Some Shorts for Christmas!

Christmas 1982

Alright already, I cheated, I admit it!

It was Friday night.  It had been a long week.  So I canceled all of my appointments and meetings and stayed home.  One night didn’t seem like too much to ask for.  After supper, family was trying to decide how to spend the rest of this night together when we remembered the new Christmas tree we had built yesterday, and realized this would be the perfect time to decorate it…an old fashioned family fun time.

While mom popped the popcorn, dad looked for needle and thread, baby drank out of the sugar bowl to be certain she had enough quick energy for what was to come.

We started.  Dad threading, mom straightening, and baby refereeing.  The phone rang…baby jumped holding the thread…mom grabbed for baby…leaving needle halfway between first and second joint of dads index finger.  That’s one.

When the bleeding stopped, things worked rather smoothly.  After threading for about 15 minutes dad lifted thread to inspect work…empty.  On the floor between mom and dad was dog, munching happily on de-threaded popcorn.  Dad reached for dog…forgetting needle…two.  Baby jumped on dad to rescue dog…three.  Mom grabbed for baby who tripped over end table bumping dad in the process…four.

Deep breath, count to 10, back to popcorn.  20 minutes of threading later, dad realized thread fell out of needle some 19 minutes ago.  Mom laughed…dad reached for mom…five.  Dad threaded needle.  Three popcorns threaded and dog got sick (popcorn and Peekapoo are incompatible).  Mom ran to put dog outside…baby ran to help mom…baby’s foot took thread with it…needle stopped at dad’s index finger…six.

The family night was over.  Dad was washing his hand in Bactine…mom was still laughing at dad…baby was feeding the last 11 pieces of popcorn still on the thread to dog.  In the morning we threw it out.  The popcorn, not the dog.  It was a difficult choice.

Christmas 1983

It is official.  I am a father.  I have taken the supreme test, and have endured…  Well, sort of.  Let me explain. Since Christmas Eve is rather involved around our house, I decided to give Santa a helping hand a bit early.

As I dragged the box out of hiding I glanced at the label: “Contents: “One Eazy Pleazy Kitchenette Set…Simple 1, 2,3 Construction.” Need I say more?

I spread all of the pieces across the floor, started singing “Deck The Halls”, and opened the six-page ‘simple’ instructions.  As I browsed the parts inventory, I noticed the absence of required part No. 6 and the three extra No. 9’s.  No problem.  As I whistled “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” the work began.

Step No. 1 . . . Unfold and crease all pieces on designated pre-creased crease lines, being certain to bend printed side to printed side, except for pieces 1-6 which are done the reverse.  WARNING: Watch for double folds.

OK, this was no problem.  I had been practicing with my Rubik’s cube all week to get my mind working in the right direction for this.

Step No.2 . . . (While humming “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas”)  To construct cabinets, fold and secure pieces 1, 3, 4, and 6 (uh oh).  After folding, slide 1, 4 and 6 gently into the reversed creased folds on NO.  3 — being careful to correctly position patented snap-locks before securing.

NOTE: End flaps must be outside of neutral folds.

Yeah!!!  This work better when I discovered that one extra No. 9 was actually a misprinted No. 6.  I folded, slid, and secured.  The snap-locks are an ingenious little thing that, once secured, could only be loosened by six 3-year-olds and a mother-in-law, but I got them together right on schedule and fixed them snug.

Step No. 3 . . . Before securing snap-locks in step No. 2, be sure that end pieces are at the proper attitude to printed corner surface of No. 1.  They weren’t.

Step No. 13 . . . (While grinding my teeth to the tune of “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”).  Gently slide cabinets support posts (1 inch wide) into slots formed by sink cabinet (3/4 inch wide).  NOTE: DO NOT FORCE!

Step No. 26 . . . (My wife shaking her head at me sprawled across the living room floor whistling “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”).  Attach the doors, pieces 21, 22, 23 and 24, to cabinet with patented snap-locks (ran out on Step No. 18) and rubber bands provided (wrong again).

CONGRATULATIONS! Your Eazy Pleazy Kitchenette Set is now ready for your child’s enjoyment (well, maybe it she’s gentle).

Christmas 1984

I thought you might enjoy hearing about the nice family Christmas celebrated in our house this year.

6:00 AM.  Mom gets up to start Christmas dinner early enough that she can work without child under foot.

6:01 AM.  Child wakes up.

6:02 AM.  Dad sends child back to bed and then runs downstairs to light the tree, check presents, and line things up for a picture of child coming down the steps on Christmas morning.

6:05 AM.  Dad goes back to get child out of bed for the big day.  Child responds: “No!  Don’t want to!” Should have all gone back to bed at this point.

6:08 AM.  Child comes down steps out of focus (not where Dad had lined up the picture) runs across the living room with all the new presents and hops on her tricycle…which she got last year for her birthday.

6:10 AM.  Child opens presents: books, stove, crayons.

6:15 AM.  Mom opens presents: crepe maker, sweater.

6:20 AM.  Dad opens present: note that explains that Dad’s Christmas is on back-order.

6:25 AM.  Dad walked the dog.  He ran away in the snow. The dog, not Dad.

10:20 AM.  With guests arriving between 10:30 and 11:00 Mom yells to Dad: “The drains clogged!”

10:21 – 10:55 AM.  Dad plunges, pours, pounds, scoops.  Still clogged.

11:00 AM.  Dad heads to the basement with wrench to fix clog or anything else that gets in the way.

11:01 AM.  Dad begins turning plug.  Mom asks if we should get out of our good clothes.  Dad says: “Heck no, this is simple.”

11:02 AM.  Water begins spraying.  Mom takes off her new sweater.  Dad shakes his head at the unbeliever.

11:03 AM.  Plumbing lesson is learned as water, onion skins, fur balls, and other interesting things arc 5 feet through the air, missing the ice chest held under the plug, but not missing Mom and Dad.

11:04 AM.  Dad says: “Good thing you took off your new sweater.”

11:07 AM.  Guests arrive, 13 of them, all at once. Dad’s family brought food, gifts, and their poodle.  Surprise!  Mom’s family brought food, gifts, and brother-in-law’s kamikaze dog.  It hits everything.

11:30 AM.  Dinner is running late.  We’ll open presents first.  Dad opened his . . . new calculator . . .  works fine as long as you don’t need a 2, a 7, or multiply anything . . . those keys don’t work.  Dad opened another . . . a game.  Looked challenging.  Looked exciting.  Also look just like the one sitting in the closet.  Dad opened one more . . . hoped for a food dehydrater . . . found a sterling silver coffee server.  Pretty, but not much for drying apricots.


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– John