Caroling.

On the first day of Christmas the market gave to me a turkey that won’t fricking defrost.

custard

Day 2. I am growing a suspicion that the fridge is broken and it’s this turkey that is keeping the food cold. WHY are you still frozen, turkey, WHY? Better yet, HOW?

 

On the second day of Christmas my distant relatives sent to me, two “assembly requireds”, assembly

… and a turkey that won’t freaking defrost.

On the third day of Christmas my toyshop sold to me, three toys with batteries,

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Because we don’t have enough toys already.

…two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t bloody defrost.

On the fourth day of Christmas my family gave to me, four raging tantrums,

tantrums

…three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t flipping defrost.

On the fifth day of Christmas the discount store sold to me, five crappy crackers,

cracker

Because pour me another drink, dammit.

 

… four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t fricking defrost.

On the sixth day of Christmas my cupboard revealed to me, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t fricking defrost.

custard

Day 2.5, the turkey defies all known laws of thermodynamics.

 

On the seventh day of Christmas my post man left for me, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t fecking defrost.

custard

Day 3 I believe the bird is attempting to make friends with me.

 

On the eighth day of Christmas some hipsters sang to me, eight boring carols,

hipster choir

…And a happy new beard.

… seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t sodding defrost.

On the ninth day of Christmas my wallet gave to me, nine maxed-out store cards,

calculamenting

…eight boring carols, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t smegging defrost.

On the tenth day of Christmas my fridge had left for me, ten types of custard,

custard

I’m at least 80% sure that those are all custard.

… nine maxed-out store cards, eight boring carols, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t bleeping defrost.

On the eleventh day of Christmas I basically engineered for myself, eleven panic attacks,

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Either I have managed to finish everything on time, or I have forgotten something important.

 

… ten types of custard, nine maxed-out store cards, eight boring carols, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t damn well defrost.

pizza2

Sod this, it’ll be pizza all round.

 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Pope Gregory XIII arranged for me, twelve months of planning…

planning

 

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The Night Before Christmas

So I was reading to my kids the other day.

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And I get up to the bit where Santa and the reindeer land on the roof.  So far, everything is fine.

Until Santa starts naming all the reindeer.

Let’s see… There’s Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen.

(Just between us grown-ups, now that I read this as an adult, these names are kind of weird.  To my ears the first four sound like strippers and the last four sound like condoms.  I mean, who WROTE this?  What was THAT all about?)

So anyway, he names them all.  (After strippers and condoms. Seriously?)

And there’s this glaring omission.  I’m sure you know then name of the one who isn’t there.

3 year old interrupts, distraught.

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She says “MUM!  Wait!!  Where’s … where’s… ” and it is obvious that she can’t remember the name for whatever she’s looking for.  Her 6 year old sister fills in the blanks.

“Hey, yeah, mum, where is Rudolph?”

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Eventually, in a surprise burst of inspiration, I say “see that night sky?  Clear as day.  No fog here, so he doesn’t NEED Rudolph.  Remember?  He only gets Rudolph when it’s too foggy to see.  This is NOT a foggy night, so Santa can do it all without Rudolph.  Rudolph is probably at home eating a whole lot of reindeer food right now.”  I sit there, feeling about as smug as pie.

Silence, while this sinks in.

Nothing happens.  So I open my mouth to keep reading, and I’m cut off again.

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I ask, “What is it this time?”

“Where are the elephants?” She says.

We all stare at each other.  She’s actually looking kind of angry.  She says it again.

“Where are the elephants??”

Now she’s exasperated.

“Where is the lightning?” She demands.

We all look back at the book.

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Frantic flicking through the book… I find its lack of elephants disturbing.

I get the weirdest feeling that I’m letting her down.

I thought Christmas would be exciting enough for a kid, what with the toys and the food and the people and mystery and tinsel and the civic decorations and the festivities and the hype and the whole mythos and cultural experience – if anything you’d think it would be overwhelming, not insufficient.

But after a moment, I start thinking, you know what, she’s right.  There’s plenty of things in here about this magical (and oddly judgemental) guy with apparently endless funds who delivers presents on a fairly dubious honours system, there are some magical reindeer, whose main skill is flight, and then toys happen.  But it’s somewhat lacking in the *excitement* department.

Oh wait I forgot, there’s also a tree.  A heavily decorated fir tree.  Sometimes, even, with flashing lights!

That’s exciting, right?

… Right?

*crickets*

Nobody wants to make, let alone watch, an action movie about a slightly magical postman who gets all the mail delivered on time.  (Well, not unless they also include the four strippers and four condom brands.  And even then it’s still only a maybe.)

To be fair to the illustrators, the poem doesn’t actually make any mention of elephants or lightning.  But then, it doesn’t specifically say that they WEREN’T there, either.  Am I right?

So here it is.  Especially for my action-packed little three year old, I am pleased to present an arguably more thrilling alternative to the standard Christmas scene.

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To help them fit in with the Reindeer style of names, we can call them Bambi and Trojan.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Bad Holidays

We recently returned from a summer holiday.  It did not go particularly well.

At least, it started out ok, and Christmas day was great.

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I love Christmas.

But after that things went rapidly down hill.  And stayed there.  Not even in a good sort of “you’ll laugh later” kind of way.  More in a depressed, dragging its heels, sort of “let this be over soon” kind of way.  Which got me thinking about all the holidays I’ve had over the years where things have been worse.

First thing that springs to mind is the time we went to the beach and myself and our daughter somehow got pneumonia.

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This is how I cheer myself up. Compare the dismal of today with the downright horrific of yesterday.

I used to get terribly car sick as a child too, on any car trip lasting longer than about 30 minutes. But I will spare you any drawing of that.  Suffice to say I would invariably put a damper on any family holiday, well before we’d even arrived.

At least as an adult I have outgrown that.  But now I have responsibilities, and this means I have potential to make some truly awful judgement calls.

And make them I do.

Such as the time we took our brand new baby girl to some historically significant lighthouse, and it poured cold rain on us the entire time.  We were not prepared for that, and got soaked through, really quickly.

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Pictured: possible metaphor for marital relations among first-time parents

This pales in comparison, however, to the time I was in an airport in Paris, right before Christmas in 2001, and some jerk had decided to put explosives in his shoes and then tried to smuggle them on to a plane.  He failed.  And Charles de Gaulle airport ground to a halt.

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I’m not even in this photo. I’m two-storeys down.  It will be another 3 hours before I’m this far along in the check-in queue.

Speaking of Paris, there was the time my then-boyfriend got sick, and sent me to the pharmacist for medicine.  He had a stubborn, hacking cough, and I confidently went to the counter and spoke to the ladies in my best French.

However I forgot the French word for “throat”.

Loudly and clearly, I told the pharmacists that I needed some extra strong medicine, because my boyfriend had bad taste.

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This being France, they were really concerned.

Speaking of overseas travel, I once holidayed in Thailand.  I don’t recommend it.

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Seriously, even America is not this American.

Then there was the time I received poor communication from some friends, and went hiking up mountains in the most inappropriate attire that you can possibly take camping.

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On the bright side, in all the photos of that trip, I am by far the most fabulous.

This reminds me of my earliest holiday memory ever, which was also a camping trip.  I don’t remember anything about the camping part, just that at the end, when it was time to go home, the car got severely bogged in a huge mud pit.  Took ages to get it out again.

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Come to think of it, given my age at the time, this was probably the highlight.

But coming in at first place would have to be the time my now-husband / then-boyfriend and I took our first weekend away together.  He went to pick up the keys for a holiday house his parents owned, a few hours’ drive away.  I packed meticulously, and we left in good time for the long drive down there, in order to arrive just closing in on dinner time, Friday night.

Except…

Except that about 20 minutes’ from our destination, after being in the car for over two hours, I made some joke along the lines of “hope you didn’t forget the keys!”…

Silence.

A long silence.

I slowed the car to the sound of more silence.  I repeated the line.  Possibly as a question this time.  A desperate, nervous question.

“Hope you didn’t forget the keys?”

Silence.

And then he said… “er… um… that is… ” Because he had, in fact, left the keys at home.

And I turned the car around, drove all the way back again.  He got the keys.  Got back in the car, and we did the entire drive again.

The whole thing was executed in a deafening silence.

I was thinking the whole way of all the things I COULD say, but was just too tired, angry and plain astounded to say anything at that point.

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Oh, did I roll my eyes out loud? I’m so freaking sorry. Not.

Instead of arriving just before dinner time, we barrelled in, cold and hungry, just after midnight.  I don’t remember clearly, but it is quite possible one of us spent that night on the sofa.

Somehow it must have improved, because I married the guy a few years later.  (And spent our honeymoon in Thailand, as shown above.  My bad.  So that pretty much makes us even.)

All of this makes the recent holiday seem like a complete picnic.  Just had one car breakdown, and a bit of cruddy weather.  Not even bad enough to illustrate.

See, I feel better already.

Holidays

I am now on holidays, away from my usual computer, so the doodles will be sporadic, as well as clunky.  Had to draw these with the track pad.  Let me assure you, that is even harder than it sounds.  Will be too busy on Xmas day doing the whole Xmas thing… so here is an amalgamation image based on possible projections of my next few days. You have no idea how much I had to simplify this to retain clarity.

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Which coincidentally sums up my whole year.

 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sleepy

So very tired today.  Lately, one child won’t fall asleep, the other won’t stay asleep.  So I’m awake for countless hours of the night, exhausted and staggering about like the town drunk during the day.  So many things to do, and so little time left in which to do them!

Tomorrow, the kids are in day care for half the day, and I’m trying to narrow down my list to the essentials that I can’t do with the kids around, which is pretty much everything.  I’m also trying to prioritise what HAS to be done versus what I WANT to get done.

Obviously, toy shopping is a high priority at this time of year.

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Mental note: when sleeping on toy shelf, pick the one with the stuffed animals on it.

But I do worry that I’ve already done enough of that, and the remaining money could be better spent.  You have to draw the line somewhere.

So then I thought about how people always say you should do something for yourself now and then, and I usually forget that, and thought about getting a pregnancy massage.

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Ah, sweet mmmmmf zzmffmzzzzz.

But again, I worried about the expense.  So next on my list is cleaning the house, which is filthy at this point.  My floors are actually crunchy.

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Ah, sweet sleep sweep. My favourite.

Cleaning really should be a priority at this point.   Except that I can do housework any time, whether the kids are here or not, so it’s not really a good use of day care.  So I considered the things that need to be done, but can’t be done with the kids around.  Like driving the car to the mechanic for a check up.  I can walk back from there, so long as I don’t have kids with me.

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OK this is just plain wrong.

The downside of this option is glaringly obvious.  Also if it’s a warm day I probably wouldn’t even get so far as to start the ignition.  I would likely just pass out from cozy-warm-car-ness upon first contact.

So I thought about the things I would do if I wasn’t doing anything.  Generally, that means computer games.  Something along the lines of Sim-Civ-World Domination – Apocalypse Edition.

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When I wake up my face will look like a waffle.

Downside, time goes so quickly, and I am guaranteed to feel like I totally squandered my entire day.  So I thought about doing something not too expensive that I wouldn’t normally do, but that would be reasonably relaxing and rewarding.

What the heck am I doing. I don't even like popcorn.

What the heck am I doing. I don’t even like popcorn.

And I have reached the conclusion that ultimately what I need to do with my time tomorrow is take a BIG LONG NAP.

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YIPES!! What time is it?! When do I have to collect the kids?!

aaaand cue the pregnancy insomnia.