Sunday, December 18, 2011

Time to crank it to eleven.

T minus one week to go—this is when things get serious.

Up until now, Christmas preparations have jogged along, with a three-quarter sprint a couple of weeks ago for tree procuring and hall decking. Since then, a few online presents ordered here, some gift cards purchased there, but no huge dealio.

As of today, however, the figurative holiday oven has heated up our entire household, and many of those miscellaneous tasks have embedded their tentacles into my consciousness with greater urgency than that constant beckoning by my leathery man bladder.

Christmas cards, still not completed, are always a multi-step process, one in which I never allow myself enough time to accomplish. Choosethefamilyphotoorderthecardsbuythestampsaddresstheenvelopesandmail. Each letter of the preceding word represents roughly one minute of the chore, and I always seem to break the delicate chain at "buythestamps," thereby adding "drivetothestoretobuymorestampsandahugekitkatbar" to the end of the original word.

Another obligation which has leaped forward on this Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve is my role as the official procurer of holiday baking raw materials. Thanks to my family's gluttonous needs, Safeway is now lighter two large packages of chocolate chips, four jars of marshmallow cream, ten bars of baking chocolate and two huge bags of peppermint candy.

While it may seem like an average Friday movie night for Rush Limbaugh, that's enough sugar to choke a woolly mammoth, and by the end of tonight, the kitchen counters will be lined with fudge, bon bons, sugar cookies and peppermint bark. Hot damn.

I've decided that my my wife and daughters should consider themselves quite fortunate to have someone—well, to have me—as their support staff, their shopping Sherpa. After reading this morning's paper, I've discovered that a lot of dudes were a little too predisposed this time of year to run down to Safeway and home, and back to Safeway, and home again, to contribute to their friends' and family's sugar comas.

For example, here's what happened on this day, December 18, in history:

1865—The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect by Secretary of State William H. Seward.

Wow. That's a big one. Free pass for Mr. Seward from doing holiday errands for his family. And if there were any way I could thank him today, I'd regale him with an entire nation's gratitude and some Crest Breath Strips.

1940—Adolph Hitler ordered secret preparations for Nazi Germany to invade the Soviet Union.

Yeah. How'd that work out for you, Dolph? You probably should have run to the store for some strudel mix and refilled your Thorazine prescription, like Eva asked you.

1972—The United States began heavy bombing of North Vietnamese targets during the Vietnam War.

Nixon should never be mentioned in the same sentence as Hitler, but each committed some serious military blunders on days where they would have been better off just stuffing their Haggar slacks with rocks and slowly shuffling into the Atlantic.

2010—The United States Senate approved repeal of the military's seventeen-year "don't ask, don't tell' ban on openly gay troops in a 65-31 vote.

Okay, so two useful moves and two bonehead ones on this day in history. The ironic aspect of the 2010 event is this: Can you think of anything positive our Congress has accomplished besides the don't ask, don't tell repeal? I can't.

They must've been pressured to adjourn and get some shredded coconut before the store ran out.

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