(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.
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.
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.
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.