We here at the Hausfrau household had a semi-pleasant day. The kids spent Christmas Eve with Big Daddy, it was my second Christmas Eve without them since the divorce. And it was easier than the first one. Not awesome, but easier. I was wrapping presents up until the last hour on Christmas Eve, and not just because I had a nice amount of stuff to wrap (I did! Each kid had several gifts to open, and some great little extras in their stockings. Santa even brought Walter a giant rawhide bone.) but because I SUCK AT WRAPPING. I try so hard for the first few gifts, try to make sharp edges and try to fold the paper over nice and flat. By the time I get to the last few they look like a drunk, blindfolded baboon with one arm tied behind her back wrapped them. But if you have kids, you know they don't care. So, then, I pretend not to care either. I used to care, back in the day...I'd go to Hallmark the day after Christmas every year and stock up on perfectly coordinated, heavy weight wrap and bows and name tags. It was pretty. Now, not so much.
But that's ok. The day was semi-pleasant, because every single year there is a Christmas Meltdown. It's usually performed by one of my middle children, and it's usually caused by a: a gift they received that doesn't work according to the child's plans or b: sadistic siblings. This year's meltdown was brought to us by the latter, and Henry was the artist du jour. Yelling, screaming, mom once again threatening to "not celebrate Christmas next year", followed by a cooling off period, followed by a ham feast with all the trimmings. Eyes dried, hugs given, apologies doled out like bandaids. Life goes on. Later we went to my mom's house, which ended with me bawling in front of my mom. She's not doing well and I feel like a crappy daughter. She and I discussed how weird we are, how communication is so freaking screwed up in our family. I left there feeling better for having talked to my mom but also kind of hollowed out, like a jack o'lantern. What is it about Christmas??
Yesterday we chilled, I made a big ass breakfast and life got back to normal. Today I put the tree outside (to be burned later by my slightly pyro-crazy friend Whitney, screw paying the garbage company $30 bucks to take it away), got a big old pot of chili made and made a trip to the grocery store wearing one of my sexually ambiguous fleece jackets with a Hanson t-shirt under it. And now, I'm semi-prone on the couch, Walter snoring next to me and the laptop heating up my legs, watching "Zombieland" and clickety-clacking away.
It feels good to be done with the holidays, sorry to say. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I hope next year is a better year for me and the kids...but I'm beyond grateful that I had hens, both local ones and those far away, once again circle the wagons around my little family and help us get through this. I couldn't have done it alone, my friends. Thank you.
And now, time for tEN On TUesDay (people used to title their eBay auctions like this, drove me batshit crazy):
1. Kids favorite presents: Charlie loved his Levi's (from Kohl's). Molly loved her jeans and her Blink 182 stuff (purchased with Visa and Mastercard gift cards). Henry loved his Adventure Time t-shirt (Visa gift card) and Adidas hoodie (Christmas shopping day at the church) and a new mike for the XBOX (Walmart, my first trip there, I might add!). And William has declared this "The best Christmas ever" because he got a shinny hockey set (from Target). My favorite gift was being able to watch their faces as they opened things. Yes, I was totally the goofball in the corner, weeping a little. It's been stressful, dammit, don't judge!
2. We still have mice. I love how the kids think there's just one, they will come upstairs and tell me, "WE JUST SAW HIM! WE JUST SAW "THE MOUSE") like there's a solitary, cuddly vermin. Like we have our own Stuart Little. Maybe we should put out tiny clothes and a little car for
3. I must have slept about 22 hours between Christmas Day and now. Isn't it wild how this season saps you? Or maybe it's just me. But I feel like I've just been through final exams, childbirth and colic, all rolled up into a tightly wound, four week-long ball.
4. I don't ask the kids about Spawn. I figure, who needs to know the details about it? But while we were at my mom's, she asked them about their new little half-sibling. They said he looks just like Charlie did when he was a baby, and that made me laugh. Laugh because Charlie is the kid who Secretary openly loathes. So it strikes me as perfectly perfect that her own urchin looks like him. Try hating him now, you skank. In mysterious ways he does work, the Lord (say that like Yoda and it will make sense).
5. Did I mention that I got a new phone? I did. I signed away my soul for two more years with Satan's network, AT&T, and got a cheap Android phone. To paraphrase Randy Jackson, it's aiight, dawg. Sadly, due to my Joan Crawford tantrum, I lost EVERYTHING from my iPhone so I found myself without any numbers. I'm starting from scratch. And I was right: I did miss a booty call. A single booty call, from Cabin Boy. He's in Spain now, visiting his daughter who's studying over there, but he'll be back shortly after the first. I'm filled with self-loathing right now, and after a solid month of eating my feelings I'm not exactly feeling nubile and wantonly, but we'll see. We shall see.
6. The kids and I watched an Indiana Jones marathon on Christmas Day, and I found myself explaining to them who River Phoenix was (remember, he played the young Indiana in "The Last Crusade"?). It was so surreal, to talk about someone who was so cool and famous, and is now gone, to people who have no clue who he was. I ended up saying that if he were alive, I think he'd be similar to Leonardo DeCaprio. And that his whackadoo brother Joaquin probably wouldn't be spouting his raving lunacy on the late night talk shows if it weren't for him.
7. I'm still on my Friends re-run kick. And here's some trivia: Who played young Ben, the son of Ross and his lesbian first wife Carol? None other than Zach and Cody, the awkward and wealthy twins from Nickelodeon or Disney Channel or whatever it is they're on (are they still on???). I need to finish with this pretty soon, I'm starting to let Friend-isms creep into my everyday vernacular. Like, I'm starting to talk like Phoebe. And it's creepy.
8. No school for two weeks. It's Tuesday, and so far I've done 6 loads of laundry, run the dishwasher 4 times, gone through 3 gallons of milk and one bottle of wine. We've also slept in, stayed in our pajamas all day long and had some good laughs. I'll be climbing the walls before too long but before that happens, I'm determined to enjoy this downtime with my kids.
9. Time for me to decide what I'm going to do when I grow up. I am finally taking the advice of a wise friend, who told me not too long ago "You have to act like Big Daddy is dead. You aren't going to see any money from him, no help, nothing.". I've been sitting here, like a naive puppy who was abandoned and left alone on a side road, waiting for my master to come back, or at the very least, throw me an effing bone. It's not going to happen, and that's finally sinking in (really, Einstein? Was it the fact that you went to a food shelf that drove this home for ya??). I need to be able to provide for these kids, and ultimately, for myself. I have been weighing my options, trying to decide what I can do (aside from write a blisteringly funny, acerbically touching best selling chick lit novel which gets made into a universally loved movie starring Lauren Graham and/or Melissa McCarthy). I could go back and do eBay full-force, that used to bring in a few grand a month. But I think, ultimately, I have to go back to school. Looks like Charlie won't be the only one in college this fall. Watch out for the Freshman Fifteen, Jenny!!!!! I'm thinking something in the Elementary Education arena...can you imagine a 46 year old student teacher? Yikes. But to quote the fabulous movie I'm watching right now, it's time to nut up, or shut up. (Gotta love Woody Harrelson....remember "The Kelly Song"? I do. Saw him perform it live, too. Sigh.)
10. Walter has been enjoying the Christmas bounty...aside from candy left on the floor by oblivious kids, he's been the official plate licker of Christmas 2011. Guess what? Christmas food gives dogs gas. Really bad gas.
Hope you sweet readers (and some not so sweet...but we'll get to that later) had a lovely holiday. Thank you all for being there for me, whether you've chimed in or not, while I've tried to process this long, strange trip that is now my life.
Write up your own TeN oN TUEsdAy and link up at my buddy Lin's awesome blog, Linny's Vault. Always good to spread the crazy around.
Until next time, my friends...enjoy the afterglow.