Monday, December 31, 2012

Perfect Ending

I love my job. Really, I do.

Every so often, though, I arrive at the office with a sigh.

"I really, really wanted to stay home today," I tell anyone who will listen. "It was so cozy in bed, and I didn't want to bundle up and get out in the cold. I wanted to read a good book and drink tea and knit. I really didn't want to come to work."

Yesterday I was a world-class whiner. Instead of getting my Sunday afternoon nap I went--again--with Husband to the apartment where we are cleaning out his mother's belongings. My back hurt, I was tired, and I knew at least three of my children were on the road from one place to another (which in spite of my confidence in them brings a tiny worry).

"I knew this move would take a while," I snipped to Husband as I lifted one end of a mattress, "but I didn't realize it would take up EVERY SINGLE FREE MOMENT of my Christmas vacation."

Graciously, he didn't respond to this childishness with the eyeroll it deserved. Instead he offered to let me stay home while he picked up the Boys from the airport, an offer my behavior certainly had not earned.

Today Husband is scrambling through the end-of-year scrambling accountants do and I had planned to finish up the packing.  Instead, I woke up to the sound of tires slushing through the intersection next to the House on the Corner.  Huge flakes were drifting straight down, turning our view of the campus across the street into something from an improbably perfect movie set.

And because it's New Year's Eve and not the typical Monday morning there is nothing pressuring me to get going. No calls to be made cancelling classes, no alertness for students making bad sledding choices, no scramble to find boots and scarves. I plan to read a good book and drink tea and knit. The packing of the apartment will have to wait until tomorrow, when roads are cleared.

I'll turn on the Christmas lights one last time and think about how blessed I am, to have a perfect ending to this year that has been so full of unearned blessings, blessings my own behavior surely would have forfeited.

God is good.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Loveliest of Days

This post must be prefaced by a caveat: I have loved being the mother of all boys.

The 15-year-old me would not have believed this statement. Oh, how I wanted baby girls! I wanted to dress them in frilly diaper covers and Scotch-tape oversized bows onto their bald little heads. I wanted to teach them to make pie crust and appreciate brainy boys. What was I going to do with sons?

God laughed, and here I am several decades later, having absolutely loved being the queen bee.

Occasionally, though, I still gave a little sigh of nostalgia at the thought of my phantom daughters whose hair I've never French-braided (probably the reason I have only boys; God also knew the extent of my hair-impaired-ness) and whose newborn babies I will not be the first to bless. When I thought of my sons' future weddings I remembered wistfully how my own mother had altered the dress in which she was married so that I could have my dream-come-true wedding day. This relationship, I knew, was something not meant for the mothers of all boys

And then Lovely Girl entered our world on Boy#1's arm and heart.

Really, all she needed to do was love my son and I would have thought she was wonderful. But since they told us they would be getting married, she has brought me into the world of having a daughter, a world she could so easily have kept to herself and her mother. She invited me and my Much Older Sister to be part of the wedding dress shopping day, and I felt as if I had just been given the secret password to a wonderful sorority.

The shopping posse (the bride, the maid of honor, two mothers, two aunts) turned out to be wonderfully, raucously compatible as Lovely Girl tried on gown after gown. LG's beauty is vintage,with  porcelain skin and enormous eyes in a tiny  5'2" frame, so she knew her perfect dress probably wouldn't be easy to find, and the posse was ruthless.

"Mmmm, no," her aunt declared when the bride-to-be minced out in a strapless number so tight her bouncy walk was muted to a mincing hobble.

"And just what to you propose to carry on that tray under your chin?" someone said about a too-boned bodice.

Other dresses were okay, but they looked just like every other bare-shouldered bride on the society page.

But then, our Lovely Girl walked out of the dressing area beaming. I found myself with my hands clapped to my face, like the melodramatic girls in those Jumbotron proposals.

She stepped onto a tiny platform in front of angled mirrors and the fitter made a few final adjustments, straightening the train and twitching the veil over a shoulder. By now all of us were on our feet, wiping our eyes and making delighted sounds. We pointed at her tiny waist, and how the ivory shade brought out the beauty of her skin. We remarked on how this dress somehow looked like her.

"We have one more dress on the rack," the fitter pointed out. "Do you want to try it on?"

"I might as well--" Lovely Girl started to say, but then she looked in the mirror again, and a smile broke over her face. "No. This is it. This is the one."

And it occurred to me, again, how well Boy#1 had done in choosing a bride: He also chose my daughter-in-law, and she chose him.

This is it. This is the one.

Friday, December 28, 2012

One Cup, Packed: A Christmas Metaphor

Well, huh.

Merry Christmas to you!

And Happy New Year, in case I miss that holiday, too!

To tell you what Christmas was like in the House on the Corner I must resort to a metaphor. Christmas 2012 was like cooking something sweet and delicious, where the recipe calls for a cup of brown sugar.

My pre-Christmas intention was to dig the measuring cup into the brown sugar bag and pull it out, comfortably filled. I had a full-to-the-top schedule that included time with Husband and the Boys, a couple of holiday parties with friends, a smattering of visits from loved ones, the singing of my favorite carols, a day-long marathon of A Christmas Story.

But whoops, the recipe calls for the brown sugar to be packed so I pushed in more molasses-y goodness--one of the parties was at the House on the Corner so there was cleaning to be done, and the football bowl schedule and marching band responsibilities meant two of the Boys needed to catch a plane in the next state at 7 a.m. Christmas morning so the family Christmas festivities moved to Christmas Eve. I found soft yarn on sale and decided to knit an afghan for my mother-in-law's Christmas present, and vowed I WOULD FINISH Boy#2's t-shirt quilt.

And then, when every last molecule of space had been pushed from between the grains of sugar, we added the moving of my mother-in-law to new living quarters, and have been drop-jawed with amazement at how many cubic tons of memories had been stashed into a smallish two-bedroom apartment.

That was my Christmas holiday. It has been packed so tightly that not one more molecule could be jammed into the measuring cup and as I dump it out to see how I might re-enter the blogging world it's a big solid lump. So sweet, so wonderful, that I will be tasting it for weeks.

Tomorrow (or sometime soon): The loveliest of days with the Lovely Girl.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pulling on the String

My mother-in-law made this intricate gingerbread house many years ago
It may not look like it on the surface, but there are some things in my life I simply don't write about here. Some I censor because they're not my story to tell (even though Husband and the Boys have been wonderful sports about my public ramblings), some I hold back in the name of good taste (you're not going to read about...well, lots of stuff).

But there is a huge part of the empty nest life I haven't shared here before because it's difficult and sometimes sad and almost impossible to describe without a certain degree of frustration: Our parents are old, and going through this stage of their lives with them is much, much more difficult than having teenagers.

With teenagers, a parent's role is to gradually release the string of the balloon, gauging abilities of the child and allowing more privileges, demanding more responsibility, giving more freedom until the balloon is flying by itself. With aging parents, the process is reversed. As our loved ones' physical and cognitive abilities decrease, we begin to watch them more closely and gradually share their responsibilities, pulling in the balloon and trying to protect them.

Husband's mother is 91. In her prime she was one of those women who's always in motion--directing the choir, stitching needlework, organizing dinners, traveling. She was already slowing down when her husband died seven years ago, though, and she moved to an retirement complex near us when it became increasingly apparent that she should be closer to family. She wasn't eating right, had taken a couple of falls, and her driving was becoming suspect. Here in Small Town she could see the Boys when they were home from college, and check in with us by phone several times a day. The apartment managers were compassionate and responsive and she filled her apartment with her dozens of stuffed animals.

But time doesn't stop, and the reeling in process is inexorable. First she had to be limited to driving in town, then we told her we would chauffeur her anywhere she needed to go. She began using a walker to get to the communal dining room. A personal assistant was hired to make sure she took her medicines properly.

This week, two months after a fall left her in the assisted living wing of the complex, her sons had to tell her that she would be safer and happier if she did not return to her apartment as she had hoped she could. We know the first of those is true; we can only hope the second is also.

Yesterday she sat in a chair while family bustled around her, cleaning out the apartment and choosing just a few pieces of furniture to go in the single room that will circumscribe her world from now on. She saw us dumping entire drawers into bags to be taken to Goodwill or thrown away. It may have been easier, or kinder, if she had not been there but that was not what she chose and we did not have the heart to deny her this final choice. She picked two stuffed animals to go with her and another two to be sent to young great-grandchildren; dozens more are bagged for storage along with the furniture she and her husband accumulated over more than six decades of antique hunting.

The balloon is almost completely tethered now, and no one could have told us how hard this would be.

This morning I walked out to find the first snow on the ground and remembered that this is the next-to-shortest day of the year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Gifts

Twisterfish put it kindly in a comment on my post about cutting down on my self-imposed Christmas expectations. "This seems to be the theme for the year for many people, myself included," she said.

Let's sing it all together: "I'm doin' NUTTIN' for Christmas!"

It's a heady decision, to decide that some seasonal traditions have moved from the meaningful to the burdensome side of the balance, and that they must be taken off the scales or everything will crash into stress and chaos. So we decide to not decorate sugar cookies. Or we limit the number of parties we'll attend. Or we take ourselves out of the running for Mother Who Makes the Best Home-Crafted Gifts and hand Johnny's teacher a gift card to Applebee's.

It feels good, this decision that the season is more important than the stuff.

And still. Still.

We weep at the news coverage from Connecticut, first thinking of the children, then of the parents, then of the town, then of the entire nation that despite our best intentions remains imperfect. We mourn and once again are reminded that we are not in control. The school had done everything it could imagine to guard against this, the unimaginable, and still....

We find ourselves fretting about whether we've pared down enough. Have we cut out enough I-HAVE-TO-DO-THIS items that we can enjoy the peace of the season with our family and friends? We hope we have,and still....

What we forget is that Christmas peace is not an entitlement, it is a gift, and "every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of heavenly Lights, who does not change with shifting shadows."*

We are not entitled to any of His gifts, but in spite of our imperfections and inability to get things right, the Father of heavenly Lights sends us the good and perfect: Peace. Joy. His Son.

This is what we're preparing for, waiting for, and I pray those gifts for all.

*James 1:17

Friday, December 14, 2012

All Over the Crafty

So, a little Christmas quiz about me. On a scale of 10 to 1 to negative 1 gabillion, how crafty do you think I am?

Yes, you can push that indicator all the way to the left, way past the 1 gabillion into infinitely un-crafty. I am HORRIBLE at crafts. I can't cut a straight line or tie a good knot. But as I've mentioned before, Pinterest has deceived me into thinking this is not true. Oh, Pinterest. You horrible, horrible deceiver.

After seeing all the CUTE! and EASY! Christmas crafts on the boards proctored by people who know how to use glue guns without burning their fingers, I decided I was smart enough to do this.

Well, it turns out that finishing a Christmas craft isn't so much about handiness with scissors and glue as it is about picking the right project.

My project is named Christmas Card Display-er, and I made the pattern myself. Every year the postman delivers a couple dozen gorgeous Christmas cards to the House on the Corner, and I love them so much that I throw them into a basket and never look at them again until they're discarded in the pre-holiday cleaning frenzy the following year.

"I want to see those beautiful pictures!" I whined to myself. "I want to remember these loved ones who remembered us."

So I took an old shutter we had in the basement:

Yes, that's my arm at the left. Ansel Adams had the same problem when he held up mountains.
Bought two rolls of ribbon at 47 cents each:
Red and gold, because it's Christmas.
Punched holes in the corners of the Christmas cards and tied them to the shutter.
Great lighting, Ms. Photographer
Then I propped my Christmas Card Display-er up next to my little lamp filled with left-over tree decorations, and voila. It's a craft.

Take THAT, Pinterest.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Let's Not Panic About Christmas

MomQueenElizabeth, ready for Christmas
I can tell you the exact moment when I started to panic about Christmas this year. I even blogged about it. It was December 4, and I had suddenly realized that I had done nothing at all to get ready for Christmas, and that I was leaving on a four-day vacation the following day.

Woe! I cried to myself, and to you. Woe! Woe! Woe! Christmas is ruined!

Okay, before you read even one more word, I want you to click over to Swistle and read her Soothing Holiday Words post. I'll wait right here.

All done? Isn't that completely great? She nailed down what I've been feeling recently: Christmas expectations are not assigned to me by others, they are self-imposed, so I can remove those expectations as I see fit.

On the way back from our vacation in Smoke Sin City I mentally categorized what is important to me about this season and what is not important, just so I could gauge how panicked I should be this week. I was ruthless in putting holiday-related expectations into those two categories. I discovered that both lists are comfortingly short.

These things are important: Spending time with my family and friends, having a Christmas tree and stockings out, baking peppernuts, having a present under the tree for each member of my family, listening to my favorite seasonal music, taking time to savor the moments.

These things are not important: Everything else. That includes baking and making candy, having a perfect Christmas morning with all of the traditions observed, finding the PERFECT present for each and every person, and shopping in actual stores.

So I started checking items off my list.

Tree up? Check. Two hours on Sunday night and it was done.

Presents for each member of the family? Check. Ordered last night, and blessings of the season to you,

Listening to my favorite seasonal music? Check. On it even as I sit here.

Peppernuts? In progress, and will be done by the weekend. 

That leaves only spending time with my family and friends, and by paring down my "important things" list, I've left myself TWELVE WHOLE DAYS for this most important thing, and that will give me time to savor the moments as the Boys drift in and out of the House on the Corner over the next few weeks.

Oh, I'll probably do a few more things, maybe get our Christmas cards out before the end of the year, knit a few more inches onto my mother-in-law's gift, possibly even rig up that card-holder I bought the supplies for and didn't finish. Or maybe not. No one will be disappointed (or surprised) if I do none of those things, and I will be happier and less irritable and more fun to be around. 

I feel like the elf who saved Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It Still Felt Good

When we got back from VEGAS, BABY! there was no food in the house. Well, not quite literally. The pantries are crammed with canned goods and the freezer is full of half a beef, but the refrigerator echoed with the lack of anything healthy or applicable to our new cholesterol-improving lifestyle. Also, we were out of salsa.

So I went to the grocery store, and because I needed some ribbon and a lampshade, I went to the Big Box where I filled a cart with good-for-us food. Then I got in line to check out.

Check-out lines at the Big Box are especially bad at this time of the year, particularly in the hour between office-closings and suppertime, but just after I joined the queue this line stopped cold. The woman ready to pay at the register apparently did not have enough money, and she was confounded as to what to do.

"MomQueenBee," I thought to myself, "you came back from Las Vegas with money. Also, you got to go to Las Vegas in the first place, and this woman can't afford to pay for new underwear." (Yes, judgmental me had checked to make sure she wasn't buying cigarettes, because after last week I realize Kansas is a pretty wonderful smoke-free-ish place.) So I handed the clerk a $5 bill to make up the difference, the woman thanked me profusely, and the line began to move again.

It was not a big deal, and I didn't think much about it until my cart-load of vegetables and yogurt had been scanned through and the clerk announced the total.

"That will be $73," she said.

Whoa. That was an enormous load of vegetables and yogurt--obviously God had seen me giving that woman her early Christmas present, and in a cast-your-bread-upon the waters moment had DIVINELY LOWERED ALL THE PRICES. It was a Christmas miracle!

I felt wonderful all the way home, through the unloading of the groceries, through supper, until halfway through the evening when I suddenly thought of something. Because the checking out had taken so long I hadn't even really looked at the receipt--I'd already swiped my debit card and I just tucked the receipt into my wallet for recording later.

Oh. Turns out the total was $173, which was not at all out of line with what I had expected to pay. I laughed at myself--but I still felt good about the shopping experience.

Feeling good about a Christmas-season shopping experience? I believe I did experience a Christmas miracle; it just wasn't the one I originally thought I was seeing.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Leaving Las Vegas

I am guessing that most people, when they see this sign, are just getting off a plane and think "Well, I'm glad I'm not THERE anymore." I, on the other hand, was glad to see the message at o'dark-thirty Saturday morning because it meant that we were reversing our travel process and that in a few hours we would be in Kansas again.

Oh, it's not that we didn't have a lovely time. I hope that when Husband and I are 94 years old and toddling together into the special needs pre-seating line we will enjoy traveling together as much as we do now. I'm crossing my fingers that we'll still be rolling our eyes together at the women who carry dogs in their purses, and that he still will be gallantly offering me the aisle seats and hogging the armrests. I do love traveling with Husband, but I think we're crossing Las Vegas off our bucket list and calling it done.

Here are the things I wasn't so crazy about in VEGAS, BABY!:

The smokers. Oh, my holy heaven, the smokers. You know how movies show the shadowy underworld figures fighting to control Vegas's gambling trade, or the prostitution traffic? I'd go for the cigarette concession. Coming from a state where smokers are pretty much politely excused from public places, and where all my smoking friends are extremely considerate of those of us who don't indulge, the lack of both of those niceties was glaringly evident, even through the haze.

Also, I REALLY disliked the guys on every street corner who handed out pictures of nekkid ladies. Whoa. I know I'm a prude. In fact, I could probably be the Church Lady's double if the Church Lady ever made a movie ("Could it be...SATAN?") but I usually am able to accept local customs and mores. Except in this case, when I was holding Husband's left hand as they were pushing photographs of bazooms into his right hand. DO NOT DO THAT, GUYS.

Here are the things I was crazy about in Las Vegas:

The hotel room. Seriously, it was wonderful, and the bed made me think little bluebirds of happiness had plumped the pillows and pulled up the (high thread count) sheets. The fainting couch (yes!) was perfect for watching television and knitting, which is probably why Husband left me there early in the morning to go to his tax seminar and found me still there when he returned after discussing 1040s and sheltered dividends all day.

Also, the hotel itself, which was not so swanky as to make us feel like country mice (I'm looking at you, Wynn Las Vegas) and not so filled with black-hatted cowboys (the National Professional Rodeo was in town) as to make us feel like Thurston and Lovey Howe. Boy#2 laughed when I confessed my discomfort with either end of the social spectrum. "That could be part of the family crest: Solidly and proudly middle class," he said.

So we're back from VEGAS, BABY. We came out $3 ahead on our $10-ish investment in nickel slots, and saved the money we might have spent seeing Carrot Top. (I know. It was a struggle to make THAT decision.)

We're in Kansas again, and there's no place like home.

Friday, December 7, 2012

More Craziness From VEGAS, BABY!

I seem to be incapable of saying the name of this place as anything except its nickname, in all caps, followed by the English word for a small infant, also in all caps, followed by an exclamation point. What is it about this place that drives me to such paroxysms of shoutiness?

Well, maybe it's the price of the ONE BANANA (whoops, there I go again) that was my breakfast. Seriously, Las Vegas? I realize it's not Tuesday, when bananas are 19 cents a pound in Small Town, but one hundred and thirty five pennies for ONE BANANA? (Ask anyone from Small Town how much bananas cost on Tuesdays and they'll know it's 19 cents per pound.)

I spent my first day of my Sin City vacation exactly as I had hoped, watching a completely creepy and wonderful series on Netflix (thank you, Boy#1, for opening my eyes to Damages) and knitting four inches onto the afghan I hope to have done by Christmas. It was wonderful, except for the 90 minutes I spent on Apple Care support after I updated my iPhone and it no longer made or received calls, but thank you, Apple Care, all good now!

Then Husband got out of his tax seminar and we were off to experience the wild and crazy VEGAS, BABY nightlife.

As it turns out, we are super-terrible at being wild and crazy.

We sat down at the penny slots with our $26 worth of coins and proceeded to lose $2. We looked at each other, bug-eyed. It was not going the way we had scripted, which was that we were going to put in six nickels and win several thousand dollars. So we managed to make ourselves play $3 worth at the quarter slots, and won enough to get back our initial investment throwing-away-of-money, so we cashed out. As we walked back across the bridge Husband dropped our roll dimes into the basket sitting beside a young man flanked by two little girls whose sign said they needed money for rent. I know, I know, panhandlers often are just scamming tenderhearts and drive back to their houses in the suburbs in BMWs. But whether those three young people were or were not con artists, they certainly needed our dimes more than the casino did, so we felt like winners.

So, having escaped the one-armed grip of the slot machines, we walked down to the Mirage and watch the "volcano eruption" that happens every hour on the hour, where hundreds of tourists gather to watch the spectacle on the tiny screens of the cell phones they are holding between their actual eyes and the spectacles. Really, people? You think you will get such spectacular footage of this that you must STORE IT ON YOUR PHONE rather than in your memory? Huh.

And finally, we enjoyed the lights and Christmas trees and reminders of the season, because nothing gives homage to this sacred time of the year like a statue of Ceasar draped in tinsel.

But that's VEGAS, BABY!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How to Pack for Las Vegas


Please excuse the quality of the photo on today's post. This is actually yesterday's post, but by the time I snapped the fuzzy image above we had been trains-planes-and-automobiling (minus the trains) for about 12 hours and I was starting to feel pretty close to what that shot looks like: fuzzy and not quite centered.

But we're in VEGAS, BABY!

Yup, Husband and I left Small Town behind yesterday and headed west for a convention of tax accountants. (On a side note, is there any more cognitively dissonant pair than "tax accountants" and "Sin City"? No, I thought not.) Because I am a PARTY ANIMAL, I packed up my books and knitting and came along to sit in the hotel room and finish some Christmas presents and catch up on Arrested Development using my free month of Netflix. Envy my wild and crazy nature, all you wild and crazy people out there.

We flew through Dallas and Las Angeles, which oddly enough, look exactly alike if you don't leave the airport. Exactly. Alike. But when we got to Vegas we knew we were in a distinctly different place. That's because the signs said "Welcome to Las Vegas!" Oh, and there were slot machines waiting the second we got off the plane because apparently there are some folks who can't wait even three minutes to sit down and start offloading cash. 

Husband and I aren't really what you'd call big gamblers. This is not because we think it's wrong per se  (although I could give you a pretty good argument about how it preys on the folks who can least afford to lose money, and how expecting something for nothing IS wrong, etc.) but because we're cheap. We are so cheap that the thought of simply inserting coins into a slot and watching them disappear seems like the nth degree of stupidity and makes us break out in hives.

But it seems kind of...ungrateful? unpatriotic? unnatural? to come all the way to the gambling capital of the world without participating in the local custom. So as we dithered about whether or not we could bring ourselves to throw away good American currency, I had a brilliant idea. 

We had planned to check a bag containing our coats, extra books, spare socks,apples for in case we got hungry, etc., and American Airlines was going to relieve us of $26 for the privilege of carrying our surplus stuff across the country. Instead, we left the books and socks at home, and Husband came out of the bank with this in his hand:

Wooo! $26 worth of coins for the slot machines. The sum total of our gambling money. (Plus one dime Husband found on the floor of the airport shuttle.)

Of course, this morning I discovered that slot machines don't actually take coins so I may be coming home with all of these rolls still in my purse.Who says I'm not a complete winner?

Stay tuned for more updates from VEGAS, BABY!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's Beginning to Look Nothing at All Like Christmas

File photo, obviously.
So, are you all ready for Christmas at your house? Tree trimmed? Lights lit? Stockings all hung by the chimney with care?

Here at the House on the Corner we can count the number of things we've done to get ready for Christmas on two fingers. Those two fingers are the index finger and the thumb, and to count the actual accomplishments you first have to hold those fingers tip to tip, then read the resulting number. We have done zero things. NOTHING.

I'm blaming the lack of outward and visible signs of the season on the early Thanksgiving. On a normal year, when Thanksgiving falls within striking distance of the end of November, it stands to reason that you have to step lively while the turkey carcass is still in the refrigerator or all of the Yuletime preps will not be completed on time. This year, as I made cranberry sauce practically the day after Independence Day, I was thinking "Well, with a whole week after Thanksgiving before November is even over, I'll have lots and lots of time to relax and really go into Christmas organized."

Ha! Instead, I spent a few days just giggling to myself because we were getting a Lovely Girl in the family, then another few days thinking that I really should be getting my shopping done while FREE SHIPPING! was all over the internet, then a few days watching Boy#3 in his final marching band moments and wahoo-ing because WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD (according to the song played pretty much non-stop during the final minutes of the game) and hey! Here I am with absolutely nothing done for Christmas.

Well, that's not strictly true. I have pinned a good many crafts on my Pinterest board and intend to complete all of them in the next 22 days. I'm going to do this and this and this and quite possibly this. (I'm not even linking the pins of homemade gifts that I'm going to be working on, because maybe one of those gifts is for YOU!)

Or perhaps I will fall back on the habits I've established during my first half-century-plus of life, and throw some decorations at the tree, bake some peppernuts, enjoy my family, and call it a great holiday.

Yes, that's definitely the new plan for this year same plan that has served me well.

Ho, ho, ho!

Monday, December 3, 2012

What Do You Say?

Suppose you are just a little (or a lot) late getting dressed in the morning and you're hurrying up the stairs to take your shower and one hand is holding up your too-long-but-oh-so-cuddly bathrobe to keep it from tripping you and killing you in a fall down the stairs and the other hand is holding your too-full-but-oh-so-delicious triple-shot cappuccino which you'll sip as you dry your hair after you get out of the shower and as you fly up the steps you are thinking to yourself "pick up your feet, pick up your feet, pick up your feet" because you have on your slippers and they aren't exactly precision footwear and you truly don't want to fall down these stairs and break your neck or something more important but on the LAST STEP you catch your toe on the lip of the step and while you don't fall down the stairs and break your neck or something more important you do slop coffee all over the floor and even though you know nothing is ruined (thank you, hardwood floors, for being impervious to triple-shot cappuccinos) the episode is so surprising and annoying that a word flies out of your mouth before you even think about what you are about to say.

What is that word?

My word, I now know, is "dangnation." That's pronounced with the emphasis on the middle syllable (dang-NA-shun) and with much vehemence. Much, much vehemence. In fact, so much vehemence that I am quite glad the word that flew out was G-rated. DANG-NA-SHUN.

Please recreate this scenario, then tell me what your word is so that I can feel all morally superior to persons who were not lucky enough to have four little pitchers with big ears around to parrot back any words said with vehemence over the past 26 years.

Or rather, don't tell me. I don't want to see my morally superior vocabulary blush.