‘Tis the Season…

xmas tree 1The kickstarter is funded and in its final hours. The tree is up and decorated, the last of the gifts ship out today, and there is Christmas music playing.

I have also threatened to cancel then entire holiday and return all the gifts at least 3 times every day for the past week. I don’t know if this time of year makes my kids misbehave more, or if my tolerance for it is simply lower.

I did manage to put aside my general Scrooginess, and hang Xmas lights on our porch for the first time in 8 years. My kids were so disappointing that we did not have any while their friends down the street had an awesome display/.I could have used this opportunity to teach a valuable lesson about not basing their expectations of happiness on what other folks have, but I relented.

My son and I dug them out of the attic last night, at least what we could find of our old stash, and he helped me wrap the pillars while my daughter and wife were at karate last night. He had fun, and they were delightedly surprised when they came home. I need about a dozen more strands till I will be happy.

Actually, maybe I was the one that needed the lesson this year. Isn’t the whole season about the small gestures of appreciation, the joy of family and friends, and giving others gifts even when it is a pain in the butt to do so? Ok, maybe the pain in the butt part is just my experience, but it was nice to see the glowing smile on my daughter’s face as the car pulled up and she saw the lights.

The rest of this season may be a little more lacking in smiles. My wife has foot surgery tomorrow, the same surgery she had a year and a half go for the other foot, and even though she doesn’t remember how difficult it was, I certainly do.

I realize now that taking only two days off from my seasonal job is not going to be enough, but nobody is willing to pick up any of my shifts. She is going to be stuck in bed on heavy duty pain pills for several days and unable to drive for weeks after that, the kids are going to be home from school, and the help I was promised isn’t coming.

Given past issues with hospitals and in-laws, I should not have expected any aid, but I was told there would be some and then excuses were made, and the whole thing laughed off with a “We can handle it!”

There is no we in this equation.

There is me, making Christmas (though my wife has done all of the gifting for relatives and made sure things are set up and under the tree – so I cannot fault her for that…) and tending to an invalid that needs medication on a strictly timed schedule.

I can handle it, but it won’t be fun and I fully expect to get fired when I fall asleep on my feet at work or have to call off because I can’t leave little kids home alone. Maybe my daughter will step up to the plate and help out. I am pretty sure they can watch movies and pull a tray of prepared dinner out of the fridge without bothering my wife. At least, I certainly hope so.

I should probably give the child more credit. It is scary how much like me she is turning out to be.

I kinda knew this already, dealing with her stubborn streak through our home school stint, but her standardized test results came back last week and they indicate pretty clearly that we need to find other supplementary things to keep her interested and progressing. She devours books, reading several in a week , and there are so many projects she wants to do (and that I have promised we WILL do some day), but we simply don’t have the time to make them happen.

She is in a school play today (a Charlie Brown Christmas) and having theatrical parents, she was very concerned with getting the right costume. I explained to her that there were not costumes for this one, and that she does not need to look like her character, only pretend to be who the lines tell her the character is. Deep acting wisdom for a 3rd grader, for sure, but she believed it and that is what matters.

She is also a kid who believes in big magic.

She asked Santa for a gift we cannot give her (she does this every year on the sly, when she meets the big man himself) especially since the shopping is done and the gifts are settled and in hand. She told Santa that she wants a robot kitty, a specific one, and I am now trying to find a reasonably priced robotics kit so that she can start experimenting with electronics and maybe one day build her own robot.

I had such a kit when I was a kid, and even though I don’t think it actually taught me anything useful at the time, it certainly helped me understand basic circuitry later in life. At the time, it only convinced me that I could take apart every electronic toy I owned and “fix” them.

She also believes very firmly that she actually likes apple pie. I don’t know where she got this idea from, since she did not like the apple pie I made one time at her request for the holidays. She did not like the apple pie gum she asked to try, nor did she like the apple pie ice cream she begged me to get at the grocery store just this week.

That’s ok, I like the icecream just fine. I will eat it.

But she seems to have this idealized (and totally false) idea of what apple pie really tastes like. Perhaps she is, like me, searching for a specific autumnal flavor that she thinks must be apple pie. I hate to break it to her, but the flavor is really Chai tea and she isn’t getting any yet.

My son… He likes nothing at all this week.

I like not having a mouse in my kitchen anymore, especially after I discovered it had eaten through the 5 lbs of peanuts I had foolishly placed in the cabinet instead of the freezer. Those were my birthday gift from my mother, and they were going to be for peanut brittle. When I would have had the time to make it, I really don’t know.

What I do know is that this sneaky mouse managed to evade the spring traps (and make off with the peanut butter bait) for the better part of two weeks. Every morning before breakfast, we had to check the place mats for mouse droppings. Finally, I broke down and got a pack of totally inhumane glue traps. They worked. I found the mouse and a slew of peanuts stuck to one the very next morning.

I won’t go into the details of what happens next, as it is not pleasant. But you have to kill the mouse or it will eventually get free and come back, sans a few legs usually. I try to be as swift and steady with this extermination as possible, but it always gives me pause and a great deal of consternation to end a life, even a life that has been stealing my peanuts.

The last time I caught a mouse this way, I got the inkling of an idea for a poem. This time, I managed to put the words in order and write it down. It is probably not finished, but if you have stuck with me this far, you deserve at least the first draft for your troubles.

Happy holidays to you all. Seriously, we can handle it!

A Notice to Prospective Visitors

Well, if you come a-visiting,
Please come, just as you are.
By plane, or train, or greyhound bus,
By bicycle or car.
With open arms we’ll welcome you,
From journeys near and far.
Be you friend, or kith, or kin,
Or strangers quite bizarre.

But, if you come a-visiting,
Don’t come in borrowed guise.
A spirit wrapped in furry form,
Would be a soul unwise.
For playing tricks upon this house
Is not what I’d advise.
I warn you it will go unwell,
For saboteurs and spies.

I cannot greet if filled with sneeze,
So don’t come on feline feet.
And if you come with bushy tail,
Big dogs you’re bound to meet.
A swine would be uncomfortable,
As bacon we do eat.
And monsters, ghosts, and aliens,
Are fine… for trick-or-treat.

Spiders, we’ll escort outside,
Ants, we’ll squish you flat,
Raccoons we will just chase away,
With brooms or baseball bats,
Republicans, well if you must,
But were all Democrats.
Salesmen, please don’t bother us,
Leave your “deals” beside our mat.

A mouse, you think, might be okay,
I assure you that it’s not.
For traps are laid and mercy’s gone,
If by, ill luck, you’re caught.
Past thieves of cheese and nuts, you see,
Have made me quite distraught.
A twinge of guilt o’r your swift death,
Will be a fleeting thought.

So, if you come a visiting,
Just come in your own skin.
No trickery is needed here,
No games of wits to win.
Soft beds have we, and fires warm,
And silly songs to spin,
We’ll toast the night and reminisce,
Then part, as friends, again.

Copyright 2015 by Robert A. Turk
All Rights Reserved


1 comment for “‘Tis the Season…

  1. December 17, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Loved the poem, Robert. Loved it! Hope you all get buy this Christmas, will be praying for your wife’s swift healing. Merry Christmas!

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