The Magic of Christmas

The Christmas whirlwind has ended — I think.

But, while I wonder how this post-Christmas week (which I always take for vacation) always go by so fast, it’s fun to remember some of the very cool things that happened during any of our three Christmases.

First, my family gathers at my mom’s on Christmas Eve. Chinese food is the traditional meal before presents. Then, we gather in the living room, over stuffing it as best we can.

I have three siblings. This year, we decided to draw names among siblings and spouses/significant others. It worked out pretty well. We bought for one person in that group and then everyone bought for the kids.

Despite that plan, however, it seemed like there were more gifts than ever under Mom’s always great-looking tree.

My son opened his first package and basically threw it down in disgust. It was sort of funny. He got clothes as his first present….and while all the other clothes he got were a hit, this first present wasn’t so much a winner. A toy would have been better. But, what can you do.

He did amazingly well and got lots of great stuff.

Then, Christmas morning was at our house. He was into Christmas so much this year. Totally getting everything. My wife and I were excited for what Christmas morning was going to be like. He woke up at 6 a.m., which was great. For the first 10 minutes as he woke up, it was like a normal day. We were just talking to him in his crib, nothing major.

Then, it was like something went off in his head…he sort of stopped in the middle of talking, looked quizzically at us both and said, “Santa come?”

And from that point on, the next two hours were pure magic. I’ll never do it justice with words, but it might have been the most fun time yet as a parent. This was just the perfect age for him and Christmas. So innocent. So fun.

Then, after our house, we did it all over again — this time at my in-laws. We went over for breakfast and then did our third set of presents in less than 24 hours. Pretty good odds for a 2 1/2 year old. More great stuff for him. More smiles. More wonder. More just pure Christmas joy.

I knew it would be fun this year. But this was more than I could have imagined.

What else? I got nothin’.


Wednesday Ramblings

A few odds and ends for you on this hump day. It’s a big hump for me, actually. Today is my last day of work until January 2. Can I get a woo-hoo?!

Woo-hoo.

There, much better.

First up, have to share something with you from my son, who is two-and-a-half. We’re working diligently on potty training. We are trying to get him to spend less and less time in diapers during the day. Knowing that, here’s how a conversation went this morning:

Him: Daddy, I have diaper on?

Me: Yes, buddy, you do.

Him: Moments of silence why he does his ‘work.’

Me: Ok, buddy, let’s get you cleaned up before we have to go.

Him: Not done, daddy.

Me: Still poopin’?

Him: One more poop, Daddy. Yes, sir!

The “yes, sir” was hysterical. You probably had to be there.

Ok, next up….

I mentioned how our office is getting a number of gifts from vendors. Again, I appreciate the thought and the effort. I really do.

But, here’s the thing: All boxes of assorted chocolates need to have a map or guide included. this way, you wont’ bite into the creamy nougat flavored one (which you then have to throw away) when you really wanted to bite into the white chocolate truffle.

Do we need government legislation on this? How can we protect our interest to know that we’ll never bite into crappy chocolate again?

And, speaking of chocolate, don’t mix fruit with my chocolate. Forget about raspberry or strawberry — or, god forbid, orange — flavored chocolate. If I want chocolate. That’s all I want.

Shopping’s not done. Not feeling too stressed. Yet.

What else? I got nothin’.


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ok, consider this the official Christmas rambling entry.

Here goes.

I realized this year that I’m fine with the standard form letter that comes in Christmas cards. I was never a big fan. But this year, I realized, you know what, they come from people that are my friends. If not, why are they on the card list in the first place? So, if I don’t talk to them that often, isn’t it good to catch up with them — even if it’s through a letter that me and God knows how many other people are getting?

Speaking of Christmas cards, I think it’s funny — very funny — when you get a card from a couple and one person (usually the woman) writes out the greeting and then signs her name, followed by the guy just signing his name. It just looks funny. At least to me.

Gift baskets. Gift baskets. Gift baskets. The office is loading up on gifts from vendors. The early favorites? Ginger lemon cookies, some cheesey sourdough things, peanuts that don’t really taste like peanuts (yet we like them) and, of course, chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

I just realized this morning that I haven’t heard the Hanukkah song once this year.

My son has a new job at home — plugging in the Christmas tree each morning. Not sure which is brighter…the lights on the tree or the magic in his eyes.

I’m all for charity. I really am. But how annoying is that Salvation Army bell?

In other office gift news. I’ve had someone plant a tree in my name, as well as someone donating a bike in my name.

That’s nice and all. But, don’t these people know that there are other things I need.

What else? I got nothin.


All You Have to Do is Ask

It’s amazing sometimes, how asking a simple question can benefit you in the long run.

I’m incredibly anal about customer service. I expect it. And I expect it to be great. And if it’s not, I’m the guy who complains about it.

See the sign on a truck in front of you, “How’s my driving?” Well, I’m the guy who tells him.

It’s always fun to see how things work, too. Got my credit card bill the other day. We always pay the balance in full. But, due to paycheck timing and the Thanksgiving holiday, my check apparently arrived on the same day it was due. Citibank tagged me with a $39 late fee and then finance charges to boot.

So, I called them up and explained that I was a longtime customer who always paid on time and given the holiday, could they please wipe the charge. “No problem, sir, we’d be happy to.” Saved myself $45 with a 30 second phone call.
Had something weird on my Directv bill the other day, too. It wasn’t a charge, but I didn’t understand something, so I called to make sure that I eventually understood what they said. Then, during the conversation, the phone rep makes some reference to my past experiences with the company.

At that point, I said I was always happy, even after my first year when they gave me a month of Showtime just for lasting a year with Directv. He said they appreciate that type of feedback. So I said, well, how can I get that again? Do you ever run promos or anything.

He then offered me three-free months of all the Showtime channels.

“What’s the catch?” I asked.

“No catch, sir.”

“None?”

“Nothing at all. We just want to keep you as a customer.”

They sure will. And I’m glad I asked.

So, what else? I got nothin’.


Where Do You Sit?

Faitful readers, thank you for the response to the last question. An interesting topic. As I think this one is, too.

Now that I know where you sleep, I want to know where you sit.

I’m talking about when you go out to dinner with your significant other. So, two of you at the restaurant.

Now, there are two scenarios in play here.

First, the booth:

Do you sit across from each other? Or, do you sit on the same side of the booth, leaving the opposite side empty?

I could never imagine sitting on the same side as my wife. I just don’t get that. Besides the fact that it looks strange, doesn’t it hurt your neck if you have to keep turning to talk to the other person?

The only time I can see sitting on the same side as your signficant other in a booth is if you are with another couple (or kids or something). But, when it’s just the two of you, I just can’t figure that out.

Second scenario, the table:

Ok, so it’s just two of you again. This time, you’re sitting at a table with four chairs. Where do you sit? Do you face each other on opposite sides of the table? Or, doe you sit ‘next’ to each other by sitting at perpendicular sides of the table?

This one is a little more flexible, I think. Again, my wife and I would typically be opposite of each other. That’s not always the case, though. I can’t think of a scenario right now, but I know we have abandoned the opposite thing once or twice. It’s more of a case-by-case basis than the booth scenario.

So, my faithful readers, where do you sit?

What else? I got nothin’.


Where Do You Sleep?

Faithful readers, a question for you. Actually, a question for those of you who are in fact sharing a bed with a partner.

Where do you sleep?

No smart remarks like, “in a bed.”

The thing is this. Stand at the foot of the bed.

Using that perspective, I’m guessing 90 percent of the guys sleep on the right half of the bed and that women are sleeping on the left side.

First of all, am I right?

Secondly, what’s the deal? Is this weird?

Or is it just me?

Wait. Don’t answer that.

So, let’s hear it.

What else? I got nothin’.