipping wine, and the most stressful thing for THEM is all the spa days their partners have scheduled for them this week ETC. Which, if that’s your life? I’m truly happy for you. But if you tell me about it right now?  HULKSMASH. OK? (I’ll be happy to listen to ALL ABOUT IT. In January.)

So anyway the sweeping generalization that I mutter over and over to myself lately is this: Christmas is magical for children… AND MEN. Because for my husband (and many other husbands/partners that I know), he just goes about his normal life for the month of December, perhaps snitching a few morsels of something yummy that I’m whipping up, or perhaps politely (half)listening to me ramble about this gift decision or that, but MOSTLY just living life normally… and then suddenly it’s Christmas, and there are gifts under the tree (for HIS family too!), and good things to eat, and decent looking outfits for the girls to wear for church, and stocking that magically filled themselves, and…

Well, you get it. It’s not like you don’t know. HERE, LET ME TELL YOU HOW UNFAIR IT IS. (I don’t need to; I realize this.)

And David isn’t a total jerk. Nor is he OPPOSED to helping me. But… he just… doesn’t. Or at least not much.

BUT THEN. At some point during the 11th hour, he sighs about something I’ve purchased (or plan to purchase, having done all the thinking and decision-making about the gift at this point). And his sigh implies that he DISAGREES with this gift, again, this is AFTER the decisions have been made. And then he’s frustrated because “I always tell him that I want his input.” Well YES. But AGAIN, not AFTER the decision part of the process (often the hardest part) has been made. SO JUST STOP THAT SIGHING RIGHT NOW MISTER.

So anyway, I had to have a grumpy few days, but I think I’m over it now and back to my regularly scheduled programming of loving (MOSTLY loving, that is) Christmas.

Not that I’m promising anything. As I reserve the right to be grumpy again at anytime. Say, when it’s time to pack/load the car, for example.

ANYWAY. Here’s a few more things we’ve done for our advent calendar (your welcome, Future December Self):

Dec 12: Vanilla tootsie rolls (a family favorite) in the box

Dec 13: Time to make our gingerbread house (which we ended up not having time to do that night and STILL haven’t done it. But a good idea, in theory.)

Dec 14: Can’t remember… maybe a candy cane off the tree or something else little like that.

Dec 15: Help Mommy make cookies after dinner.

Dec 16: Tubes of lip vaseline for the big girls, new barrettes for Marin (she already has vaseline) (this may or may not be the correct spelling of “barrettes.”  ASK ME IF I CARE, I DARE YOU) (Ok, so maybe still just a little grumpy?)

Dec 17: Shop for a present for your sisters.

Dec 18: Hang up colored Christmas lights in your room.

Dec 19: Hershey’s kisses in the box

Dec 20: Wrap the gifts you picked out for your sisters with Daddy. (Ha, ha, SEE WHAT IT DID THERE. The box is an EXCELLENT tool to force particpation from, ah, certain people.)

We only have a few more days left here at home (come! steal all of our crappity crap so we can make an insurance claim and buy nicer stuff!), so I’m not sure what I”ll do for the boxes on the days we are gone. I know one day before we leave I’ll let them open a gift early, and one day will be another baking day, and for Christmas day I’ll put their new ornaments for this year in the box (they can find them when we get home). I guess the other days while we’re gone will be busy and exciting enough that they’ll forget that we aren’t home to do the daily box. (FINGERS CROSSED.)

 

P.S. I probably write a “boo-hoo nobody helps me get ready for Christmas and I’m GRUMPY about it” post every December, but I’m not going to check my archives to be certain, so you shouldn’t either.

P.P.S. (or is it P.S.S.?) (or something else entirely?) (no one cares?) ANYWAY, I made my way into the mass chaos otherwise known as Mecca otherwise known as Target the other day and completed my list of stocking stuffers and such in a very timely, calm, and civilized fashion. I was– shall I even admit it?– SMUG about my superior abilities to ACQUIRE SHIT without LOSING MY SHIT. Until, that is, I got home (remember, no Target in Tiny Town!) and realized I forgot the most important thing on my Target list: gift cards for the teachers. You know, some things  you can really only blame yourself for. So now I have to go BACK to Target, which will surely be even MORE crazy now, and I’ll probably behave WAY LESS CIVILIZED, and I’ll leave feeling LESS THAN SMUG, but at least I’ll (hopefully) leave with teacher’s gifts this time. SIGH.

P.P.P.S (or alternate way of saying I forgot yet another thing; see above): I am trying out the “one space after a period thing”. Mostly. I mean, I’m not going to go back and EDIT for it, and my thumb has been trained for over 2 decades to do 2 spaces after a period, so I’m sure there were a few times up there where I did it out of habit… but OVERALL… what do you think? Can you even notice a difference?

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Countdown

  1. Totally with you on the loving-hating Christmas thing. I’m on my own anyway so can’t even be resentful about not getting help, but it does still drive me batshit that my ex can’t even remember to help the girls get something for me (that sounds horribly materialistic, doesn’t it? I don’t mean it that way; but the girls do feel bad when they see how much effort I have put in: gifts from one sister to another, gifts for my ex’ mother, gifts for my ex from the girls, etc. The same thing happens on my birthday – they feel bad because they don’t have anything for me).
    However, regarding the punctuation thing: I, too, learned the “two spaces” rule because I learned to type on a MANUAL TYPEWRITER (not just because I’m old (though I am), but also because my high school was ridiculously old-fashioned). Now that typing on a computer is my main professional activity, I’ve adopted the “one space” rule because to my eyes it really does look better, particularly when a text has been justified (is that how you say it in English?). And yes, I can see the difference because I do a LOT of professional proof-reading and I can spot an extra space at 100 paces now. Makes me a lot of fun to be with, I can tell you.
    Happy holiday season to all of you from a stupidly mild and unChristmassy south of France!

  2. It’s p.p.s. God Only knows how I remember that. I find it so hard to travel at Christmas, I don’t think I could do it with kids. I’m impressed, is what I’m saying.

  3. I do not notice a difference between one period space and two. I think that with the holidays, most women get a touch of dread because it’s just so much work! There’s a word for this in one made up language, it’s Rad’idin, which means a holiday which is so much work that it becomes not a holiday at all.

  4. I LOVE inequality posts because of the head-rush feeling of commiseration. Paul will sometimes do that last-minute sigh, too, though to his credit he’s good about understanding the reason for my intense/fierce response. And I could make him help more, but I want appreciation and control more than I want help, so for now I make him admire me about once a day so that things feel more balanced. And if he asks for admiration that he bought/wrapped presents for ONE WHOLE PERSON, I hold his head in the toilet.

    I tried the two-spaces-to-one thing, and I believe I have succeeded. I don’t notice AT ALL which way other people do it, and in fact had forgotten that I changed until this post.

    I finally learned the P.S. rules when I found out it stood for “post script.” Since “post” is after, then you add another “after” for each thing that comes after. Post script, then the next thing is “post” the post script, then the next thing is post the post the post script.

  5. Amen, sister. I get you on the lack of helpfulness of the male variety this time of year. At least at my house, I do not get the pleasure of lounging spa days while Daddy Dearest handles all else.

    I am TRYING to go to one space, not two, but it is DIFFICULT. And not that noticeable, I think. I still do two for things like Twitter b/c if I do two it inserts the period for me, which I appreciate but also see as a way of keeping me stuck in two, not one. Does that make sense?

    I’ve done a couple “coupons” in the advent calendar – “Manicure/Pedicure – up to 10 colors of your choosing”, “One hour craft time of your choosing!”, “Movie Day – popcorn and the movie you choose!”

  6. Trying so hard not to go on a total rant here about husband’s (lack of) help and then complaining. I grew up in a house in which if you complained about it, it became your job to do next time, so complaining was pretty limited. It has been a relationship-long battle to get my husband to understand that the proper response to my doing something is not to critique it after the fact. For example, when one’s wife (who works just as many, if not more hours outside of the home as her husband) arranges camps and a vacation schedule for one’s child for 11 god forsaken weeks of summer vacation, one may not complain about (1) choices of camps, (2) vacation scheduling, or (3) locations of camps MONTHS LATER!

    Also this year we took photos for Christmas cards and my husband’s comment was “I think we can do better.” At which point I told him to go right ahead, I was done with it. Here we are on December 20 and he haven’t tried to get other pictures and no cards are being done. So, looks like we won’t be doing Christmas cards this year. Sorry, my efforts not to rant are fraying here…

    On the plus side, my husband’s family is extensive and complicated due to divorces, second cousins blah blah blah. My family is basically dying out. I am an only child, I have only a few much older cousins who don’t have children and who I am not close to, no grandparents, only one aunt, you get the idea. SO when my husband and I first confronted Christmas, I told him there was no way I was buying things for his family. So he does all of their gift buying (or not, I refuse to worry about it). I buy for him, my parents, and some of the stuff for the kids and that’s it.

  7. You know that 70’s battle cry “Fat is a feminist issue”? Well, I’m starting to think that wrapping is a feminist issue.

    I was nodding all through this post and getting quite annoyed along with it. My husband, while appreciative of all my efforts, is rolling right along through December like it’s any other month, claiming that since he doesn’t care what presents we get for people, doesn’t care if or how we send out cards, doesn’t care how or when the house is decorated, then he doesn’t need to help. “Knock yourself out” seems to be his motto.

    Well. Consider me KNOCKED OUT.

    I think it’s annoying because he gets credit for all my effort. I bake the spiced nuts that we give out to an ever increasing number of people (including a LONG list of people he works with, including his underlings), I package them, I …. okay I’m going to stop listing things now as my blood pressure is rising.

    I’ll just say I FEEL YOU and leave it at that, ok?

    🙂

    PS. I hate to say it but I don’t like the one space after periods thing. I can’t do it myself (unless you count twitter or texts, which I don’t.) and I notice it. But I’m a Luddite and total Late Adopter and, quite possibly, a Fuddy Duddy. So.

  8. I am so exhausted from all the stuff I’ve done for the sake of everyone else’s magical damn Christmas that all I can say about everything you said is: Yes.

    And also, the one space after period thing-I’m practicing it, too. I’m starting to notice when others do the double space.

  9. Funny, I was just sitting here thinking that I do not know where I am going to find the energy or TIME to sort/wrap the MOUND of Christmas stuff that has taken over my closet and contemplating just NOT DOING IT and seeing how everyone likes THAT.

    BAH HUMBUG. I think I’ll just leave it at that so that my bitterness doesn’t give anyone PERMANENT MOUTH PUCKER.

  10. I always say Christmas morning is as fun for dh as for the kids, because everything is a surprise for him too! (I even stuff my own stocking. Sheesh. )
    And don’t EVEN get me started on packing and loading the car.

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