Tag Archives: Family


“Mom, I smashed my finger at work twice. Right across the nail.”

“Ouch. Did you sing the #$%#%@ song?”

“Yes, both times, while hopping on one foot!”

One day we’ll take this act on the road…


O Christmas… Box?

A closed cardboard box

Image via Wikipedia

It is official. It is T-minus 7 days until Christmas and my house is tree-impaired. This is thanks in part to a nasty stomach flu that kicked me and my husband in the collective gut and robbed us of one entire December weekend.

“I really thought we’d have a tree somewhere by now,” I told my husband. “In the living room, family room–somewhere.

“We do have a tree somewhere,” he replied. “Two of them, in fact. They are both in the basement.”

“Ha-ha, very funny. I suppose I’ll just move all the wrapped packages down there. We can arrange them neatly around a big cardboard box. What’s next? Hanging the stockings on the furnace?”

Later on as I pondered this, it didn’t seem such a bad idea. I mean, it would be easy to wrap the lights around a box. Plus I could skip the family tradition known as the Great Tree Skirt Search. This tradition started when we decided it would be a smart idea to label the box that held the tree skirt to make it easier to find. Sounds wise, doesn’t it? I thought so, too. The only trouble is, that while I was adept at labeling the box, I had definite impairment in the field of “Stowing the Skirt Inside.” Do not ask me how this happened. It did. To make matters worse, I have repeated this exercise during more than one post-holiday dismantling ritual. The result is that roughly three-fourths of the boxes in the basement have the words “tree skirt” helpfully inscribed upon their sides. None of them actually contain the tree skirt, mind you. They just say they do. Boxes, it turns out, lie.

There is no such thing as a “box skirt” so already the idea of spending Christmas gathered around a large, dusty cardboard box in the basement is starting to sound sane and rational.

The box doesn’t have a pointed top, so no tree-topper with it’s skittish lights is necessary. Instead, I’ll just draw on a star using a yellow highlighter. Or an orange one if I can’t find the yellow one. Pink in a pinch. In fact, we can draw ALL the decorations on. When we’re done, I can have holiday cheer in the basement every time I toss in a load of laundry.

And I’ll never have to take it down. Talk about keeping Christmas with you, all through the year.

The stockings were hung round the furnace with care,
mom hoped that a spider would not hide in there.

Yeah. Spiders. Hmm… definite drawback. And it’s cold in the basement. And there’s not a lot of room for maneuvering.

Oh well, the idea was fun while it lasted. Now we’re back to reality. This weekend the tree will go up. Lights will get strung and ornaments hung. The stockings will hang in their rightful places.

But I’m making no promises about the tree skirt.

Snow Daze

Snowflake. Small microscope kept outdoors. Sna...

Image via Wikipedia

Snow Season is upon us. This means school closures are imminent. Snow days will happen. Yet, with preparation, I’m certain our family will weather the storm, uh, so to speak. As usual, I’m meeting the challenge head on by making a list of family guidelines.


1. Despite my best efforts (it turns out that phoning the superintendent of schools at 5 a.m. to plead my case is not a good idea. Who knew?) we are having a snow day. Repeat after me: SNOW DAY. If it was Shave-The-Dog-And-Set-The-Microwave-On-Fire day, we would call it that, okay?

2. For entertainment, why don’t you go make something? When I say, “go make something” I am picturing your little hands at work building a model or drawing a picture. I would prefer you choose to make something more specific than “a mess.”

3. In case of emergency, do NOT break: Glass, dishes, windows, your little brother’s favorite toy, nose or teeth.

4. Do not play with fire. It should go without saying that this rule has not changed. Yes, it IS an electric stove, but it is still considered playing with fire if you use it to turn marshmallows on forks into flaming torches.

5. If you look into the hall closet, you will find several puzzles, books and other activities purchased specifically for your fighting pleasure. Please note that the TV remote is not one of them. Put it down. On the table where you found it. Now.

6. As I just mentioned (You are reading all of this, right?) the closet contains many pastimes and amusements. Use them. Yes, I know you possess creative souls. I do not require a demonstration. No. Really. I mean it. It is not necessary for you to invent your own entertainment while I attempt to work. This means I would appreciate it if you do not invent games. Despite what you think, the adults in this house have finely-tuned powers of observation. We are likely to notice small children hanging helplessly from doorknobs by their teeth. Likewise, we can identify the sound of small butts surfing down the stairs on the lid from the toy box. And trust me, even I, with my limited intelligence, am able to deduce that the stream of water running under your bedroom door probably does not belong there.

7. Before you don hats and coats and head outside, plan ahead. At some time during the day, there will be a question and answer period. You will be responsible for the answer portion. I’ll give you a hint. Past questions have included such gems as: “Who put the yellow snowball in the freezer?” and  “How did the snow shovel get on the roof?” Start planning now. Keep in mind “Not me” and “I don’t know” are not the types of answers I will be looking for. Nor is it acceptable to answer questions with new questions, for example: “”What anatomically correct snowman?”

8. If at some time during the day, you interrupt my work with the words, “Mom, I’m bored,” I will be happy to assist you with your predicament. I am your mother. I love you. And I am currently making a list of toilets to be scrubbed, socks to be sorted, and other fun activities. Just in case.

9. One final note worth mentioning. If at some time during the day you notice that any adult in your presence has lost the ability to speak in complete sentences, run. This is never a good sign.

Let the snow days do their worst. I am ready. Now, if I could just convince the superintendent to take my calls…



This originally appeared in Today’s Woman magazine