Gwool

Gwool
Birthday
February 25
Bio
Weather beaten, divorced father of 4 through a lot of changes and far happier than I have been in my entire life... in spite of the day to day crap coming my way. The ability to find the humor in it all and maintain a sense of openness and respect with those with whom I choose to share my free time, makes it all worthwhile. Expect intermittent rants of whimsy as time permits. And maybe the occasional political rant to get my left leaning friends all in a dither.

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Salon.com
Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 20, 2010 2:46PM

A Walton Family Christmas It Isn't

Rate: 20 Flag

osgingerbread

(Grandpa Walton would have to be pulling Grandma Walton off the children whilst beating them with a wooden spoon if this is what theirs  looked like.  Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen Irritated Mother and Granma Walton in the same room together?  Can anyone prove they are not the same person??   Santa took a head shot.  We await the Zapruder film.  Note Frosty sleeping off a tough night, the angry drunk, on the adjacent corner to the bled out Santa.)

“Aren’t you going to help me decorate it?” My daughter asked plaintively as I handed her the Gingerbread house tray with the main pieces seemingly glued together.

“I will help you as much or as little as you want, sweetie.  I figured you wanted to do it yourself.”  This being triggered both by resistance to homework when I seek to help as well as a desire to just sit and watch the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.

“I figured we could do it together.  It would be fun.” She said as her voice trailed off.

Feeling the heel, I checked instructions and sought advice on what she wanted to do and what she wanted me to do. 

Lots taking place in Gwooville, and my little Cindy Loo snapped me out of it, as it were, with those pleas.

A new job after a year of unemployment.  A lawsuit settled.  A divorce finalized.  A veritable trifecta – or perfect storm – of Karmic forces seemingly saying throughout 2010, “Oh yeah, and another thing …” before kicking me in the chops.  Karma was Kato to my Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther fame with me never knowing when Karma was going to jump out and kick my ass and destabilize my emotional state.

The only Christmas things adorning the apartment happen to be ones never taken down from last year.  A few Christmas balls remain over in the corner by the TV stand, having been batted over there by the cat a year ago.  A place for everything and everything has its place.  I did buy some Wal*Mart mini ornaments for the mini fake tree still standing in a walk in closet upstairs.  Progress.

oshumbugwall

Christmas Cheer 365 Days a Year ... like the white trash homes that never take down the Christmas Lights from the leaf-clogged gutters not available in townhouse living.

 So Saturday on a race to a family party my 12 year-old daughter and I stopped at Costco for bulk purchases of cookies for the party before hitting a mall for gift cards to slide by the present requirement.  If it’s the thought that counts, then those gift cards don’t count for much, as I had yet to have the mental bandwidth to give it much thought.

Returning home from a party where I had wrapped presents on the hood of my car in tin foil (an alcohol-friendly family tradition of the way to wrap stocking stuffers on alcohol-fueled Christmas Eves), I arrived home to my apartment when the Ginger Bread House construction was mentioned.  We’d bought one last year which wound up breaking in pieces in transport home that was never assembled.

So last night we put this year's version together.  My beefy fingers managing to snap the three of the four Christmas tree pieces in preparation.  Too much icing had the roof pieces sliding around.  The little sweet tarts that serve as tree ornaments were a bear to affix to the seven piece tree that should have been a four piece tree.  Frosting/Elmer’s Glue flew about the Wal*Mart coffee table as we giggled away in the frustration of it all making a colossal mess of ourselves in the process.

“I’m going to make it a Zombie Christmas!” my daughter giggled, as she started slathering red frosting everywhere. 

“Look, they shot Santa!” she exclaimed.

“You’re a sick kid, you know that?”

“Hey, you raised me.” She said, invoking a retort her much older brothers often deployed in more contentious times gone by.

As she continued turning her pieces of the house into a Jackson Pollack painting depicted at the top, I finished up the tree and moved to my side of the roof.  I tried affixing peppermints to the roof with too much frosting, resulting in them sliding down the side of the house.

I had originally started out trying to design a Mrs. Clause image with peppermint breasts, but self corrected.  Ok, Ok, maybe I did not self correct, but rather lacked the visualization and art skills to concoct a buxom Mrs. Clause image out of the remaining gum drops and sweet tart balls to pull it off.  Either way, the thoughts remained with my inside-the-head voices... for the most part.

 osgingerbread2

The more austere side of the combined house construction effort.  Note Frosty in the lower left corner slimed under an avalanche of white glue frosting courtesy of the lass whose initials adorn the wall as graffiti. 

But watching the peppermints slide down the green frosting had me laughing thinking of Cooper’s droop .  It had me thinking of a Carol Burnett skit from decades ago that had her in a flowing blouse top into which it looked like she had stuck two tennis balls that she spent considerable time swinging about like a geriatric tassle twirler.  My mother loved that show and laughed until she cried at the skit.  A nice memory of dysfunctional days gone by while establishing my own dysfunctional traditions to keep the memory alive as family patterns repeat, needing slight and ever bizarre modifications to keep up with the times.

Ultimately I figured out that in frosting construction, like in some intimate communications, less is more.  I got out tweezers and resurrected the sweet tart balls on the Christmas Tree and then sought to clean up my side of the roof after the Jackson Pollack effort on the other side of the gingerbread house had been finished up.

osgingerbreadroof 

 Blue mint affixed to get my mind out of the Cooper's Droop gutter ... Would I had gone on the internet or stalked Irritated Mom to figure out how to pull this off... Gingerbread House Construction is not for sissies!

“You need to put this up on your Facebook page, and I bet you’re going to write a blog about it.”  my daughter giggled after talking me into taking pictures of it.

“You want me to do that?”

“You know you want to, Dad.”

“Head off to bed.  Maybe tomorrow we can drag out the fake tree and get that squared away.”  I said, kissing her on the top of the head while rubbing her back.

 "I love you, kid." I added as she headed up the stairs humming a Christmas Carol to herself. 

Not exactly the Waltons, but it works. 

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Comments

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I love it!
Here's to 2011....
Nothing like tradition to hold a family together.
Ahhhh, too sweet!!

Rated!!

Merry Christmas my friend, and a Happpppppy New Year!!!
I can tell you from experience: daughters always win out over football. Believe me, though, your daughter probably created more happy Christmas memories from creating the gingerbread house with you than if you had installed $500 worth of Christmas lights. And glad to hear Karma is backing off.
Caroline: Yeah, we'll see. Oddly enough I'd got through 2010 all over again if I had to. It was actually a great year all the way around in spite of all that.

Sarah: Yeah, "continuity of ritual" is a buzz word I have recently learned and seek to honor for the kids.

Tink, you old softie, you. Go make your own Gingerbread house and send us the pics.

Cuss: Yeah, they do. It's a fun thing, daughters. As to Karma, I sure hope its tuckered out, or it just could be leaning up against the ropes in between rounds panting, exhausted, but pissed off and recharging. One just never knows.

Jane: Yeah, it likely will head out tonight, pending homework and after basketball practice. :)
Is this your entry into Mimetalker's Open Call?
Gabby: No idea. What is this thing called Mimetalker's Open Call??
I cannot believe you pulled off the gingerbread house. I'm annoyed actually. Even slightly mortified and put off. If you can do it, maybe I should give it another shot. Nevermind. Loved this post! And your Kassie's good sense of humor. And so happy to see this on the Cover. Well done!
Gwoolieville is a pretty nice place.. I love you posts about your daughter CindylouGwoolie seems so together and sweet. Merry Christmas you ole Grinch You.
I give you the words of Martha Stewart: "Any slight imperfections are quite charming." Rated.
You're a good dude, Geoff and a good Dad. Besides the outcome of Pats game wasn't decided until the end of the fourth quarter.

Best of luck in 2011. Glad you can move forward now.
A good choice for an EP. Congrats!
Mary: The key to Gingerbread bliss seems to be less is more. Think of the crud like super glue. Just enough to get the cement like gingerbread to adhere to one another. Too much and it slides around as evidenced by the Cooper's Drooped mints. And yeah, if I can do it, I am sure you can. Rumor has it the San Diego Zoo is ordering up a group of these things to give to the primate keepers after reading this blog... Shirley they will do a better job with the Christmas Tree construction.

Rita: Yeah, she's a pretty special kid, even if adolescence is just around the corner... :)

Susan: If a few, slight imperfections are charming, then this thing is down right lovable.

OE: It was fun to have the Pats in the background rather than the main event based on the way it was going. We'd butchered GingerbreadVille by half time so I could watch the highlights of the Giants implosion to Berman's dulcet voice overs.

Schmoop: Thanks. Glad you liked it.

Kate: I suspect the bar has been raised on grotesqueries. I do remember helping a nephew once built an air craft carrier and talking him into melting the planes to appear as though they had crash landed onto the deck. Do not recall my sister being terribly happy with me for that little bit of sage Uncledom.
Lovely. Karma goes both ways. You deserve a great deal of the good kind. What a beautiful story. The gingerbread house looked perfect to me! RRRR
Maybe next year you could start out with a theme for the Gingerbread house like an homage to the Abstract Expressionists.
rated with love
This is really a great piece of writing. I especially liked this paragraph: "A new job after a year of unemployment. A lawsuit settled. A divorce finalized. A veritable trifecta – or perfect storm – of Karmic forces seemingly saying throughout 2010, “Oh yeah, and another thing …” before kicking me in the chops. Karma was Kato to my Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther fame with me never knowing when Karma was going to jump out and kick my ass and destabilize my emotional state."
Amy: Lots of good stuff happened in 2010 as well, although appear to be sadly ending. But the big three in the negative column are all done!

Romantic: Themes might be too much structure. Just snip the bags of icing and let the kid have at it.

Caroline: Yeah. Fun set of mixed images to conjure, but it seems to have suggested that 2010 was horrible all the way around. It wasn't. Much of it was incredibly good. Oddly enough I would relive it all over again in a heart beat.
Frosty looks like he's peeing on the side of the house. Your idea? This is so funny and I can see every step happening in my mind. The GB house looks pretty good, all things considered.
I hate to inform you, but this structure clearly is not built in compliance with the National Ginger Bread House Construction Code. Fines will be forthcoming....Oh, and merry Christmas!
Michael: Nope. I just did the spartan roof, having to make the mid course correction around my artistic plans due to too much frosting.

James: yeah, no kidding.
Have yourself a Zombie Little Christmas! Isn't that one of the new Carols?
nola: If it isn't, it ought to be!