Christmas in the Braemel house was a blast this year. I did lots of baking, but even so the chocolate macaroons and double batch of peanut butter cookies I made didn’t last until Christmas morning. We had only one minor glitch this year. Gizmo Guy and I bought Curly a new digital camera to take with him on his school band trip to Florida. We checked out the floor model in the store and compared shopped and did all the responsible parent-y things, then when we’d made our decision the sales clerk handed us a box – in a sealed plastic security container – to take to the cash register. The cashier undid the theft device and rang up the sale, then we took the box home and wrapped it. Yeah, should have checked the box before wrapping it, because when Curly opened the box on Christmas day, the box contained a rechargeable battery and the adapter etc. but no camera. Good thing that wasn’t his only present that day. (When we took the camera box back to the store along with the receipt, the store gave us no problems and very promptly handed us a new camera box and ensured everything was there. Phew!)
When Shelley Munro had me as a guest over on her blog, I wrote about a reasonably new tradition we started as the kids were growing out of the “Santa’s coming” stage. In a nutshell, if someone’s getting an ‘extra special’ gift, we hide it and the recipient has to ensure a Treasure Hunt through the house – sometimes following clues left in strategic places – to find it.
This year – for the first time – Gizmo Guy and the boys played the Treasure Hunt trick on me. Guitar Hero knew that GG and I had said that for our twenty-fifth anniversary we wanted to buy ourselves a grandfather clock. Except that year GG had been laid off, so we’d said we’d get one for our thirtiest anniversary. But when we celebrated that this year and we started pricing them, we just couldn’t justify spending three thousand dollars (Canadian) for one. So a couple weeks ago, I got a call at 6:45 a.m. from Guitar Hero asking me to come pick him up at the Walmart where he works. He needed to ask me something about a present he wanted to buy me. Turned out Walmart sells grandfather clocks, and they don’t cost three thousand bucks. I had to laugh at the time because it was so cute, and I was also touched that he’d thought about me enough to ask me if I’d ‘settle’ for one bought at Walmart. I said, “Yes, it was probably the only way I’d ever get a grandfather clock – other than the miniature on my fireplace mantel.” So we trucked it home that day and it has been hidden in Guitar Hero’s room ever since.
When I came down Christmas morning, there was the huge – and it was frickin’ huge – present for me in the middle of the living room floor. Guitar Hero and Curly made a show of hauling it in front of me when I sat down on the living room couch. Now, because of the way my parents didn’t like celebrating Christmas, I tend to open my presents really slowly to prolong the moment. Trying very hard not to tear the paper, I carefully unwrap one present then turn my attention to watching everyone else rip over their gifts. So by the time everyone else is done, I still have several unopened presents surrounding me.
This Christmas Day was no exception, and I left the largest package for the last. I removed the paper and frowned.
“The top wasn’t ripped like that when we brought it home,” I said.
“Ah, no, we had a bit of a problem when we were bringing it down the stairs,” Guitar Hero replied.
What a sucker I am. I bought his story and lifted one of the flaps, and then removed the large sheet of styrofoam protecting the …. weight lifting set?
Yup, they’d removed the clock and put about fifty pounds of weights in its place. (Curly informed me later that my laugh qualified for the ‘evil cackle of the year’ award.) They’d assembled the clock and left it for me to find – no clues. But really? There’s not many places in our house where they could hide a six foot tall clock. It was standing in front of the fireplace in the family room. I’ve spent the last two days trying to figure out where it would best be showcased. I would have preferred it to be in the living room as its cherrywood case matches my curio cabinet and the rest of the furniture there, but the only place it would fit would be beside the treadmill (only place IT would go too, not that I want it in my living room.) So now it’s standing in the upstairs hallway between GG’s and my bedroom and Guitar Hero’s bedroom. It’ll be interesting to see if its chiming keeps him awake during the day. So it may not be there permanently.
So now if you’re on the phone me with over the hour changeover, you’ll have to endure a symphony of my cuckoo clock cuckooing (the one that works), my mantel clock, the chiming wall clock in the living room, and my grandfather clock. Of course, as Marley will attest to after talking with me at two o’clock this afternoon, none of them chime at exactly the same time. Talk about a cacophony.