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Monday, December 26, 2005

Sweet Christmas and Bitter Coffee 

Please tell me why Starbucks Coffee is always brewed so strongly. What am I - a lumberjack? I sit here (on 3rd shift again) swilling down something that tastes like I'm drinking it out of the mug within which I store my pencils. And now, alas, it's also cold.

Need caffeine... must. have. caffeine...

It's also getting a bit chilly outside. Why is it we always have a damned cold spell before and/or after Christmas but never on Christmas day! At least it wasn't sweltering.

Christmas/Hannukah was a little less stressful this year. Even though we went up to Disney World the weekend before and had Mom and some sisters and a nephew and a niece over for Christmas Ham and Latkes. (great combination)

Need caffeine... must. have. caffeine...

Alexandra designed a new kind of pie (with a little help from dear old Dad). It's officially called My Pie, though I'd kinda like to change the spelling to Mai Pai. It consisted of a store-bought graham cracker crust with a lemon tinged cream filling, butter and brown sugar sauteed peaches, fresh blueberries, and fresh strawberries. It was a big hit. Better than the $12.00 Key Lime Pie that a friend brought over for lunch this morning. (There goes what little dieting success I had been having).

This season, we spent way too much of American Express' (and MBNA's) money and we're going to be eating leftover ham with macaroni and cheese (Kraft Dinner was on sale at Publix) for a few months. At least I'll get my Amex bonus Points to pop over 10,000 by the time I get it all paid off. Then, maybe, I can trade them in for a key chain or some equally inexpensive piece of crap.

I love the new KitchenAid mixer, The Ditty Bops CD, and the View Master reels I'd bought on eBay. Terrible T loved the crystal bowl and books I'd gotten her. The kids love their Star Wars Lego. Marc keeps asking me if Anakin Skywalker, in theory, would be able to single-handedly destroy the Millenium Falcon whilst standing atop it.

Yeah. I spent something like $100.00 so Marc could build an icon and then pretend to blow it up. Then Alex yelled when Marc tried to watch a movie over her shoulder (on her new ($$) portable DVD player) and then she cried when she couldn't put together her own Star Wars Lego that I told my wife not to buy because it would be too hard for Alex to put together.

But I really loved the holidays, this year. Don't ask me why.

Maybe because, when all is said and done... I'll remember the inspiring fireworks at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, the look on Marc's face as he beheld his first $100.00 bill, the bangers and Mash at the pub in Epcot and this little story:

On Christmas Eve, in Plantation, a Police cruiser drives up and down every street followed by a pick-up truck with Santa in the bed throwing out little candy canes. We could hear the sirens shortly after sundown. But not on our street. So, Alexandra got more and more excited, waiting for Santa to show up.

Finally, after an interminable 30 minutes or so Santa arrived, sirens ablazin'.
He tossed out six scrawny candy canes, five of which smashed into tiny sugary schrapnel when they hit the asphalt.

Alex was speedier than Marc. She managed to swipe up four of the six prized offerings.

"Hey. One of those is mine. You got more than me!"
I had to agree with Marc. "It's not a contest, Alex. Split the candy canes with Marc."
"NO! They're Mine! I got 'em first!" Then came the chase around the driveway in the dark, Marc trying to tackle Alex for an itty bitty crunched-up candy cane.
"Both of you! In the House! Now!" That worked. I pulled the candy out of Alex's hands and demanded Marc's (I didn't yet know the actual count.) I split the six candy canes evenly between the two, giving Marc the unbroken one).
That's when Alex stopped yelling in anger and began crying inconsolably. She was now totally losing it.
" Aww, come on. Quit crying. It's just some candy canes. Don't be so greedy." Wrong tactic. Something had changed and I didn't quite get it yet.
"Alex. It's okay. Everything's fine. Marc'll forgive you. Please. Stop the crying." No luck. "Alex. Please. What's wrong?" Nothing.
"Is it because you're upset about the candy canes or because you know you've done something wrong?" BINGO!
"Santa's not going to bring me any presents tonight because I was naughty!"

Uh oh. Here comes one of the hardest parts of parenting: Trying not to laugh at something inherently funny when your kid's really upset. Especially when you need to keep that certain secret lie alive.

"Alex. Santa will bring you all your presents. Just apologize to Marc."
"NO. I was naughty! I'm not getting any presents!"
"Yes you will. I promise. I know it. Just as long as you apologize. I kinda know Santa. I mean, I email him a lot. I know he'll still bring you stuff."
"No. He Wont!!!"
"Alex, calm down. Really. Trust me. I know it'll be fine. I promise you."
"But I was naughty!"
"Look Alex, I know you're still on his Good Girl list and it's too late for him to cross you off."
And then, sure in her knowledge of Christmas Law, she looked right at me and screamed, "But he's gonna check it TWICE!"



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