Thursday, December 20, 2007

A fun, old fashioned Griswold family Christmas

Christmas is quite literally only days away. Denver is expected to have a white Christmas, and just like in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band song,

"all along the rockies you can feel it in the air

From Telluride to Boulder down below. The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
Is a quiet Christmas morning in the Colorado snow."

Before you go all mushy on me, let me let you in on a little secret. Colorado may be prettier to look at than L.A. at Christmas, but the spirit is no stronger here than anywhere else. That part of Christmas is carried within. Remember those immortal words of Ebenezer Scrooge, "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."

Most of you don't know that there was a model for the Griswold family, and we were it. Yeah, that's right, I'm married to Clark W. Griswold. Life with Sparky is never boring. Like Helen Griswold I've come to expect the unexpected as part of my everyday life. I gave up on a fun old fashioned family Christmas years ago. I spent New Year's Eve 2001 in a hotel room in Holbrook, Arizona after the drive shaft on our class C mini wini motor home shot out the side like a rocket and just missed the windshield of the car behind us. According to the state patrol, we should have been dead. Combine Robin Williams in R.V., with the Griswold's trip to Wally World and mix in a bit of Ricky and Lucy in the Long Long trailer and you'll get a picture of what vacations are like for us. Don't laugh. I can make the hair on the back of your neck stand up with our "memories."

It is because of my National Lampoon existence that I was so worried about Beth in England. Obviously the curse of the Griswold's weakens when the family is split up. She had some Griswold moments, but by and large the trip was more good than bad.

Christmas 2007 is going to break a record as the most expensive season we have ever had. After the veterinary bills of November, the replacement camera lens, 2 sets of car tires (one of which was a good Samaritan act), and a lost cell phone, I knew I'd better pay attention to my inner Helen Griswold voice instead of Martha Stewart. There was more on the wind, I could feel it.

(FYI: Mike has lost so many cell phones the phone company won't insure him anymore. One was frozen in the snow while picking up after the dogs. Another met a watery end in the toilet bowl. This time the phone was under Ruby Bear's bed. We vibrated that thing for 3 days and never got so much as a raised eyebrow from Ruby. I suspect her of working for AT&T)

Sarah went down with bronchitis and missed several days of school and work. I love the new medical policy of not giving people antibiotics. Instead I was sent to the pharmacy to buy two different kinds of Musinex at $20 a box and a bottle of cough syrup. A Z pack would have been $40 cheaper and would have worked faster, and Sarah wouldn't have had to return to outside life still contagious, which is how she got sick in the first place. (Don't even get me started on my pandemic soapbox)

Michaels Craft Store, in its infinite wisdom decided they should get into the extended holiday shopping hours business. After putting in 6 hours of school, Sarah heads for Michaels where she works the closing shift, newly extended until 11pm. I suppose it is possible that someone might need a bottle of Martha Stewart's all-purpose craft glue at 11 at night, but I rather doubt it. I also don't see hundreds of men turning to Michaels for their wifes gift at zero hour on Christmas Eve. Sarah is coughing her best and manning the framing department waiting for that big last minute Christmas sale that will never come.

Forrest, Ruby's brother has a things for wheels. He attacked the BBQ until he ripped the tires off and it collapsed. When it was gone he turned to the trash can for solace. It is now rolling with a decided limp. Forrest went to the vet on Saturday after ripping a toenail off in battle. $60 bucks later he hasn't learned a thing.

Sarah came home Friday night screaming about the ignition on the cruiser. Her key kept getting stuck. Great, we were going to need a new ignition and new chip keys....Four days later the car is still at the mechanic and the ignition never got replaced. They couldn't get the key to stick. They did however find a leaking shock absorber, and broken water pump, a leaking celanoid on the brand new transmission, and a timing chain ready to kick the bucket. Estimated cost of repair: $1700. This comes on the heels of a $3000 transmission put in this past summer. I think the car may self implode before Sarah finishes cosmetology school.

Two days ago my dryer went out. With a puff of acrid burning plastic smell it died. I have clothes racks of underwear standing in front of the Christmas tree.

But I want to make sure I end this blog on a positive note. After all, we Griswolds are nothing if not optimistic. We make the best of a bad situation. We really do try and keep the spirit of Christmas in our hearts all year. We soldier on after we kick the plastic Santa's ass and take a chain saw to the neighbors tree.

"Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse. "

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our nuthouse to yours. -Tigerlily