Christmas Wrapup: Banner Year at the Bender Family

OK! NOW let’s have some fun, shall we? The unpleasantness out of the way? Yes. Good. GOOD.

How were all of your varied holidays? Fantabuloso? I hope so!

I am HOME. Finally. I had a lovely time full of family and fun and various shenanigans, but now I am home in my own place and all is well and I don’t have to be back to work until Wednesday. That is awesome. Will wine be had? Yes, I think it will be had! But listen, a sad thing happened? I brought wine home, and FORGOT IT THERE. I know. It’s the worst. My mother is totally going to drink that now because she liked it a lot. It was the delicious no-hangover magic Olive Garden wine, of course she liked it.

OK! Let’s get to it!

Push th’ little daisies

So, as planned, when I got home on Friday, I said, “mom mom mom CEMETERY” and she said “YES GOOD” and my dad said “you’re both insane people.” I was encouraged to bring a Monopoly hotel by one of my favorite commenters, Renni, but I could not find one and also it was balls-to-the-wall cold on Friday in upstate New York so I didn’t think we’d want to be setting up tableaux.

We were also in a crazy hurry because right after the cemetery, we had to pick up THE NEPHEW! SQUEE! from daycare. When I talked to my brother and told him we were going to the cemetery, he said, “You’re not bringing my son to the cemetery, are you?” so I had to reassure him that no, we were not, in fact, bringing a toddler to the cemetery so I could lay on my future burial site while he waited.

So we got to the cemetery and we visited my grandparents. “Amy, you’re not supposed to stand ON the dead people,” my mother said. “They like it, I think,” I told her. She just rolled her eyes. (There are rules? For where you stand in a snow-covered cemetery? Man, there are rules for EVERYTHING.)

Then we got to MY GRAVESITE. Mom got the shower curtain for me to lay on out of the car.

“Mom, that’s not a shower curtain, that’s a teeny dry-cleaning bag,” I said.

“I know, but I didn’t think your blog people wanted to see the shower curtain. This will be less conspicuous,” she said.

“I’m going to get all snow on my ass,” I responded.

“Yes,” she said. “Yes, you are.”

So then I had to decide, which side did I want my eternal resting place to be on? My mom’s side, or my dad’s? I decided my dad’s because you could see the trees better from his side.

I totally got freezing cold snow all on my ass. ALL FOR YOU DAMIEN.

My mom didn’t like this one. Because my mouth was open and you couldn’t tell I was in the cemetery enough. Who knew she was such a photo critic?

She was more into this one because I looked more dead. And you could see the tombstone. Nice job, Mom!

Then I said, “Let’s do MORE, my ass is already frozen anyway, what the hell.”

These are me being a ZOMBIE on my gravesite. My mother said no one would know I was being a zombie but I think it’s pretty obvious. I mean, look at my totally scary claw-hands and growly-face.

When I showed these to my father, his responses were:

“Please tell me no one else was in the cemetery” (this was in response to the totally normal dead-person photo) (PS no, there wasn’t, but I still would have done it if there was, I did make you all a promise)


“What the hell are you doing with your hands and face in these photos here?”

When I told him I was being a zombie he said he didn’t want to talk about that anymore because it was too scary. When I told my brother he said that only serial killers, rapists, and people with one hand read blogs (I couldn’t make this up if I tried – one hand? Really? I don’t even know) so he refuses to believe I’m actually a blogger because what kind of idiot would write things for those type of people to read, and then he put his hands in front of him like a mummy, and I had to explain that I wasn’t being a MUMMY in the cemetery, but a ZOMBIE, but I wish I had thought of that because a mummy would also have made a sweet photo if my ass hadn’t been freezing due to the fact that dry-cleaning bag was very, very small and also not very insulating.


OK, so you know how when I left I was a little excited about seeing The Nephew? Well! I guess I underestimated how awesome he is. Because think of how awesome I thought he was a few days ago, and multiply that times oh, I don’t know, A MILLION TIMES, and you kind of touch on how awesome he is.

Things The Nephew did that were filled with so much awesome I can’t even:

  • He watched Frosty the Snowman for the first time at daycare. He did not like the magician who kept trying to take Frosty’s hat. The magician scared him. So he hid in a playhouse until the magician was gone. When I tried to tell him that he could just cover his eyes, he said, “No, the playhouse is where you go when a scary magician comes.” That is excellent advice, and very specific. I approve.
  • He pretended to sneeze, and when someone said “Bless you!” he very practically responded, “No. I made that up.” He’s already making things up. And then admitting it! GENETICS.
  • Even though he has not seen me in four months, which, in toddler-time, is like seventeen years, he was not scared or freaked out by me at all. He let me pick him up right away and everything. Excellent taste.
  • His fallback answer for everything is to give it a gender. “I am a BOY. You are a GIRL.” This will not be adorable when he is, say, eighteen, but right now it is the best.
  • At one point, he was saying “no” to something I said (you’re probably all aware of this, but at the age of two and a half, the thing to do is argue everything everyone says to you, ever, for no apparent reason. It would be annoying if it was anyone else’s child; I found it ADORABLE) and I tricked him by agreeing with him. “Yes!” he then said. “We have reached an accord, then,” I told him. This was the funniest thing I told him all weekend, apparently; it cracked him up for a number of minutes on end. Words ARE fun, The Nephew! I love you!
  • When opening Christmas presents, he opened three Hot Wheels racetracks in a row (different ones, but they all fit together to make one huge track full of awesome.) When he got to the last one, he looked up with very bright eyes and said, “You got me this because you love me?” Grinch heart, three sizes, you know the drill.
  • Sometimes when he was crying for no apparent reason (you think the Terrible Twos are a fallacy? YOU ARE WRONG. However, if you love the child so much that your whole brain turns to mush when you see him, it isn’t annoying. I think maybe this is why parents don’t murder their children) if I would scoop him up and have a chat with him about what was wrong or distract him or make a face or something, he would stop crying and smile at me and it might well have been the best thing since ever. Just saying. Also, I win at aunting.
  • If you pretend you’re going to eat your nephew’s ham because he won’t eat, that makes him want to eat it, and then you win at getting a toddler to eat. You have to also act sad that he got to it before you did, though. Or else you’re not committing to your role enough. They know if you’re faking. They’re like the toughest theater critics you’ll ever meet.
  • I got to read six books to him. It was also the best.
  • When it was time to say goodbye for the last time of the weekend he let me put all his winter clothes on him and kiss his cheek and tell him how much I love him and then my Grinch heart shrunk back up and hurt a little.

That is the story of The Nephew. To recap: he is the best. My father tried to take a photo of me reading to him but the camera decided it didn’t want that so it didn’t work. Instead, here’s a photo of him opening a present.

I have ones of his face, but how do I know you don’t all have one hand? My brother said you might, and now that’s all I can think about.

Presents on the tree

I got a kajillion presents because I am spoiled. It has come to my attention that this is not normal, so I will not rub this in your faces.

Things that were standouts:

  • A lava lamp (Why? I don’t know. It makes me smile, though.)
  • A new GPS because my old one wouldn’t update anymore no matter what I did and wherever there was construction it showed me driving in empty space like my car was a forging a new Oregon Trail or something and what if I was going to die of DYSENTERY? I used to play that game, that always happened
  • A gorgeous necklace from my uncle who has the best taste
  • The best nail polish ever that I’m totally putting on tonight
  • A handmade quilt
  • Many other things that I’m kind of embarrassed to talk about because I guess it’s not normal to have a trunk and backseat filled with gifts when you come home from Christmas so I’ll stop now.

Also, The Nephew’s mom bought me a Kindle, only she was informed that I’m violently anti-ereaders so she returned it and bought me other things that I love to death instead. I feel kind of badly, because that was totally so nice of her and so many people WANTED a Kindle for Christmas, and I’m kind of an asshole, but I really can’t see that I’d use it for anything, and I can’t afford books or any movies or television shows to put on it, and I have my phone for email and Twitter. So I thank her very much for the thought, and it was so, so nice, but I’m glad it didn’t happen because I don’t know what I’d do with it if I had one. And I like paper books so much.

Post-Christmas Shenanigans

So after the gifts were open and the food was eaten and blah blah blah, I said, “hey, I think my throat’s a little sore, this is odd” and now I have some sort of sudden-0nset death cold that I think might kill me with the congestion, just saying. I haven’t been sick since February so I’ve forgotten how to do it. The answer seems to be, “be very grumpy and hot, then cold, then hot again, and also use up a lot of Kleenex.”

Then I headed home this morning all bright and early, but not bright-eyed and bushy-tailed because I am totally dying, probably of the grippe. And after about an hour and a half on the road, my car started bucking like I was a cowboy breaking a wild stallion and also not accelerating when I pushed the gas pedal and smelling like burning electrical death. I was on the highway at the time, too, so that’s not at all dangerous.

“Ah-hah!” I said. “I’ve had AAA for thirteen years and hardly ever used it, this will be a piece of cake!”

Um. No, no it wasn’t.

I was on the side of the highway, right under an overpass that was clearly labeled Route 22, right near a marker that said Mile 140.These are totally awesome landmarks for a tow truck, right?

Be there in 30 minutes, he said.

So I waited, courting death with each 18-wheeler that barreled past, and waiting, and waiting, and WAITING. I called my parents; they started heading my way with my dad’s old car, so I’d have something to drive while that car was fixed. Yes, I know. I’m totally the most spoiled human alive. I know. My parents were an hour and a half away, remember.

Called AAA 45 minutes later. “We can’t find you,” they said. “Exit 37?”

“I don’t know what exit, I’m not near an exit sign. Mile marker 140. Overpass for Route 22.”

“On our way. Just a few more minutes.”

Waited. Waited. Waited. Thank you, heavens above, for the 58 blogs my RSS reader compiled while I was out of phone range over the holidays, and for Twitter, and for the fact that if I’d broken down just a few miles further along, I wouldn’t have had phone coverage because there’s a hour-long dead zone just past that.

Called them again. “Still can’t find you. You’re up by Glens Falls?”

“NO. I’m HEADING toward Glens Falls. I’m back by Lake Placid.”

“Oh. We’re probably another 45 minutes away, then. That’s not where you told us you were. You said Mile Marker 40?”


“Maybe an hour, then?”

Oh, by the way? Cold as hell today. Windy. And I had to pee like no one you’ve ever dealt with in your life. My car chose to break down where there were no trees. Nothing. I started thinking, “How embarrassing, exactly, would it be to just squat in the open? It’s that or pee all over my seat, and that’s worse, right?”

The tow truck pulled up. He was FURIOUS with me. He wouldn’t even SPEAK to me. He glared in my general direction and started hooking up the car.

My parents pulled up. My dad was upset as it was. Seeing his poor kiddo on the side of the road with her legs crossed doing the potty dance while the tow truck driver was glaring at her wasn’t really cutting it for him.

“Get in your mother’s car, it’s warm,” he said. He strolled over to the driver. Words were exchanged. The tow truck driver unhooked whatever was hooked and drove off into the wind. Ha, bye.

My dad babied my burny-smelling car to the next exit while my mom and I followed in a convoy and got us to a gas station where I peed for like an hour in a gas station where the door didn’t even lock BUT I DID NOT CARE. I’m pretty sure I might have sighed with pleasure, so deep was my need to pee at that point.

So I drove my dad’s car back home and he drove my car the hour and a half back to his house where he’s going to fix it up THERE and bring it back HERE like old Grinchy-Claus and his tree that won’t light on one side. Best part? It didn’t even act up for him on the way home. Nope. Acted FINE. Remember that vampire test I took a while ago about mechanical things not working for me and I was all “they work FINE?” Yeah, add some points to my score, I’m totally getting closer to vampirism as we speak.

So I’m home, my little chickadees. My place has never been so welcoming.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and day off today, if you got one! I missed you all like crazy people. Dialup is the worst, by the way. It took – not even exaggerating – 45 minutes to load Twitter each night. And then I had to hit refresh in-between each Tweet to see if anyone replied. So THAT was fun. NO NO NO DIALUP.

Happy week between Christmas and New Year’s!

(OBVIOUSLY the title is sardonic; I had a LOVELY Christmas, other than how much I want to throw the tow truck driver into a flaming trash pit. I just wanted to throw in a Bender quote. Can you blame me, really?)

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

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