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Holiday Amnesia

Of course the holidays were more fun when I was a child and could just sit back and enjoy them with none of the work. I have gotten a little less enjoyment each year in scheduling when we can possibly get a tree and how we will find some extra Jacksons to pay for it and ultimately slogging out the same decorations to adorn it.

I know I sound terrible. And the tree is my FAVORITE PART OF CHRISTMAS!

But I have reached a new low this year…

This year, I can’t even remember it.

That’s right. I can’t remember what happened.

It was a blur of buying gifts, wrapping gifts, buying ingredients for cookies, going to holiday events which seemed to be happening not only every weekend, but then every night of the week. I remember the holiday party at work, and how much I was looking forward to it. That night, we saw a listing for a dog online who would turn out to be part of the litter we would ultimately adopt our new pup from.

Then, there is a blur.

Puppy arrives

I know a dog started living with us between Christmas and New Year’s. We went to my sister-in-law’s New Year’s Eve party. We took the dog. I think. My husband and I had birthdays too, but I only remember coming out of a sickness fog to return to work.

Did this really happen?

I am finding items around the house that I don’t remember. They all turn out to be my son’s Christmas presents he received. I know when we got the puppy there was a mad rush to remove items from her path that she may destroy or eat. But having them out of site also put them out of my mind.

Maybe I am just out of my mind.

Has anyone else ever experienced this, or is it just me?

Maybe the 24 hour stomach flu that went through our house had a coma effect? Except, well, I am the only one experiencing this problem.

Oh well. I have always said that Christmas should be like the Olympics—we should take a break in between them. Even Christmas every other year would be more palpable.

Maybe the Jennifer’s Holiday Amnesia Episode of 2017 is Santa’s way of granting that wish. He managed to grant all my other wishes this year.

Your past shapes you. It can’t be undone.
ANGRY MACEY
NOW AVAILABLE $.99!

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Christmas: The I’m Not Stalking You Way! Part 1

When I was a kid, in my house at Christmas, we celebrated all things commercial about Christmas, and none of the religious ones. We sang Christmas carols with “Jesus” and “Lord” in them; that was about it. And I liked it that way. That is still the primary focus in our household. Don’t get me wrong, we are also about giving to the Salvation Army bell ringers and peace on Earth and all that. But we have snowmen, Santas, and nutcrackers filling our house, and no nativity in sight.

Giant Nutcracker

Giant Nutcracker

This means the Christmas tree has always been the center of our Christmas celebration. After all, it is what you put the gifts under!

When I was very young, I thought that Christmas trees were a special variety of pine tree that grew to be 5 to 6ft tall within 330 days or so.  I mean, it makes sense.  That is about how often consumers need to purchase them. It seemed totally unrealistic to me that you would chop down a tree that has taken years to grow, just to put in someone’s living room for a month.  I still think maybe my original idea was correct.  Or, if it is not, we should totally work on developing that.

Just as with anything else, my mom was very fussy about getting a Christmas tree. As you may suspect from my hypothesizing above, my mom and I always got a live tree. Because she had to carry it herself, she had strict height restrictions. Namely, that the tree could not be taller than her. The base of the tree had to be small enough to fit into our small metal tree stand. The trunk had to be straight so that the tree would not lean or be off balance. Because we hauled it in the trunk of our car, and later in a Chevrolet Chevette 2-door hatchback, she always put down a sheet first, so that (most of) the needles could be easily shaken out.

Me, when I was almost 4 years old.  Almost the same age that my son is now.

Me, when I was almost 4 years old. Almost the same age that my son is now.

We always bought trees at the closest tree lot to us, which was at the American Legion. My gramma always came with us, which added a layer of tension because my mom and my gramma always bickered. (In 20 years, my son will be saying the same thing about his mom and grandmother. Oy.) I think my gramma was supposed to help hold open doors to the house, and hold the tree steady while my mom laid on the floor and screwed it into the stand. But I think the real reason my mom drug my gramma along was because in order to pay for the tree at the Legion, someone had to go into the bar to bring someone out. My mom always made my gramma do that. When I got big enough to help, my mom would just take the tree home. Then she would clip the price tag off the top of the tree and mail it with a check back to the Legion.

One year, my mom was out of work. She kept saying I wasn’t going to get much for Christmas. But she said that every year, and every year my Christmas was filled with gifts and candy. This particular year, she said we didn’t have money to get a Christmas tree. Which I didn’t believe her at first. She was always saying stuff like that, but our quality of living never changed much. (That was actually courtesy of Mr. Visa and Mr. Mastercard, who she was using to buy us groceries with.) She was usually a person who bought a tree early (for best selection), and then threw it in our shed until a week before Christmas (to ensure freshness). So as Christmas creeped closer, I started to believe her. And if I had known then what I know now about scrimping and saving, I would have told her to cut down on the steak (albeit cheap steak) and laundry soap (she used A LOT), we totally could have found the $20 they cost at that time. But I was just a kid.

Antique icicle ornaments older than I am.  Wait...Does that make me an antique too?

Antique icicle ornaments older than I am. Wait…Does that make me an antique too?

One day we were taking a walk around the trailer court in which we lived in December. It must have been a warm day, otherwise why would we have been out? Which then makes sense that it was windy. As we were walking, leftover autumn leaves danced at our feet on the cracked concrete street. Among them, was a hint of green that she kicked with the toe of her shoe. It turned out to be a $20 bill. Who knows how far that $20 had blown to land at our feet. No owner in sight.

So, that year, that was how we got our Christmas tree. You would think that would have moved my mom in some way spiritually. It did not seem to. When I think of that experience, it strengthens my belief in the Law of Attraction. We wanted a Christmas tree so badly, that the means to get one was drawn into our lives.

My husband and I continue the tradition of a live tree every year (Scotch pine if my favorite).

My next post will be about the existence of Santa Claus. You can find it here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2014/12/17/christmas-the-im-not-stalking-you-way-part-2/

Coming Soon! My first book: The Wind Could Blow a Bug

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What I Learned This Week – 8/10/14

This week I learned that the going rate for used cars these days in Southeastern Michigan is around $10,000 for 100,000 miles.

Considering I was looking for a car with less than 100,000 miles and had no money, I found that rather disconcerting. I also wanted a car newer than 2004, and that sat high.

As many of you know, my dream has always been to own a Jeep. At the first dealership we visited, there was a Jeep! A CJ-5. That was manual. From 1975.  And not for sale. It turned out it was the salesman’s car. We still somehow scored a ride in it from him around the parking lot. He implied his virility many times by mentioning all of his numerous kids and grandkids. He also showed my husband the battery in his back for pain management (T.M.I.!).

Next we ended up test-driving an H3. I think they look better than the 4 door Jeep Wrangler. When I drove it, I felt powerful. I kept growling and making Tim Allen macho sounds. My husband liked it a lot more than I thought he would. But the sticker price was too high. And I couldn’t even imagine the cost of new tires for that thing!

The H3 that we test drove.

The H3 that we test drove.

There were lots of Ford Explorers and Escapes on the lots. I thought I might end up with one of them. I was really only interested in the Explorer for its movie cred–Ford Explorers were the vehicles in Jurassic Park. I credit that movie with starting the sales boom in SUVs in the 1990’s. If it can outrun dinosaurs, imagine what it could do in a volcano eruption or zombie attack…

So what did I end up getting?

Well, it IS a Jeep. Just not my red Wrangler that I dream of. Not yet, anyway.

It is a 2011 Jeep Patriot. It is newer with less miles than I had thought I would be able to find. A pleasant surprise.

2011 Jeep Patriot that I took home.

2011 Jeep Patriot that I took home.

It is sooo weird to have a new car after almost 11 years.

You know what you have to do when you get a new car, right? You have to take a trip with it.

Kiddie City: Did It Really Exist?

My husband does not believe me that there used to be a toy store called Kiddie City, very similar to Toys’R’Us. In fact, there was a Kiddie City right in nearby Sylvania, Ohio, which still has a Toys’R’Us. I had to prove it to him by Google-ing it the other day.

Kiddie City Coloring Book

Kiddie City Coloring Book

I was correct.

My recent and short-term memory might be junk, but I can remember some things from my childhood very clearly.

Plus, Kiddie City is one of those things I have clung to all these years, so I would not forget it. Like that Punky Brewster’s dog Brandon was named after head of NBC, Brandon Tartikoff.

Plus, I have kept this all these years to remind me:

Official Kiddie City semi truck, from my personal collection, circa around 1980.

Official Kiddie City semi truck, from my personal collection, circa 1980.

My mom and I always shopped at Kiddie City. I always thought of Toys’R’Us as inferior (I still do). Apparently my tiny pre-schooler brain was pretty on-track, because according to Wikipedia (where any info I site here on out in this post comes from), Kiddie City was the second-largest toy chain in the United States. They were owned by Lionel, of model railroad fame.

I asked my mom where it was located, and her memories do not seem to match mine. That doesn’t really mean anything. We could both be wrong. She thinks it was in the shopping plaza where Major Magic’s was for many years. The location would make sense. My mom never traveled very far into Sylvania/Toledo on her own. That would be an easy location for her to get to and regularly find.

I have memories of looking at toy robots in a toy store when I was a kid. I remember blue, metal shelves (kind of like Cosco). I have no idea if that would have been Toys’R’Us or Kiddie City or just my imagination. I like to think maybe that was Kiddie City.

When I got my swing set when I was a kid, I know we bought it from one of those two stores in Sylvania, but my mom doesn’t remember which one. But I think maybe that was Toys’R’Us.

Apparently Kiddie City declared Bankruptcy in 1982, reducing their store count from 150 down to 55 stores. This is most likely when the Sylvania store closed. They grew back to being the fourth-largest toy store in the country before the stores were all closed for good in 1993.

Gone, but clearly not forgotten.

I would so LOVE one of these shirts!

I would so LOVE one of these shirts!

Classic Kiddie City Commercial
(Ah, what it must have been like to be a mom in the 80’s. Awesome hair, awesome clothes…)

What I Learned This Week – 12/29/13

This week I learned that working retail Christmas Eve is tiring in ways I wouldn’t have expected.

LOVE these ornaments <3

LOVE these ornaments ❤

I expected it to be hectic, with lots of customers.  I had been to the mall in Toledo once on Christmas Eve many years ago.  My memory is probably tainted because I was young and short, but I just remember a sea of people, shoulder to shoulder.  I imagined that at my own mall.  (The one I work at.  I don’t own my own mall.  I don’t think I would even want to.)  At 12:45PM on Christmas Eve, that had not come to fruition, and I don’t know if it did after that.

I had a co-worker with me and we had a line, but it was not overwhelming.  The part that got to me was explaining the details of the product we were selling, over and over again to each person.  Sometimes we had to explain it to the same person several times.  I didn’t just work Christmas Eve, I had worked the three days prior as well.  My tongue was twisting on my spiel.  And answering the phone reciting Santa’s hours.  I had them all memorized, even his break times to “feed the reindeer.”  For someone who was used to working 18hrs in a week, I ended up working 32 hours in 4 days.  I was wrecked.

I had thought I would be tired from the rush of so many people and transactions.  I actually was wrecked mentally.  My boss was out of town on vacation, so I took it upon myself to try to keep our space well stocked and in order.  Everyone was supposed to, I think.  But I took the initiative, and no one seemed to complain about it.

By the time my shift was done, I just wanted to throw the money from my drawer up in the air and run for the door. Instead, I had to complete paperwork, and answer a question for a co-worker who was stuck with a customer situation.  She is a sweetie.  But all my customer service reservoir was drained, and it was all I could do to make myself talk her through how to fix the transaction on the register.  It is very true to say that my job that I usually enjoy immensely whooped any love for it out of me for the week.

Here is to hoping I recover from Christmas before New Year’s.  And my birthday.  And my husband’s birthday.

The holidays just keep on a comin’…

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