Christmas Wrap Up

So, how was your holiday?

Ours started with a harrowing drive through a blizzard to my mom’s place on Christmas Eve. The trip normally takes about 75 minutes door-to-door, but the road conditions were so poor that it was nearly 3 hours before we arrived. Everyone had already eaten dinner, too, so it felt really weird and rushed once we got there to dine on the dregs.

There was one point on the journey where it was a total whiteout and we were on a narrow stretch of road with no shoulder on either side – plus a precipitous bilateral drop – and a semi blazed by us doing about 90 MPH. Ever Patient Spouse and I looked at one another and simultaneously asked, “Was that Large Marge?”

It went downhill from there.

One highlight of all the gifting was Disney Hedbanz.


Although it was meant for Trixie from her cousins, we all engaged in several rounds of this. The premise is rather straightforward: Each player wears a headband with a card that isn’t visible to the player (but is for everyone else), and then you ask yes-or-no questions to determine which card is in your headband. An hourglass timer is involved (Thank god!).

Example: Trixie had an the Enchanted Pumpkin Carriage card from “Cinderella.”

Something like this:


Trixie: Am I a boy?

Me: No.

Trixie: Am I an animal?

Me: No.

Trixie: Am I hairy?

Me: No.

Trixie: Am I a person?

Me: No.

Trixie: Am I a princess?

Me: No.

Trixie: Am I a hairy animal?

Me: No.

Trixie: Am I a crab?

Me: No.

Trixie: Am I an animal with a lot of hair?

Me: No.

Trixie: Am I a hairy crab?

So, you can see how this went down. 

And now we’re safely ensconced back at Fancy Pants Ranch, where the real Christmas Miracle occurred today: The garbage truck hauled away Mt. Saint Trashmore, our towering pile of cardboard boxes, colorful wrapping paper, and assorted holiday detritus.

Until next year…

Dysfunction Junction (Or How I Was Almost Shot in the Face Last Christmas)

I should probably be more concerned about Christmas preparation right now, but instead I’m going to a movie tonight (this one or this one) and generally goofing off. However, I will share a Christmas story today in the spirit of the holidays.

Although it can be tough to appreciate the humor in the heat of the moment, I seem to be a magnet for situations that are genuinely weird, publicly humiliating, or flat-out bizarre. 

Christmas is no exception. In fact, Christmas is in a category all of its own.

Like last Christmas, when I was almost shot in the face.

Background: My father (R.I.P.) grew up in a family with two brothers, only one of whom is still alive. It’s surprising that my surviving uncle is the last one standing, given that he smokes a hookah pipe all day long, has never eaten a vegetable, and basically has every health problem ever described.

He’s 76 now, never married, and lives alone in a house that I will kindly describe as time warped and smoky. Also, to say he is a curmudgeon is a gross understatement. 

He’s had two strokes which have rendered his left arm nonfunctional. The mobility of his right arm isn’t much better, and he uses a cane to get around.

Oh, and he loves guns and other assorted weapons.

Last year, Ever Patient Spouse and I stopped in to check on him at Christmas, since we were back in our hometown and all. It was probably 2 P.M., and I think we woke my uncle up from a nap.

Still, he was happy to see us and invited us in. We chatted a bit, and then asked him about the interesting objet on his coffee table.

Turns out, it was a miniature – and functional – cannon. 

This prompted a turn in our conversation to guns and ammo. My uncle got progressively more excited and told us to wait a minute, then shuffled off to a different part of the house.


When he came back he was holding a huge, long-barreled pistol in his bad arm, supported by his good(ish) arm, and waving it back and forth in our faces.

Spouse and I took one panicked look at each other, decided today wasn’t the day we wanted to die, and high-tailed it out of there.

In the background, we could hear my uncle saying, “Come back, I want to show you my cross bow.”

We took a pass on that one.