It's a little peculiar for a man to be as excited for Christmas as I have been since the age of three. It's been the cause of a deluge of homosexual jokes that fly between myself and my uncle, who dominate Christmas decorating. My cousin is into it as well. Cuts down his own tree and everything. Like in the woods. Not one of those pussy-farm situations.
I'm talking about being the first on the street to get a Hewlett-Packard computer in 1993 with dial-up so I can look at porn in the basement type excitement. I'm talking every inch of the house in COVERED in this shit. I'm talking burning pine scented candles. I'm talking lighting fires (although now I use the Yule log thing online or onDemand because I'm lazy as fuck). I'm talking making scalding hot chocolate and waiting to drink it - only to forget about it and pouring it out hours later.
Decorating for Christmas is better than sex for me. Better than any drug, any type of alcohol in the world. Trust me. Although Old New England Egg Nog is a close second. And the hangover is devastating. Nothing screams Christmas more than morning after diarrhea from a cream-based holiday booze fest.
I guess it all started when my grandmother would put so many decorations in her home that you literally couldn't move. Not one inch. It would take her about a day to decorate when I was a small kid. Then one day turned into two, then three, then at the very end, FOUR FUCKING DAYS. (Plus I had to decorate my mother's house - which took just as long). It ended up getting to the point after college where I would take off two weeks at work and just dedicate 80+ hours to decorating. How the fuck I still earned money at this point is beyond me.
I had a reputation as the, "light man" in town. People started to call me to install the "exterior illumination" portion of their festiveness. I did my old girlfriend's house, my uncle's, my friends, it was a legit business. Yeah, I don't do that anymore. Plus decorating my ex's house, who is married to my childhood best friend and has a kid with him, would be kind of weird?
My Nana even had friends that were so into Christmas that they'd start in October, and FINISH December 1st. That's like 90 days of straight up decorating. We even got to the point where my grandfather would make is own, MAKE HIS OWN goddamn lights for the entire trim of the house. I still have them neatly tied up and organized in my childhood home. Surely never to use them again since they're most likely going to catch on fire if I plugged them in.
I don't have access to an actual picture of said lights. I'd have to travel to another town and take photos out of an album, scan them or whatever, and you get the point. I don't earn any ad money so the effort isn't going to be made. It was like the picture above, only just unreal how the man MADE HIS OWN LIGHTS. Like who the fuck has time for that? Retired people - but none of my grandparents retired until their late 60's. SO just imagine this type of enthusiasm WHILE working for 50+ years.
Fast-forward to the age of about 10, or 11. Its the four day marathon of decorating. We start the NIGHT of Thanksgiving. Take all those turkey shits down. Pile it away. Trash it. Shit's over.
Now, we'd take down EVERYTHING in the house that was a normal nick-nack. All the creepy dolls have been exiled for a month. I'm talking about taking down all the normal shit too, on every shelf, every square inch, completely clean. We'd pile it all in both of her extra bedrooms. Let's face it, the days of her friends and family getting shit-hammered at her house, pissing on the front lawn, and having to sleepover were gone. Her kids are out and in their own homes. These were now exclusively for piling shit in for the months of November and December.
Now, the annual pilgrimage to the attic. There were over 40 boxes. They all weighed at least 50 pounds. Straight up cardio and strength training. Main highlight of this event is to see how many times I can slam my head on an errant nail or support board while fighting through CTE.
Day four, you're done. Not much to it really. Kind of a dumb post. But wait...
Now I'm in my 30's and I work a few jobs. I have a main squeeze that pays the bills and is pretty demanding, and a few side gigs that allow me to drink freely without disturbing the bank account too badly. I can't possibly have time to do all that decorating, so I toned down my expectations BIG TIME. Plus the attic stairs are fucking scary. I did a self install, so there's no reason they should be trusted.
I mean, my grandparents have since passed away, but my Mother still "needs help" with decorating. Trust me, I LOVE nothing more than to decorate, but, the stress is fucking overwhelming. And if I had pubes, I bet they'd be grey because of it. I trim my pubes. Anyway, my mom has massive back problems, combined with crippling loneliness and several weeks in which texting with me consists of the words, "Another night with nothing planned" as if I need more guilt in my life. So, each year, I decorate her house too. And it's 10x more shit than my grandmother ever had, and my Mother's house is SMALLER. It's a killer.
Now focus on my shit. I moved into my wife units house (she already had a house when we met) in 2015 (kinda), where she only had ONE box for Christmas. Flash to 2018, and we now have 10. But the clutter in my house is UNREAL. She refuses to get rid of anything. So Christmas is about the only time when I can put things away, while secretly never returning them to public view come January. proves a point that she knows ZERO about the shit in the house, but if I'm caught throwing anything away, I'll be stabbed. Instead, I just box it away and let it sit in the attic until it eventually falls through the kitchen ceiling in 5 years.
Anyway, I promise to make it more interesting next time. I just had to tell you all that I'm still available for decorating services because I'm poor. Please hire me. My kids want Power Rangers for Christmas.
The proverbial pilgrimage to the outlet stores for "dirt cheap" prices that will blow your tits clear off and into another state.
At least that's what you've been told. But here's the kicker - all that shit you're fighting people for, or standing in long ass lines for, is available online. 365 days a year. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. You get the point. Also - the unique gifts, the ones people really want, are here, on the fucking internet.
Secondly, you're not saving anything. You're sacrificing your time, which is worth money, to stand in lines of traffic and lines of people that are double, maybe triple the time you're used to spending shopping. There's also the very real threat of never finding parking, someone hitting your vehicle and taking off, someone shoving you, verbal altercations, etc.
Listen, I love verbal altercations for entertainment purposes, but when YOU'RE the subject of said altercation, no thank you. I have far better things to do than to argue with a 40+ year old woman about the importance of her daughter getting a tickle-me-Elmo doll or whatever is popular now.
I also avoid going out in public to silence the very real possibility of thinking that I'm verbalizing an insult under my breath, but it turns out I said that shit pretty loud. My wife unit says that I do that ALL of the time. I think she's right but will never say that to her face.
The effort that you made just to keep the hope and excitement of Santa Claus alive in your home by buying that "perfect" gift at what you think is an absolute bargain is not what Christmas is about. Order that shit online son. Santa is fucking electronic now. Also, select the wrapping option at checkout and BOOM Christmas Eve is saved.
That's another thing I hate. Don't listen to any moron that tells you to wrap your gifts in Paw Patrol or Santa paper cause the kids will remember that shit. No, they will not remember any of that shit. Just select "gift wrap at checkout" and you have magically created more time to get trashed at your house making off color racist commentary the night before the sleigh gets parked on the roof and Santa drags his fat white ass down your chimney that hasn't been cleaned in 15 years.
The stress of this whole fuckery is THE WORST. If you have kids like I do, there needs to be a whole fucking room cordoned off for this crap where the kids can't go for a month. Like the dining room magically just got blown up and it doesn't exist anymore. Then everything has to be labeled as to whom it's for, from, and wrapped or unwrapped (cause Santa brought it). Also, if it's my house, the labels fall off because Post-It Brand is cheap with the glue they buy. Poof, there goes who that puzzle set was for, and oh, the wrong kid got the wrong gift and now Santa made a terrible error. I'm Santa by the way, and the person criticizing me is the female wife unit.
I end up doing all of this at 2am, getting frustrated, needing 20 procrastination breaks in-between all this shit, just so Boy 1 and Boy 2 can run down the stairs, play with it for 10 seconds, be told to keep track of it, never put it away, and eventually given to goodwill after 2 years of staring at it. The other real option is the gift is DESTROYED by the younger kid, who loses ALL of the pieces at once, makes the older kid annoyed, who proceeds to strike his brother with a blunt object, etc etc. You get it.
Meanwhile, the entire month has been spent looking for the largest time slot that will allow me to drink spiked Old New England eggnog, so that I can pretend to enjoy the holiday season a safe distance (mentally) away from crying children that refuse to behave (even for the ONE FUCKING MONTH) while Santa is watching.
I refuse for my love of the season to be sullied by the stress of the Holiday that retail sales has created for all of us. So, if I'm being serious, your kids will be happy as long as what they get is a loving home and to feel safe wherever they may be. Don't put added pressure on yourself and your finances, just know happiness is all your kids want.
If they were raised right - they'll accept anything as long as it's with the ones they love the most.
Merry Christmas. Merry Friggin Christmas.
So, I'm sure there are thousands of you clamoring for the results of my "Brother-in-law's fiancées parent's house Thanksgiving spectacular." Like literally thousands. Believe me, I know, I have the best words.
Rewind to this morning. As advertised, my Dad comes over and feeds the kids doughnuts (proper spelling, huge education points for me) which allowed for the sugar rush to kick in right as they left for the day. He stayed for the typical thirty minutes, surprisingly didn't rip any heaters - maybe he's quitting smoking (lol absolutely not). He brought my wife flowers (classy move) and spent time bullshitting about how he doesn't give a fuck about Thanksgiving at all. Great time.
Dad appearance grade: A+
Then, just as he left, huge development. Wife unit has "kidney pain" and her, "back is on fire." Spoiler: this is a MAJOR typical move. Anytime there is a family event where it involves uncomfortable banter, a new place, or something she doesn't particularly want to attend - kidney flare up. Although, this one seemed real. I'm sure they all are to tell you the truth, I honestly just think they're connected. Her brain is like, "Hey, internal organs, make sure one of those kidney stones gets jarred loose and scrapes the side of that kidney wall, ok?"
This threw an immediate wrench in the timing of the day. Step one was to call her father for any drugs he may have left over to ease the pain from his one of many kidney stone passing events. Negative.
Step two: sift through magical cabinet of drugs and such to find old medicine that will block all nerve pain from previous medical procedures. Huge win: we have happy pills. And now we watch as the wife gets, as she LOVES to say as if she invented the phrase, "high as a kite."
Fast forward to us leaving the house. We need tampons because the period has arrived. On Thanksgiving.
We also need flowers to bring to this godforsaken place because we can pretend we care. Wife confirmed on Wednesday that grocery stores will be open until 2pm. Blatant false narrative. They're closed. Flowers are out.
Head over to CVS for female blood absorption sticks. They don't have anything worth bringing to these people. No flowers. Just those tiny baby tree bushes covered in glitter. Head back home, thank god the personal basement bar has wine, steal some from the collection that we never drink, place in Amazon bag that we save from getting gifts, tie it up, and boom, we pretended we care successfully. Bonus points - parked in "expecting mother/mother with infant" spot at CVS because it doesn't specify exactly when I EXPECT to have another kid. But I can expect it in the future.
Kidney stone/tampon trip/flower debacle: C+
PS - the CVS cashier was IN LOVE with my act. I eye-rolled at least 5 times in the store and she noticed it all. She also asked why I was so pissed on Thanksgiving so I did a short synopsis of the last blog, and she passed away in laughter.
We get to this place in the middle of asshole whatever town trash-ville USA. Very nice 1990's development off the highway in the back of some massive dentist office and a High School. Everyone is already there, since none of them had to purchase tampons, find drugs that make today's events tolerable, and scramble for some gift that they'll never use.
Immediate ask that my shoes be taken off - from left field I pull out a bag with my slippers and hers. Family is so impressed they gobble my cock instantly and praise me for my preparedness. I'm no fool, I'm not stepping all over your cold ass tile floors with my paper thin socks and freeze my tits off all day. No fucking way.
Immediately I see friendly faces as I push through the gauntlet of people I have to smile and make eye contact with. "In-Laws" as I call them are waving me over. We exchange the typical pleasantries, obtain beer, and am shown where the TV is located. Immediately my brother in law's new...well...brother-in-law asks if I have action on the game. Claims he lost $500 on the Celtics last night, bullshit +7 line on the C's, and he needed to make it up the the Bears at -4.5 versus the Lions. I like this kid.
First impression grade: B-
So, I guess you could say it's going well.
The food turned out to be good. Very well done. No nuts in anything to speak of for the main course. (I'm not allergic to nuts or any of that pussy shit, I just hate when people put fruit and nuts into salads and stuffing as if they're fucking Gordon Ramsey). There was even ham in addition to the traditional turkey. To top it all off, THREE different types of cranberry sauce. Amazing effort and no ethnic non-traditional shit whatsoever. I'm not racist, I just demand certain food on Thanksgiving. I don't eat any of this shit all year, so, I look forward to it.
Dessert was offerings were: Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie (gross, go fuck yourself AGAIN WHAT IS THE OBSESSION WITH NUTS?), cake, ice cream, cool whip, and apple pie. I demolished the cake, pumpkin, and apple pie(s).
Post dessert, all the males retreated to the family room to foam at the mouth over Colt McCoy's pants pooping versus the Cowboys in Jerry's World. We even witnessed the saddest, most selfish PR move by the Salvation Army, paying Elliott ONCE AGAIN to throw cash into the kettle as if it's a cheap Dallas stripper performing at the Leggs and Eggs breakfast special at Club Alex.
Also, side note. I don't condone 1950's era male/female gender roles. But these people were born in the 1950's and 1960's. Women doing the dishes is what happens, OK? I wasn't about to offer to help, considering I'm the only asshole that does the dishes in my own home, and I deserve a goddamn break. Doing dishes is complete bullshit and the amount of food my wife cooks is INSANE. I FUCKING DETEST dishes. Huge props to me for reversing gender roles in my own home in modern-day America. I deserve a statue in my town for my efforts.
I especially love how Joe Buck, in his infinite wisdom between hits of his in-booth crack pipe, called this a donation to the, "Red Cross."
Alternate family Thanksgiving grade: B+
Overall, a great experience. I appreciated the football, food, and lack of gas my body exhibited during our visit. I guess that was passed to others, considering my brother-in-law's wife to be was clearly upstairs before dessert taking a post meal steamship authority and was immediately greeted with the, "Where were you? We were waiting for you?" as the entire room stared at her.
Sure, it was colder than the attitude I give cold-callers on the phone today, but I was pleasantly surprised how prepared these people were for my arrival. I also forgot how much I especially enjoy older men try and make comments about NFL teams they're entirely unfamiliar with by undervaluing Chase Daniel's ability as a quality backup for the Chicago Bears. Ditka. Polish Sausage.
And yes, I made it home in time for the 8:20 Saints vs. Falcons "Barn Burner" turned sob story of Atlanta's season going down the tubes. Calvin Ridley really owes me one.
Although it wasn't easy. On our way home, an immediate, "I will shit this car and ruin the leather interior if you don't drive faster" comment. Cue the drunk guy smashing into the exit 5 sign on route 93 causing a 1/2 hour delay. We can get into how retarded it is that EVERY DRIVER absolutely NEEDS to brake and stare at the trooper pulling the guy from the wreckage. This also brings up my very valid argument for the invention of toilet car.
Happy Day Before Decorating for Christmas. We're going to have the hap-hap happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny fucking Kaye.
Thanksgiving growing up was always at my house. Well, my Mother's house or whatever, but you get the point. Every year, I would have the confidence and security that the fattest Holiday of them all would be held at the place where I could give the least amount of fucks. I could eat, wear sweatpants, sleep 1/2 the day away, get hammered, and watch football until everyone got the fuck out. Then, round two of food, watch a shitty comedy movie about Christmas, then immediate coma. Lights out. Decorate the next day for Christmas per usual to show the neighbors what real exterior illumination is about.
Then came quasi-adulthood. Coming home from college that is. Absolute shit-show of going out the night before and seeing people from high school that continue to act like the douche bags they were back then and still are today. Slightly more uncomfortable holiday for me, seeing as I had to "entertain" all those who "didn't have a place to go on Thanksgiving" at my childhood home, but, still not too bad. Nursing the hangover and eating a shit load of food in my comfort zone was still tops. Fine, whatever, still get to wear sweatpants. TV was still on and at least I gave people a place to eat or be included or whatever.
Enter my late 20's. Now in my own home, about 20 miles away from where I grew up. 2 children, wife, etc. Not officially wife, but who's really paying attention? After dating for almost 4 years, it's really weird to walk up to someone and introduce your lady as your, "girlfriend." I'm not a 50+ divorced Dad dating some bartender I met the night before. I'm a grown ass man. I have a wife (ish).
Anyway, welcome to complicated. Life is suddenly a fuck load more intense. For the old people that is. We got our own situation over here with our four person family and two dogs. Obviously, we have the ability to host Thanksgiving, but no, the parents must host. They must prove they can Thanksgiving the fuck out of this and replicate Grandma's pumpkin pie recipe or prove they, "still got it" or whatever. It's 100% an excuse for people like me to be told the leafs need raking and the sink drips at night so I might as well fix it while I'm there type thing.
Problem, there are now two sets of parents. Her side, and my side. Oh, and my parents are divorced, so, now there's three sets of people inside of my asshole who demand I come and experience their house, food, etc. Huge save is my Dad couldn't give a shit anymore. Comes over my house in the AM on Thanksgiving, brings over 6 donuts, asks how we're doing, rips a couple heaters in our smoking room/bar/basement situation (yes, we have that and it's ventilated SO RELAX), and leaves in 30 minutes or less. PERFECT.
My Mother's side of the family is different. Very complex. Her brother (my Uncle, cool dude) and my cousins always send a standing invite every year. Problem - cousin and husband live like 35+ miles away. Would love to see them but the travel is brutal. Uncle and Aunt are about 15 miles away or so. Mother also doesn't host any longer because I don't live there and she, "can't do it anymore without help."
Absolutely not. No way. Too much travel. Also EVERYONE in the car sleeps on the way home and I'm going to have to drive in silence, then put both kids in bed by carrying their lifeless bodies up the staircase, and possibly miss a football game at night. Again, absolutely not. Also, not having the ability to wear sweatpants because everyone is holding onto the facade of "we're a rich family and we dress like it routine" is infuriating and I refuse to participate. This now leads to the, "I never see you" whining on the phone from my Mother, which is a baseless and false cry for attention to guilt me into cleaning the gutters or power washing her shed. So, we send her off to her brother's caravan and she has Thanksgiving with them.
Now for the wife's parents. They live in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. Amazing people who literally don't give a shit about anything (in a good way). EVERYONE is chill. Sweatpants are encouraged, good food is available (her Mother is an amazing cook and so is the wife unit - huge plus), napping is mandatory, football is always on the 65 inch, 4 beer minimum before 11am and wine is encouraged at dinner. 100% best situation ever. This has been our shit for the past three years.
Last year, her parents decided to go away to FL for Thanksgiving, so hosted at our house for the first time. Would not recommend. Would not do again. Way too much work between cleaning (weird cleaning too like washing the curtains and washing the woodwork). I did however enjoy carving the turkey in front of everyone, friends, family (yes - my Mom came), and thinking to myself, "Fuck yes, you watch me be the man and care the fuck out of this thing in my own home biiiiitch."
This year, my brother-in-law and also co-worker decides he's going to get engaged. 100% great for him, love them both, classy move, nice ring, ok you get the point. Then, OUT OF LEFT FIELD I get the word that, "We're all going to his fiancée's parents house like 50 miles away for Thanksgiving. WHAT? I have also just been informed that shoes are not allowed in the house (what the actual fuck?) and to please for the love of God dress nice and please act appropriate. No way to pivot on this whatsoever, since it's the first time everyone is meeting and I'm very "honored" to be included in the immediate family but I have some concerns:
Obligatory post complete. Happy Thanksgiving.