The Blogger Who Saved Christmas

SciFi Dad had a contest where he was giving away a free phone call Santa.  There’s this company called Santa Speaking and they take a bunch of info from you about your kids, and then have Santa call them and blow their minds.

I totally won that contest.

They asked me 8,529 questions per child, and not just the names and ages stuff, but questions like, “What do they need to work on?” and  “What have they asked Santa for” and “What are their favorite colors?”   I picked the date and time of the call; the 22nd, between 2 and 3.  Of course, there was 15 billion feet of snow on the ground at 2pm on the 22nd, and of course the kids were all out sledding, so I called them home and told them that I was ‘worried about someone breaking a leg,’ and ‘could y’all just play close to the house for me so I don’t have to freak out?’  I can’t believe that worked, either.

The phone rang at 2:15 and I answered it.  “Hello?” 

“HO HO HO!  Merrrrry Christmas!”

“Is this Santa?”  “Of course it is! HO HO HO!” “Well, let me get the kids for you!”

Talking To SantaI called them inside.  I told them the phone was for them and they would never ever believe who was on the other end.  2of3 took the phone first.  I only heard his end of the call, which started out with a nervous giggle and something of a smirk, turned into a bunch of how did you know THAT’s and ended with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on a kid’s face.  1of3 asked me halfway through 2of3’s chat, “Is he talking to Uncle Gnilleps?”

“No, man, it’s even better. Just wait.”

1of3 took the phone and said hello.  And then he rolled his eyes.  And then he listened.  He uh-huhed a lot in the beginning, and as their talk went on, his eyes got wider and wider and he smiled bigger and bigger.  All the while, 20f3 was jumping around the house screaming, “Mom, it was really Santa!  He knew EVERYTHING!  He knew we’re from Denver, he knew I have to focus more at school, he knew about our letter ornament on the tree!  It was REALLY Santa!”  1of3 said goodbye, handed the phone to me, and after we all sang Santa a Christmas song and had hung up, I noticed his hands were shaking.  I looked at his face, and their were tears streaming down his cheeks.

I asked what was wrong and he just asked, “Mom, did you tell him to call?  You have to tell me the truth.”  I said no, that I knew Santa’s number but had no idea he knew ours.  He stifled back his tears and in an almost-whisper said, “Mom, it was really Santa.”

I know, baby; I know it was.

And that was when I realized that my son, my little baby, didn’t believe in Santa anymore, or was at least totally on the fence about the whole thing, right up until that phone call.  And now he has no doubts.  Now, he has empirical proof.  Now, he’s got that magic back, maybe only for another year or so, but it’s there.

And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.

It’s about seeing my kids believe in something beyond them.  It’s about showing them how to have faith in something they can’t touch, that they’ll never really be absolutely certain of, but that they want to believe in.  It’s about keeping a glimmer of misty-eyed wonder in their eyes, and I would happily cough up the $60 the call would have cost me anytime to make sure they have that as long as they can.

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Screw Him, I’ll Do It Myself

Continued from here

THAT is a bouquet of flowers.

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. You send me that, you’re going to have a great night. I’ll get on my hands and knees and scrub the floors awwwwll night long.

THAT'S even better.

(I’ll be honest, this is way more up my alley. Still, that top one does NOT suck.)

Wanna know how to get a guy to send you flowers?  Apparently, it’s to post naked pictures of yourself in hothot boots.  I highly recommend it.  This PR dude emailed me and asked when they last time my husband sent me flowers.  And I was all, “You totally want my number, don’t you?  Are you trying to ask me out? DID YOU SEE THE CROCS PICTURE?”  And he was all, “Nonono!”  And I was all, “SURE.”

Gigglegiggle.  Well, Mr PR Dude, it’s actually kind of been a while.  Like, for the length of our entire marriage while.  So yeah, I took him up on his offer, and hopped on that website, and found some freaking beautiful flowers I would love to have delivered to my door.  I mean, I have never ONCE had flowers delivered to my house.  It sounds like a great thing to have happen to you at least once.

So, yeah, I dug through that website, found a few bouquets I really liked, showed them to my kids, let them pick one because I can’t make a decision to save my ass, and today a nice person in a uniform is going to ring a doorbell and deliver this:

Happy Birthday, Mom.

To. My. Mother In Law.  It’s her freaking birthday for Christ’s sake; how could I NOT send her really nice flowers?  Anyone who ever tells me I am a selfish, bad daughter in law can shove it, because I just handed that woman the one chance I’m ever going to have of getting flowers delivered to ME.

Flora2000.com is the website, and the nicest thing is, they ship anywhere.  Well, to 150 countries, but still.  They offer same day delivery and they don’t charge your card until after they deliver the flowers.  Rumour has it, my mother in law will be getting a phone call after she gets her bouquet to make sure she likes it, and if she doesn’t, they’ll refund it or replace it, whichever she chooses. And the website is super easy to use.  Each bouquet has a description of every flower they put in it.

They have a lot of product, but it’s not all crammed down your throat.  Example: I spent about three days on that site trying to talk myself out of sending the flowers to someone else, eventually caved, ordered some for my mother in law, and at the very end of the order, they popped up a screen with chocolate on it and asked if I’d like to add some to my order.  Um, I spent THREE DAYS on that site and didn’t see chocolates.  I like that, that it’s not all pushy with extras.  AND they actually saved the information from my order and will email me next year to remind me to send her flowers again.  (Which I won’t.  Because she’s not my mother.)  And they haven’t spammed me once since I signed up.

Now, if you’re still here, I have two $50 gift cards from Flora2000.com to give away.  Here’s how to enter:

  • Write in the comments, or on your own site, either way, about why you REALLY need to send yourself some fucking flowers already.  (Read: make your husband as mad at you as I just did mine)
  • Or tell about the most selfless thing you’ve done ever for your mother in law who, up until two months ago, you hated more than you hate Brussels Sprouts.
  • Or you can be all, “Dude, Mr Lady, it would be totally awesome if you sent me flowers at work with a really saucy note attached, because all my co-workers would totally think you were a guy, and that dude I’ve been trying to get to ask me out but who thinks he has all the time in the world would suddenly think he’s got some competition and he’d ask me out and we’d get married and name our first kid Shannon after you whether or not is was a boy or a girl because it’s an excellent name, yo.”  And then I would use your gift card to send you flowers with a saucy card attached, and all would be right in the world.

I’m not counting on a hell of a lot of #3 entries, just saying.  Shall we say Monday for the deadline, so you can use the card for Thanksgiving if you choose?  Cool, Monday it is.

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Me, by Crocs

Oh yeah, I went there.

5 years ago I was working at a wine bar in Denver, and one of the girls I worked with came in wearing Crocs.  And I was all, “Dude, really, ewww.”  And she was all, “I dare you to go buy a pair, wear them to work once, and say that to my face after.”

So I did.  And for the first time in 10 years of waitressing, my legs didn’t hurt after a 10 hour shift.  I didn’t limp to my car that night.  I didn’t have to sit in a hot shower for an hour after work just so I could feel my backbone again.  That one pair turned into this:

I don’t care what you say, Crocs are the SHIT.

A while back, I whined joked in Mommy Martini’s comment section that Crocs never sends me anything, and, well, if you’ve ever read my blog, you know how I love to link to them (mostly to torment Kelley and BusyDad. Bygones.)  Turns out, they read that shit (whoops) and some very nice man at YouByCrocs emailed to offer me a token of his appreciation for my years of slavish dedication to the Crause*.

So yeah, they sent me these beauties.

And, um, dude? They’re fabulous.  They’re all lambswooly on the inside, suedy on the outside, they fold down, the belt on them comes off, and even though the last thing in the world we needed were more Crocs, well, let’s just say that my better half approved.  WHOLE-HEARTEDLY.

*Okay, I made that very last bit up.  I think he just wanted me to stop bitching.  And Crause isn’t a word.  I’m pretty sure Crocs isn’t a cause at all. But it should be.

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My Dishes Aren’t Going Anywhere

I have a ten year old and an eight year old son.  I haven’t seen a grown up tv show in 5 years.  I have to put booby traps around the house just to get 5 minutes on the internet.  Tween boys, they want your technology.  Also, whatever happens to be in your pantry.  Another story, another day.

The precious few minutes I get on the computer every day are typically spent hastily posting some rambling, misspelled, grammatically offensive post on my blog and then reading a bunch of excellent comments people have left me.  I then spend the next 5 hours or so coming up with the MOST MIND BLOWINGLY FANTASTIC responses in my head while I sing the Wonder Pets theme for the millionth time, watch the 391st grind on a skateboard in an hour, and get the play-by-play on Yu-Gi-Oh’s latest duel.

By the end of the day, I can’t remember how to spell my child’s name, let alone to reply to a comment.

The only thing I have going for me is that I really like games, and I’m pretty good at them, and I heard somewhere that your brain functions at a higher level for a longer period of time the more games you play, so I call that EXERCISE and feel really good about myself as a responsible human being.

However, I am NOT one of those people that can handle online games.  I’ve tried the Facebook stuff, and it just doesn’t do it for me.  I’ve tried the online sites my kids like, but HOLY POPUPS BATMAN.  I’m a pen and paper girl, tried and true.  So when BlogHer asked me to to a paid review for Games.com’s new online game site, I agreed to, but was skeptical.  I honestly thought about having my husband review it instead; he holds the world record in that Bubble Popping game thing, this would be right up his alley.

I checked it out earlier today.  It’s 11:36 pm, and the browser is still open.  I have 15 loads of laundry to do before tomorrow morning, and I think something is growing on my kitchen counter.  I may need to exchange my “chips” for a voucher for a divorce lawyer.

Here’s what I really liked:

  • There are ads, of course, but they are at the bottom of the screen.  I didn’t get one single popup the whole time I was on the sight (which was longer than I’ll admit in a public forum, thankyouverymuch.)
  • The animation is great.  The Spades Game (which I only browsed, because I didn’t have another player) has neat little cat graphics which I am not describing very well, I know, but trust me, site is colorful and engaging.
  • It’s a flash site, which makes some people’s head want to explode, but I actually appreciate.
  • There are one player AND multi-player games, meaning that when the husband gets home, I am going to instantly lure him into a game of Gin Rummy and he’ll NEVER notice the mountain of dirty clothes still in the corner.
  • You can play as a guest.  The site doesn’t REQUIRE a membership.  That’s a huge plus in my book.
  • The slots game.  Yup, the whole thing.  I’ll admit it, I LOVE slots.  I will drag every nickel I have to a casino and sit on my butt for HOURS.  The Games.com site saves me all that lifting and dragging of coins.  And I don’t have to brush my teeth first.  And apparently, the game likes me, too.

(I have never won that much in my entire life anywhere, and I don’t care that it wasn’t real, no matter what you say.  SO THERE.)

Here’s what I think could be improved:

  • Some of the games (like Gin Rummy) have to be played with more than one player.  I’d really have liked to had the option to play the computer.
  • You can play as a guest.  You don’t HAVE to sign up if you don’t want to.
  • The very beginning of the games are still quite slow to load.  I guess that comes with Flash, but still.  I have the patience of a doormat.
  • I’d like to see a more diverse list of games.  I don’t know if that’s in the works or not, but if they had MahJong, they might just steal my soul.

All in all, I will honestly visit Games.com again, if for nothing more than a quick slot fix before dinner.  More importantly, I’d be totally comfortable letting my tween sons play on the site, and that’s saying something for me.

Catch all the other’s opinions in BlogHer’s Games.com roundup right here.

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Second Chances

I have another blog.  On that other blog, I wrote a letter to my husband for our 10th anniversary.  However, BlogHer and Warner Bros. asked a group of bloggers to share their own Second Chance story in honor of the new film, Nights in Rodanthe, and I couldn’t turn down the chance.  You can visit BlogHer.com and check out the special promotion they’ve got going for Nights in Rodanthe by clicking right here.

My story.  Here goes…

On September 6th, my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  The traditional wedding anniversary list tells me that we should be commemorating the occasion with aluminum, which makes sense because after the decade we have, we are in desperate need of a 6 pack of PBR.

I’m not entirely sure we actually liked each other all that much when we said, “I Do”, but we had a 5 month old baby and the invites were sent out, and, well, the show must go on, you know?

I was 23 years old the day I became a bride.  I thought I had my entire life figured out.  I’d lived a lifetime in those first 23 years, and if I knew any one thing, it was that I knew every single thing and no one could tell me otherwise.  I was ready, mentally and physically, to move into my golden years.

Except, of course, that I forgot in all my infinite wisdom to tell me that nothing would stay the same for much longer.

By the time I reached the ripe old age of 24, I realized that marrying my second boyfriend maybe wasn’t the hottest idea I’d ever had.  I realized that perhaps being a mother before I had been a child myself has just setting myself up for disaster.  With this new information, I did what any reasonable, mature woman would do…I had another baby.

All the while, my husband was going through his share of twenty-something angst over in his corner, while I battled my own demons in my corner.  Occasionally, we’d push each other up against the ropes, and sometimes we’d be flung into the center of the cage together for a while, only to stagger back to our corners with a bloody nose or a swollen eye (metaphorically speaking, of course) a short time later.

We spent the better part of our first decade of marriage making each other about as miserable as two people could.  We didn’t do it intentionally; we were just fighting to figure out who we were as people.  We had only really defined ourselves in the context of each other, as a family, and that only gets you through so much time before you just need to know who you are.

To say we grew apart would be the grossest sort of understatement.  We never really were together enough to come undone.  Though we truly have always loved each other, and neither of us have ever doubted that, there was always a thick layer of resentment clogging the veins that led to our heart, and that kept the love from flowing properly and feeding our relationship.  As these things go, the relationship more or less died.

We piled insult on top of injury, we found new and creative ways to stick knives in each others backs, and we completely forgot how to trust each other.  It was only a matter of time before one big thing would happen and the last few threads of surgical string that held our relationship together would come undone.

When it came, it came in a way that was bigger and more frightening than either of us ever imagined it would be.  The details of the events that unfolded two summers ago are not as important as the events that unfolded after them.  A major, dangerous, unforgivable sort of offense was committed by one of us, and a major, painful, unjustifiable reaction was had by the other one.  With that, we died.  Everything we had built over 8 years; our home, our family, our relationship, it all just ended, and it ended two years ago, the day before our 8th wedding anniversary.

My children and I moved 1600 miles away from my husband in the middle of the night.  We began to build a new life for ourselves while I moved, one by one, through all the stages of grief.   My husband stayed put in our house, silently and singularly moving through those same stage himself.  The pain we brought to each other in our absence, with the absolute finality of our situation, was certainly more agonizing that the previous eight years of power struggles and head games ever could have been.

We were both forced to look in some very tall, wide mirrors.  We had removed from each other the one crutch, the one scapegoat we’d always had before; each other.  After a few heated, angry months, we had no other choice but to look inward and to take responsibility for our own share of the problems we’d never been able to surmount when we were together.  We were forced, once and for all, to grow up, to be the adults we’d always felt the other one had denied us the chance to become.

We had more or less no contact with each other over the first 12 months of our separation.  There were random phone calls to and from the children, and there was the occasional argument over money, but for the most part, we were happily on our own, finished with each other, all moved on and in the process of building new lives.  We both began to find small bits of happiness in those new lives.  We began to really understand who WE were, as individuals, Josh and Shannon as opposed to JoshandShannonandallthosekids.  The beginning of our 30’s brought us both the chance to bloom, to shed all the angst and the drama that we had spent our twenties stockpiling.  Once we came to the realization that we liked who we were, that we were each, individually, fairly awesome people, the one thing happened that everyone but us knew was coming.  We sought each other out, to at the very least compare notes.

It started with a question, just one small question.  “How are you?”  Those three words turned into more specific questions like, “How is work?” or “How are things on the PTA?”  Those questions, and their measured answers, turned into guarded conversations.  Those conversations became open dialogues.  Those dialogues turned into an invitation to visit.  That visit led to an apology, a sincere apology on both sides, the kind that comes only when you don’t except acceptance of it, when no strings are attached to it.  That apology led to a grand visit, a cross-country trek by station wagon with three kids and 1600 miles of road ahead of us to really chew on the implications of the week we’d spend in our former home, with all of our possesions, with a clean slate and anger that had been washed away by time and distance.

We never came back from that visit.

Two days ago, my husband and I celebrated the 10th anniversary of our rocky, painful, tedious, never meant to be marriage, and we truly celebrated because though we battered each other, though we pushed and pulled and tried at every turn to sabotage our relationship, we found a way to keep it together.  We grew into each other as mere children, grew as far apart as two people could in our youth, and once we settled into ourselves, once we knew what the word ‘Ourselves’ really meant, we realized that the only people we wanted to spend the rest of our days with were each other.  We learned that those first few hard years taught us how to not be, what to not do, what each other are capable of when backed into a corner.  We learned each other’s breaking point.  We saw that we could live without each other, and that made us aware of the fact that we didn’t ever want to again.

Its Never too Late For a Second Chance.  Really, it’s not.

See NIGHTS IN RODANTHE Sept. 26th.  Preview it here.

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