Crouched down in the waaaaay back of the basement, I started my journey through the dusty bins that I’d once carefully stacked, labeling the contents in a way that would make my OCD father proud. I took a strange and unexpected amount pride in organizing the basement, a hundred light years ago, carefully packing and stacking, and pulling things out to donate to charity.
I always took a lot of pride in the things I did to make my home, well, better.
But I wasn’t in the basement of the house formerly known as mine to take a stroll down memory lane, nor was I there to marvel at the size of the basement and amount of storage capacity of the room (although I had a Jealous about the storage potential).
No, I was there to pick up some of the Christmas things I’d been collecting for as long as I’d been with Dave.
Always one for tradition, I’d been buying one of those Hallmark holiday ornaments for each person in my immediate family, one that showcased the past year. When Ben was a tot and in his Inter-planet Janet Phase, I’d bought a Moon Landing ornament, I’ve bought one for each of the babies first Christmases, and others that represented parts of the previous year.
As the babies were wee, I never was able to put those ornaments up without fear that they’d be gnawed on and lead to the eventual death by ornament which isn’t particularly festive, so these ornaments stayed carefully in their boxes, waiting for the day that the kids were older and were less apt to die by ornament. I pictured Dave and I, sitting around as old farts, our kids grown (perhaps with their OWN kids) looking back at the ornaments I’d bought so long before and remembering.
The Universe does laugh at my plans – instead, I sat alone in the fridgid basement, sneezing, blowing dust off the boxes I’d carefully packed, remembering. A blue ribbon and a silver spoon dated 2007, for Alex’s first Christmas. The Dexter’s Laboratory ornament I’d gotten to represent my dreams of going back to school to study virology. The penguin ornaments I’d selected for Dave. The tiny ballerina I’d bought for my (then) tiny daughter.
Carefully, I went through the boxes, selecting the ornaments that meant something. To me, they were memories of happier times. Times when dreams were real and happiness brimmed through the walls of the house. Times less complicated. To Dave, it was just stuff.
Nearly done, blindly I reached into the very last bin, making certain I’d gotten all I’d come for. As I dug around the bin, an unexpected and sharp pain caused an unladylike yelp. Quickly, I pulled my finger from the box to see what had attacked me. Already, a glistening bead of blood had formed and without thinking, I stuck my finger in my mouth.
Pulling my finger out, I realized I hadn’t anything to staunch the blood, and onto the cold basement floor it pattered as I stood there, wondering how it had all gone so horribly wrong.
Security Goon 1 –
While you don’t know me from a hole in the ground, I know you.
Okay, that’s a lie, I don’t actually know who you are or how you got such a lilting and magnificent name, but I’d like to.
I remember the day we met, if only vaguely — I was suffering from the flu AND malnutrition (turns out my pesky fridge was right — you should eat more than twice in four months), and the only thing that kept me company during those shaky, feverish moments in which I sat on my couch, trying not to die, was CSI: Miami. I’d never watched the show because I kept mixing up David Caruso and David Carradine, which naturally led me to think about autoerotic asphyxiation* and then I had to scrub out my brain with bleach.
But the flu meant that I was holed up on the couch, moaning near the cats and trying to focus on not dying while I watched the 837147 episodes of CSI: Miami that Netflix has thoughtfully provided me.
(Dear Netflix, I miss Hoarders)
See, Security Goon 1, I don’t exactly know who you are or what you looked like, I only know your name. A name that leads to more questions than answers: Did your mother name you Security Goon 1? I mean, I used to work L/D, which meant that I once met a baby someone had named (I shit you not, Security Goon 1) “Chandelier,” because, the mother claimed “it sounded fancy.” Now, I speak fancy-talk, Security Goon 1, but can’t say that “Security Goon 1” or “Chandelier” is fancy-talk lexicon.
Who looks at a baby and says, “We shall call him, Security Goon 1.” It’s like naming a baby Marge – who can look at an adorable baby and see a 40-year old cartoon character? Answer: not me. Then again, Security Goon 1, I wanted to name my son “Cash” so I suppose I should shut my whore mouth.
While I will never know your face, nor will you know mine, Security Goon 1, I wanted to thank you. I’ve been wallowing in some pretty ugly muck lately and try as I might to shake it off and keep on keepin’ on, it’s not always so simple, now is it, Security Goon 1. In fact, it’s been a pretty low point in my life. But seeing your name there on my television screen gave me the first real laugh I’ve had in ages.
You reminded me, Security Goon 1, that life isn’t always such serious business; that there are absurdities in everyday life, if we look hard enough. That we should hold onto the things that bring us joy and let those lift us up when we’re at our lowest. That absurd reminder, Security Goon 1, is something I owe you a debt of gratitude for. In all the events of the past few months, I’d lost that sparkle, that joy, and the simple reminder that life isn’t so damn serious, well, I needed that.
So thank you, Security Goon 1 (the “1” I added to make you sound kickier, by the by), for reminding me to look for the absurdities in life.
*really should have something more to do with cars #justsayin
P.S. Mark Zuckerberg has a crush on you, Security Goon 1:
P.P.S. New post up here.
No matter how I begged, cajoled, pleaded, or attempted blackmail, I couldn’t get my parents to budge on their toy purchases for us when we were kids. While my friends were rocking out their Super Nintendo, I was stuck playing “Kris-Kross Make My Video” (which is something I will never, ever, ever play again) and/or gnawing on those now-popular wooden toys (although not generally at the same time, because obviously).
I can’t imagine where on earth my parents found such toys – they weren’t tragically hip or organic back then – which means that my mom probably found them in one of her weird sage-scented health food stores. In fact, they were probably covered in lead paint, which may explain a thing or two about me. As I lack(ed) an imagination, it was damn near impossible for me to get too excitable about stacking wooden blocks again. I’d rather have watched grass grow or play out in the mud with the worms.
I’d have cut a bitch for something garish and made of plastic. I wasn’t allowed Barbies which meant that I’d have happily eaten aforementioned wooden toys if it meant I could have a Barbie Dream House complete with working bathtub so that she and Ken could get down and dirty, obviously. Why else put a bathtub in a house? BATHING? I think not.
When I had my own kids, I was pretty pleased with the notion that I could, in fact, now purchase them the toys I’d so longed for. While my mother scoffed at the EZ Bake Oven, always promising, yet never allowing me to use the real oven instead (probably a good idea on her end considering my track record with appliances), I couldn’t WAIT to buy one for my kid. Until, of course, I did and the “delicious cake” tasted more like urinal cake than chocolate.
(don’t ask how I know what a urinal cake tastes like)
I’d realized this year, after perusing the Black Friday sales, that it was finally time for my kids to actually select their own Christmas presents because they’re so damn finicky that it’s damn near impossible for me to buy them an item of clothing without allowing them to select it first. They are, as Mimi gleefully sings, “Stubborn Assholes.*”
Friday night, after a botched Thanksgiving, I had Mimi over to my apartment for our weekly Girl’s Night. I have lofty hopes that one day we can paint our nails, play Truth or Dare, and talk about boys, but for now, Girls Night means that we watch whatever Mimi would like to watch and play the games she likes best. The youngest of three and all, she loves being in charge.
I’d been carefully perusing the Black Friday Deals at my boyfriend, Target.com when I came across something I knew my wee masked avengers would either love or hate, so I called my daughter – by far the pickiest of the three – and together we examined toys.
Because my kids range in age from 3 to 11 and my apartment is *ahem* cozy (read: small), I have to make certain that the toys I buy are toys that they can all play with – together or separately. Not always the easiest of tasks, but since Ben is happy to play with his siblings on their level and Mimi and Alex are precocious, it works out well… if’n I can find the right shit.
For the first year EVER, I managed to get ALL the Christmas shopping done for the kids (likely the only presents I’ll be buying this year) by Friday night with the help of one tiny moppet named Amelia who discovered that Fisher Price makes a series of toys called “Imaginext,” which is a dumb ass name for some neato toys. I vote we petition for a better name, like Sparkle Sparkle…. er, SOMETHING.
Anyway. Amelia quickly noted that they made a BATMAN series and fell in pink-puffy heart love. Thanks to crowd-sourcing via The Twitter, I able to find these toys on sale, which always makes me happy in the pants.
While I’m thrilled that I am, for once, on top of my game with the whole I’M NEARLY DONE WITH THE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING shit, I’m more than a little sad that my daughter, my VERY OWN daughter has, once again, foiled my attempts at the whole, “my daughter needs a Barbie” thing. I’ve offered, begged, pleaded, and blackmailed, and still, she thinks Barbies are dumb.
When I stop hyperventilating, Pranksters, I’ll let you know.
P.S. I really want to do a Christmas card exchange but that seems like a crazy-bad idea. Is it? Should we do one?
*No, I did not happen to teach her that phrase, but it cracks me up whenever she sings the song.