Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Santa:

Dear Santa,

Hi there.  How are things up at the North Pole?  I hope unemployment is down at the Claus Compound and, as such, that this Christmas finds you handing your elves fewer pink slips than last. I imagine it's hard to find work as an elf; those Keebler guys have the cookie market cornered and now, with the popularity of the Elf on a Shelf, there's competition from the doll industry.  Tough times. 

Before I get to what I want for Christmas, I would like to point out that I have been really good this year.  Seriously, I don't know if you've noticed, but today is December 20th and my Christmas cards have been mailed, my wrapping is done, and my tree HASN'T EVEN FALLEN DOWN ONCE.

Well, not yet anyway.

I get my teeth cleaned every six months, get felt up by the OBGYN once a year, and use a moisturizer with SPF 15.  EVERY DAY.

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to direct your attention to the following:  my driving record (clean), my voting record (active), and my criminal record (non-existent). 
Not bad, right? 

So I think you'll be happy to know that I only want one thing for Christmas this year.

A wife.

Hear me out on this one, S.C.  This isn't some kind of polygamous fantasy, I don't want a Barb or a Margene, and GOD KNOWS I don't need a Nikki.  Besides, I took a quiz in last month's Glamour and it turns out my face is WAY too round to pull off the French-braid-with-the-Bump-Itz-pouf. 

Nor is this some kinky sex thing.  Although, really Santa, let's get honest for a second here, even if it WAS, you're not really in a position to judge.  You spend a good deal of time with small children in your lap while the world turns a blind eye to that whole he-sees-you-when-you're-sleeping-he-knows-when-you're-awake-he-knows-if-you've-been-bad-or-good thing.  If you think about it, you're sort of like the MacDaddy of Creepers.  And we all  know it's just you and Mrs. Claus and all those elves isolated up there in the North Pole, where it stays cold and dark for like DAYS on end.  I'm not accusing you of anything, I'm just saying.  People talk.  Not me.  But people.

Also, The Wife is also not a replacement for The Husband.  I would very much like to keep him.

Really, The Wife is just there so that, in my absence, things will get done the way I do them rather than in some other husband-like way which invariably leaves me with more work than I started with.  For example, if I go out on a Thursday night, Wife would be here to keep everyone in line.  The dishes would be done, bedtime would start and finish on time, the downstairs would be picked up, and no one would have walked around the house eating something seriously crumb-producing, like pretzel rods or crackers, without a bowl or plate or napkin or FOR GOD'S SAKE, SOMETHING! to catch ALL OF THOSE CRUMBS. 

Wife will not put up a philosophical argument about the suitability of ice-cream, candy, or potato chips at 8 a.m.  She will always have tissues, she'll be aware of the clock so as to avoid giving the boys donuts for a snack 45 minutes before dinner is ready, and she will always know the location of each child's hat, gloves, and shoes. 

Now, if she could also clean the bathroom and do laundry , that would be SO awesome, but I realize I'm probably pushing my luck.

Oh, one more thing.  I sort of need her to be on the less-attractive side.  Unfortunate facial hair, adult-onset acne, goiters:  all welcome here.

Because, like I said, I'd like to keep The Husband.

So that's it, Santa.  One wife.  I'm sure you can fit her in the sleigh.

She'll be the one sitting next to you controlling the radio and telling you YOU NEED TO SLOW DOWN!

Thanks a lot, Santa.

Love, Jenn   

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Are you there, Oprah? It's me, Jenn.

I'm not really a big Oprah fan. But a few weeks ago I was home sick in bed and happened to catch her Favorite Things episode.  In case you don't worship at the Altar of Oprah, this is the episode where she gives away all kinds of really expensive stuff:  cashmere sweaters, diamond earrings, trips, fancy chocolates that cost more than my monthly mortgage payment. 

You know, all the essentials for the holiday season.

Oh yeah, and the audience pretty much goes apeshit crazy.

Like, with all forms of crying and screaming and jumping and 'Oh my God'-ing for the camera.

Just in case you haven't yet been beaten over the head with the message that Oprah is a kind and benevolent god, the show's producers cut to these audience freak-outs repeatedly to make sure you REALLY get it:

Hey!  You there, at home in your yoga pants that you don't wear out of the house because of the unfortunate seam up the front that makes it look like you have camel toe, even though you totally DO NOT, are you getting just how generous and awesome Oprah is?  Because I don't think you are.  See that lady in the second row, the one with the applique reindeer on her sweater and JC Penney elastic high-waisted pants who has just fallen to her knees in praise, THAT lady just scored a pair of $375 skinny  jeans from Jay-Z's new clothing line.  She is seriously psyched and her life is 125% BETTER now because Oprah has touched it.  Avert your eyes when Oprah appears before you! 

So there I was, in bed burning not just with a strep-throat-induced fever, but also with a raging contempt for Oprah.

What-the-eff-ever, Oprah! With all your fancy crap that regular people can't go out and buy! A $300 cashmere sweater would be on my favorite things list too if I didn't know that I could get like 25 pairs of pants at Target for that much money!  Oh my God, I need a Fribble!

There was, however, a time when I didn't feel quite so negatively toward Oprah and her favorite things.

Of course, I was pregnant then.

And, as such, under the influence of some SERIOUS hormones.

Also, I was on bed rest.  Which meant that, besides the mail delivery, Oprah had become the high point of my day.

Oh, and did I mention that the audience was filled with teachers?

Wanna guess what I had been doing for work up until the night I went to the hospital for contractions at 26 weeks?

That's right, I was a teacher.

It was like the Perfect Storm of hormonal breakdowns.

There I was, all round and pregnant and happy, with a nice big cup of hot chocolate, ready to sit and enjoy Oprah's Favorite Things episode.

Within the first minute and a half of the show, I was crying.

Oh my God, look at all of those women.  They are just SO HAPPY!  They are literally jumping for joy and hugging total strangers in their happy little bubble of delirium.  This is the most beautiful thing I ever seen in my whole life.  I love Oprah and I love all of those happy women. 

And then Oprah started the giving-away part of the show.  She held up some random item, made sure to let everyone know how much it was worth, and then told the audience, "You're all getting one!"  The women then jumped and cheered and screamed.  And cried.

And each time they cried, I cried.

Oh my God, Oprah is the nicest person ever; look how happy everyone is that they just got a $500 waffle maker.  They all love waffles so much, they are SO happy for waffles, and I am SO happy for them that they can make waffles for their families now.  What did they even DO before they had a waffle maker?  How did they get their waffles?  They didn't, not until Oprah came along and blessed them with their new incredible waffle makers.  I love Oprah and waffles and waffle-maker-factory workers and this is the best show ever, I feel myself changing because of this show; I am so totally changed now and I want to give everyone I know a waffle maker RIGHT NOW and then I want to eat a really ridiculous amount of waffles. 

This is not even an exaggeration.  My friend Erin can attest to all of this, because I e-mailed her repeatedly during the episode to share my joy. 

I cried through the entire hour-long show. 

It was weeks before I could even TALK about the episode without choking up.

That is, until the day early in January when the recycling truck took away our Christmas tree. I stood in my window and cried; it was a good Christmas tree and I had loved it, even if Santa hadn't left any of Oprah's Favorite Things under it.

And so I honored it. 

By eating a really ridiculous amount of waffles.