In an attempt to save myself from being struck by lightning for focusing too much on materialistic items – such as my Harry Potter “nativity scene” – I tweaked one of our family traditions this year. Considering I was the one who started the tradition in our household, and the sole person responsible for the act of carrying it out annually for the last eight years, I felt that a slight change was my prerogative.
Like many families, we have a Countdown to Christmas. One of my good friends crafted a mitten calendar for us one year, and we have used it ever since. Beginning the first day of December, Dimples would find a small gift each day in one of the mittens.
Now that Dimples is getting older, it’s becoming a little more difficult to find small gifts that she will appreciate for under $1. Gone are the days when princess stickers elicited cries of delight.
I thought this year that I would combine Dimples’ love of technology with a healthy dose of Christmas Spirit. So, each day, I am putting two QR codes in her mitten. One, when she scans it, gives her a Random Act of Kindness to perform that day. The other one gives her a “coupon” for things like “make cookies with a parent” (hopefully, Cap’n Firepants will be “the parent” chosen when she redeems that one).
Well, the QR code idea went over like a remote control helium balloon that is supposed to scare the bejeezus out of your bulldog and all the dog does is yawn.
The first day, Dimples was all like, “What’s this?” and when I explained the whole thing, how she could use her iPod Touch to scan the codes to see her surprises, she gave me a little half smile. The one that means, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, Mom, but this is the stupidest idea ever.”
The second day was even worse. She looked ready to tear up with disappointment, and I could tell she was really bummed.
The third day I forgot.
It was Saturday morning, so I was the last to get up. Dimples looked at me accusingly, and I knew immediately what was wrong. I didn’t think it was a big deal, though, since the whole concept wasn’t a hit anyway.
The fourth day I forgot again.
Dimples had two friends sleep over to celebrate her birthday, and the whole chaos of the evening, plus the shock of three girls constantly making jokes about passing gas, threw me.
I got the look again. And a short lecture.
So, this morning, I dutifully restarted my dumb idea. No reaction from Dimples.
This evening, Cap’n Firepants mentioned that Dimples was reading to Wonderbutt in the living room.
“Really?” I said, laughing. “Why?” Dimples hates to read out loud, even though she is quite good at it.
“Because her mitten said to read to someone younger or something?” Firepants said – not to sure about this whole QR code thing I had sprung on him without prior consultation.
So, I snuck in and got myself some evidence of Dimples doing her “Act of Kindness” – reading to someone younger. It didn’t specify that it had to be a person.
I would like to thank our well-traveled cousins, the Globetrotters, for the worst best Thanksgiving ever. That might sound oxymoronic, but to those of you who are blogging addicts, it will make perfect sense. Our hosts pretty much offered THE superlative Thanksgiving experience. Great for our family. Very mundane blogging material.
You know you are addicted to blogging when you start yearning for holidays past with the dysfunctional families of ex-boyfriends who, after they downed their jello molds and Bud Lights, came to blows with anyone who asked you to pass the ketchup for the deviled eggs. Yep, good times.
The Globetrotters live in Houston, so Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. missed out on the grand feast – partly the reason that our days were less eventful than usual. Although the Globetrotters have two adorable canines of their own, their dynamic doggie duo have much better manners than our irascible beasts.
Mrs. Globetrotter cooked everything, saving us all from the food poisoning that would have resulted from my culinary contributions and from a kitchen stacked high with pots and covered with flour that would have resulted from a meal prepared by Cap’n Firepants.
The food was delicious, and the exact perfect amount. There weren’t ten thousand cakes and pies and salads of every sort filling up every available surface and hollering at you that you will suffer the eternal vengeance of any relative whose food you did not sample and declare the best darn dish of cream cheese plus whatever.
So, I want to thank you, Globetrotters, for giving us our picture-perfect Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t wish any disasters on you because you’ve been through enough, but we may have to host next time so we can have a teeny tiny kitchen fire or Wonderbutt can snatch the turkey off the table and try to drag it out the dog door to his pen to add some extra seasoning.
Happy Birthday, Wonderbutt. I’m sorry your birthday was as crappy as mine. On the up(yours)side, though, you didn’t really seem to notice.
You’ve accomplished a lot since you entered our household as a 13 pound puppy:
- destroyed our carpet
- torn apart 5 pillows
- shredded the bottom of our couch
- destroyed our carpet again
- littered our floor with I.E.D.’s (Icky Excrement Droppings)
- gained 52 pounds
- thoroughly destroyed our carpet beyond any silly little hope on my part that some steam cleaning would fix it right up
In your favor, though, you have also:
- trained us all to put our shoes away (or at least on the windowsill) so you won’t eat them
- readied us for battle in any war zone riddled with land mines
- brought our family closer because there is now only one decent piece of furniture we can precariously squeeze all three of us on at the same time
I have to say, in this month of Thanksgiving, that there is one thing I am supremely grateful for (besides the smiles you bring to our family) – that you can’t read.
As you know, Wonderbutt, our favorite cousins, the Globetrotters, visited this weekend from Houston. Sans dogs. We told them to bring their two dogs, but they seemed to think four dogs in one household would be too much. There’s not much more potential for damage at our house at this point, but oh well.
Anyway, the Globetrotters brought a magazine to which I do not want you to be exposed. Because I don’t think you need to get any ideas.
San Antonio is a pretty big city. But apparently, it’s not as big as Houston. And it’s certainly not as big of a dog city as Houston. At least not according to this magazine, Dog Talk. (As we speak, I am typing this in a public place, and trying not to let anyone see that I have this magazine with a picture of a Yorkie wearing a polka-dot party dress and ruby red Dorothy slippers. I feel like I need to put brown paper wrapping on it.)
Once I got past the humping article (well, you probably should read that article, Wonderbutt) in Dog Talk, I started realizing all of the dog amenities that are available in Houston. I think we’ve had a dog bakery or two in San Antonio. And even doggie “spas”. But I’m pretty sure none of the spas or boarding kennels in San Antonio offer “luxury” swimming pools or actual doggie birthday party facilities.
According to its advertisement, “Dogs r Dogs” offers a fitness center, a movie center, a ballroom, and a treat lounge. All. For. Dogs.
Oh, I just got the ballroom pun. Haha.
At “Club Canine”, I could have enrolled you in “Puppy Pitfall Prevention.”
But then, what would I have to write about?
So, clearly, Wonderbutt, you would have had a much better puppyhood and birthday if you lived in Houston. (Maybe that explains the lack of effort the family put into my birthday. I don’t even want to know what extravagances Houston’s Human Talk magazine includes.)
I’m sorry you have to slum it with us in San Antonio, Wonderbutt. Just remember, though, it’s the love that counts – not the gourmet treats you can get at the “Pawty Palace.” Or the limousine pick up service at its rival “Pet Palace.” Or the Dog Swim Parties at (I swear to God I’m not making this up) “Rummy’s Beach Club”.
At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
Note: I wrote this before deciding to pen my two part Xbox Debacle series. Now that I read it again, I realize that I am even more of an idiot than I was last year. But I’m still 25% certain that I can pull this gift off…
I have great confidence that Cap’n Firepants does not read my blog. Such great confidence that I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I already got him one of his Christmas presents. Well, it’s for both him and Dimples.
You gotta see it. I’m only telling you about it because I already bought it so I don’t have to worry about my zillion blog subscribers making a run on this amazing product and the poor company not having enough in stock.
Here, watch this.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Super cool, huh?
I actually showed this video to Dimples and Firepants and they oohed and aahed so much that I immediately made a mental note that this was going to be in one of the boxes under the tree.
If we have a tree.
The presence of Wonderbutt this year might inhibit some of our festive decorating traditions, including the tree. But that’s okay. I’ll just keep the gift in my dry-cleaning basket where all good gifts go. No one cares that I apparently have more dry cleaning than clothes that I own.
Although it would be totally awesome if I could inflate it the day before and fly it into their midst on Christmas day.
Can you imagine the look on their faces? Can you imagine the look on Wonderbutt’s face? I am totally going to record this.
I love Christmas. I don’t even care if I don’t get anything. I just want to scare the crap out of everybody.
Dimples and I took a little field trip to Michaels the other day (because I’m Oh So Crafty). I got out of the car, and Dimples, who usually exits on the opposite side, surprised me by popping out on my side. As we started walking toward the store, she explained – somewhat.
“I didn’t know she was there.”
“The lady on my side.”
It took me a moment… “Wait a minute. Did you hit her car door with mine?”
“Did you scratch her car? Did you damage my car?”
“I don’t know. I just closed the door real fast and came out on your side.”
I had to process this. We entered the store, and I started my duck hunt. Duck Tape hunt, that is. Don’t ask.
A few moments into the hunt, Dimples said, “I’m still worried about the door thing.”
“Me too, ” I said grimly, wondering if Duck Tape makes duct tape the color of my car.
“What if she’s mad at me?”
“Wait a second. You’re worried about some strange lady being mad at you for messing up her door? What about your mom being mad at you?”
“Oh, you’re not going to hurt me or anything.”
“Let’s wait until I see my door,” I mumbled under my breath.
Love my sis. She texted me the other day that I needed to watch Anne Hathaway rapping on Conan. Then she said that she and my niece think I look like Anne Hathaway.
Since my sis recently had a mishap as a result of wrestling with a car my niece backed into a ditch, I figured she might have double-dosed on her pain meds. But I accepted the compliment graciously anyway. I mean, what 42 year old woman in her somewhat right mind wouldn’t want to be compared to the elegant and beautiful Anne Hathaway?
Then I watched the rap. Hmm… Is Crash (sis’ nickname ever since the car wrestling incident) comparing me to rappin’, obscenity spewing Anne or demure, eloquent Anne?
Not that I don’t like both of them. The rap was hysterical and quite clever, and just a little off-color. Well, the off-color part works…
Anyway, so I feel like I should offer a tribute to Crash for all of the ego boosts she has offered me through the years. Here are the top 10 Great Things about My Sis:
- She doesn’t take herself too seriously (hence her self-applied moniker, Crash)
- She always places her kids ahead of herself (which is why she took on a two-ton Jeep at night in a rainstorm)
- Her childhood dream was to grow up and teach cats how to roller skate.
- She abandoned her childhood dream in order to become a full-time mother and part-time medical assistant, both of which are a whole lot harder than teaching cats to roller skate.
- She tells me that I write better than the author of her current favorite book.
- She makes the whole family pose for group pictures whenever we’re together. In every possible permutation. “Now all of the kids,” “now the married couples,” “okay, let’s do the boyfriends and girlfriends.”
- She ignores the family’s insults as we grudgingly get into position for the photos.
- She magically inspires our autistic nephew to grin for a photo in the middle of a potential nuclear meltdown.
- She’s forty, but she looks like she is in her twenties. (Actually, I really don’t like that about her, since that genetic abnormality seems to have skipped right over me.)
- She thrives on a diet of potato chips and cookies because she loves animals too much to eat them. Plus, she thinks raw meat looks gross.
There are a lot more great things I could say about my sis, but that would, of course, no longer be a Top 10 List. So, that’s my tribute to one of the kindest, funniest people I know – the one person who I am completely confident could teach a cat to roller skate once she set her mind to it.