This is an offshoot of the original Liam & Janet blog. That blog has become overrun by Liam's inability to keep his mouth shut when something annoys him. The serious rants there seemed incongruous with the humor columns. The plan for the humor columns continues to be to post a new one every Friday, plus occasional extras when the mood strikes.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Only the Fifth Day of Christmas? I Can't Take All Twelve!

December 29th. Another Christmas season quickly wanes, another mess of torn wrapping paper and broken toys strewn about the living room, standing in silent testament to the avarice of days so recently past and to the traditional holiday virus which has made its way through our family and made our holiday vacation festive in the way that only multi-colored bodily effluent can.

Never again. Why do we do this every year? We make such big plans, only to bargain them away one after another, like what remains of our ethics when, in a tired haze of shopping, we find the one remaining "Must Have" toy in the store and decide that knocking over the grandmother currently reaching for it is not too large a price to pay to make our own children's holiday a festive, magical experience that they'll remember until lunch time, when all of the chocolate Santas will kick in and each of them will dissolve into an inconsolable pile of tears and tantrums.

How much magic did the Holiday Season hold for us this year? Well, to start with, we didn't actually get our Christmas Tree up until about 7 days before Christmas. Now, I'm well aware that December 25th is the first of the much vaunted "Twelve Days of Christmas" ("a Partridge in a Pear-shaped Dad"), but clearly I'm not a proper warrior defending against the War on Christmas, since I didn't have my tree up by the end of October.

So far, this Christmas (and this essay) have been a bit of a bummer, and I can only chalk that up to the fact that Janet is, as we speak, lying in bed moaning, putting off enough heat to start nuclear fusion. I had to make sure all of the elemental hydrogen was out of the room. On the plus side, our heating bill will definitely go down this month.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge my wife the chance to be sick occasionally. It's just that I'm also sick, just not as sick as she is. I have a fever, but she's got a fever and a sore throat. I'm achy, but she's achy and can't stop sneezing. I'm really tired, but she's exhausted and sounds like she's trying to expel at least one major organ simply by coughing. And so there's no one to feel sorry for me in my aches and take care of me in my illness, and to add insult to injury, she seems to feel that I should take care of Liam based solely on the facts that:
  • She's too sick to move without waves of nausea.
  • I'm home on vacation this week.
  • He's genetically my son.

And apparently the little monster has to be fed. And I don't just mean occasionally, I mean three times a day! Who ever heard of such a thing? And why do I have to feed him again and again? Because the LAST food I gave him has leaked out of him, and of course I'm supposed to clean that up TOO.

Now understand, I love my son, I really do. I love ALL of my children. It's just that Andrew & Katie and Dagny & Darby had the extremely good manners to all spend much of the "Illiday" Week with their other biological parent, such that they weren't underfoot and expecting us to be parents. Liam on the other hand, well, apparently he's too young yet to grasp the concept that he should go see his mo... his fath... hmmmm. Well, he should darn well go see SOMEONE when Mommy and Daddy are feeling ill.

Christmas morning, we almost canceled the whole affair. Due to the global warming that isn't conclusively proven yet, there wasn't anything even vaguely approaching icy white powder on the ground outside (unless you count the bottle of baby powder Liam spilled in the driveway), and so in order to have a proper "White Christmas", Janet woke up a color normally reserved for brand new sheets. Lying next to her, I could see just how dingy my t-shirt was getting to be and vowed that this would be the week that I change it. Really, though, I was glad we have curtains, because the daylight reflecting off of her perfect ashen whiteness would likely have blinded me.

Are you getting the sense that this illness in our household isn't new in the last couple of days?

Anyway, we had invited several people over to share our Christmas Dinner, those people being Ray (Dagny & Darby's father) and Mark & Lorena, our friends whom regular readers will have met before, who like us have the great good fortune to have a paucity of nearby relatives that would otherwise expect visits for the season, and so they were free to be strong armed by us into visiting for the season.

Taking a good look at Janet and realizing that she looked even less likely to spring out of bed and begin preparing the roast beef than I was, I had just picked up the telephone to call our guests and wish them a Merry Bah, Humbug, find your own damn Christmas dinner, when Janet decided, in that way only a mother can, that Christmas must go on. And so somehow the meal got prepared, the day got celebrated and the guests got fed, hampered only by the fact that in lieu of a single, store-bought Christmas gift, we provided Ray, Mark and Lorena with millions upon millions of little gifts which they are sure to remember later.

That was Monday. Tuesday we pretty much stayed in bed all day. Wednesday too. On Thursday, Janet pointed out that the girls would be returning home the next day, and we'd pretty much wasted the three days we'd planned to spend either in Washington DC or further exploring Boston, and if we wanted to do anything even remotely sociable, we really should make some effort. A gallon or so of Nyquil later, and we were in the car heading down to visit George and Rachel, another married couple who are friends of ours, but who have had the very good sense up until this point to avoid doing anything I felt compelled to mention in one of these essays. I don't have much to say about the trip except this: It is a measure of how addled our fevered brains were that it never occurred to us, not for a single second, that as sick as we'd been (and but for the grace of Nyquil, would be at that moment), that going out for Indian food was perhaps not the most prudent choice.

And so this morning, to round out the week and celebrate the Fifth day of Christmas ("Five Toilet Rings") I made the traditional post-Christmas trip to the District Courthouse of my county to challenge a ticket for failing to come to a stop at a stop sign back in late July. I had planned to offer the excellent and generally successful "But your honor, the officer is mistaken. I distinctly came to a complete stop!" defense that has led so many before me to such success, as measured in fines paid, but unfortunately for me I was thwarted by the local prosecutor, who wished me a Merry Christmas, commented on my lack of priors, and told the Judge he did not wish to press the charges.

Still to come of course, is the traditional New Year's Eve celebration on day Seven ("Swine-flus a-Swarming"), a day on which Janet and I pull out all the stops and really go wild, spiking our egg-nog with a fiber supplement and staying up well past our normal bedtime to collapse fully partied-out around 9:30, only to wake up in the morning like zombies, swearing never to "over-do it" again.

December 29th. Christmas ebbs. The New Year draws nigh. And the Nyquil still tastes just as hideous as ever.

Copyright © December 29, 2006 by Liam Johnson.



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