Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I've been sitting on this for several weeks, aNd I haVE A big bandaGe on my left pinky.

Good evening!

Gee! Been sitting on this one for about 2 weeks. I figured I'd post it. It's not complete. It ws written there, here, everywhere. Sorry for the confusion, but I don't hve time to fix it, and I am missing my left pinky aT THE MOMENT.

Yeah, it's been a while. Life seems to move on at a feverish pace, while I do my best to keep up with the lesson plans and progress reports that seem to creep up behind me and bite me in the ass. School keeps me busy, and I find myself running around in circles with issues and politics that the BOE throws upon us, the people on the front lines of the battle for education. I spend a lot of money on school supplies, which in New Jersey, were supplied to the schools. Most teachers charge for things like pencils, dry-erase markers (low odor, of course), plus the other things that kids seem to use to practice their magic disappearing acts. And why must we use the low odor markers? That was always the best part of the markers!

Thanksgiving was very enjoyable. We went to the church, where we ate way too much. We all had a great time, and I helped with the clean-up. Somewhere, someone told me that life is a series of checks and balances, and I'm trying to get ahead in the score. Either that, or it's how my parents brought us up. I should say "OUR" parents brought us up.

The Christmas season is fast approaching. If it weren't for the fact that my brother is living with me, there would probably be no Christmas decorating here at home. But leave it to Devin. The Christmas tree is already out, ready to be assembled (we have a tree with lights on it), the ornaments and decorations are ready to collect another season of dust. Oh sure, we'll do some entertaining, so there will be people here to enjoy the dusty old decorations with us.

Mom and Dad are preparing their annual Christmas letter. You know -- that dreaded 2-pager from people you hardly know, who talk about their medical problems, brag about their kids and whine about the state of our country. Mom usually writes the updates on the family, while Dad throws in his sarcastic humor at our expense. You know what I'm talking about. One of Dad's classics was "And of course, Devin moved in with Jeff. And all hopes for grandchildren are being flushed down the toilet!" Double entendre intended.

I must say, though, that people always enjoy receiving our Christmas letter. I've laughed pretty hard at some of the ways my dad can twist what Mom puts in there. So what the hell!

I know what they'll be saying about us. They're proud of us, how we've followed our dreams. I'm a teacher; Devin is a financial planner. I get by on Walmart clothes and Dollar General; Devin buys wide-screen HDTVs, riding mowers, appliances, and of course, top shelf liquor at only the finest establishments. It makes me glad he's my brother.

I'm still driving a Malibu, while Devin has broken through the traditional family bubble, branching out on a limb to buy a Ford Fusion. I must say, it's nice!

But we are getting into the Christmas spirit. We've already made our plans for heading back home for Christmas. Yes, again, I referred to that house where I grew up as "home". Going from a Euro plush king to a slightly used twin doesn't bother me one bit. When I get home at Christmastime, I still wake up and look out the window. The thought is still there. Maybe it snowed, and maybe school's closed. It doesn't even matter if it IS Christmas vacation. I still check. There's something about snow, especially on Christmas Eve, that puts the cherry on top of the sundae.

In the past few years, some of the family traditions have carried on. Mom and Dad wait for me (now Devin and me) to get home before we put up the tree. There's a story in so many of the decorations that adorn the tree. And of course, the last thing to go on the tree is Kimmy's angel. I've probably told about how Kim would get on Dad's shoulders, and she'd put that same angel on top of the tree. It doesn't matter whether it's been 15 years or 50 years, our Christmas tree isn't a Christmas tree until Kimmy's angel is put on top of the tree. That has become Devin's job.

Maybe it's a little crazy to some, but when we hang the stockings, we still hang 5 of them. But in all honesty, there are some years, more hectic years, when the stockings weren't put up. Grandma made them for all of us.

So now let's get into the Christmas spirit.

This reminds me of one Christmas when I was about 10 years old. Dad was putting up the lights on the house. He got smart a few years earlier, and put those little hooks all around, so the lights would go up more easily. Well, it seems that somebody did some painting outside, and some of the hooks were upside down, filled with paint, or just plain missing. What a Christmas scene! You've probably seen similar movies of people putting up the lights. It's usually snowing, there are a few inches on the ground, and the world is a big ho ho ho place, with strangers greeting each other with a cheery "Merry Christmas." Well, it was more like a sunny day in the 50's with no sign of snow. We 3 kids were in the house, blowing the dust off the ornaments, and we heard the jolly verbal excrement that has made my dad the legendary Mr. Christmas. "Merry fucking Christmas!" I heard him exclaim as he swore out of sight. Kim covered her ears while Devin (about 7 at the time) and I tried to stifle the laughter. "Ho ho ho, bastard!" Oh, it went on. Mom finally went out to see what the hell was wrong after Dad's final bevy of scatterling: "I'll stick THIS up Rudolph's ass!" "THIS" was in reference to the Santa hat that Mom insisted that Dad wear, just because it's Christmas, now flopping in his sweaty face, caused by the sun reflecting off the bay window. And retelling this story had Devin laughing so hard, he pissed his pants. Yes. He was 17 years old at the time.

The robins are here. I looked out this afternoon and there were literally dozens on the lawn. Some were singing in the trees. They ignore their cousins, the bluebirds, which are all used to us.

More coming when I caN type.

Have AA good evening!