So first things first, I must apologize for the whole "posting comments" thing. I honestly do not know what I am doing wrong, all of my settings seem to be what they should be in order for people to "write in" - which is, quite honestly, half the reason I started doing this in the first place. So if anybody cares to email me and let me know wtf I need to do in order to get the comments thing up and running I would be forever in your debt. Well, not really. But I would appreciate it.
Secondly, my kids had three half-days and two full days off from school this week, for parent/teacher conferences and the NJEA conference. Seriously? What is this conference and what teacher actually attends? Well, regardless of the reason for it, this extra added bonus time at home for the kids couldn't come at a worse time. We are in between fall and winter sports/activities and they have waaay too much free time on their hands. And they mostly while away the hours by watching YouTube, playing Call of Duty on the PS3 (man do I hate that machine) and/or fighting with each other.
And did I mention Tom was away most of this week? Yeah. It was a good time.
The point I am trying to make is that after a very full week of YouTube Watchdogging, playing referee to ridiculous verbal exchanges and physical entanglements, listening to the sounds of machine gun fire and dying men spewing from my television - combined with all the normal domestic disturbances - it wasn't quite the environment that fostered free-flowing prose. So, I haven't exactly been as prolific on this blog as I would like.
But before I get to the real reason I started writing today, let me give a big fat shout out to my friend Cindy - she helped me solve the b'day party dilemma by recommending a nearby indoor party venue that should be perfect! Of course, I haven't done anything about it yet (see previous blog that details my birthday party planning "ability") but I am positive it will be absolutely perfect! Thanks Cindy!
OK - so...the kids have been putting together their Christmas lists, mostly at the requests of their grandparents so they can start the annual "Christmas Present Competition." But really, this year I'm glad for it, too. It is getting more and more difficult to navigate what is appropriate and affordable - and have it be something kids actually want.
So in an effort to make this easier on us all, Charlie went through the Target Holiday Toy catalog and circled all of the items he wanted. And as I look through these items I realize that we are really no better off than we were before he did this. Most of what he circled he would never ever play with. And I have vowed - for the hundredth time but hopefully this time it will stick - to NOT spend a fortune on Christmas toys for the sake of spending a fortune on Christmas toys. Especially those toys that spark a Merry Christmas "G--Damn It" Festival when I have to assemble them.
Charlie has items like the "Star Wars Deluxe Vehicle" circled. OK, not so bad - if it weren't for the fact that I just threw away about 3 of these deluxe vehicles because he hadn't touched them in 3 years - and the fact that this new one he wants is $64.99! What??!! And that's on sale! Then there is the G.I. Joe Accelerator Duke Figure that is eerily reminiscent of a gigantic Batman action figure I just put in the donation pile. And it wasn't even a question of him not touching it for a few years, I really don't think he EVER played with it. Then there is the $99.99 G.I. Joe Pit Mobile Headquarters, guaranteed to fall apart as soon as Charlie and his friend Sean launch their first "air strike" against it. There is the ever-present Nerf gun circled, but man do I hate those things, those damn darts get lost within the first 10 minutes of opening the packaging. Then they turn up in the weirdest places - darts in the pantry mixed in with the soup, darts in my underwear drawer, darts in the dogs' poop...I can explain the dogs' poop, but my underwear drawer? Before you ask...I have no idea.
But honestly the very best one is the Mindflex - which touts it will "move objects with brainwave activity!" and shows a very intense 8 year old with some bizarre looking headgear on, concentrating with every ounce of his being on floating a foam ball through a plastic hoop. First of all...yeah, that toy'll work. Second of all - even assuming it did work - this just doesn't seem like Charlie's kind of toy. Mostly because it involves intense thought. Now I love Charlie and I'm not saying he is not bright, he absolutely IS! but...well...he's Charlie. His idea of literary genius is the "Ricky Ricotta and his Giant Robot" series. And he wants a toy that's all about brainwave activity? Hmmm.
But Tom thinks we should get the Mindflex anyway - he thinks it would be really cool to hook it up to Junior.
Now Max is getting to a really difficult age for Christmas gifts. He's out of toys. He's not into clothes yet. He's still a little too young for a bunch of electronics. That pretty much leaves one thing...video games. And boy does his Christmas list show it. The problem is these PS3 games are bazillions of dollars, and the net $$ total of the games he listed is equal to about 1 year's tuition at Princeton. Well, maybe not Princeton...but definitely Rutgers.
He also wants Rosetta Stone for the German language. Oh, Max. So very you.
But one of the items on Max's list that made me stop and give pause was the request for a "PWND" t-shirt. I asked him what on earth this was and he said "it's 'poned,' Mom" in an exasperated tone - as if that explained everything and by God what is wrong with you Mom that you don't know that?? Well I asked could he please give me a definition of "poned" and his answer (verbatim) was "complete domination or shutdown of a person, place or thing." Huh? I mean, I just recently figured out what "LMAO" means. Now what is this "PWND" all about? It seems a little...overwhelming...for a t-shirt. Oh, Max.
Appropriate or no - his grandmother got it for him already (of course). I'm really just hoping he doesn't end up wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the rally cry for the Skinheads or something. Because he would have no idea and I would be the one trying to explain it to the Principal.
So goes our Holiday Joy. But I think the real joy will be seeing the wonders of Junior's brainwaves set the Mindflex ablaze with activity.