Saturday, December 27, 2008

As Exciting As Christmas Morning

"What's that? A candy cane on my bed? There's presents under my tree? I know what that means. Mom, Santa was here! Santa was here!"

That's what we heard Christmas morning. At 4:50 am. She was pretty excited by it all. Her sister on the other hand had to be woken up at 6 because we couldn't hold back the older one any longer. Guess which one was my favourite child that morning. Actually, I slept in like the little one did. My wife was up with the older kid because she was just as excited as the kids were. That's the way it's always been and I don't see it changing anytime soon.

So we got downstairs and they were both super excited to see what Santa had left them. We let them get into the stockings and start organizing presents according to the names on them. Good thing Nanny, Bampy and Uncle Ry Ry showed up quickly because we couldn't have delayed the present opening much longer. If we'd known how long opening everything would take I think we might have started a lot earlier. It was a process of unwrapping the gift, getting excited about it, and then asking "can you open this so I can play with it?"

"Not right now. Finish opening your presents and then we'll worry about getting stuff out of the box."

Which brings me to a pet peeve, actually a huge piss off, of mine. Toy manufacturers suck. They use tape, twist ties, bolts, screws, and anything else they can find to securely attach the toys to the boxes. The toys are held in place more securely than my kids are when we're in the car. You need to be some sort of freakin' safe cracker to get a toy out of its box nowadays. Ok, maybe it's not that bad but it certainly takes more finesse than just yelling "get out of the box you stupid piece of crap!" at it. Believe me, I have personally verified that fact. Repeatedly.

My other big problem with toy makers is stickers. How hard would it be for those lazy bastard to just paint a picture of a light switch or a stereo speaker on the wall of the dollhouse? The dollhouse that "requires some assembly". It's not bad enough I have to get all Extreme Home Makeover and put a house together from scratch but then I'm supposed to decorate it. I don't watch that show but I'm pretty sure they've got a separate team for that job. Good thing their uncle was there to help out or I would have just thrown stickers wherever I deemed fit.

"Daddy, why are there twelve light switches in the kitchen and stereo speakers in the bathroom?"

"Because I got very little sleep last night, there's twelve more toys over there requiring assembly, and Mattel hates parents. Merry Christmas sweetie."

It's all worth it though when you get to watch them enjoy playing with it for a whole fifteen minutes before moving on to another toy. If only they'd be excited about getting a stick for Christmas. All the joy of their reaction with none of the work sounds like a win win to me.

That's why I give the award for best reaction to a present to their Bampy (grandfather for those of you who don't speak infant). He got a real nice looking hdtv that he was pretty happy to get. He was so happy that he cried a little bit. Can't blame him though. A big cool present like that which requires minimal assembly, provides hours of fun, and doesn't require a single sticker at all sounds like the perfect present to me. Makes me a little misty myself just thinking about it.

Friday, December 19, 2008


When it comes to gift giving, and guerrilla warfare, the element of surprise is crucial. You can't expect to crush the oppressive ruling class or get a real good reaction without it. Not quite sure which one of those applies to gifts and which to warfare. Christmas shopping is a lot like war too in that you're thrust into a sea of humanity going every which way in a hectic mass of noise and chaos and in the end you're left wondering if it was all worth it. It's enough to drive a person insane enough to start punching out carollers. I'd advise against that though because I believe that results in a fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-lawsuit. I don't know that for certain but to quote Jay-Z, as I often do, I ain't passed the bar but I know a little bit.

Anyways, I was talking about the element of surprise. In particular, how I lost that advantage yesterday. I went shopping with the girls and we picked up a couple things for their mom. On the way out to the van we had a conversation about not telling mom what we bought today. A Disney princess chocolate to seel the deal and all was well. We got home and they showed off their chocolates, talked about the stuff we'd seen, and held up their end of the deal. For a couple minutes at least.

"Mom, are you going to put your pictures into that thing we got?"

Damn it.

"Sweetie, remember how we talked aobut not telling mom what we bought? Well how about shutting up then?"

I guess I'll just have to return that real nice camera we got her then. Too bad because it was awesome.

It doesn't end there though. After we got home my wife went out to do some shopping. She picked up something called a V-Motion for the kids. It seems like a toddler version of a Wii. Not nearly as high tech and educational but it still seems cool. Plus since I guess it's a game system I assume we can look forward to them releasing a Grand Theft Auto game for it at some point. Grand Theft Auto: Dora Edition. "Swiper, no swiping. Swiper, no swi...holy shit he's got a gun. Run Boots, run!" It should be awesome.

So before my wife and the girls could go out in the van to pick up her brother from work (thanks a lot OC Transpo strike) I needed to sneek it into the house. I threw my coat overtop of it and got it inside without incident. Then went on their way and all was well. Or so it seemed. They got home a few hours later (again, kudos to you OC Transpo union). As my wife was going through the process of de-winterizing the kids she told the older one to go upstairs so they could get ready for bedtime.

"I can't."

"What do you mean you can't?"

"I can't, I'm looking at this really cool thing on the stairs."

That's about the time my cellphone rang and I got the greeting "What kind of moron leaves a present out on the stairs?"

Damn it. I put it there when I brought it in and made a note to myself to hide it away before I left for work. Well, needless to say I forgot. That left us scrambling to explain why it was there and, more importantly, who it was for. I said to tell her it was for Toy Mountain so kids who don't have toys could have it. When she got that news she was fine with it. Pretty proud of her for that since we know she'd like to have one and it is a "really cool thing". First thing this morning though that's what we did, went down to the mall and she put it in the tent so some other kid could have it.

So my own forgetfulness, some might say moronitude (spellcheck wouldn't say it but it can shove it up it's dictionary), worked in our favour. It helped the kids learn that Christmas is a time for giving. Just wish it didn't cost me $50 to teach that lesson. I stopped at the store on the way home and picked up a second one for them. After she was so willing to give away a toy she wanted without even a question what choice did I have? Good thing I returned the wife's super nice camera or I'd really be upset about the cost.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just One Of Those Days

You ever have one of those days where you understand why it's a good thing you don't own a gun and live within walking distance of a clock tower? I don't think either of those were conscious decisions but after yesterday I'd have to say they were wise ones. That sort of thing never turns out well for anyone. I'm getting ahead of myself though.

The day started out fine. I got up with our youngest and we went to the basement so the others could sleep. We had about a little over an hour to play and watch some tv with inappropriate language. There's not as much of a risk of her repeating things as there is with her big sister so I can get away with it. There's no way I could watch something like this or that with the big one around. She'd be singing at the top of her lungs as soon as we got anywhere crowded. "Happy holidays everyone." So after everyone got up it was soon time to get ready to go to a Christmas party.

That's where the day turned on me. I went outside to warm up the van: no big deal. It wasn't that cold though so I decided it didn't need to be warmed up that much and I turned my attention to shovelling the snow we'd gotten the night before. I cleared away a nice pathway and then went to open the van. And that's when I noticed I didn't have the keys anymore. Yep, I had dropped them into the snow. I dropped them into the snow and then tossed the snow/key combination into a snow bank. That meant I got to spend the next forty five minutes sifting through the snow. At least a needle in a haystack isn't freezing cold. As the minutes ticked away I got colder, more pissed, and more stressed as we had the party to get to. I'm sure you're thinking why not use your spare keys? Well, those were the spare keys. The other ones have been missing for about a week now. Certain people seem to think I'm responsible for those ones too but I'm not convinced. In light of this latest keytastrophe though I don't really have a leg to stand on. My only real hope is to find them and then frame someone else.

Anyways, the keys turned up and we went to the party. It was a kids party at the car dealership where the girls' grandmother works. It was pretty fun. They had a big inflatable obstacle course which the girls actually enjoyed for once. They don't usually like the sound of the air pumps. Worked out for me though because if you accompany a child people don't get upset about a grown man climbing around in there. The other big draw for me was the food. I had some of the best sandwiches. Actually, does a chocolate brownie stuck between two kinds of bread, gingerbread and shortbread, count as a sandwich? If you answered yes than you may want to contact a doctor, a dietitian, or Jarrod from Subway. I don't care though because they were friggin' tasty.

The party went well. Some entertainment the kids didn't watch because it was too loud and then Santa showed up to hand out presents. They both like their toys but it didn't make the ride home fun. The guy who thought it was a good idea to make Barbies with removable shoes is a friggin' tool. Every two minutes I got to hear about how a shoe fell off. Needless to say, I was more excited than usual to go to work when that time rolled around. That changed when I got there to find out one guy had called in sick and the other wouldn't be in because he was getting evicted. Don't get me started on that one. Throw a busy night and all sorts of piddly little piss-offs on top of that and the result is me not getting home until 3 am. All in all the day sucked.

So it was a crap day but there were still things to be happy about. The invention of the GBS, gingerbread brownie shortbread sandwich, would be one. Grocery stores that are open 24 hours with fully stocked bakeries and a freezer with Ben and Jerry's Half Baked ice cream is another good thing. Next on the list would be the comedy of Ricky Gervais. I watched his HBO special yesterday and it's hilarious. Between that, the Office and Extras I'd say he's helped me avoid more than a few freak outs. Dexter helps in that department too. It's awfully cathartic to watch a likable serial killer murdering evil doers. Thank goodness all those can be found on Sundays because I really needed it yesterday.

Oh, family and loved ones are good too.

Friday, December 12, 2008

9 Year Old Gets A Movie Deal

I was reading the story of that 9 year old kid who wrote a book about how to talk to girls. Seemed awfully silly to me but I could live with it. Then I got to the part where Fox studios bought the movie rights to it. The deal was apparently in the "low six figures". WTF? This little bugger gets a truckload of cash for his homework? I don't know anything about this kid but I know I don't like him.

This whole thing is just a bad idea for several reasons. First, achieving that level of success at such an early age sets him up for a big case of Orson Welles syndrome later on. If not being able to measure up to Citizen Kane drove Welles to eat himself to death then I can only imagine the effect this will have when this kid grows up. You know, when he's 12 or 13 and hasn't published a book or written a movie in a few years. Imagine the pressure of peaking at 9. Second, no 9 year old needs that kind of money. Honestly, how many transformers, or whatever the kids are playing with nowadays, does one kid need? Sure, his parents will probably do the right thing and set the money aside for his college education or something but it still feels wrong to me. Finally, this puts an awful lot of pressure on his teachers from here on out. Suppose the next story he writes for a class totally sucks (fingers crossed). How does a teacher slap an F on the kid who sold his homework for more than they'd make in a year? Teaching is tough enough without having your student's work being evaluated by critics across the country.

I'm sure by now you're saying that I'm just jealous. Well, you're god damn right I'm jealous. Can you blame me though? He sold his homework and now he's got enough money to pay off most of my mortgage. So yeah, I'm indulging in the deadly sin of jealousy. Actually, it makes me want to do nothing but sit on the couch and eat cookies so I might have sloth and gluttony covered too. Three out of seven just because of one stupid book.

It does inspire me though. I want nothing more now than to have some dumbass movie studio buy the rights to the stupid crap I write. I've got the perfect name for it already. It'll be call "Look, I Got Some Jagoff Studio To Make A Movie Out Of Some Stupid Crap I Wrote Too You Little Bastard". Directed by Jon Favreau and starring Neil Patrick Harris.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Seeing Is Believing

I noticed I haven't posted anything in over a week so I guess the addition of all the getting ready for the holidays activities aren't very conducive to blogging. That and I'm lazy. Anyways, today's big philosophical question is would you rather have kids you behaved in public and saved their dickishness for home or vice versa? Obviously, the best case scenario would be kids who behave both at home and out in the world but that's about as likely as me being named prime minister. After all the crap that's gone on in the last few days I think if I just show up down at parliament hill at the right time of day I may get the job. Of course, I'm pretty sure I flunked political science so I might be wrong about that one.

Back to the point, the question of where's the better place for the kids to play the a-hole card occurred to me last week. We were out shopping and a lady complimented my wife on how well behaved the kids were and how nicely she spoke to them. Kind of a weird thing to come from a total stranger in my opinion but nice nonetheless. My first reaction though was to think "how about you drop by the house at bedtime before you start tossing out statements like those". Sure enough less than four hours later one is jumping on our bed and wiggling her butt in the window while I'm chasing the other one, who happens to be completely bare assed, down the hall. I don't recall exactly what I was saying as I tackled our little nude sprinter but I can guarantee it wouldn't be considered "nice" by too many people. Needless to say, I think that woman is an idiot.

As I type this I can hear my wife pleading with our youngest to lie down and go to sleep. She's not cooperating with either request. Apparently those would interfere with her plans of not listening and being a huge pain in the ass. Seriously, you'd normally need some sort of pharmaceutical ointment to deal with rectal discomfort of that degree. I wish I could say at least he big sister listens but there's been more freakouts, flipouts, and timeouts that I can count to disproof that theory. Then she comes home from nursery school where we hear about how well she behaved and how the other kids were "climbing on the climbers when they weren't supposed to but I didn't".

"That's super. Are you going to listen to rules like that around the house? Yeah, I didn't think so either."

And so we're left in a parental state equivalent to Big Bird. Their unruly behaviour is our Snuffleupagus. Nobody else really sees it, so nobody else really believes it. In the meantime I'm getting pretty good at chasing down and catching naked youngsters. Not exactly the sort of thing you want to brag about to too many people but what can you do.