2016 total: $2706.45


Candace is Getting a Lump of Coal

As a kid, I always had better things to do than to sit inside and stare at the TV. There were bikes to ride, fields to run in, snow to throw, and friends to find. With the exception of Saturday morning cartoons, TV was boring. Further amplifying the boring, we lived in a neighborhood that couldn't get cable. The rabbit ears and tinfoil that sat on top of our TV wrangled us a whopping three stations, and one of them was fuzzy enough to make you think you had come across a scrambled porn channel. I didn't care, though. TV didn't interest me in the least.

It still doesn't. I'll watch it if it's on, but I currently have no OMG! MUST! WATCH! shows (I used to be hooked on Gilmore Girls, but alas, my special friends have left me . . . ). I could very easily go without any TVs in the house. In fact, a constant source of battle in our lives is that I would LOVE to be rid of the TVs and cable. Meanwhile, I am married to someone who LOVES his TVs and cable.

Personality wise, Alexis is 95% mine. That other 5% is the rogue-must-watch-TV-as-much-as-possible in her.  She and Mr. Husband will sit and watch movies and TV for hours and hours and hours, blissfully peaceful and happy. I start twitching after five minutes and wind up flat-out too bored to stay awake after about ten.

That's my excuse for why I never know what the heck my kid is talking about. I mean, she goes on and on and on about her favorite shows and I'm all, the what? Who? Huh? I get lost somewhere between the Carly and the Wizards and the WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME THESE THINGS? Sorry. I just don't care about the people on The Disney Channel.

Alexis does. A lot.

There is one show in particular that she quotes frequently. It happens to be a show that annoys me to the point of putting me in a coma if I so much as set eyes on it. Phineas and Ferb. I know plenty of adults who like it, but ZOMG. I just want Ferb to bust out in an angry fit, punching anything and everything around as he yells, "I'M TOO SMART FOR YOU DOUCHENUGGETS!" or something. Anything, actually, just so long as Candace is caught by his fists of fury.

I sort of REALLY don't like Candace. I've never really figured out why until today.

Today Alexis and I were making our way over the hills and through the woods on our way home. The calendar says it's December, so that means Alexis was in the back seat being a jerk. It took me all these years to figure out that December is the kid's Evil Month . . . the month when she forgets how to be polite, when her mouth writes checks her butt can't cash, and when I generally want to just duct tape her to a wall, knowing full well that she'll return to normal all on her own once the New Year hits. She sat in the back seat running her mouth, and I sat in the front seat threatening her with all sorts of things.

Let's just say she lost a few toys today. More than a few, actually.

Somewhere along the way I reminded her that kids who are bad don't get Christmas presents.

She thought about it for a second but then confidently informed me that "Candace was bad and she still got her Christmas presents." The "So there," was implied.

I knew I hated that Candace.


Things I've Learned

1. Store Christmas lights by rolling each strand into a ball, with the end that plugs in on the outside.

They don't get all tangled up, it's super easy to test them before you drag them outside to put them in a tree or shrub, and if you keep them wrapped in a ball as you beautify the trees and shrubs, it saves mucho work.

If you roll each strand individually, you can easily store 20-25 strands in a plastic tub. And did I mention that they don't get tangled? Because they don't.

2. It's ridiculous to pay $5-$6 for a bow for a wreath or whatever. All you need to make one is some wire and some ribbon.

Start by cutting a four to six-inch piece of wire. Set that aside and then pull some ribbon loose (you don't have to cut it yet). Make yourself a tail topped by a loop, pinching the ribbon in the middle.

Make another loop on the same side of your pinchy spot as the tail.

Keep making as many loops as you want, just make sure to cross from one side of your pinchy spot (totally a technical term, btw) to the other each time. When your done making loops, bring the uncut end of the ribbon back down to make your second tail.

Wrap the wire around your pinchy spot since you can't just keep your fingers there forever.

Cut your second tail so that both ends are even and then shape your loops so the whole mess looks like a pretty bow.

There's a good tutorial over here, given that my photos are pretty lousy.

3. Daylight Savings and winter darkness destroy my photographic joy. I need an external flash or a new camera body or all new lighting in my house like WOAH.

4. Sometimes weddings don't quite go as planned.

I mean, I don't know exactly what happened, but the bride doesn't look too thrilled.

The bridesmaid seems to have had a good time, though.

I just don't know about these two.

I mean, Ken lost his pants and Barbie, well, she's a bit disheveled.

I asked the Puppet Master what happened and all I heard was "bad girls" and "dungeon" and "naked" before my brain shut down and I decided it was better if I didn't know what had happened in my family room.

5. Kids are awesome. The end.


I'm Going To Just Tie Him to the Tree

Did you know that Christmas trees can talk? They can. They say, "Here, kitty kitty!" over and over and over again in a high-pitched tone that only cats can hear.

Ali has confirmed my theory on this.

She says fake Christmas trees taste like chicken.

Fortunately, I am the Goddess of Christmas Trees, so I have a very complicated cat boredom system in place that works pretty well. I set the trees up early and ornament-free. Once the cats are over the novelty of the great indoors moving into the dining and family rooms, I decorate them and then quickly make them completely inaccessible with a mountain of wrapped gifts.

It works. Really. I haven't caught Ali munching on chicken-flavored tree limbs since the day I took those photos, which was like three weeks ago. She looks, but she does not touch.

Powder, in his infinite wisdom as the elder statesman of the house, is all *yawn* and  "Trees haven't been exciting since my youth, way back in the days of those really cute girls with their blond hair and their annoying 'MmmBop' song." (Powder isn't much of a boy band fan.)

All he wants to do is sit by the Christmas trees. All. the. time.

Can't find Powder? Look by the tree. He never moves.

Or, that's what I thought.

Saturday morning we started herding animals so that we could run a few errands. Everybody with four legs has to go to the basement when we're not home because they're a bunch of jerks who enjoy trashing my house. We couldn't find Powder, though.

He wasn't under the tree. And, frankly, that was the only real possibility this time of year. He's got an ass grove built into the carpet there and everything. We were in a hurry, though, so we had to just leave and assume he was setting up a revenge plot against the dogs under a bed somewhere or something.

When we returned home several hours later, there was still no sign of him. Anywhere. The Christmas tree was all weepy and sad without it's partner, the dogs ran under the beds without being caught in a steel trap, and there was food left in the cat bowl.

Clearly Powder had ninja'd his way out of the house. Again. He has escaped without notice four times this year. Each time, we returned home to find him all, "Waaaah! SAVE ME!" on the front porch. Apparently he wants out of the house, but doesn't know what to do with himself when he succeeds.

Except, this time, he figured out something to do. He was NOWHERE.

We drove around the neighborhood.

We searched the woods behind our house.

We searched yards to and fro.

No fat white cat.

I even stood on the front porch and opened a can of wet cat food. That ALWAYS works, even though Powder is allergic to wet food and hasn't been allowed to eat it in over a decade. He's an optimist, that one.

He finally showed up after Mr. Husband walked around shaking a can of treats for half an hour. Which, of course, the stupid cat is also allergic to and not allowed to eat. But, whatever.

Nearly 24 hours. Powder was locked out of the house and stuck in the cold for nearly 24 hours.

He went straight back to his spot under the Christmas tree.

Until he tried to escape again today.