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Posts Tagged ‘failing spectacularly to get into the spirit of the thing’

Ho, friggin’ ho.

It’s interesting how the last of the Spirit of Christmas evaporates roughly the same time as the last of the Christmas booze. One might even think they were directly related to each other – at least when it comes to the adults, I hasten to add. The children certainly don’t need stimulants of any kind to get all hyped up for Christmas, although the presence of sugar in almost everything they eat during that jolly time certainly helps. 

Because my Eastern European heritage dictates we do our big meal (and our big drinking) on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day itself ends up being a bit of a wet fart. Except for my kids at least, it’s a wet fart with substantial follow-through: presents. And, let’s face it, for kids it’s All About The Presents. For the adults in my house, it’s a bit about the Presents, but only as something to occupy the children while we recover from the night before. 

I must say I didn’t choose the presents too well this year. That last-minute cheap-as-chips Spiderman convertible car that I bought at the local markets for Tiddles’s stocking is a prime example of why you should always Try Before You Buy. 

spider_car

When fully armed with batteries, this car drives around and around  in circles, occasionally stopping to open its doors and fold back its roof, all somewhat surprisingly to the strains of the Vengaboys’ song “Kiss (when the sun don’t shine)”.  Except I’m beginning to suspect his latest choice of car and music,  these days Spidey might like to only kiss where the sun don’t shine. It’s just a hunch. 

Anyways, it turns out the thing is Indestructable – as my sister Princess A pointed out, with barely-disguised horror-slash-wonder in her voice, it must be made of the same materials that the Terminators are made of. You cut off a wheel and it keeps going, round and round, up and down, “Kiss kiss kiss when the sun don’t shine woah-oh-oh, woah-oh-oh.” With a bit of luck, the SQMY batteries (the branding of which looks spookily like SONY from a distance) that it came with will run out soon and prove to be irreplaceable. 

And then there was the Pixie’s “Disney Princess Karoaoke Headset”. For one thing: look at the headset.

karaoke

That spectacularly bejewelled headband is so incredibly inflexible and so damn small that even Tiddles McGee (aged 2) can’t put it without screaming like someone in a Scorceses film with his head in a vice. I’ve noted that there is no actual photograph of a child wearing it on the box because that would probably contravene Geneva Convention guidelines about using torture devices during peace time, especially involving minors. And as for the “18 All-Time Favourite Melodies” that the Princess Karoake Headset boasts? I’m thinking, maybe “Head on the Door” by The Cure or  “Unfinished Sympathy” by Massive Attack, or even my karaoke speciality “Wind beneath my wings” (I kid you not) – but no. We’re talking tinny Hammond Organ versions of “This Old Man” and “Three Blind Mice” and all played so fast that even rapper emcee Twista, with his 11.2 syllables-per-second delivery, would struggle to fit in the lyrics. All in all, a dud present. 

In despair, I turned to the onerous yet relatively quiet task of constructing the Star Wars Lego V19 Torrent Fighter with Mr Justice. Check out STEP ONE in the accompanying visual instructions:

lego_warning

Huh? Are they trying to warn us off trying to plant the lego in the lawn? Or is that supposed to be a warning not to have shag pile carpet in this current climate of polished floorboards? Yes, okay, okay, I get it. You’re not supposed to put the lego on the floor. But don’t the makers of Lego realise that ALL lego ends up painfully underfoot at some point or another and that some pissy little diagram ain’t gonna adequately cover their fat-cat arses from the Class Action I’m going to file when I finally work out what exactly a Class Action is and what I have to do to file one (it’s on my To Do List, people, along with “Lose that Baby weight”, “Tidy the House” and “Get a Good Night’s Sleep”).  

Anyway, consider this scene: I’m almost having a nervous breakdown trying to work out if the next piece in the instructions is dark grey or black and the Pixie’s sitting at the same table, eating a middle-of-the-day bowl of cereal using the world’s smallest ‘dolly spoon’ and slurping her milk. Now, this would annoy me under normal circumstances, but under “starwars lego circumstances”, it threatens to push me over the edge all together and while I’m trying to get her to use another spoon, Mr Justice manages to tip an entire tub of our carefully pre-sorted lego onto the floor, resulting in me groveling on my hands and knees frantically collecting every last precious tiny piece – because if we lose just one piece the whole Torrent Fighter simply will not hold and of course with The Pixie still slurpin’ away with that spoon of hers all the while. And it’s at that moment that Tiddles McGee appears to lose it before I do and starts running around the house shouting “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” – or at least that’s what I think he’s shouting until, thankfully, he uses the internationally-recognised hand signal for “duck” and I realise that he’s trying to say “Quack”. And phew! Crisis averted: it turns out I’m not such a bad parent after all, if only one who is “hungover like a bastard” and disinclined to find out why her youngest child has suddenly decided to be a duck. 

Anyway, one of my readers – a certain “naptimewriting” – asked for rants to rival those rabid monkey blogs and I hope I’ve delivered – I do so aim to please. Now if you’ll now excuse me, I’m off to try and work out how to improve my Technorati rankings before those rabid monkeys get there first.

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I was bitching to my friend Jacquie the other day about how much the School Carnival was costing me financially, mentally and time-ily (not a real word but I thought I’d try it out anyway). First of all, I had to bake cupcakes for the cake stall  – okay, so that’s hardly a chore considering my track record (see “Cupcaking“), but still, a cupcake baked under duress is a little like sex for money (and not love). Okay, so not really, but you get the idea, right? But get this, as well as the loveless cupcakes, I also had to sell tickets to the raffle, bring in items to be raffled off and volunteer my time for manning one of the stalls. And then I found out that there were going to be rides at the carnival, which at $3 a pop or $25 for an “unlimited pass” per child, could easily send me into remortgaging-the-house territory at this time of year. I mean, how many pounds of my ample flesh did this School Carnival Committee want from me???

“Like, duh, [NDM]. It’s, like, called fund-raising?” Jacquie said. Not quite like that, but I really do enjoy portraying my sophisticated friends as gum-crackin’ wise-ass teenage girls. 

Of course she was right. It’s all in good fun for a good cause, I thought to myself. But little did I know how wrong I was… and now, a few days after the event, I would like to share a little of the “fun” the School Carnival had in store for me.

After baking, decorating and labeling cupcakes at dawn (adhering to the complex WHO Guidelines on labeling food for consumption at school fairs), I drove my cupcakes and my children to the carnival to find everyone else had driven and I ended up having to park the Love Bus closer to my house than the school. I then went on to stand around in the burning sun for four long hours to:

a) lose my children almost as often as I lost my patience with them;

b) join long queues for food and drink, clutching my precious “food tickets” in my hand like it was War Time Britain;

c) serve my obligatory 45 minutes hard labour, hawking second hand plastic crap to people who already had Quite Enough At Home, Thank You Very Much;

d) watch my son and friends go up and down and up and down (and up and down) the Giant Slide and round and round and round and round (and round and round) on the tea cup ride (my son is to an unlimited rides pass as Homer Simpson is to an “all-you-can-eat” seafood buffet) all with the expectation that I would wave with equal enthusiasm *every* *single* *time*;

e) get snarled at by ill-tempered carnies for my equally ill-behaved children, whose ability to queue patiently in an orderly fashion for the jumping castle was somewhat hampered by the fact they were high on adrenalin and fairy floss; 

and finally

e) enjoy the climactic finale where Mr Justice projectile vomited in front of a large crowd of parents and children into my (thankfully empty) cake container. Lovely!

So yes, good cause and all, but can someone please tell me where the fun was in all that? And don’t go telling me it’s in watching my children having the Best Time Ever because it’s *not* about them, it’s about *me*. Me! ME! MEEEEEEE!!

My husband didn’t need to ask me how the school carnival was. I walked in, sunburnt, with the frazzled air of someone who has left their house with the iron still on, something boiling on the stove and the front door wide open but hasn’t quite realised it yet. It was only a few hours later that it all hit me like a tonne of lego bricks – and I swore then and there that next year, come School Carnival time, I was going to place everyone in the family under house arrest and send my apologies to the school along with a $100 cheque. Now, I don’t know or care what anyone else thinks, but as far as I’m concerned, *that’s* the way to fundraise.

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