Archive for December, 2003

Christmas Idiot

I have a tendency to be a bit of a Grinch when it comes to Christmas.  I enjoy Christmas, the whole hustle and bustle and pressure of the season is a little overwhelming.   It is a bit ironic, therefore, that my wife, Maegen, enjoys the Christmas season more than any other time of year.  To put her enjoyment into perspective, when we moved earlier this year, we had to find room in our apartment for five large plastic bins full of Christmas decorations.  None of those bins belonged to me.

Our apartment entered full Christmas mode this past Saturday, when those five bins of decorations were dragged out from their hiding places.  Maegen remarked that December 20th was the latest that she has ever decorated, but by that evening our house was alive with Christmas carols, lights, and the smell of the Christmas tree.

I sat down in the midst of the decorations with a glass of eggnog and thought back to last year’s Christmas, my last as a single man.

I lived in an apartment in South Boston with a couple of my friends.  During the Christmas season, my apartment had no Christmas lights, no Christmas carols, and no Christmas tree.  If I wanted to experience a Christmas-like atmosphere, I had to go to Maegen’s apartment, where the five bins of decorations were prominently on display, along with the numerous decorations of her two roommates.  Her apartment was Christmas Town in South Boston.

It was in early December last year when I decided that I needed a plan.  Without actually going to the trouble of decorating my apartment, I needed a way to redeem myself in the Christmas cheer department.  I thought about this for a while, and then it came to me:  Christmas cards.

Maegen had been so busy with work that she hadn’t finished her Christmas cards.  I could actually have my cards done first!  I immediately got to work.

I drove to the store and purchased two packs of Christmas cards with very meaningful messages printed on them.  The fact that I cannot remember what was printed on the cards does not make the messages any less meaningful.

Once home, I signed all of the cards to my various friends and relatives.  I addressed all of the envelopes.  I wrote return addresses on all of the envelopes.  I put all of the cards into the envelopes.  I even licked the envelope flaps to seal them (in a word, YUCK).

I put the envelopes into a big stack and fastened a thick rubber band around the pile so that none of the cards could escape.  I walked down the street to the big blue mailbox and happily dropped my cards in the slot, quite pleased with myself.

Later that evening, while Maegen and I were stuck in traffic, I bragged to her that I had already sent my Christmas cards.  I then took special care to needle her about the fact that her cards had not yet been sent.  Upon hearing this news Maegen looked at me quietly for a second and then asked, “So, you don’t need those stamps you asked me to buy for you?”

There was a moment of stunned silence, followed by my reply of “AAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!” which roughly translated, meant, “Yes, I needed them.”  Maegen, sensitive woman that she is, only laughed at me until New Year’s Day.

Of the 40 cards that I sent sans stamps, about 15 of them were delivered despite their lack of postage.  Thanks to the return addresses, the remainder of the cards trickled back to me over the next two weeks, most of them festively stamped with the large red words, “INSUFFICIENT POSTAGE”.

This year I have learned my lesson.  Leave Christmas to the professionals and please pass the eggnog.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 26 Dec 2003 1 Comment

Yep, I’m an Idiot

Ok, I don’t really have time to write another article (I’ve been working on the one about the Other Ones concert I went to, but the Christmas season has robbed me of my free time), so I’ll just tell you what happened to me yesterday and move on.

Yesterday during my lunch break, I filled out all my Christmas cards (about 35), filled out the addresses, put return addresses on them.  I put a thick elastic band around them and dropped them into a mailbox after work.  Later last night, while the Megger and I were stuck in traffic on our way to Providence, to see A Christmas Carol by the Trinity Repertory Company, I told the Megger that I had sent my Christmas cards (not without a certain level of pride, since Miss Christmas hasn’t done any).

Meg looked at me for a second and then asked, “So, you don’t need those stamps you asked me to buy for you?”

I would explain the rest of the conversation, but it involved words not appropriate for all audiences.  I still can’t believe that I mailed my Christmas cards without stamps.  Thankfully, I put return addresses on all the envelopes, so I’ll probably get them back when it’s just too late to send them out in time.  Holy Macaroni, I am an idiot sometimes.

So, other than that bump in the road, the rest of the night was very enjoyable (or, as Bridget Jones might say, v. good).  The Trinity Repertory Company did an incredible job with A Christmas Carol, keeping it fun and making it a very enjoyable evening.  The actor who played Scrooge, I don’t have my playbill with me but I’ll put his name in when I get a chance, was incredible.  The actor who played the Ghost of Christmas Present was also outstanding.  I would highly recommend this show to anyone who wants to enjoy a laid back, fun night watching a live performance.

Before the show, we went to eat at the Trinity Brewhouse, where the Megger had “the best turkey sandwich ever”, and we enjoyed some really good beer.  I had the shepherd’s pie, which was pretty good, but I think that they put some serious atomic onions into it, because I am still tasting them the next morning, after two teeth-brushings, a bit of Scope, and breakfast (which involved a can of Coke in a desperate attempt to rid my mouth of the taste…Coke may take the rust off hubcaps and dissolve nails, but it didn’t stand up to the Trinity Brewhouse Onion Test).

Anyway, I’ll sign off now and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas (especially those of you who are probably expecting cards from me).  I’ll probably check in after Christmas with one of those funky “year in review” type columns.  Until then, take care and try to enjoy yourself in the hustle and bustle.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 19 Dec 2003 No Comments

Christmas Specials

Last night I was looking at my Christmas tree, thinking good holiday thoughts, when COUGH SNEEZE WHEEZE, I remembered that I had a 101 temperature.  Typical.  It’s not as much of a challenge to do holiday shopping if you aren’t coughing up a lung. 

In my feverish haze, I thought back to holiday seasons past, when I would sit in front of the television and wait for annual holiday specials.  First, the station would play that corny “Special” music and lay some hokey “Special” graphic on us to announce the fact that the show we were about to watch was, indeed, special. 

Below I have ranked the top 10 end of the year holiday specials.  There are no Turkey Day specials listed, nor are there any specials that were created after 1980 (were there any created after 1980?). 

10.  The Star Wars Holiday Special:  This special aired for the first and last time in 1978 to a country hungry for anything Star Wars-related.  The show featured Chewbacca’s family, Mulla, Itchy, and Lumpy (no, I am not making this up), waiting for him to get home for the Wookie holiday of Life Day.  The story showed the usual Star Wars cast, along with performances by Harvey Korman and Bea Arthur.  Carrie Fisher did a musical number.  I was a 6 year old Star Wars fanatic and I hated it, so did everyone else.  George Lucas did the right thing and banned it forever from the airwaves.  Happy Wookie Life Day, everyone! 

9.  Twas the Night before Christmas:  I always hated this special, but I watched it every year, nonetheless.  Essentially, some mouse with glasses writes a nasty-gram to Santa.  Santa, who must have very thin skin, decides to punish the entire town for the mouse’s insolence by taking them off of his delivery schedule.  There is then a bunch of peer pressure and unhappiness and singing and…the town gets their presents.  This special is about as much fun as sticking your tongue out an open window. 

8.  The Little Drummer Boy:  This special didn’t really show any staying power.  I think the highlight is the lamb named BaaBaa.  In an unrelated note, this is the only Christmas carol that my wife doesn’t like. 

7.  Rudolph’s Shiny New Year:  Most sequels don’t measure up, and this one is no exception.  Instead of Bumbles, there is an evil bird named Aeon the Terrible.  Instead of Rudolph running away and getting into trouble, Baby New Year runs away and gets into trouble.  Instead of misfit toys, there is a whale and a caveman.  Red Skelton’s voice can’t save this special, and by the end I’m always hoping for something bad to happen to Baby New Year.  Does that make me a bad person? 

6.  Santa Claus is Coming to Town:  This is pretty much the dividing line between the bad specials and the good specials.  Burgermeister Meisterburger forbids toys in Sombertown.  Kris Kringle fights the power and hands them out anyway.  In other news, the Winter Warlock hands out “magic corn” that helps the reindeer to “fly”.  Think this show was made in the 1960’s? 

5.   The Year Without a Santa Claus:  Heat Miser, Snow Miser, and a buck-toothed kid named Ignatius Thistlewhistle.  Nuff Said. 

4.  Frosty the Snowman:  Happy Birthday!  Jimmy Durante alone makes this show worth watching.  He clearly wins the silver for Best Narrator on this list.  To be honest, I was going to put this one behind Heat Miser and Snow Miser, but my sister still cries every time Frosty melts. 

3.  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer:  This one leads the league in quotable quotes (“I’m Cuuuute!) and political incorrectness (There are many examples, but one of the best is when Burl Ives says, “They knew the best thing they could do right now was to get the women back to Christmastown.”). 

2.  A Charlie Brown Christmas:  This is another special that would never make it today.  To begin with, the special actually dares to say that Christmas has something to do with RELIGION (eek!).  My favorite part of the special, however, is the revolutionary dance numbers performed by, among others, Lucy and Pig Pen.  This is a classic special that never fails to deliver the warm, tingly Christmas feeling. 

1.  Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas:  I’m talking about the television show, not the putrid Jim Carrey vehicle.  Mr. Grinch is a mean one, there’s no doubt of that, and his dog Max is cute, if overworked.  Boris Karloff and his perfect voice win the gold medal for Best Narrator on this list.  This is my favorite of them all, and I’m sure it’s because of my own Grinchy nature.  That doesn’t make me a bad person, does it?

The Day to Day Grind Tim 12 Dec 2003 No Comments

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