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Thursday, December 08, 2011

In Which I Do Not Grouse, Piper Almost Gets Doused, And The Tree Gets Soused (Seemingly, Anyway) And What Have You All Been Doing?

Not sure if you're aware, but it's December now and The Holidays are Imminent. 

I know, right?

This year, as you can imagine, I have Way More Time, and as a result, I am All Over It.  My tree went up last weekend, my shopping is 99% done and wrapped, and my Serenity Level is...well, goes without saying.  Way different than The Old, Working Nance. Do I still think that Christmas = Work? Yes, I do.  The difference is, this time I can make Christmas my only job.  What a luxury!

Anyway, couple of things:

~*~ While out shopping at a Retail Haven For The Upscale, I turned the corner in one store and almost ran directly into one of those Bigass Humvee Strollers. (You know the type--upholstered and uparmored and flagrantly expensive and ridiculous.)  I instinctively looked up at the Pusher to apologize.  She was about forty, dressed head to toe in winter white cashmere and a rabbit fur vest.  Her manicure cost more than my car.  She wasn't even looking my way, so instead I looked to the denizen of the stroller.  In it were two Schnorkies--Yorkie and Schnauzer mixes.  They stared at me with a bored, arrogant look, as if to say, "That's right, a stroller.  Got something to say?  I didn't think so. Now get the fuck out of our way before Mumsy calls security."  I wanted so badly to stick around and wait for the very no-nonsense lesbian couple who I had been chatting up earlier in housewares to discover this...tableau, but I had other shopping to do.  Besides, if I stood there much longer, open-mouthed and gaping, I was afraid I'd dry out.

~*~ Never in the history of the Dept. has the Christmas tree been without adventure of some kind or another.  Watering the tree is always an awkward job, what with the low-hanging branches, shifting the tree skirt, Cattens grooming my hair as I lie under the tree, and maneuvering the water pitcher, all as I keep a couple of fingers inside the stand to monitor the water level while I pour.  "Geeze," I commented to Piper the other day while I tipped the pitcher against the boughs, "this tree is taking a ton of water!"  As I emptied the pitcher entirely, suddenly Piper jumped backward.  A small pond was rapidly growing beneath the tree, sprouting one significant tributary headed toward the coffee table.  I had missed the interior of stand entirely--somehow--and was cheerfully and studiously pouring water down the stand and onto the carpet below.  Thankfully, Rick and I had just emptied a bottle of Old Vines Chardonnay 2006, which I rescued from the recycle bin*, and now I use it to water the tree far more accurately.

*It was a Christmas Miracle!

So, how are all of your Holiday Preparations coming along?

16 comments:

  1. Oh I wish I had been there - for both tableaux - hilarious!

    I guess I'm glad that I figured out that I'm allergic to fir trees* because I don't think I have the ability to water them effectively - there WOULD be water everywhere. Every time.

    *I'm kind of assuming I'm allergic - the last time we had one my eyes watered & I sneezed a lot.

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  2. Oh, just getting into the spirit of Christmas by letting the red ink dry on some of the most appalling Spanish compositions ever seen. The beginners are the most fun, though. I decided to impress upon them the importance of accent marks, and how the meaning of a word can change if you leave them off. Here's a nice little tidbit for you:

    Student wants to say:
    My mom is 45 years old. My dad is a hard worker, tall and dark-skinned.

    Student should have written:
    Mi mamá tiene 45 años.
    Mi papá es trabajador, alto y moreno.


    But student left out the accent marks and also wrote "n" instead of "ñ". Which, when dumped into one of those online translators, produced this interpretation:
    My breast has 45 anuses. My Pope is a worker, high and dark.

    I am using that as an example to students who also wonder why I cannot tell when they have done their comps using a translator.

    * * * * * * * *
    So back to Christmas. No tree yet, and have not even thought about pressies because the little family that I had left in this town have moved to Louisiana, New York and Tokyo and will not be celebrating with us. Bah humbug! I will just have to live vicariously through the escapades of my friends. Like you. Happy watering. (I did the same thing once except I was filling the iron with water and looking at the TV screen. No excuse there.)

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  3. Mikey G.9:41 PM

    On Christmas Miracles:

    Over a decade ago, it was my aunt Patty's first Christmas alone. She lived in Teaneck, New Jersey (not close to any other branches of the family), and her husband had passed away the year before. She had two kids, but they were teenagers, in that phase where they didn't like to spend time with Mom. So to try and cheer her up, her sisters all pooled their money together, bought her a bunch of presents, wrapped them, and mailed them to her. After the package had been delivered, one of them called to ask if it had arrived. Patty said she hadn't seen any packages that were delivered. When her son Patrick came home, he said that the package was on the porch, but he moved it to the side of the house on the way out so nobody would see it and steal it. Unfortunately, he put it right next to the garbage can, and the garbage men thought it was trash and took it to the dump. When she found out that her only presents had been mistakenly thrown away, she cried.

    Once Patty got over it, my aunt Rhonda - a bit of a joker - decided to play a little prank on her. She had her husband Mike call Patty. He said that he was Ceedo, from the Teaneck Garbage Dump, and that he had found a package that looked like it was a present. He didn't want to put it in the trash compactor unless he made sure it wasn't a mistake, so he looked up the phone number for the address and called. My aunt Patty, who is quite gullible, shouted out in Joy, "Oh my God! This is a Christmas Miracle! You don't understand, Ceedo. This is my first Christmas alone. My husband died last year. And this was going to be my Only Present. And when I found out it was thrown away, I cried and cried. But you've found it! Bless you, Ceedo! It's a Christmas Miracle!"

    As she's saying this, Mike is standing there horrified that she believed it, and Rhonda is on the other line on mute, just cracking up. Finally she jumps into the call, coming clean and explaining that it was a joke. Luckily my aunt Patty took it well, finding the humor in it. And I'm pretty sure Rhonda put another present in the mail the very next day.

    But yeah, every time I hear "Christmas miracle," it makes me think of that :-)

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  4. Out in the bush, somewhere, is a tree that does not know it is slated to die for the Festival of Light. Somewhere. Around the 20th, I will get to cling to the tractor while JG examines a lot of trees to determine which one is the least awful.
    Then, having cut the poor thing down, I will have to de-ice it, thaw it and hold it Exactly Erect, while himself attaches it to the stand.
    Then, the tree having been cut to a measure that JG only arbitrates, I will probably have to get the ten foot ladder to decorate the top.
    Christmas traditions, yea!

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  5. Mary G--Does that "G" stand for Grinch? Hee hee. Methinks you and Junior Grinch need to have a Small Holiday Chat. Might I suggest:

    G: About the tree. Sears has them on sale for 99 bucks, pre-lit. I'll be back in an hour.
    JG: But we have 40 acres of Free Trees!
    G: How up-to-date is your life insurance these days?


    Mikey--I think Rhonda should be slapped, very sharply, by Patty every single Christmas. I would hire someone (New Jersey should have plenty of people available for this), and I would call it a CeedoGram. How perfectly awful. Seriously.

    Ortizzle--I laughed aloud so heartily at your comment that poor Marlowe (lounging on my lap at the time) became quite irked. There is No Way In Hell (or Anywhere Else, for that matter) that there is another blog on the Interwebs with a holiday post which has a comment on it containing the words breast, anuses, Pope, and high, which is innocuous by itself, but in the context above, rendered rather sleazy. Come over anytime when you bring gems like these!

    The Bug--One of our previous pets, TravisCat, was allergic to live Christmas trees. He used to suffer massive attacks of sneezing, which he would take into the dining room. He'd usually sit down and rip off about fifteen or so in a row. Afterward, he'd shake his head a little and glare at me reproachfully. He was a great lover of the tinsel, too, was Travis. Ate about five strands a day like spaghetti. His back end was quite decorative.

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  6. Ah, I have watered my cat and floor before. Now I have plastic and can ignore it with aplomb.

    No shopping this year. Everything came from online or thrift stores. I'm done. my tree is up, my house is freezing, and life is pretty good.

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  7. Mage--Your house being "freezing" is a good thing? I would hate that. But I'm glad your holiday is pleasant for you thus far. Or, as the carol goes, "Merry and Bright!"

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  8. The trees went up without incident when Neil was here the first weekend in December. All gifts are purchased and most are wrapped. I survived chauffering my kids to and from eleventy billion events last week, all which seemed to take place in the pouring rain. Daughter was part of the 8th grade's production of A Midsummer's Night Dream, which was performed last week as well. I have a few more decorations to put out and ALL my cards to write. That's the final hurdle to clear in the December gauntlet.

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  9. V--We had a ton of rain, too, but I kept rising above it by reminding myself that it COULD be snow! You are a marvel, still doing cards. I tell everyone (and myself) that I gave up cards out of My Concern For The Environment, but everyone (and myself) knows it is out of Sheer Sloth. Today I hunted (AND KILLED) my next-to-last Christmas Prey, metaphorically speaking, and have only one more present to get. It's a bit worky, hence the delay. Good luck with your hollyjollying.

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  10. Tree is up, house is decorated, cards have been started but not completed. I'm mostly finished with my shopping, just need to wait until payday to buy Ted's gift. (Shhh...it's a secret) I'm waiting for some photo albums I created online to be delivered before I make the always dreaded trip to the Post Office. Which isn't actually too bad if I can schedule it well.

    This Sunday is one of our favorite family holidays, Cookie Baking Day. Everyone comes together and we all bake a batch of cookies, and then we all take home a variety, which we then ignore for one health reason or another. We finish off with Kentucky Fried Chicken, which I adore exactly once a year, and shun in horror any other day.

    Next week is Hanukkah, which we celebrate despite being atheists (hey, if we can have Christmas, we can have Hanukkah, right?). Dreidels ready, candles ready. Need some potatoes for latkes.

    And I'm with you. Rhonda should be slapped soundly.

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  11. j.@jj--St. Patsy and I have revived the long-absent BakeOff this year, the day when she, I, and my sister Patti bake a bigass bunch of cookies and divvy them up. This year, Patti is baking with her grandsons (!!), and Patsy is having a couple spendovers here, so we are taking our time and baking what and how we feel like, kind of like an homage to that poem about wearing purple and being independent old ladies who don't give a shit. It starts tomorrow whenever she gets here. I may bake in my jammies.

    I completely get the KFC thing. Rick and I do it every once in a while, too, when we feel like Being Bad and Eating Bad Food. We immediately feel horrid and have salads for about a week. I swear I can feel the sodium suck the water out of my innards for a week afterwards. Honest.

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  12. Hi Nance,

    Just want you to know that as of today at least,I am alive and kicking.Just barely! I've had some sort of terrible illness that I suppose was brought on by my flu shot.

    Anyway,I want to wish you and all of your commenters who entertain me all year a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years.

    Best to you and Rick and the kitties (and kiddies).

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  13. Nancy--Oh, I'm sorry you were sick and I'm glad you're finally feeling better and able to check in here at the Dept. among all your Online Friends.

    It's always terrible to be ill, and is there ever a convenient time? Let Mr. Nancy take good care of you, keep comfy, and don't try to eat all the Holiday Goodies (or drink them!) at once. I'll give P & M an extra pat just for you.

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  14. Hi Nance,
    It's Larry, aka Windhover, from the Crossword Corner blog where you put in a few appearances. I've had your blog bookmarked, and now that farm work is gradually taking on a Winter scale, only eight hours a day rather than fourteen, I finally got around to reading it today. This passage jumped off my iPhone screen:

    "I didn't think so. Now get the fuck out of our way before Mumsy calls security." 

    It occurs to me that some of your readers might not believe this story to be literally true. I am not one of them. Let me explain. I've been working with livestock for 38 years. Cows, as you may know, are milked twice a day, and they do not like to get off schedule. More than once as I arrived at the barn an hour or so late, I overheard one cow say to another, "Where the fuck is that SOB? What do you think his excuse is gonna be this time? Why can't they just do nooners like other farmers? I'm about to explode!

    When I first started farming, I actually believed I "owned" the animals. I soon learned that in their minds, I was simply their servant, and as such beneath contempt. I think they had some measure of respect for my wife, who helped milk, because they perceived that in some way she was the superior being.

    Anyway, I recognized from your story that you also must have some experience with animals. But if you had managed to "accidentally" spill some coffee on their owners fur, their opinion of you might have been raised several notches. Even if they were spoiled little bitches, they're still excellent judges of character.

    I enjoy your ranting, and with your permission, I'll be back, sometime.
    Larry
    Oh, and to save you assigning a location, I live near Lancaster, Ky. in the Outer Bluegrass.

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  15. windhover (aka Lancaster Larry)--Nice to see you back at the Dept.! YOU HAVE REAL COWS?!?!? HOW LUCKY FOR YOU! What kind are they? How many? Are they lovely, deerlike Jersey cows? Do you name them? Oh my. I am in heaven. You need to zip up to my search bar and read all my posts about cows, an animal I am deeply and profoundly in love with and have been since...well, birth. How delightful!


    Back to the rest of your comment. (sorry) I do have experience with animals, somewhat, and was contemplating a career as a veterinarian before I veered off into teaching out of necessity. And, as the "owner" of two cattens, I assure you: I absolutely know who is in charge here. Sigh. You are SO right.

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  16. Hi Nance,
    Yes, I do have cows, or rather, they have me. The breed I have these days is Shorthorn. They're generally red, red and white, and occasionally a roan combination of the two. I do have 2 Jerseys, a concession to my dairy farming days. I also am constant provider for 4 Percheron horses (dappled grey), 50 goats, 35 sheep (soon to be 60, after lambing begins), 5 dogs, and an ever-changing number of chickens (I also involuntarily run a food-service for various predators, including weasels [not the two-legged kind you find on Fox News] and coyotes. No cats; the hunter (kitty) too often became the prey.
    I admire your continuing battle against ignorance, I considered teaching back in the day, but wouldn't have lasted long. Thankfully, my (there I go again) Jerseys were very tolerant of my political views and my occasional tardiness.

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Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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