Sunday, February 02, 2020

A Very Happy Story

So, I'm back, because I realized I forgot to tell you the best thing that happened over Christmas. As has been documented in these pages several times, I have experienced a recurring dilemma over what to get for Larry for birthdays and holidays. I mean, I've only known this person for 30 years and shared my life with him for 29, so how the heck am I supposed to know what he would like to get?

I know, it makes no sense to me, either.

Oh, but this year? THIS YEAR was different. Larry has always been stating wistfully how he'd like somewhat current pictures of the kids to hang up at work (the last set I made for him were all from 2006) and I have mostly been ignoring him because, well, overwhelming - I'd have to get some pictures printed (how do you even do that anymore) and then I'd have to find frames and yikes, forget it, okay?

But this year I clicked on an ad for Mixtiles (NOT a sponsored post) and thought, "I can do that!" All I had to do was upload some pictures to their site and they'd send me 8x8 photo squares that had something sticky on the back that you could hang anywhere. Easy!

Or not...

Folks, I spent hours searching for recent pictures of the kids on my phone and on my computer, begging them for selfies from their own phones, etc. One kid, it turned out, I had ZERO pictures of, except one from prom night, and I only had that because her friend's dad is a professional photographer and took the time to snap some fancy pictures of the girls. Granted, it's harder to get pictures of older kids (especially if half of them don't even live here anymore), but OMG this was ridiculous.

Think he'd like a picture of a strange dog?
By the end, I was slightly nuts and begged Brian and Susie to help, because I could no longer figure out what would look good and how close to crop the photos. And when we did get the order? I was scared to look at it. What if all that work had been for nothing? What if everything looked awful once enlarged? Susie had to take the box up to her room and check it out for me.

PERFECT. They came out perfectly. I had each kid wrap a few, so Larry had a pile of presents. And this was the very first Christmas in almost THREE DECADES that I didn't feel like an absolute loser in the spousal gift department. I mean, GO, ME!

What's more, I now have an unlimited supply of gifts for him - Valentine's Day? Mixtile! Father's Day? Mixtile! Birthday? I bet you can guess!

No more discount Christmas mugs and lone eclairs for my long-suffering spouse, nope, nope, nope! I have attained my holy grail - an affordable gift for my spouse that he will actually like.

I told you - it's a happy story.



Saturday, January 18, 2020

Holidays? What Holidays?

We held our annual New Year's party 4 days early, because former neighbors were visiting and they wanted to see everyone. Which meant that, for the first time in 13 years, we didn't have to spend New Year's Eve getting our house ready for a party the next day. This felt weird. We ended up watching a (very bad) movie and then playing Monopoly. And then, New Year's Day? Nothing.

Do not watch this movie. Ever.
I mean, we must have done something, but I have no idea what it was. Maybe that was the day we went to the mall and I experienced the Miracle of the Jeans. You see, Susie convinced me to try on the jeans that all three of my daughters wear, and I agreed only because they are the only jeans that come in a short enough length for me to wear uncuffed.

I didn't expect much, because I am extremely apple-shaped and jeans that fit my hips and legs WILL NOT BUTTON around my belly, even with my truly excellent shapewear. Or, if they do button, the waistband digs into my stomach and makes me feel awful. Or they just look like crap. In other words, trying on jeans is a sure way to completely ruin my day, and really, should anyone be doing that on the first day of the new year? No, they should not.

But my beloved JAG jeans betrayed me this year by discontinuing the style that fits midgets like myself. The three pairs of jeans in my closet have holes in them, and NOT in stylish places, so there I was. Desperate. Forced to throw caution and good sense to the winds and risk dressing room humiliation.

Reader, they fit me. American Eagle, high-rise jeggings, extra short. I could weep with joy.

I'll never be at the level of tucked-in shirt, though
So this is the first time in years that I've been able to wear jeans that actually button (instead of my JAG pull-on ones). You know what this means? It means that I won't be walking around in public with my pants on backwards by mistake, that's what.

That link is much more amusing than today's drivel. You should read it.

Oh, what happened to December, you ask? Approximately 6,000 holidays happened. And there were house guests. And adult kids staying. And that early New Year's party I mentioned. All this. It felt like a blur. Because, yeah, there was the job thing, too.

I swear, you'd think I was the first blogger in the world who actually had to work full time outside the house. I am such a whiner.

At the beginning of the festivities-filled month, Rachel had just stopped coughing from the epic croup virus she picked up right before Thanksgiving. Everyone in the house was all Glory, hallelujah! because frankly? It was driving us nuts.

And then? She picked up a new virus, which resulted in her coughing THE REST OF THE MONTH.

We tried everything, including a zillion dollars' worth of my miracle cough drops. She kept coughing. Actually, I think she just stopped last week. Or maybe my wearing those earplugs at night did the trick. I don't know.

So! We started the month of December with house guests, finally managed to get a tree sometime in the week before Christmas (which essentially bore down on me with all the delicacy of a freight train), gifts showed up beneath the tree (thank you, Amazon, even if you ARE evil), and food miraculously appeared on our table Christmas Day. I have very few memories of any of this, and gee, wouldn't it help if I blogged more frequently than once a month?

Side note: Our tree looked pretty pathetic this year. It had some weird sort of duck tail effect with its bottom branches that bugged me every time I looked at it. I was going to show you, but apparently I forgot to take a picture of it. Or maybe I hated the duck tail so much, I chose not to? I can't remember.

Speaking of trees, check out the hat my friend knit:

It lights up!
We had friends over for Christmas dinner, the same friends as every year. Sometimes? Traditions are nice. Although, come to think of it, the tradition of cleaning up my entire house on Christmas morning because we're having guests later is one I could definitely do without.

Also, Uncle Matt and his girlfriend (who has been around since 2012, so maybe I should give her a name already?) showed up. And David flew in from Texas, where he helps build space rockets (that happen to be paid for by my evil Amazon purchases and yeah, I feel a little conflicted about that), and spent Christmas with us, which helped a lot, because he likes to bake. Also, it was nice to see him.

Brian was here, too, home from school for the holidays. He put up with us fairly well.

We had Chinese food for Christmas Eve, because we're an interfaith family. Also, because we like Chinese food. We all went to see the Star Wars movie for Chanukah, because the good guys are like the Maccabees, fighting the evil empire. But without any dreidels, of course...

We're really rocking the interfaith vibe here, I'd say
I worked at my job through all of this, and yes, I WOULD like a medal, thank you very much.

Speaking of my job, I celebrated my one-year workiversary this month, which was not quite as joyful as it should have been, because one of the other teams got laid off, so we're all just waiting for the ax to fall. I told Larry at one point, "Well, if I do get laid off for a bit, it will be great to get a break - I really need one!"

Because, you know, 12 whole months, right?

And then I realized I had said this to the man who has gotten up every single weekday (minus holidays) for, oh, 28 years and driven in to the office to support our family. Almost THREE DECADES. And has never griped about it.

But, yeah, let me complain to you about my 12 months of telecommuting, all right, Larry? It's been hell.