Is December Over Yet?

As we get older, the months are supposed to sneak past us so quickly that we don’t even see them going by. December didn’t get the memo. It’s not like I really accomplished anything; it just feels like it took forever not to.

December showed off some pretty quirky human behavior. And some amazing first-world stupidity.

I always do a lot of baking for the holidays. It takes about a week and I generally make the same things. Unfortunately my week was interrupted by cranberry bread for my husband to take to work, breakfast breads for my daughter’s fundraiser, and putting together a gingerbread reindeer and sleigh. (Not really difficult if you have four hands.) Luckily for my family I was still in my holiday daze when they remarked that I had not made fudge this year.

I went to an interfaith peace kick-off meeting on December 22. The timing was significant because it was the season of Christmas, Hanukah, and The Prophet’s birth. And because those of us who work in retail are in a perpetual haze. I hope the woman sitting next to me won’t be offended if we meet again and I have no clue who she is.

Someone left an empty tube of acrylic paint on a shelf at work. There was no mess, so it wasn’t vandalism. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just put the tube in your pocket than empty the contents into it?

Somebody took a small-sized safe. The empty ones we sell. If you can’t afford a safe, what are you going to put in it?

We had a new employee for a few weeks. She was hired as a stocker. After a couple of weeks she could stock five cases of toys in eight hours. (That’s approximately 30 toys.) Turns out that a large part of the problem was that she spent the night shopping – picking out items, looking them over, deciding what she really wanted, replacing what she didn’t, and paying for her purchases.

When the company had documented enough to fire her, she was highly offended. She called the store director to complain about unfair termination. Complain very loudly. He asked her if she was challenging the reports of shopping on company time and inability to perform the job. No, she agreed that it was true. It just wasn’t fair to fire her.

Last night four bored young men came into the store. I heard this tremendous “music” and went to investigate. They had turned on all the dancing Christmas bears and were taping them on a phone. I tried not to laugh when I asked them to please not do it again.

You may recall that my daughter B was invited to L.A. for a modeling/talent convention. They are leaving this coming Tuesday (1/4). Last Sunday (12/27), her agency wanted to see all of the clothes she was bringing to L.A. They told her that her dress for the award dinner was way too loose and needed to be tailored. She was lucky. A couple of the other people had to make major wardrobe adjustments. In a week.

This week the agency told B that she did need a portfolio after all of 6 to 8 pictures. She could get the perfect display album for just $45 from them. But they were out of stock. She bought an $18 presentation portfolio from Staples that displays the photos beautifully. Good thing since last night the agency said she needs 10 copies each of 3 other pictures.

B needed to purchase the pictures from Costco/CVS/Walgreen’s/Staples. It seemed simple enough. Download the picture file, enter the dimensions and quantity, and place the order. The pictures were professionally taken to be printed as 8×10. However to order them as 8×10 online she needed to crop them as if they were taken as 8.5×11. For one of them, she had to choose between taking off part of an arm or her head.

I thought I was going to be a huge favorite with the cats. I bought a water fountain and a huge fleece bed for them. They are finally getting over their fear of running water and using the fountain. The bed is used on rare occasion by one or the other of them. Next year it’s back to special food.

And now that December is finally going away –

Image result for new year 2016 animalsGoogle Images

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016!


I Don’t Have Time for This

I will admit up front that I am a Christmas procrastinator. However, I do have a couple of not-bad excuses for it. (Of course I have time to make up excuses – I’m not doing much of anything else.)

I have always preferred to do my wrapping all at once. I’m one of those people who has twenty-five different rolls of paper because I love to have all the different colors under the tree. I probably got the idea from TV in the days before I realized those people don’t actually wrap their own stuff. I should look into getting “people” to do it for me. I make a huge mess. Besides, I have to make sure all my daughter’s presents aren’t wrapped in the same paper, don’t I?

I’m also one of those people who likes to see lots of presents under the tree. So I have been known to wrap a stack of books in several different packages. And I like ribbons and bows. And ribbons really do look better if you get the skinny kind and make some of your bows by hand. But that’s a lot of work, so I can’t do it at the same time as I wrap because I would be too tired to care what things look like at the end and get crabby. And my husband says I get crabby enough as it is.

At one point, I was organized enough to get my shopping done by the end of November. Then I got married, got a real job, had kids, and got medicine for being bipolar. (I spend a lot less money, but around the holidays really miss those days when I could get twice as many things done at once.) All of that took up a lot of time. But the final straw came when Rascal moved in.

Rascal was a sweet, lovable cat with one really annoying habit. She never met a ribbon or bow she didn’t want to eat. She also liked opening presents. For years, every bow we had came with teeth marks. Not only that, cats don’t digest ribbon well. So we’d spend a fair amount of time cleaning up cat vomit.

This house has a sun room we can use to store presents. But the first one was really small. It was either wait to wrap the presents or continually repair things with tape. Eventually nothing could be opened without a knife on Christmas morning. Luckily I come from one of those families where the men don’t feel fully dressed unless they have a pocket knife.

I also like to power-bake over a couple of days. Once again, I make a huge mess and would like to limit the clean-up to one major sand-blasting each year. Besides, we want fresh cookies, right? My mother used to make a lot of pressed cookies (the ones that come out of the thing that looks like a lube/grout gun) and Mexican Wedding/Russian Tea Cake cookies. Those cookies start out so dry, no one can tell how old they are (at least hers did). Mine tend more to the chocolate chip/peanut butter variety which don’t hold up so well.

Bottom line? This was my week-end to prepare for Christmas. On Friday, we had a lot of boxes to unload at work. No big deal; I have a brace to wear at night and can barely tell by the next morning. I’d been having a little trouble with my shoulder, but that wasn’t interfering with anything, so I didn’t even consider that. My plan: I’d get up Saturday morning, get to work, and be ready for Christmas Sunday night.

Wrong. Apparently whatever I strained in my shoulder is connected to whatever I hurt in my hand. (Guess the song’s right about the shoulder bone being connected to the elbow, etc.) By 1a Saturday morning, I couldn’t sleep because of the pain. I finally got up about 7a. I could barely move my hand. I wasn’t sure which was worse, the pain or the constant feeling that my arm was ‘waking up’. I tried all those pain relievers (not all at once) that are supposed to allow you ‘to get on with your life’.  I had always made the assumption that they meant with minimal pain. I guess it just means they won’t kill you.

My husband told me I should go to the doctor. It was probably good advice, but unless the doctor was going to do the baking I didn’t really see it as a short-term solution. So I did the logical thing – took a couple of muscle relaxers (from the last time I hurt my shoulder) and slept most of the day. I didn’t get anything done, but I didn’t care.

So, now it is Sunday morning. My arm feels a lot better, but I have a hang-over from the muscle relaxers. I wonder how the family would feel about having all the presents in a giant box. They could guess which present was meant for which person.