It is a few minutes past midnight as I start this, meaning I have at least 17 more hours to keep the kids away from any wayward white-bearded fat men in red suits.
Oh, I know what they want. I don't need chubby's help there. I just know he ain't bringing it.
Thing 1, my precious little girl who can't spell her way out of … well, anything that requires the spelling of "exit," has been banging at the computer since September. She typed up a meticulous Times Roman listing of the last three American Girl catalogs. Her ongoing Word document, at last glance, was up to 16 pages.
The other day, after finding a print out, I asked her to get a calculator. Add up the price of each item (which she dutifully listed, I should note) and let me know the total, I told her.
Her digits gave out by the third page.
Thing 2 took a simpler approach this year. (Normally, he takes scissors to any mail-order catalog or Sunday advertisements that feature toys that he sees and starts cutting ragged circles around indiscriminate items he "wants." The mounds of clippings are then stuffed into a manila envelope and tossed aside. One of us usually discovers it during spring-cleaning. )
This year, though, he declared all he wanted was a Target gift card.
It's all blurry now, but I think his last bid was $5,000.
Then there is the special request. The one the Things will make if they pay their annual homage to the Toy Dude.
"I need to tell him we want two turtles and a puppy," Thing 1 said to me as I stared vacantly into another simmering pot of rice pilaf for dinner.
It's not that don't sympathize. From preadolescence upward, I begged my parents for only two things every Christmas and every birthday: a 10-speed bike and a dog.
"You get a bike and next thing, you'll want a car" was my mom's standard reply to Option 1. Even after I got my first car.
Her message was usually less subtle, and much shorter, when the canine issue was raised. I always thought the look in her eyes was something akin to what men saw shortly before Medusa turned them to stone.
Needless to say, I ended up buying my own 10-speed when I was 22. I finally got a dog when I was married. Eight years later. And living in a different time zone.
Precious Things, it therefore tears me in so many different ways to read this note I found next to the stockings that you hung with care:
"Dear Little Uncools,
Even though you didn't come see me, don't think I haven't forgotten about you! I know you have your hearts set on me bringing your dog, Murphy, a blushing puppy bride and yourselves a little green floatable friend each.
You have both tried to be good. But trying isn't enough when it comes to pets. You both need to show you can take care of yourselves before you can take care of another life. For example, Thing 2, you'd be well advised to heed your father's words about brushing, wiping, showering and so on.
Thing 1, wipe off that smile, you can't remember to make your bed even though you have been offered cold, hard cash to do so. And I know you are all about the Benjamins.
It would help if you cared more for the pet you already have. Telling your father he needs to brush Murphy's fur, clean his teeth and the like, while showing you have management potential, is not actually caring for your dog.
Thing 1 -- feed him in the morning as well as at night. Take him out to play ball once in a while instead of watching another re-run of "Jon & Kate Plus 8." Thing 2 -- you gained valuable experience picking up after the horses and sheep in camp this past summer. Apply it daily in your own yard.
I'll be checking in on your progress in a few months. Meanwhile, please accept and enjoy these Nintendo DS games.
P.S.: Mmmm - love those Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies!
P.P.S. : If you think you got screwed, check out these bozos on my naughty list."
My Uncool Past
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