#%*+?$#@&@Slipped into my Bitch cape, kiddos, look out…here comes SUPER-PISSED WOMAN!!! Sunday will be The Unit’s and my second wedding anniversary; this would normally be a YEEHAW moment, except for the fact that I will probably be in the county jail awaiting trial on murder charges, and y’all know how crappy redheads look in orange. The Unit has been consistent in his story of having spent his adult years in Florida and Atlanta, but now I discover that the truth is he’s really from West Virginia, where the state mascot is road kill. How can I be so certain you might wonder? Irrefutable proof! Here, on the tenth day of January, 2011, I am looking at the nine-foot-tall Christmas tree which is still presiding over the dining room, surrounded by TWO complete train sets and an entire Christmas village. This village is no itty-bitty thing, either. It is comprised of carolers, horse drawn carriages with riders, a School for Dogs, a Grand Hotel replete with ballroom, a massive cathedral (containing that favorite Vatican combo of priests and young altar boys), many homes, a dance academy, numerous village shops, animals, snowmen, gas street lights, a Ferris wheel, and glistening snowy mountains. Let me tell you, all this stuff takes up some serious real estate in my small dining room.
But it’s not enough that we keep the sin of CHRISTMAS CRAP LEFT UP WAAAYYY TOO LONG to ourselves and let it be our naughty little secret. Heck no, we have to share our bounty with the entire neighborhood! The process of “undecorating” began last Saturday, very appropriately on New Year’s Day. In my world of vaunted perfection, all decent, law-abiding citizens should have their holiday decorations down and properly packed away by January 2. It’s just the way God and I want it. But still up for all the world to enjoy are two six-foot diameter wreaths hanging from the second story, huge white lighted reindeer grazing in the backyard, and approximately 60’ of dangling white snowflakes pirouetting from the gutters. I did dispatch Booger to the yard to chew up all the wiring, so at least they aren’t lit anymore.
It’s important to remember that The Unit and I are both blissfully retired; every moment is essentially recess, so you would think that we’d be spot on with Christmas stuff up and Christmas stuff down, but here is how a typical day goes in the life of The Unit. Booger wakes us up around 6-7AM (a baby Boxer bladder can only hold so much!), coffee and The Today Show, and to level out their liberal B.S., an equalizing dose of Fox News, fair and balanced. Protein smoothies with flaxseed and we’re off to our office and computers, still in our PJs, where The Unit manages our assets while devouring and digesting stock market news. A daily pledge is made to walk to our gym around lunchtime; I often keep the pledge, Unit rarely does. While I’m at the gym, The Unit will generally check into his favorite home-away-from-home, The Chardonnay Arms, which fuels him up for a wild afternoon of talking back to the TV, and responding to emails sent by gun-totin sum bitches who have way too close a relationship with the family sheep. Mid-afternoon it’s dinner decision time and debating what to watch on TV later, while waiting for the clock to signal 5PM, which is officially Tiny Tunney Time at the Mason’s. Nothing like a yummy dirty martini to say night night to yet another day. So, with such a hectic schedule, wouldn’t you think one could squeeze in two hours for the removal of all things Christmas??
I’ll tell you what…the character trait of starting projects and not finishing them sure wasn’t featured on his Match.com profile. My eyes drift out to the front yard and the garden misting system he started installing for me the third week of June; the looping lengths of shiny black hose peeping up all over the yard are rather charming in their own serpentine way if you squint. This is the same Unit who is hell bent on installing the new “closet system” in our master bedroom all by himself, instead of hiring someone to do it in two days. Based on history, I’m guessing this would take somewhere around 17, 18 years to complete. It’s a shame The Unit is such a cutey putootie, silver hair, laughing blue eyes, great little butt in his blue jeans, and let’s not even get started about him on his Harley. Darn, I hate it when I talk myself OUT of a really good homicidal rage!
Maybe I’ll hedge my bets…if he takes me to a really awesome restaurant for our anniversary dinner (and it’s looking good right now; I peeked at the on-line reservations!) and gets the reindeer, wreaths, village, trains, AND snowflakes down before the stroke of midnight, I may suspend his death sentence. If not, when they book me into county, I’ll give my name as IONA TRAYLOR and the deceased’s name as WADE N. DEEPDODO. They will be befitting names for the former owners of our perpetually decorated yard.
Speaking of crazy, wacky, Southern names, did I ever tell y’all about Cleve and Furl (well, truth be told, it was actually spelled Ferrell, as in Colin, but, due to either accent or ignorance, or both, it was pronounced Furl; that’s right, as in the flag). These seven and nine-year old brothers were my uncles for about 34 minutes one year. My mama had a way of changing husbands quicker than she changed dresses, so my relatives were always transitory. Here today, gone tomorrow. It does tend to make a girl rather adaptable and quick on her feet, so it wasn’t ALL bad. Mama was Catholic, so whenever she felt that certain itch, she was compelled to marry the scratchers, and all those scratchers came with families in tow. Every few months I’d get new grammies and grampies, aunts and uncles and cousins, and like magic, the old ones would disappear, never to be seen or heard from again.
But Cleve and Furl were the two I remember most. They were super poor and drank out of jelly glasses and lived right beside the railroad tracks. I mostly remember their older teenage sister, Jane Nelda, who my mom thought was one fine, responsible babysitter, until she found out she was locking me up inside a closet for hours at a time while she disappeared with her boyfriend. Their older brother was one of my favorite of all the Daddies, because he looked just like Elvis, but instead of a pink Cadillac, he drove a motorcycle and wore a black leather jacket…
way cool when you’re four years old! If I told you his real last name, you’d pee yourselves laughing, but, while I don’t object to going to jail for spousal homicide, something about being sued by some wrinkly-assed old fart who’s probably living in a nursing home somewhere in Cooterville TX, just doesn’t appeal.
Sadly, that Daddy didn’t last too long, either. Mama took exception to the blond secretaries he ran off with most weekends.
It really cranked her chain because they were usually from the steno pool at the insurance office where they both worked. Here’s how weekends usually went down. I’d get off the bus from Catholic school (insert gagging and retching), and all That Daddy’s relatives’ cars would be parked in the driveway and the shades would be drawn, quite somber, like someone had just died. It really shook me up the first time I witnessed this. Into the house I’d go, and they’d all be sitting around the kitchen table, with the electric coffee urn plugged in, and Mama’s eyes and nose were all red from crying. A plot would always be devised that would set the relatives in motion (Texans hate to sit still!) and off they’d go to pile into cars and head to Austin or Louisiana or wherever they thought Daddy and that week’s tartlet might have disappeared to. By late Sunday he was always back, loaded with flowers and contrition, which would last until around noon the following Friday. Damn, those were some good times. Cleve and Furl, if y’all are still out there, have a Bud on me. Love ya, miss ya already.