You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2008.

I really do love Christmas, but it seems as though each year only one of the three of us avoids getting sick. This year, it seems to be Sean, though I fear even he is starting with the rattly chest. Just as I was about the call the doctor about the sinus infection that developed from my last cold–and didn’t, because I have gained ten pounds since I was last there, and I didn’t want to deal with the guilt–I miraculously was on the verge of recovery. And then…then, then, then…my boy infected me with a vicious and mighty cold. He has had it, too, the kind where he coughs hard enough to throw up. Oh, the rapture.

Anyway, we went to visit my parents and sister for the weekend, and the boy spiked a huge and hideous fever last night that had everyone worried. Luckily, I ran out for the magic formula–ibuprofen AND Tylenol–and knocked it out. No idea what that’s all about, but he seems to be faring well and even rode home in his new WALL-E pj’s, courtesy of Grandma.

We made out pretty well this year. Sean and I got a Lowe’s gift card (always, ALWAYS appreciated), some money toward a new TV, some clothing, some iTunes cards, and I finally got a grill pan, along with a smashing new bag and wallet, and assorted other goodies. Yay! The boy, of course, scored a righteous haul. He got a Wii, which he had never heard of until I found one at Circuit City and then played it up until he was convinced it was the best gift ever. He got Tinker Toys, games, some movies, some Wii stuff, art supplies, action figures, a kit to make little oozy Martians, a giant pop-up Star Wars tent, and more, more, more. The benefit of having just one kid is that you can spoil him rotten. Of course, the downside is that you spoil him rotten. But he’s such a lovely boy. And he lost one of his top front teeth on Boxing Day. So the grand total of teeth lost is four…at the tender age of five. Amazing.

Anyway, I’m off to try some Nyquil and hope it makes me forget that I haven’t been able to breathe out of the left side of my nose for the past three days. I knew I’d be raising a petri dish, but this is kind of ridiculous.

Good grief. Even *I* am sorry for that one. But anyway…

The dead deer next door has diminished. We went from full-on carcass on Christmas Eve to naught but skinned haunches on Boxing Day. And now there remains but one full leg and part of another, dangling from dainty hooves. I guess he’s dismembering it bit by bit for his dogs. Yum. Rancid deer. Mmm, mmm. Boy howdy.

Given that I’m a pretty affable person who doesn’t like to stir the pot unless it’s absolutely necessary, I wonder if I’m just too willing to block stuff out. I’m completely revolted by this, but I know that any overture I make won’t change a single thing. Sean says to let it go…that at some point, hopefully this summer, we will be able to either landscape or fence them out in a day or a weekend, and that will be the end of it. I just can’t think of any rational person who would say, hey, I have this dead deer. Let’s hang it upside down in a tree and slowly hack away at it for dog food. Then again, I use phrases like “naught but skinned haunches,” so who am I trying to kid.

Note to self: Find poor sap who works nights to buy current house, and move on to better neighbors. Word.

It’s technically Christmas Eve. Why are The Real Housewives of Orange County, on Bravo, and ducks having sex over and over and over again (on Animal Planet) the only things even remotely interesting on TV? I can’t stop watching the Housewives. It’s like a sickness. I can pass on the ducks, but their sheer tenacity is kind of amazing.

Also, it’s 1 a.m. I really want to be up by 7. So a better question would be why I’m not in bed. Duh.

…it demands comment. 😛

It appears that Burger King is launching its own fragrance. Flame. As in broiled. And they’re targeting men who want to smell like “seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” Don’t believe me? Look here.

Just. Ew. Who the eff would wear this? And really, if they want men to enjoy it, shouldn’t they be marketing it toward women? And wouldn’t that be so completely wrong, on so many levels? I’m pretty open minded, but I refuse to smell like meat of any sort.

I would love to meet the genius behind this idea. 😉

My boy is watching Handy Manny. I’m not denying Manny his handyman ability, so don’t think I’m talking smack about him.

But really, how hard is it to be a crack handyman when you have talking tools? Seriously.

In the season of giving and peace and joy, I’m contemplating my blessings. And they are many indeed.

1. We are healthy and we love each other.

2. I found out this evening that my contract is being renewed for next year. Budget cuts had me worried. So I get at least another year of working at home, for an absolutely lovely organization and group of people. ***ETA: I *think* my contract is being renewed. That’s the news I’m getting, but I’m anxious to sign it and be sure.***

3. Despite the tanking economy, my husband could move in a cot and live at work if he wanted to. He’s been working scads of overtime, and amazingly enough, the luxury guitar market is still doing well. Who knew?

4. He got a Christmas bonus.

5. He also got a pretty sizeable pre-paid Visa card for ten years at his job. And he gave it to me with the directive that I buy something I want. I have never had that amount of money to spend on myself, and frankly I have no idea what to do with it. That’s not a bad position to be in.

6. Despite our crappy neighbors, we own a small portion of our own house. That’s not so bad, either.

7. We have enough of what we need.

8. We have the most wonderful and delightful boy anyone could ever want. Last night he told me that I could never love him as much as he loves me. Think again, kid.

See? I can do more than bitch and snark. 😉

Well, now that that little bit of melodrama is out of the way, please allow me to paint a little picture for you.

I live in a neighborhood outside a beautiful and wonderful small town. There are lots of nice people here…I think. We live in a nice little yellow house that needs a bit of work but isn’t at all bad for a first house. Our lot is nearly half an acre. If you look out the back door, through the screened porch, you see at the left-hand corner of the yard a little yellow shed. Working up, there is a line of evergreens we had planted to serve as a living fence. And directly across from the bottom of my driveway is…

A dead deer. Hanging from my neighbor’s tree by its back feet. Where it has resided since Wednesday. It is now Sunday. My eyes. My eyes. My motherfucking eyes.

Our best guess is that he’s going to feed it to his dogs. Or he’s going to feed it to every loose dog that comes around, which is what happened early in January when I was awakened by loud snarling as two dogs fought over the carcass. Yes. The carcass. And then my neighbor came to his door, in his underwear, I suppose to see what was going on, and I completely laid into him. Which he deserved. Because that’s just gross. And wrong. And it occurs to me that we were presented with this same picture LAST Christmas. Just…why? This is not a trashy neighborhood. It’s a normal little working-class area, not a nasty place.

I need to stop thinking about it. Come on, stimulus package. Jodie needs a fence.

Why is it that a minute of sit-ups lasts an eternity, yet the minute remaining for you to rinse your car at the car wash passes at the speed of light?

I’m just saying.

And not that I have done a sit-up in a very, very long time…

Okay, I realize the cupcake thread was a little melodramatic. But the ultimate point is that things that *should* go smoothly rarely do for me. It’s frustrating, but it’s also kind of funny, once there’s a little distance.

Anyway, I forgot to mention something that’s been cracking me up for a while. I saw an eyebrow threading kiosk at the mall. Like, you can lean back in a chair, before all the faux-Goths and cat sweatshirt-wearing grandmas, and have some woman rip out your eyebrow hairs with thread. Thread that runs from her hands to her mouth. Ew.

There are just so many things wrong with this picture, but the main thing is that it’s in the middle of the mall.

Carry on.

So my boy brought home a note from school last week asking me to bring 20 cupcakes for his class party tomorrow. Hooray! This means I can go to school with him tomorrow, watch him interact with all the little cuties in his class, and take some photos of his little Christmas program. So, yeah. Cupcakes. Easy enough.

What. The. Hell? Do I expect too much? Are my expectations unrealistic? Or am I just that huge of a moron that I’m incapable of making 20 cupcakes. For preschoolers. Mother of God, a happy balance would be nice. Here, with no mincing of words, is how this venture unfolded.

Last week, Nicholas and I went to the craft store. We bought cute Christmasy cupcake papers, a frosting knife, some Christmas sprinkles. We were asked not to bring chocolate, so we bought some frosting and nice yellow cake mix. I bought some frosting bags and tips a few weeks ago, so the plan was laid: yellow cupcake, white frosting with a little swirl on top, some sprinkles. It would be a beautiful sight, and not too taxing.

Hahaha. Allow me to repeat this to make my point. Hahaha.

I never make cupcakes. I realized tonight that I had but one muffin pan. So I ran out and bought a muffin pan (and stocking stuffers, so that’s okay). Nicholas was going to help make the cupcakes for his class, but he has a pretty nasty cough, so I thought it best that he watch a movie while I baked. This, however, sparked the idea for a book title–Don’t Cough in the Cupcakes: A Guide to Baking with Children. But I digress. 😉

I came home and pulled out the cake mix. I nearly always make chocolate cake when I bake, so I had just pulled a yellow mix off the shelf. This wasn’t a standard mix, though. This mix required an entire stick of butter. And all the butter in the house was in…the freezer. Did you know that it’s pretty near impossible to soften butter in the microwave? It is! You wind up melting it. And did you know that when you pull out the bowl containing the melted–not softened–butter, you will inevitably burn the hell out of your finger? You will!

The box directed me to beat the batter for four minutes with a mixer. So I did. And I put away some dishes with my free hand. And then…there was just no good way to get the batter into the little cups. It was very thick and extremely rich…the ice-cream scoop didn’t work; I couldn’t pour it. I settled on a tablespoon and filled the cups. But instead of rising, as good cupcakes should, these hit the top of the pan and spread out. Like, really spread out. So I pried them out of the pan, they cooled…and there was just no way you could serve these, even to kids in pre-k. So I tried sawing off the overflowing edges. This was fine, but the crumbs stuck in the frosting. I tried covering the edges in sanding sugar, but they were just hideous. My husband said they’re just for preschoolers…no one will notice…but someone always notices the ugly cupcakes. You know darn well that the two snooty moms who could never be bothered to talk to you will be present and will sneer at your subpar cupcakes.

So, back to the mixing bowl. Another stick of butter. Another four minutes mixing. I readied my pastry bag with a big round top to semi-fill the cups. I ate one of the ugly cupcakes. And then another. Because even though they’re hideous, they’re delicious. But gone were my plans to fill my pastry bag with frosting and make a little swoopy swirl on top of winter wonderland cupcakes. The cupcakes are flat, the frosting is flat, and the tops are dipped in a mix of “gourmet” red and green sugar and Christmas nonpareils.

I know someone who spends an entire week crafting a birthday cake for each of her kids. She fashions fondant into Bob the Builder, sea creatures, monkeys, Elmo…you name it. She does it all by hand, for tier upon tier of cake. I think she’s insane, because she could easily pay to have someone create a boutique cake. But more than that, I’m jealous of her mad skills. Because she can do that. And I can’t even make pretty cupcakes for preschoolers. I don’t know what the deal is. I’m a reasonably skilled and intelligent and creative and culinary-abled person. This shouldn’t be beyond my ability. Or, more precisely, it shouldn’t be beyond my ability without burning the hell out of my finger, completely wrecking my kitchen, and having to do the process twice.

So forgive me tomorrow when I think “here are your fucking cupcakes” as I dole them out to the adorable pre-k kids. I’m happy to help out, but next time I’m lobbying for brownies. Oy.

**I took a photo of the accursed cupcakes at the party today. They were incredibly delicious, and the kids (and some of the dads) couldn’t have cared less. But, yeah. Ah, well. Laugh if you must. :P**


December 2008