The Disappointing Snowfall

I can still see the houses, how is my father supposed to plow this?

When did the weather people decide to start naming winter storms?  I understand the concept of naming hurricanes and such, massive storm fronts that can do enough damage to almost wipe a city off of the map are something that you kind of want to keep track of and have a name to curse when it screws up your vacation plans/life.   I guess you could say something like “the great storm of 2004” but that kind of makes you sound like someone who is still impressed that drinking has been re-legalized.

Naming a winter storm sort of feels like we need to keep track of every time that it rains outside, and I am sure that there are people out there that get paid to do so—even though that job sounds mind numbingly boring, and if it is really that important that we start naming things we will all forget about I should probably stop yelling at Veronica about naming the mice in our apartment as I set traps.  I think that the problem is that someone figured out that if you make an event about everything people will be interested in it, and I wish that there was some kind of example or story about someone calling out in alarm too much about… I don’t know… maybe a predatory animal or something.

Local paper from the day after, still claiming that we got "a ton of snow"

Now I heard that there were areas that managed to get a rather good amount of snow fall, and if the electronic signs on the thruway are to be believed the States of Massachusetts and Connecticut managed to get themselves closed for business over the whole ordeal, but that doesn’t change the fact that I was told to expect upwards of two feet of snow and managed to get cheated into only 3 inches.  That would be like being told that my father was cooking steak for dinner and then being taken out to McDonalds for the dollar menu.  Maybe it is because I had some really cool plans set up for last Friday and cancelled them for fear of the snow becoming sentient and judging us all harshly that I am kind of angry about nothing happening.  That or someone needs to learn to manage my expectations for me.

I would like to blame the last couple of years and all of the fervor that went into expecting the world to end several times throughout the last while having a kind of lasting effect on the energy that we are putting into everything but on the other hand, no. Stop it.

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Christmas for Me

I make fun of my wife on this site; I point out the whimsical way that she decides to address the world on a daily basis, I draw parallels to her choices and those of small children, and if she is to be believed I constantly post ever increasingly bad pictures of her.  In this sense I think that turnaround is fair play and that I should at the very least talk about how I viewed the holiday from my point of view, basically through the lens of visiting both her family and mine.

The one thing that should always be noted out about Veronica’s family is that there is always food present in whatever house we show up at, regardless of us showing up being in any relationship to a holiday.  The problem is that some of the food that those people eat isn’t really food, and I believe is named after something that Frodo battled on his way to mount doom.  It isn’t even that any of it is bad, just of questionable construction; such as some kind of meatball wrapped in cabbage—I like meatballs, but I don’t understand why we had to involve a vegetable in this discussion.

Sadly I think I am at the point in my life when I enjoy the holidays because I get to see my entire family, and then promptly leave and complain about how weird they are.  Not that I am one to talk; I am man child who dresses funny and is currently unemployed.  The point is that I am glad I am a part of a writhing mass of awkward that I call the Gillman clan, even though such events normally just feel like six “grownups” walking around and wondering how early is too early to start drinking just to deal with each other.

Also my brother brings his children, which is great because it seems to continually increase the odds that my wife may attempt to steal one of them.  I keep trying to tell her that they call people who do that witches, but she doesn’t seem to listen.  It is fun, though, hanging out with my brother’s children because I grew up with him and still remember when I was three and he convinced me that I was a pond person and that it was only a matter of time before they came to reclaim me.  I cried for hours.  So when I look at them and see small, more concentrated versions of him I think the Klingon were wrong and revenge is a dish best served by children.

Of course probably the most notable and wonderful part of the holiday is spending as much of it as I can with my loving and amazing wife.  I say this because at some point she decided that it was entirely possible to work remotely from my parents’ house, meaning both that she could be in her mountains for an exceedingly long period of time and that I got to annoy her to the point that she instructed me to go see a movie with my mother.  I figure that if I can manage to refine this process it will be a sharp enough blade that I can use it to get copious amounts of video games.

Long time readers of the site might know that I have made great efforts to break my wife of her theory of “a happy house has no dog.” It turns out, though, that my brother seemed to be able to do that way better than I could but only through the way of his dogs being awesome snugglers.  Whatever works I guess.

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Veronica and Christmas

Sometimes I wonder what I was doing before I met my wife, I assume much in the same way that blind people wonder what the big deal about color is.  A perfect example of this is Christmas, a holiday that was huge with me until I was about 11; promptly the time that it became less about the presents and more about playing video games and not going to school.  Seemingly on the other side of the state was Veronica who truly believed that this was the time of year when magic could happen, and that success was based on how many stockings were received.

I have extemporized in the past about how hard it is to shop for my wife, as most things that she enjoys seems to be a random collection of adjectives and verbs without the gift of nouns, every year it seems to be a little more difficult to find a “practice boiling” thing than the year before.  The worst part, as mentioned before, is that she measures how well I did by how full her stocking is—extra points if there are multiple ones.  So now not only do I need to come up with a “wise accomplish”, it also needs to be small enough that I can cram it into whatever leggings that she decided should be used this year.

Once again this is one of the many times that I became infinitely grateful for my wife’s best friend in the entire universe, Kiana.  Having her cellphone number means that shopping for my wife is less a grab bag of unfortunate choices and more of a game of hot and cold.  While the only serious back and forth we ended up having the this year was about what kind of water bottle to buy, I am surprised as the next person that there are choices, the rest of the time it sort of felt like just having someone there to tell me how wonderful and interesting my choices where.  I don’t know if it is upsetting that I am starting to learn to pick out a present for Veronica, or if it just means that I understand people with a short attention span way better.

Another addition to the season that I was unaware of was crafting; not that I didn’t know it was part of the prep for the holiday, but the amount of post-Christmas projects that Veronica seems entirely able to come up with at the drop of a hat is nothing less than inspiring.  Although only inspiring in the same way that a child unrolling all of the toilet paper and putting in the center of the room to see what it looks like is inspiring.  Never before have I seen a person so excited about an event that they need a set amount of time to wind down afterwards as well.  I am sure there is some mathematical term that would describe this perfectly, but I never claimed this blog was clever.

Veronica’s big idea for a present this year was a juicer so that her and I could eat/drink healthier throughout the year.  This, in and of itself, is a noble endeavor as I am pretty sure the only people in the world who could do to eat less healthy enjoy the word tofu and/or are my brother and cousin Laura (eat some meat Laura).  All I know is that the most important thing that anyone did with the device before my wife went home was my father attacking it with horseradish.  He seemed to think that was a good time.  Disclaimer: he also thinks mowing the yard is a good time.

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At the Mall with Evan

Evan does not like his picture being taken in public

Evan works in the mall, so there is something in his head that drives him to return to such a place whenever he can—much like a moth must fly towards bad life choices.  This is normally not a problem as he works in retail and the only days you are allowed off in that line of work is midweek when the store normally remains empty save for the sad and teenaged.  This week it that was not the case, as he has been promoted and allowed to take off weekends.  Also I believe that there is a holiday of some kind next week so it was a little more crowded than normal.

It is interesting that I have reached a point in my life that I can look at a situation and think, “This is going to be terrible,” and somehow that makes it entirely better.  I must be getting pretty good at least at the noticing how bad thing will be because I said that when we were looking for a parking spot and I we had turned into stalkers the moment that we saw someone walk away from the mall.  If I hadn’t made clear just how crowded the mall was I am sorry, but it was the kind of busy that I can see my mom having a panic attack and somehow blaming my father, brother, and I for everyone else being there.

It always bodes well when everything is 25-75% off BEFORE the holiday

In a recession there are always a ton of empty store fronts in a mall; during Christmas those store fronts quickly turn into some kind of cash grab business that stocks its shelves with seemingly whatever the renter can find in their living room.  I am sure that we aren’t long before we see the annual, “Books, Records and a Broom Collection” stores popping up and selling to concerned parents of dirty college students who want a vintage look in their condemned living space to compliment the two decade old mold.

This is an important factor because Evan and I decided to go into what seemed like a new, small chain, toy store.  At first I started calling the place, “The Clearance Store” as there were signs everywhere saying how much off everything was—which was good because almost everything there was vastly overpriced 25 years ago when it had just come out.  Evan, on the other hand called it, “The Store for Parents that Hate Their Children”.  Sadly I believe we both lost to a random customer that said, and I quote, “I thought these got recalled.”

It is bad when the estimated wait time for food is measured in days

There has to be a point in which enough strangers are surrounding a given person that they simply feel like they are alone and can do as they please.  This is always odd for me as it seems like I may be the only person in the world that is overhearing all of the crazy conversations that people are having.  This time it started off as someone being annoyed that everyone else in the world had decided to do Christmas shopping at the same time that they had, and then turned kind of weird when it seemed like they started longing for violence, which is why I believe that both Evan and myself ducked inside of the Best Buy to try and avoid where ever that guy was going.

We also toyed around with the idea of trying to find food somewhere in the mall, which I pretty much tried to veto as it being the single worst idea of the day.  Considering that we were hungry when the suggestion was made I was able to extrapolate out that by the time that we ordered one of us would be dead and the other would be fending off the aforementioned insane person.  It is kind of hard to justify being directly in front of a restaurant that you would like to eat at, but knowing that driving 15 minutes in any direction will get you to another one where you can be in your car on the way home, and full, before you would be seated at the place you are looking at.

Also his lap probably smells like pee at the end of a day

Also, I need to bring up–for my mom– that Santa was there.  He did seem to be kind of annoyed by it, but I probably would be too if this was the one time of year I was expected to work and was about a week away from a 24 hour trip around the world.

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Replacing the Tire

Did you know that you are only supposed to drive 50 miles or less on a spare tire?  I wonder if there is a word for the information that you keep in your head that you never think about until you need it; because I would use that to describe the situation from the last update with the word “screwed” attached to it.  You see Veronica and I went to visit her uncle that lives around 100 miles away on a Sunday, which means that most places that sell tires—and will put them on for you—are either closed or have horrible hours.  Luckily there was a Wal-Mart with a tire/lube center about a half hour away.

My wife, who is always thinking, decided that it would probably be a great idea to call and see if they were open and could even take an appointment.  Whoever answered the phone was nice enough and told her that it would be a two hour wait to get a single tire on a car.  This was around 3 PM, which was fine—even though it meant spending several hours in a Wal-Mart against all laws of common sense. That was when she called, on arriving they told us it was going to be a four hour wait, also that they closed in three and a half hours and couldn’t help us.

Veronica possesses many talents that I do not hold any claim too.  Among them is the ability to calmly look someone in the eyes and explain to them what needs to be done, and that they are going to do it; this pretty heavily counters my skill of screaming “no” loudly and over and over until I am either asked to leave or get my way.  Them fitting us in, though, basically meant that we had no time frame given on when the car would be drivable again—basically meaning that we got the torture of being forced to be in that store without the pleasure of knowing when, or if, we could leave.

The upside to this was that there was a McDonalds in the building.  The downside was that we had just eaten.  This basically meant that we could basically have the full experience and joy of eating at the grease factory without any of the drawbacks; I could happily drink my bottled water and get all the positive nutritional value I would just by smelling the French fries.  Now that I think about it I still did have to hang out in a McDonalds for a while, and was bored enough towards the end that I started to become interested in the employees’ conversations about scheduling, so that kind of seems like a big enough negative to not really want to do that again.

Killing time in a store that you don’t work at normally involves looking at products that you won’t ever really be interested in, normally resulting in less than great purchases.  It is because that voice in the back of your head that tells you something would be useless when you get it home only has so many arguments before it tends to give up on you—as being in a store for hours on end tends to wear out most logic.  I bring this up because Veronica almost left the store with a bike.

It isn’t that a bike isn’t a great thing for, say, a 6 year old to own.  The problem is that while we were there she continued to come up with fantastic ideas of when she would ride it, how much fun it would be, and how it would be a great source of exercise.  I am sure that all of this would be true, for say a week after purchase, if we weren’t having that conversation in the middle of winter.  Seeing as how the thing would come in 20 parts I am sure that no attempt would be made to assemble it until the summer when it would have been forgotten in the back of something.

The bike rack was directly in front of the tire place, and I am pretty sure that they became ever more annoyed with the fact that a grown adult was doing laps on a store item while also randomly crashing into displays.  I am pretty sure the only reason we do not now have a disambled bike sitting in my closest is because some smart supervisor point at someone and said, “Fix their car now!”

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