18 December 2008

Bah Humbug!

As I came to an emergency stop outside the dazzling facade of a semi-detached house in Durrington, Chickie let out a small gasp in awe. It was an impressive display. Reindeers pranced, Santa scooted up and down a ladder and snowmen vied for attention amidst the festive anarchy. There wasn’t a blade of grass or roof tile left in darkness.
I looked back at Chick, his nose moisturising the car window and his mouth ajar, the reflection of thousands of lights twinkling in his eyes and potentially doing long-term damage to his retinas. For him, the magic was just beginning.
I drifted back to my own childhood, remembering staying awake to stake out Santa. The anticipation overwhelming as I crouched behind my door wearing night vision goggles and a balaclava, vowing quietly in the darkness to wait –“no matter how long it takes!”
Mum and dad’s weary little faces as they took it in turns to traipse back and forth to see if I’d fallen asleep, their pitiful pleas that I return to bed, minus the facemask, ignored. “I’m in stealth mode. Sleep is not an option” I explained without moving my lips. Their foiled attempts to turn my clock back in the vague hope I might consider 3am an unreasonable hour to start opening presents. The promise of all those wishes just a sleigh ride away. The whole world captivated, as we all waited and watched to see if the story would come true.
Chickie had begun stuttering an inventory to ensure that I hadn’t missed anything. “There’s an angel mummy and ..a....a reindeer and a ....a. snowman and....” I nodded along as we built our memories, wishing whoever lived there could see him delight in their sense of fun. I loved them and all those like them. Clambering onto their roofs with sleighs and 3ft reindeers, risking their lives to make their little part of the world twinkle. Those people who could still be bothered to go all out, staplegun at the ready, when it’s so much easier not to.
And, admittedly, it would be easier not to have to cook dinner for 18 people, especially when you don’t particularly like half of them (all direct blood relations excluded!). And not to have to search for presents for people who already have more stuff than Argos. And yes, it is commercial and starts in autumn but, the beauty is, it doesn’t have to be - it can be whatever you make it! (and just think how drab October would be without baubles!)
So to any bah humbugs out there- why not get your ladder out, fling a reindeer on your back and shimmy onto that roof? (taking all necessary Health and Safety precautions of course!)
It may bring a whole new perspective and perhaps a festive smile! You may even find a sad mother and son combo, pulled up outside, smiling gaumlessly back at you.

11 December 2008

Sweet Dreams

The solemn vows Accountant and I committed to on our wedding day were swinging in his favour. Whilst he seemed to be basking in all the ‘for betters’, I was up to my neck in ‘for worst’s’.
He lay sprawled diagonally across the bed, splayed out like a tubby starfish, his hot pink ‘sweet dreams’ eye mask protecting his delicate eyes from any disturbing lights and his ears plugged tight against any noise that may jeopardise those sweet dreams.
I, however, lay curled up like a hedgehog, driven into a far corner, Accountant’s knee wedged into the base of my spine, his elbow burrowed into my cheek. However, it was the snorting and disturbing imaginary chewing that found me reaching for the elastic on his mask, pulling it back like a catapult and releasing it with a satisfying snap. With no girlie scream forthcoming, I set forefinger and thumb to mega-flick before aligning them with the most sensitive part of Accountant’s upper ear.
Every night, without exception, I use these gentle ‘coaxing’ techniques to rouse my beloved and, every night he gasps in shock, peers at me all bewildered from under his mask and enquires as to why.
Keen to discuss, I begin, “Did you know that your snoring costs me, on average, 49 minutes sleep every night? ” He turns over, outraged, and recommences his snoring.
I was very pleased with just how far I managed to get his earplug up his nose before he was peering at me again. I took the opportunity to mention that lack of sleep can contribute to mood swings.
As he re-homed his ear plug, I wondered who exactly had thought co-habitation was a good idea and, with a potential 18,250 nights of this still to come, wasn’t there somewhere better Accountant could sleep? Was that new Travelodge on the seafront open yet?
When he awoke for the third time to question why I was applying sellotape to his nostrils and stretching them across his face, I kindly offered some words of support. “Snorers should lose weight and reduce alcohol intake.” I pictured Chickie’s forlorn face earlier as we searched for chocolates on the Christmas tree.
“Where’ve they gone mummy?”
“Have one of your special dinosaur sweeties instead!” I tried. Except daddy the truffle pig, had scoffed them too.
With that in mind, I took the opportunity to experiment with Accountant’s air supply, in the vague hope that a more lasting solution might present itself. Fortunately, inspiration hit as my hand hovered over his mouth. The hippo and duck from the bed adverts – they were an equally disproportionate couple yet always seemed well rested!
Online, I added one super king snuggle memory deluxe bed to my wish list and emailed it to Accountant at work, accompanied by a short prayer that a Silent Night, all calm and bright, might be mine, all mine, this Christmas.

07 December 2008

Santa Claus is Coming to Town...

“Any special delivery instructions?” said the screen as I concluded my on-line Christmas decoration shopping.
“Yes, DO NOT deliver if husband at home!” I typed before clicking “Confirm Purchase”.
Chickie and I had been excited for quite some time. Our Christmas cards had been sat in the drawer, all stamped up and ready, since October. Netted bags of M&S chocolate tree puddings had been purchased in triplicate and were stroked daily and my fabulous glass star lights had arrived along with three decoupage baubles, one felt angel and my Miracle on 34th Street dvd. Yes, we were definitely ready, we were just waiting for Christmas to catch up.
Then, finally, it did. On 1 December, Chickie and I were granted £30 for a tree. Chickie cuddled it, declaring it ‘boot-i-ful!’
Then, time for my favourite part of the Christmas ritual, sending Accountant into the loft with a ridiculously small torch to find the decorations. Chickie and I stood at the bottom of the ladder, enjoying Daddy’s festive expletives as he cracked his head on various beams.Before delving into the boxes with Chickie in search of yuletide treasure, I gave Accountant a very special box of his own. After all, there was nothing like the untangling of Christmas lights to inspire festive cheer. As Chickie and I laughed and cuddled by the tree, it was much like a scene from a Werthers Original advert. Except for the bitter background ranting from Accountant, now entangled in 12ft of green electrical flex and bleeding from the forehead.
An hour passed and Accountant had retreated into a dark world of rage. He hadn’t spoken for half an hour but had managed to work his left arm and a leg free. When he eventually suckered the hanging star lights onto the window, he exhaled deeply and plugged them in.
“Why they not working daddy?” A disappointed Chickie looked to his father for answers. Forced to appear calm in front of such a sweet face, Accountant guaranteed his son that the house would soon be transformed into a twinkling winter wonderland. Chickie waited as daddy patiently tested each bulb in turn and then resuckered them into position before turning them on.
Chickie gasped, “Well done Daddy!” Accountant lapped up the praise. He was less smug when Chickie began eating the lights and realised he’d have to relocate them.
Occasionally, as Chickie and I snuggled under a blankie on the sofa watching Miracle on 34th Street, we would glance over to see daddy licking, relicking, suckering, licking and resuckering his way across the French doors.
To give Accountant his dues, he spent another 20 minutes watching all those little suckers ping off before throwing the whole lot on the floor and stomping upstairs to sulk.
Unfortunately, his son, promised a spectacular display, followed him up the stairs. So he came back, the familiar sound of pinging and swearing lighting up my face at least- if nothing else!