Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Wonderful Stupor of Submission

We have what I consider a lot of counter space in our kitchen. I enjoy seeing all that countertop clear; it looks big, spacious, clean and ready for action! A couple of weeks ago, a holiday cookie jar mysteriously appeared in a corner of the countertop. I moved it to a separate counter. The next morning, the cookie jar was sitting conspicuously in its original corner. Again, I moved it to the separate counter.

The next morning, after having cleverly managed to roll its way back to the original corner, it sat, glaring defiantly at me. It may even have snarled. Grumbling, I moved it back to the separate counter before I left for work. I wondered impatiently to myself, "What possible difference could it make to Susan where this confounded cookie jar sits?"

There would be no lulling me into some automaton-like stupor of submission! On it went, until the weekend came and she challenged me on my repeated attempts to move the cookie jar elsewhere. I explained, importantly, how I appreciated seeing the countertop surface clear and clean.

Case closed.

Today is that inane day named for the sport in which short-tempered shoppers are most likely to engage, while in crowded stores stocked with insufficent numbers of low-priced items. I prefer lying low on Boxing Day, so I've made it "Blogging Day". Christmas has come and gone and, hey, there will be no more sinking feeling when I play drums! For the last couple of years, whenever I played, the drums around me would gradually get higher as my drum stool slid downward. Santa fixed all that by bringing me a drum stool that must be spun to have its height adjusted. Now when I play drums, the height of my snare, cymbals and tom-toms stays the same! It makes drumming so much more pleasant.

The headphones I mention in my blog of August 25th, 2010, kept on breaking. The first time they broke, I sent them away for repair and it took a couple of months before I finally got them back. Lately, repairs to the same headphones have been improvised by a kind colleague. First, the right side snapped and a screw and nut were used to put the broken part back together. Then, the left side snapped, with another screw and nut put in place to hold it together. Santa solved that problem, too! Now I have my own pair of Bose headphones with which to listen to my 4494-song iPod during daily train commutes. Once or twice, when my headphones broke, I managed to mooch my son's Bose headphones.

I am a mooch, no more.

Along with a few other items, Tristan decided he wanted the Kinect for Christmas. His request came a little late and, to tell you the truth, we could have been more prompt in our pursuit of the unit. Just as he asked a little late, we got busy buying a little late. As a result, for weeks, we searched high and low for the unit. We went to big electronics stores day after day, in the hopes a magic shipment might arrive; we found nothing but hollow apologies. Susan scoured the internet, checking the inventories of individual store branches. That, inevitably, led us on a few wild goose chases! We would excitedly race to stores, only to be told the forty that had been listed at the beginning of the day on the internet, had sold in a matter of sixty minutes!

We checked smaller stores, obscure stores and stores for boneheads who'd started shopping too late. Nothing. We couldn't find it anywhere and smug store clerks would look at me with quasi-scolding expressions as they solemnly announced, "You won't be getting it this Christmas." It wasn't looking too good when, out of the blue, a couple of days before Christmas, I got an e-mail from my wife explaining how a colleague of hers had found one and immediately bought it for us! I was astonished, elated and relieved, not necessarily in that order, although that may have been the precise sequence of emotion. She would have the Kinect with her when I met her for lunch in about an hour. I'd have to see it, to believe it!

Indeed, there it was. I must say, thanks to Michael's kindness, that lunch hour, with our son's main gift request safely in our hands, we were like the little dog who'd managed to steal a big, fresh, meaty bone right out from under the big dog's nose! We know exactly what that looks like because that's how our Westie, Spike, looks every time he goes for a walk! Anyway, that was us as, later that same lunch hour, we headed into the same electronics store we had been desperately visiting regularly. As the doors slid open, my wife said, flippantly, "Wouldn't it be funny if they had a whole stack of Kinects here, today?" I was still smiling and nodding as we stopped in front of the huge stack of neatly-piled Kinects welcoming us into the store.

Ho. Ho. Friggin' Ho.

Happily, the Kinect has already paid for itself! Seeing "The Great Geez", which is how we refer to nephew Tyler, try to guide his horse around the show jumping ring was worth all the shopping anguish. Unfortunately, for Tyler, the game instantly added itself to the long list of things we may never let him live down!

The holidays are going well. The first of two yearly "holiday hockey" sessions happens tomorrow. I rent the local arena and invite friends and relatives to come out and play some shinny.

Susan's mother is staying with us for the holidays.The first time I entered the guest room after she arrived, the door jumped back in my face, nearly whacking me in the forehead. Her suitcase was lying on the floor behind the door. I slid it just enough to allow the door to open freely. The next time I went into the guest room, the door jumped back in my face, nearly whacking me in the head. Again, I bent down and slid the suitcase just far enough from the door so that it could swing open freely. If, at this point, you're wondering why I didn't just avoid going into the guest room, it's the only way into the laundry room.

The next time I pushed open the door, it bounced back in my face, nearly fracturing my nose! Grumbling now, I slid it just out of the way of the door. As I stood up, I suddenly stopped, stunned. As a queasy feeling quickly grew in the pit of my stomach, I realized I hadn't checked  the whereabouts of the cookie jar lately.

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