The good, the bad and the ugly


by Frances Edstrom

We had a houseful for Christmas. We ate and ate. And ate. Most people couldn’t even fit in Morgan’s wonderful banana cream pie for dessert!

On Christmas Eve day, which was frigidly cold, we were casting about for something for the kids to do besides fight, scream, run all over the house, and drive us crazy. Angie finally took them to the end of the drive to check the mail, but although it’s pretty far, it wasn’t far enough. Then I put on The Grinch, with Jim Carrey, which kept them happy for long enough.

Christmas Day, they found sleds under the tree from Santa Claus’s helper — me. The weather had moderated enough that after brunch, Cassidy and Angie and Dan (until he had a minor accident involving aggressive sledding) took them out to the backyard, where we have the perfect sledding hill. They were out there over two hours. Morgan and I watched from the kitchen windows as I cleaned the kitchen and started on supper, and she made the pie. They finally came in, with big smiles, cheeks rosy, and wanting hot chocolate. For a moment there it was just like a combination of Currier and Ives and Norman Rockwell.

They received a Mary Poppins DVD as a gift, and watched that before and after supper. It’s a two-and-a-half-hour film! We were all singing along. When it was time for bed, there were only a few half-hearted grumbles.

There’s always something, though. This time, my small appliances mounted a sneaky work stoppage. In preparation for my company, I was cleaning the automatic coffee maker with a run-through of vinegar, and half-way through the cycle, the part that is supposed to hold the ground coffee under the heated water popped out and vinegar and water poured all over the counter and floor. It had done that once before, and I just popped it back in. This time, there was no popping in. We were reduced to using my little French Press coffee maker, which produces great coffee, but requires much active tending if I want coffee for a crowd.

My toaster, not to be upstaged, decided that it would only work if someone held down the lever that lowers the bread, instead of being automatic. I finally put some bagels under the broiler to get things going.

It was not fun going back to the old ways. I like automatic appliances, if they work. Cassidy bought me a coffee bean grinder for Christmas, but I hadn’t put coffee maker or toaster on my list, so I’ll be shopping.

The spirit of Christmas seemed to infect all of us, no matter the little glitches. Everyone except my dog. While I was showering the morning after Christmas, he chewed open and devoured an entire box of chocolate covered caramels, my favorite. For about ten minutes, I wanted it to be true that chocolate will kill dogs. I told him if this had happened in my younger, more volatile days, I would have killed him myself.

Now I’m looking for the batteries that disappeared from the TV remote, which I have a feeling are snuggled up inside some toy or another.


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