Tick tock, tick tock

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.

Tis the season …

If you’re Dutch, Zalig Kerstfeast. If you’re French, Joyeux Noel; Spanish – Feliz Navidad; Polish –
Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia. For those of you in Wales, Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr! Greece – Kala Christouyenna! or Ireland, Nollaig Shona Dhuit … well, you get the idea.

Merry Christmas

or for those who aren’t celebrating Christmas today…

Season’s Greetings

I should have listened to Fozzy Bear

All right Mother Nature, enough already. Yes, I know Wylie’s kids are having fun building snow forts and toboganning but we adults have had enough of shoveling the darned stuff out of the driveways. Besides we’ve had enough now to guarantee us a white Christmas. (Although I understand that it for officially be a white Christmas it has to snow on Christmas morning itself, I consider it a white Christmas if there’s snow on the ground no matter when it fell.) To make matters worse, according to a report I’ve just read, it’s supposed to snow pretty much every day between now and New Year’s. Ugh.

I’ve been filling up the bird feeder with black sunflower seeds and we’ve been having fun watching the birds swooping around all day: chickadees, house finches, juncos and mourning doves, along with a pair of downy woodpeckers on the suet feeder. (Can you tell the difference in the pictures between the male and the female woodpeckers?)

They went through the seed by midafternoon, and not wanting to let them go hungry, I grabbed the seed funnel and stepped out into knee-high snow wearing only my running shoes. I made it safely all the way out to the shepherd’s hook that the feeder is hung on. Trouble was the funnel only holds enough seed to fill half the feeder. So carrying the half-filled feeder in one hand and the funnel in the other, I turned and slogged back through the drifts to the patio door. I’d made it half way when my right foot slid out from under me.

You know those passages you read when people say ‘time slowed down for them’? That’s what happened to me. I knew I was falling, and tried to figure out if there was a way to regain my balance but after a few gyrations I realized I’d probably get hurt worse and just let myself fall smack on my butt. At least it was a soft landing in the snow, more cold than anything. And I didn’t even spill any seed, much to the ground-feeding birds’ and squirrels’ disgust.

Gizmo Guy was watching and when he came to help me, he said, “That wasn’t the most graceful fall I’ve ever seen.” Gee, thanks, GG.

So I leave you with a clip from one of Guitar Hero’s favorite Christmas shows when he was a kid – the Muppet Family Christmas. Unfortunately it’s not shown much any more, but he used to watch it over and over again and then warn everyone for weeks afterward to “be careful of the icy patch.”