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A Little Peak at the Fun that Christmas Crazy Can Be

Yesterday I came across a CNN iReport Post about a house in Pittsburgh that has 210,000 Christmas lights. Yeah, it's not our house, but I kind of wish it were because the electrical upgrade required to power that many lights? Totally a dream come true for me (our box is maxed out, meaning I couldn't add another outlet if I wanted to). The video from the house is pretty freakin' cool, so I shared a link on twitter.

And was promptly met by Scrooges.

There were the "Imagine the electric bill" tweets.

There were the "I would hate to live next door to that" tweets.

There were the "That's way too much work" tweets.

There were the "That is going to give me a seizure" tweets.

There were the "There has to be something wrong with those people to waste that kind of time" tweets.

It bummed me out. Seriously, after watching the video? I was grinning from ear-to-ear. Sure, there is a lot of work involved in getting that many lights strung, but it's so totally worth it. One of my favorite things to do in the depths of December is to stand in our kitchen and watch people drive by our lights. We will end up with less than half the lights of that house (stupid builder and their stupid electrical box and stupid wiring GRRRR), yet people will stop outside and just smile. And smile. And smile. Especially kids. Kids will stand and shout, "Look! It's a snowman!" or "Look! It's Santa!" as they point to various lawn thingy-a-majiggers. I'm not a big fan of light sculptures, but I do have a few, and they always brighten kids' days.

Never one to be deterred by SCROOGES, I picked up Alexis from daycare today and immediately asked if she wanted to go see some Christmas lights. She is her mother's daughter, so of course she said yes. We high-tailed our way over to Whitehall to see THAT house.

In person? It's incredible. The synchronization of the lights to the music kicks ass. It is, of course, more subdued in person since video tends to exaggerate lights. I smiled upon realizing that one of the neighbors is clearly in on the gig since the display extends well onto their property. Alexis and I sat in the car with our windows rolled down mesmerized by the lights and music for well over 30 minutes.

Then we heard it.

The whining.

Someone who had made the effort to drive to see the house was standing outside being a Scrooge. They went on and on about all the negatives to having a so many lights--the expense, the work, etc. It was a long laundry list of excuses adults use, and complaints adults think need aired.

Wanna know what Alexis said when she first saw the lights?

"Look, Momma! It's so pretty!"

I'm so glad I still have enough kid left in me to be able to just enjoy some of the funner aspects of the holiday season without getting bogged down by adult worries. There's plenty of time for that kind of stress after the holiday season.

Look! It's so pretty!

All the whiny commenters on the CNN site? You suck.


Some Prisoners Are Kind Enough to Give Me Space

Cody hates me. OK, so maybe "hate" is a bit strong, but he definitely doesn't worship and adore me. Which is weird. Very weird.

Every animal Mr. Husband and I have ever had has been all about me. At any point in time, you will find at least two of the little jerks piled on top of me, and it's usually whichever two I like least at that particular moment.

There's Coal, the tiny little sweetheart of a cat who won't. stop. purring. He has the undying need to sit purring in my ear until my head explodes because OMG do I hate things breathing by my ears, especially if that breathing is accompanied by loud noises and tickly whiskers.

There's the beastly white cat who will occasionally pander to Mr. Husband, but then stalks me all over the house, meowing and whining for me to do something for him. I don't know what exactly it is that he wants since I haven't fed him in approximately NEVER EVER, I don't clean his litter box, and little dude is allergic to treats so hell-to-the-no am I giving him those. I really don't know what he's asking me to do. I guess he just wants to see how many persistent meows it takes until my head explodes.

And then we have Meg. I love Meg, I really do, but I don't generally like her. She stinks (literally), is LOUD, and has the amazing ability to shake her head at the exact moment I try to yawn, thereby launching a few megatons of Bulldog slobber into my mouth and the surrounding areas. If you don't believe me, you ought to see my laptop screen--it is covered in little droplets of Bully slobber and snot. It's so covered, in fact, that it's like one big layer of goop has been used to coat my screen to protect it from, well, more goop, I guess. Definitely cause for a head explosion or two.

But Cody? Cody doesn't sit on me. He doesn't appreciate me. He totally ditches me the second Mr. Husband comes on the scene. The ironic thing about it is that I actually DO things for Cody. Every single day I come home at lunch to let his little puppy butt out to go potty. I could be running errands, or doing something crazy like eating lunch, but no, I run home so I can take a dog out to take a crap. Except, he never takes a crap outside. Ever. I let him out of his giant kennel, we go outside, he runs around like an idiot, and I finally give up and go back inside after about 30 minutes of shivering and wishing he would pop a squat already. Every day he thanks me for that by walking in the front door of our house and promptly popping a squat. In the house. Every day.

Jerkface dog.

But, damn he's cute.


We Could Hear a Pin Drop in the Middle of a Linkin Park Concert

It was inevitable that the topic of Jasmine suddenly getting sick and dying would come up last week while we were in Indiana. It was, after all, the first time we had been there since it happened. We never go anywhere without dogs in tow, so everyone is used to seeing us with them when we are visiting. Some people already knew what had happened, but more often than not it was news to people that we had lost the sweet little girl.

The topic was apparently heavy on Alexis' mind, just as it was on ours. The first night that we were at Grandma's house, Alexis sat with her 4-year old cousin, introducing him to Meg and Cody. Then she went on to detail her version of why Jasmine wasn't there. I sat a few feet away teary-eyed as my 2-year old explained something so complicated using phrases and words far more mature than her age would seem to dictate.

It was one of those soft conversations that I might have missed if I weren't cursed with the inability to filter out background conversations. I've always been that way--stuck with Super Ears. It's a blessing when I'm running a training session because I definitely hear every side conversation going on in the room, and can either adapt the class to resolve issues, or freak people out with the realization that I totally know what they are whispering about in the back of the room. It has been a curse when I have had to work in cube land. It's really hard to focus on your own work when people all around are engaged in a million random conversations. It's not that I WANT to hear them, I just do. The only thing that works to block it all out is a good set of headphones and some very loud Linkin Park.

I suspect Alexis has inherited those Super Ears from me. Of course little people always hear everything that is going on around them, but some of the things that she's been saying since we returned to Pittsburgh have convinced me that she heard WAY more than she should have while in Indiana.

I know for a fact that Alexis was cheerily playing thirty feet away in a play room on Thanksgiving Day when I was talking to one of Mr. Husband's Aunts about the whole Jasmine situation. And yet, Alexis has recited that conversation to me almost verbatim. She overheard conversations that included words like "dead" and "cremated." She didn't know those words before, and I'm certain they weren't used when she was in close proximity. She must have been tuning in those Super Ears at some very inopportune times.

I hate that any two-year old has reason to have a vocabulary that includes death terms, and I really hate that mine does. So, don't mock me when I give her my old iPod and load it with some really loud Linkin Park.