Holiday Travel Confidential

Nothing stresses me more than attempting to pack our car for an extended trip anywhere. This week we are going to my sister-in-law’s house in New Jersey. To help organize the chaos, I generally make a written list of what has to be loaded and then I place them in the car with Tetris-like precision. Here is the list for my current trip.

  1. 5 people, including 2 teenagers and one octogenarian. Each has their own seating requirements. Both teenagers (male and female) want to sit in the single 3rd row seat, so a Cage Match typically ensues about 10 minutes prior to the trip. My son has grown a bit since 2012, so I expect this year’s Battle Royale to last a little longer than last year’s 15-second melee (he’ll still lose rather handily, however, so that’s where the smart money goes). My mother-in-law needs to sit anywhere where there is no fresh air filtering in due to the fact that oxygen makes her cough repeatedly and uncontrollably. Usually we place her in an air-tight body bag before positioning her in her seat.
  2. 415 boxes of cookies for my sister-in-law to give to those people she doesn’t care enough about to give real gifts. It is a little-known fact that there are no bakeries in New Jersey. The State Constitution outlaws them, but allows backyard stills. She should give moonshine and leave me out of it.
  3. 6 trays of hot food my wife has made “so my sister doesn’t have to cook”, because the only thing my car lacks is a large cooking-oil stain in the shape of Jesus’ face on the carpeting. Oh, and a DVD player.
  4. 3 large suitcases, each large enough to hold my mother-in-law. Hmmm. I wonder if any oxygen can get in there….
  5. Gifts for the family. Let me introduce everybody to the 21st Century and a little thing called “Overnight Shipping”. Where are the drones when you need them?

Ahhh, 60-Degree Christmas I Love You

I’m in my shorts and tank-top, snuggling up with my family under the blanket, except we are not actually touching each other due to the sweat involved and the blanket is actually one of those fans attached to a water bottle.

We sing Christmas carols with our hands cradling mugs of hot chocolate, chilled to perfection. I cannot bite through the marshmallow floating within due to the fact that it is still frozen. I must remember to call the dentist right after the holidays.

Since we do not have a fireplace, we replicate that coziness by having our TV perpetually tuned to the Nature Channel, where we watch video loops of glaciers falling into the Bering Sea.

Outside, one of our neighbors takes their annual ride in a sleigh down our lane. Sadly, the ensuing friction of the metal blades against the dry pavement caused the entire thing to combust into a tower of flames.

Smells like barbecue. Oh, and frankincense.

A Heartwarming Christmas Parable

It was a cold Winter’s night but the tree glowed with the light of at least 87 bulbs. He carried the children upstairs and tucked them into their beds, always an endeavor on Christmas eve. Yes, they were restless with excitement, but also because his children were already grown adults and borderline obese—if that pesky Department of Health body fat index chart was to be believed.

He kissed them goodnight and sat there smiling as the Rohypnol he slipped into their glasses of Dr. Pepper took effect. As they adorably snored like two Toro™ riding mowers, he tiptoed back downstairs to wrap their ridiculously overpriced gifts and place them under the tree that had been in the family since the mid-1970s.

Yes, its white aluminum foliage had yellowed a bit (not unlike the phlegm that one expectorates on a chilly eve such as this), but the children howled in protest when he even suggested that they search for a replacement. Unless that was just the coyotes. It was so hard to tell them apart ever since the children gave up shaving. Right after they gave up looking for jobs.

As he slipped and tumbled to the bottom step, he saw him standing there by the tree. Saint Nicholas himself! Unless that was just the concussion talking.

“Ho Ho Ho!” the jolly man in red bellowed, “You know you’re on my bad list this year.”

“You have no power over me,” he replied “For I am Jewish!”

“Shhhh. So am I,” whispered Santa. “I’ve been doing this since the garment industry went belly-up. Can’t beat the hours.”

He thought about it for a moment. “That explains the absence of pigs in ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’! And lobsters! And talk of meat and dairy in the same meal. Now it all makes sense!”

“My boy, I do believe the Christmas spirit is burning brightly in you now,” Santa chuckled. Either that or the chili he ate earlier, he thought. But before he could utter another word to the old elf, Santa was gone. As was his 47-inch LCD flatscreen TV. “You should have bought plasma, you cheap bastard!” he heard Santa shout from his sleigh.

And so he trudged through the snow to get a ladder, some extra large garbage bags and shovel. Those reindeer were up on the roof for a while. Well, he called it a “roof”. Santa merely referred to it as the Christmas litter box.