Oh yes right it’s the weekend

Missed posting yesterday, mostly on account of spending the entire day with my wife’s extended family, most of whom I haven’t seen in years. I think a lot of their recent get-togethers have been when I was unavailable for one reason or another– especially when I was selling furniture and was working every weekend– and everyone’s kids, who were all little children the last time I saw them, were suddenly, like, people.

So, yeah– it ended up being a fair amount of fun, particularly since the kids of my favorite of her cousins ended up sitting with us at lunch and we were able to bond over gentle mocking of the boy’s Pokemon obsessions. He will go from painfully shy and clingy to the most gregarious kid on the planet once it turns out he thinks he has something to talk about, and he found one of the teenagers who wanted to talk about Pokemon and an adult who was willing to, and he was off to the races.

My wife is back from Boston now, too, and so today was mostly spent either lounging about in the pool or resupplying after the boy and I ate everything in the house over the course of the last week. So, yeah. The weekend went pretty well.


This week will be busy– we’re probably going to the county 4-H fair on Wednesday, Thursday is Independence Day, Friday is my birthday, and Friday through Sunday is InConJunction XXIX at the Indianapolis Marriott East. I’ll be in Artists’ Alley somewhere– it’s small, I won’t be hard to find– and I think I’m doing some panels too but I don’t have my schedule just yet. I’ll keep everyone posted once I know for sure.

In which I save Christmas

We didn’t have marshmallows.

No one was quite sure how it was that we didn’t have marshmallows, but we didn’t have marshmallows. And you cannot make Heavenly Salad without fuckin’ marshmallows. The ingredients: Grapes. Pineapple. Juice from same. Heavy cream. Milk. Lemon juice. Sugar. And marshmallows.  They’re kinda important. And we didn’t have any.

At 8:4fuckin7 PM on Christmas Eve.

Turns out Walgreens is open on Christmas Eve. The 24-hour stores are still 24-hour, believe it or not. And there’s one close. We go back and forth a couple of times about 1) whether we actually need Heavenly Salad for Christmas dinner (yeah, we kinda do) and 2) whether Walgreens is likely to have marshmallows.

Walgreens.com allows me to search the inventory of individual stores and I discover that my Walgreens claims to have 10 packages of small marshmallows, but none of the traditional size. I have a vague memory of having tried this trick with the smaller marshmallows in the past and not being super happy with the results, but fuck it; I’d rather have undersized marshmallows than no Heavenly Salad.

I have to wait for a parking spot at Walgreens. Which is packed. Which I suppose isn’t terribly surprising. The employees, who know full and goddamn well that everyone there needs one thing and one thing only, are bouncing back and forth from customer to customer, basically pointing, barking “What do you need?” and leading them to that one thing. I overhear a conversation where one family is carefully explaining that they need macaroni, because their “side dish” is macaroni and cheese, and I realize with some horror that they mean Kraft macaroni and cheese, and I have a sudden flashback to this lady:

I don’t object to macaroni and cheese for Christmas, mind you– I thought about making it myself– but macaroni and cheese from scratch isn’t hard. It’s not even much more expensive! No one should be bringing freaking Kraft Dinner to Christmas. They actually have all the ingredients to make it from scratch! I can see them from where I’m standing!

I find my marshmallows. It turns out they actually do have one bag of the proper size, and technically I only need the one bag, but the bag appears to have been exposed to extreme heat if not an actual flamethrower at some point and I reject it in favor of two bags of the smaller ones. But hey! I have marshmallows! Victory!

I get in line to buy my marshmallows. The cashiers appear to be in genuinely good moods, and they’re having the exact same conversation with everyone, and everyone in line appears to be grateful and happy and not at all the assortment of miserable bastards that I was expecting. There are lots of thank-yous being tossed around.

I glance at the guy in front of me. He is carrying the following items:

  1. A single DiGiorno personal microwave pizza
  2. One (1) liter bottle of Mountain Dew

and nothing else.

I briefly consider asking him if he needs help, or if he needs an adult. Like, dude, do you want to come home with me? Because you are buying a microwave pizza and a Mountain Dew at 9:00 on Christmas Eve and if that is not a cry for help I cannot imagine what could possibly make it any worse.

And then, as if he can hear me, he gets out of line and wanders off somewhere. I do not follow him, because Jesus awkward, so instead I just buy my marshmallows and head home. I am very grateful to the people behind the counter and they are very nice to me.

And I have saved Christmas.

In which I discover a new WordPress feature that I probably won’t use very often

Wait, I can put words here?

Several times in the last five or six years I’ve done the year-end blogwanking roundup on Christmas Eve, with the justification that no one is on the internets today so it’s a great day to write a completely irrelevant damn post. The problem is that right now I’m about 1750 pageviews away from passing last year’s traffic, which would be the first traffic gain in several years. I’m a few thousand back on individual visitors, but views have a chance of being up. And I kinda don’t want to write that post until I know?

What I need for Christmas is for one or two of you to take an hour and go through the archives.(*) 1750 pageviews in 7 days is an unlikely week under the best of circumstances, and the week of Christmas and New Year’s? I may as well go ahead and write the blogwanking post. But it’s possible. Highly unlikely. But possible.

In other news: I took the boy to get a much-needed haircut today, which marks the last time that I ought to need to leave the house between now and going to the comic shop on Wednesday, which suits me right down to the ground. We’ll have family in tomorrow, and I’m pretty sure we have every single thing we could possibly need here, and the shopping’s all done, so barring some sort of surprise I ought to have a couple of days where I don’t technically need to wear pants if I don’t want to. Which, hey, that’s what the Christmas season is all about, right? Jesus didn’t wear pants. That’s in the Bible somewhere. I have an MA in Biblical studies, I know these things.

Anyway. I hope you’re happy and with family for the next couple of days, unless your family makes you unhappy, in which case I hope you’re happy and literally anywhere else.

(* ETA: I just remembered I actually did this once. Randomly came across a WordPress blog at OtherJob back when I still worked at OtherJob, and the guy needed X number of hits to reach some amount of traffic for the year. I was alone and at work and bored and I literally went through every post on his blog twice just for the sheer hell of it to put him over the top. I’m mostly not serious when I suggest someone do this, for the record, but I HAVE actually done it once. 🙂 )

IT BEGINS

I got home from work at about 2:30 after a nearly three-hour “lunch meeting” on the last day before Winter Break officially kicked in, and I’ve spent most of the time since then in my recliner with a book in my hand. (Which has finally gotten interesting; I was on the verge of abandoning a Tana French novel, the very concept of which hurts my heart.)

I am trying to decide if I want this to be a Winter Break of Great Accomplishment or a Winter Break of I Sat Around And Read Books And Played Video Games. Right now it could go either way. And both would be a perfectly valid way to spend the next two weeks.

Also, I keep looking at that picture of myself I posted yesterday and reflecting on how much I’ve fallen apart physically since 2004. I need to get out of this mood or I’ll end up making New Year’s Resolutions, and those are always to be avoided by sensible people.

How to Christmas with a kitten

The tree has lights but no real ornaments (the boy hung some toys on it) and the vacuum is right next to it, plugged in. If the kitten touches the tree, we turn on the vacuum.

Works really well.