This Christmas Sucked

Friday, December 23rd, around 9 in the evening, my grandfather passed away. That’ll kinda take the joy out of the weekend, no matter how nice the rest of it is. The funeral will probably be Wednesday, as far as I’ve heard.

I wonder if there’s something wrong with me for not being a basket-case. I loved my Grandpa, I enjoyed spending time with him (when it fit into my selfish schedule, of course), and I have way more fond memories than other memories of him. But I’m calm. I’ve always accepted death as the eventual destination in every life, and think of it as sleep more than a permanent end, because I look forward to seeing those people again someday when the Lord returns. And worst of all, I think it’s better this way. He’d been suffering, mentally and physically with the demise of his body and it’s capabilities. If that were me, I’d have a DNR, too. I’ve never cried over death, really. Maybe it’s just never hit close enough to me. Maybe there’s just something wrong with me. I’ll think about that.

But here’s the nice parts of this Christmas, so I remember those later, too:

Sarah started figuring out Christmas this year. She can identify Santa Claus (“Caus Caus!”) just about everywhere he’s to be seen. Oh, and “snowman” too. When we got up Christmas morning and came downstairs, she spotted her stocking right away… and everything inside got a gasp of joy from her, sometimes followed by “Candy! Open! Open! Open!” or “Oooo”. We could’ve cut the day short right there and she’d have been thrilled.

She also figured out shredding through wrapping paper on just her second gift. This year she got:

  • an electronic schoolbus that teaches numbers, letters and colors
  • a Weebles playset (mostly because I remember Weeble-Wobbles from my own youth) that teaches… uhm… patience and longsuffering to parents via repetitive noises and not-very-expandable play options. Oh, and who’s the wise-butt marketing exec who thought it’d be fun to create a box for toys that has cut-away corners? Has he never tried to wrap that kind of thing!?
  • a potty that plays music when you sit, and more when you… earn(?) it. Does “earn” really belong in that description? Most times I have to use the bathroom, I’d almost pay to do it. I guess that’s the results of an hour long drive to work. I don’t ever remember there being a “reward” for it. Except relief. Nonetheless, royal fanfares every time you whiz. Not sure when we’ll actually start trying to use it
  • a new Leapster book. She loves that thing
  • a new Baby Einstein DVD. We had a hard time finding “Baby Noah”, so Grandma came through
  • a wiggling, rolling, noisy Sesame Street themed ball. She likes it, but mostly because she has the idea she’s supposed to throw it down on the floor to make it work.
  • a playset with a slide and a swing. The over-sized plastic indoor/outdoor type. That’s pretty cool, because winter lasts through Easter here most years. We haven’t put it together yet… I’ll wait till the shine is off the other things first. Or till Grandma and Grandpa come over to see her on it 🙂
  • a cool wooden airplane riding rocker thing. Made in Thailand, generously donated by friends at work whose boys have outgrown it. She loves it.
  • a bike (the short, stable, three-wheeled variety) a’la Fisher Price

Geez, that didn’t seem like very many before I listed them.

As for Me and P, we’re Scrooges. Can’t wait till Christmas, buy your own stuff, don’t bother wrapping it, Scrooges. I got the cologne I’d wanted, she got Perfume. I got a free duffle-backpack with mine, she got a free red bag (her favorite gift, I think). I’d have rather gotten that t-shirt. Oh well. She also got a new robe and pajamas. I got The Return of The King, long underwear and windshield wipers. Joy to the World. I’m just not very imaginative (and she’s not very cooperative) when it comes to bigger surprises.

Mom and Dad succeeded in great style, in getting for us a gift we didn’t know we wanted. A Roomba. I guess we use the “our house is a mess” excuse for them not coming over too often.


See, P is vacuum handicapped. It’s a tragic condition. Every time her hands touch a vacuum she becomes an intolerable hate monger. I’m time handicapped. I ignore the job until it’s physically impossible to ignore it anymore. Like when you see the dog leave the room, but there’s still enough shed dog hair in the room to make you think she’s still here.

I believe the power of the Roomba is in its psychology. First, the packaging is cool. It has a handle so it’s easy to carry out to to the car – not like that playset Sarah got. Ugh. The guides are stylish, short, concise and (to a geek) exciting. Second, you want to see it work. So you clean the room. Isn’t that stupid? You move all the chairs out, set up the virtual wall, set Roomba to work and just watch in awe — picking up the things it missed because “oh that’s not fair – it would never have picked that up anyway.” And then dusting, because why have a clean floor that you didn’t have to clean yourself, but a dusty table?

Lastly, you want to forgive it. I do, anyway. When it kept returning to the same corner for the 14th time, P was angry with it. “You stupid thing! You know your battery is getting low, and you know you’ve already been in that corner 14 times, while you’ve ignored the crap in front of the TV!” On the other hand, I was intrigued. “Don’t move it – let it figure itself out… let the programmers’ logic work. I think I could make something work like that, but it’s cool to see it already done. Relax. Ugh. Back to that corner again.”

Anyway, I’ll chronicle interaction with my new favorite vacuum some other time. Thus far it’s only been a distraction from the things I don’t have anymore.

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