Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nothing honors the birth of Jesus Christ more than a perverted Santa.

The phone rang that cold, wintery evening several years ago as snow began to fall. There had been talk of a blizzard, worsening road conditions, lots of drifting. It was a night where you just wanted to pull on your sweatpants and cuddle on the couch. Which was exactly what I was doing.

"Uh, Bridget?" [That's me, for all of you who thought my real name was Phoenix.]


"That was my friend, Sean - you remember him... the teacher over at the Catholic school?"


"He needs me to do a favor.... tonight.... uh, right now?"

Okaayyy.... what kind of favor?

"Well, it turns out they have some sort of Christmas Party thing at the school and Santa comes and delivers gifts to the kids and stuff except the guy that was supposed to be Santa just called and said he can't make it because of the roads and so since Sean knew I lived just a few blocks away he asked if I'd be willing to play the part of Santa. Do you think I should do it? He said you and the girls can come with."

Let me get this straight. Some teacher at a private Catholic school wants you to dress up like Santa Claus and interact with young children under a false identity?

"He said they have the costume there."

Hell, yes, you should do it! I'm not missing this for the world! Grab your coats, kids - we're about to witness something spectacular!

And so we all piled into the truck and carefully made our way the six blocks over to the big church on the corner.

Remember, you can't promise things like a new baby sister or a puppy - parents get pissed at that stuff. Hey, wait, do Catholics even believe in Santa Claus? Shouldn't they have asked you to dress up like a Shepherd? Or Joseph? Even a gift giving angel makes more sense than a Santa. Also, you have to stay in character the whole time... even when you talk to another adult, or a teacher, or me. You never know when kids are listening - they're sneaky like that. You have to use the Santa voice the whole time. Do you even *have* a Santa voice? You should practice. Are you going to have to lead a prayer as Santa? Do you even know how to pray? Is Santa even Catholic?

And then Big V was whisked away to a back classroom at the end of a dark hall while the girls and I were escorted into the Lunch/Gym/Basketball Court/We Only Have One Big Space In This Entire School So This Is Where We Party At room. And it was filled to the brim with kids. Lots of them. Hyped up on sugar. Lots of it.

"Hey, Ma." My littlest leaned towards me. "Does Big V even know how to be a Santa?"

I don't know, honey. But we're about to find out....

And as if on cue, jingle bells began to chime in the distance.

The teacher gathered the attention of the children and their parents, "Shhh.... do you hear what I hear?"


And just like that way too many children were making way too much noise and jumping up and down.

"Ho! Ho! Ho!" In walked Big Santa V, decked out from head to toe, and he looked, well, like Santa.

"Hello, boys and girls! Have you been good?!"


Again with the screaming.

My oldest leaned towards me from the other side, "he looks... good?" Trust me. I was in as much shock as she was. He did look good. And he sounded good. And, hey, maybe he could pull this off. Look at all those smiling faces....

And just then the teacher announced that it would be piñata time ... because apparently Catholic Santa's are known for busting candy out of papier-mâché containers shaped like Sponge Bob Square Pants. Who knew?

So all the excited kids formed a wide circle around the surprise piñata which was being hung from 40-year old ceiling tile, which was probably dropping toxic asbestos on to the heads of the innocents, but no one seemed to mind. Not even the parents, who busied themselves with their video cameras because you can't miss an opportunity to record the destruction of artwork with a stick for the sole purpose of immediate sugar gratification.

Then, into the center of the circle strutted Santa. Oh, yes. There was a strut. Because, you see, Big V is a very athletically competitive person. And in his mind, he had a baseball bat and he was walking up to home plate ready to score the winning run.

Until the day I die, I will never fully understand why Big Santa V chose the following words... as he strutted around the children, twirling that stick:

"Who wants to see me WHACK IT?! Who wants to see Santa WHACK IT?!"

And - my personal favorite - as he pointed his big stick to some unsuspecting 5 year old boy: "You! Do YOU wanna see Santa WHACK IT?! Do you wanna see Santa WHACK IT HARD?!"

And that would be the one and only time Big V was ever asked to portray Santa Claus at the local Catholic School.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a most Joyous Hanukkah
to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

This Moldy Spaghetti Sauce is a symbol of my love for you. Or perhaps not.

When I see a ladybug I think of my cousin. She loves ladybugs. Even sports a tattoo of one on her foot. To me, the ladybug is a symbol that reminds me of my fun loving, not afraid to laugh out loud cousin.

When I see an apple I think of my aunt. Her kitchen was decorated with apples. Cheery red walls and apple topped canisters on the counter. I can't help but smile when I see a kitchen towel designed with a screen printed apple for sale. There's my aunt. Right there.

My relationship with Big V has symbols, too. 

I remember when Big V finally got around to putting up the shutters. The house had just been painted and those shutters were the first step in our process of beautifying the outside of our home. Don't you just love the shutters? I'd swoon. Big V put them up just for me!

Those shutters were a symbol of my knight in shining armor. The man I would happily be marooned on a desert island with. Those shutters showed the world that he was my one, my all, my everything.

Relationships, like life, have seasons.

Currently we're in the Symbol of Spaghetti Sauce Season.

Six days ago, I lovingly prepared a boiling pot of water and dumped some pasta in it before rushing out the door to get to my curtain call in time. I had exactly 27 minutes between arriving home after work and hustling out the front door to get to the show. In those 27 minutes I chose to feed my loving partner.

After quickly applying another coat of mascara and brushing my teeth, I managed to drain the noodles and take out a jar of sauce. Now, let me explain. This is not just any sauce. This is my secret sauce. As in I want to make you believe I can cook so I'm gonna use this $8 jar of sauce that seriously tastes like heaven in a jar. Or, as it's more commonly referred to: Big V, you have no taste buds of which to speak so there is no way in hell I'm wasting this phenomenal $8 jar of sauce on you. Go get the Ragu. 

But I felt bad because I haven't been home lately and, well, he was agreeing to actually sit through my show later... so I set the jar on the counter and said, "Here. You can use some of this - BUT REMEMBER TO PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE WHEN YOU ARE DONE. If you don't, I will have to kill you."

The next morning I saw the jar - half used - still sitting on the counter.

My wonderful, beautiful, heavenly Victoria Arrabbiata sauce - left to rot alone on the kitchen counter.

"Uh, why is this still here?"

Oh. I must have forgotten it. I'll put it back in the pantry.

"It can't go back in the pantry; it's open. You have to put it in the fridge. I told you to put it in the fridge. Why isn't it in the fridge?!"

Fine. I'll put it in the fridge.

"You can't put it in the fridge!"

You just said to put it in the fridge.

"Yesterday. Yesterday I said to put it in the fridge."

No. Just now. Just now you just said 'put it in the fridge.' You said it like thirty times. How can you not remember?

"How can you not remember I said it last night?! This was my only jar of good sauce - and now it's filled with germs and eColi and the Black Plague!"

It's fine.

"No it is not fine. It says right on the label to 'refrigerate after opening.' That means, after you open it - you put. it. in. the. fridge. It's not that difficult."

Well, since it's not that difficult maybe you could figure out what to do with it.

"Me?! You're the one that should have to throw it away now that you wasted it!"

And so it sits.

On the counter.

Where it has remained for the past six days.

Getting moldy.

A jar of spaghetti sauce symbolizing the stubborness of the active participants in this relationship. (Although, he did admit that it was one mighty fine jar of sauce.)

What's your symbol?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Tonight's dinner will be held at a local restaurant.

With a friend I haven't seen in forever.

There will be no children.

Big V will be at home listening to the kids whine about how sucky their Ramen noodles dinner is. (Pretty much the only thing he makes.) (Unless it's a Nutella sandwich.)

Big V will be at home stepping on matchbox cars that have been dropped in the middle of the kitchen floor.

I might stretch dinner to last until Big V has to wrestle the children to bed.

I might stretch dinner until Big V has to get the kids up in the morning.

I might stretch dinner until Big V has to force the kids into the car for church, and argue over homework, and schedule the orthodontist appointments, and fold all the laundry, and scrub the food stains off the couch cushions...

.... but then I'd miss them all and I'd come home.