So, the week of Christmas, it got cold and snowed, because Mother Nature is a horrible, horrible person. Since I had it off - miracle of miracles - the kids and I huddled at home.
I got an espresso machine for Christmas - which the children had, I kid you not and have photographic evidence to prove it, addressed to "the Lady of Evil." So I spent a lot of time drinking far too much caffeine when I wasn't pretending to be a full-time housewife.
And also really, really wishing the neighbor's dog had gotten a muzzle for Christmas. Or maybe a shock collar. It spent a lot of its time barking. It was probably bored, poor thing.
Stumpy the Hell-Puppy also got a Christmas present (and a stocking). The kids insisted. At least I didn't have to wrap it. It probably would have just confused Stumpy, anyway, and I hate wrapping.
I would happily just hand people their unwrapped gifts if I could. Seriously, why do we wrap stuff - "here is a gift, you don't know what it is, but in about 30 seconds, you will, and then, I get to pick up all that paper!" I spent two hours wrapping the kids' Christmas gifts, and they had them undone and an ocean of discarded wrapping paper on the floor within 45 minutes.
And the only reason they lasted that long is I made them slow down to do the obligatory "holding-random-gift-and-smiling-in-front-of-the-tree" pose about 18 times. I bet people have photo albums full of pictures of themselves and family members holding up gifts which they no longer remember what they were. Maybe that's the reason for wrapping?
The kids were eerily good, probably because they were worried about that Red-Suited Big Brother. (At least until Christmas; afterward, they were enraptured by their gifts, which provided me hours of quiet coffee-sipping time and thus proved worth every penny. Don't believe me? Right now, the Little Professor is upstairs reading "The Merchant of Venice," and it's so quiet I can hear the furnace running.)
We did have one little misstep - I think I'll blame it on that witch, Mother Nature. The children had made reindeer feed, which consisted of almighty big globs of gold glitter and considerably less oatmeal. (The glitter makes it magic. No, really.) The kids usually toss it out on the porch for Santa's reindeer, since we don't have a chimney and Santa comes through the front door.
This year, as I mentioned and mourned, was cold. Unwilling to actually take a step outside into the cold, they stood in the doorway and shook out their bags of reindeer feed before telling us good night and scampering upstairs to bed.
As I went up the stairs - I can't remember the reason now - shortly after they retired, I found glitter all over the landing by the front door. Glitter everywhere.
"Children! Come here!"
"Look at this - glitter, everywhere!"
And a big, fat tear slipped down the Little Professor's cheek. "I'm sorry, Momma."
I could almost see the wheels in his head turning - he had been so good, only for it to have been spoiled at the very last moment. And by accident, too.
I sighed. I couldn't let him stew all night, frightened that Christmas was potentially ruined.
"It's OK. Maybe Santa will let the reindeer in, and they will eat it all up." I wiped his cheeks. "It's OK. It was an accident. If this is the worst thing that happens today, we're in pretty good shape."
He hugged me. "Really?"
He went to bed and I got out the broom - it's quieter and they were sleeping.
Curse you, Mother Nature.
(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)