An epic battle has been waged…over an ugly chair.

For today’s fun:

Let’s talk about the weird, old, horrible belongings that our significant others inexplicably become attached to. Like really attached to. Like so attached that you can’t just get rid of whatever it is because it would violate some ancient, unspoken relationship code that has been in place for centuries and unleash a catastrophic chain of events…

Or something.

I once tried to send a relic of a coat that was NOT EVER coming back into style to whatever charitable clothing place would take it. My husband disagreed and attempted to wear said coat in order to prove the point that it was still a functional piece of clothing.

Words were said. Compromises were made. Crisis was averted. The coat is now hanging in a downstairs closet taking up space and collecting dust but heaven help him if he ever tries to wear it out of this house again. I may or may not attempt to throw it away again. But I can’t promise it won’t cause a monsoon or plague of locusts if I do.

I don’t understand why men (and women) do this, but I’m pretty sure that it dates back to when Eve tried to start a fire with Adam’s old fig leaf, and he threw a giant mantrum, because it was his fig leaf, and still perfectly wearable despite the fact that it was dried out and crunchy.

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In modern times, the over-fondness for crispy fig leaves has given way to an over-fondness for clothing that has seen better days. You know what I mean. The kind they keep wearing, over and over. We’re talking that ratty hat from that one game from that one time in college, the pit stained favorite t-shirts featuring the names of bands that now play state fairs, and any pair of jeans having rips where there should not be rips and whose fit no longer exists in the fashion industry.

Sometimes, you get lucky and these items die a natural death. Sometimes…not so much. Those of us that are stealthy know how to get rid of these things. Those of us that aren’t…well, we have old coats hanging in closets.

My very good friend bought her husband two brand new bags of socks, yet failed to get rid of the old ones. A week later, she did laundry. Guess what came out of the dryer? Something like this:

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The brand new socks were still in their packaging, neatly tucked into the drawer. He was still wearing the ones with holes. He would not throw them away.

Clothing aside. There is also the stuff. Random, stupid, awful, completely and utterly mind boggling stuff that you aren’t allowed to toss or donate or bury in the backyard. Like that weight bench. You know, the one with 3 inches of dust and a stack of workout magazines on it? Or “vintage” gaming consoles, horrible knickknacks, golf clubs for when they “get back into golfing,” and that random whatever it is that they are “going to fix up one day.” Not to mention the other really, really odd things that they latch onto for reasons that will never be understood.

I do not care how neat, fastidious, well-dressed, organized or whatever your guy (or gal) is. They all have something. I believe these things may be the grown up man version of a blankie.

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We have one of those things in our house. An epic battle has been waged over it, and its predecessors, for well over a decade.  My husband has a fondness for  previously owned, slightly used, extremely ugly recliners that he insists on hanging on to for way too long because, ahem, they are comfortable.

We have gone through approximately three of these recliners.

I could handle the first one, because that was when we were young and poor and needed furniture for our new empty house. The second one…I tolerated, despite the brand new furniture that was purchased and placed around it. The third one…not so much.

Here is the latest gem:

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Behold, this fine piece of used-to-be-seafoam velour monstrosity in all of its glory. It was given to us by a nice family member who was moving. My hubby said it would be fine, temporarily, until we bought a new one. We were actually supposed to be buying a new one that year. Ahhh. Hope.

That was 7 years ago. He keeps insisting that it is really, really comfortable and that is why we still have it.

Now, you might be wondering: why didn’t I just take it upon myself to buy a new chair?  Remember what I said? Ancient relationship codes.  Natural disasters. Man blankies.These attachments defy rational thought. There is no argument, agreement, or amount of cajoling that will work. Even those husbands who are known to respond to reason and sound logic are not going to give up their blankies.

Many, many conversations have taken place about this chair. Sale ads for recliners have been circled. Stores have been visited. Threats…er, suggestions have been made. Yet why spend money on a new recliner when it is such a “comfortable” chair? I could probably just replace it with a shiny new model..but deep down inside, I fear that the loss of the well-loved hideous chair would result in, well, something even more horrific being brought into my house to replace it.

For now,  I have made peace with the chair…

So have my children. They enjoy sitting in the chair, while drinking giant, open-topped glasses of red juice. Or drawing pictures…with permanent marker. And then there was that one time with the facepaint…

Sometimes I wish for vomit while dreaming of leather recliners.

This chair…oddly indestructible.

Now that coat…not so much.

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The Elf on the Shelf is a douche bag…

For today’s fun, let’s talk about the Elf on the Shelf.

I hate the Elf on the Shelf. There. I said it. I hate the weird little felt doll with the knowing smile and the creepy eyes. Yes…creepy eyes. Just perfect for watching you…for Santa. Or so they say. That elf is a voyeur. Or the holiday version of Chuckie. I haven’t decided yet.

We were never going to get one. EVER. Because I’m really just not good at following through on the activities of make believe creatures. The evidence of failure speaks for itself:

There was the year I hosted Dysfunctional Family Christmas Eve, and after a full evening of crazy relatives driving me crazier and a couple of shots of tequila, I forgot to eat Santa’s cookies. I told the kids he must not like the store bought kind. Which was foolish, because now I have to bake.

And then there’s the damn Tooth Fairy. My poor children believe that sometimes so many children lose teeth she just can’t make it to your house right away, and sometimes it may take a night (or several) for her to get to you. The reality is that Mom fell asleep watching late night talk shows while folding laundry, packing lunches and signing permission slips simultaneously. And Daddy didn’t have anything smaller than a $20. 

While the tooth fairy has written several apologetic letters in my handwriting, she, unfortunately, has never left fairy dust glitter, wing prints, or a miniature fairy house.

While the tooth fairy has written several apologetic letters in my handwriting, she, unfortunately, has never left fairy dust glitter, wing prints, or a miniature fairy house.

And don’t even get me started on the leprechaun. Who the hell started that? Isn’t that a drinking holiday? Why the hell do I have to make footprints and leave chocolate gold coins? 

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Because I want to clean up green paint after feeding my kids chocolate…

So our house was not going to have some ridiculous doll giving me more to do on what was already a way too busy time of year. Until my children discovered its existence. And some well meaning but stupid teacher read the overpriced book to them at story time. And all the friends started talking about their elves named Cookie or Cutie or Honey or Pie. And then they started talking about all the adorable and humorous things that Cookie and Cutie and Honey and Pie would do. And then my kids realized they DID. NOT. HAVE. AN. ELF. There was hyperventilating. With tears.

So my husband and I went to Barnes and Noble, where I vehemently protested the Elf. And he caved.

This is our Elf on the Shelf. He was $39.99 and came with a book way too long to read at bedtime.

The Elf on the Shelf is a douchebag, and so are the people that market him.

The children named him Crumbs.

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This picture was taken on December 5. Clearly we are not responsible Christmas Elf hosts…

I wanted to call him Dog Treat.

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Our Elf on the Shelf does not do things like this:
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Instead, he is more likely to do things like this:

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And then there was the time he spent four days doing this:

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My youngest child was very excited to tell her friends that Crumbs was in the candy jar for “a lot of days.” I’m screwed when they realize the little db is supposed to move EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

And then there was this unfortunate incident:

Elf Porn is what happens when you wake up at 4:12 am because you forgot to move the little db.

Elf Porn is what happens when you wake up at 4:12 am because you forgot to move the little db.

Recently, I have been contemplating having Crumbs do this. Maybe my husband will think I’m nuts and take over…

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I truly have not ruled out this one:

This is my favorite. BEST ELF ON THE SHELF IDEA EVER!

This is my favorite. BEST ELF ON THE SHELF IDEA EVER!

Apparently the Elf now has an optional birthday outfit you can purchase. Probably for $39.99. You can also purchase “elf couture” in the form of tacky Christmas sweaters and scarves for way too much money.

Crumbs does not have “elf couture,” nor does he have a birthday outfit. Because he likes Barbie dresses. Of which we have many…that do not cost $39.99.

I would like to thank the Elf on the Shelf’s marketing team. Because coming up with creative and whimsical ideas of where to put him for one month out of the year wasn’t enough. It is only a matter of time before he takes over Halloween. And Easter. And Columbus Day.

Personally, I’m looking forward to Labor Day Elf on the Shelf, as well as Summer Solstice Elf on the Shelf.

See what I mean? The Elf on the Shelf is a douchebag.

You know I’m right.

If it is the thought that counts…what the hell were you thinking?

Dear friends,

As a former teacher, I am going to provide you with a friendly public service announcement. I recently went on a very popular craft/photo website while killing time. You know the one I’m talking about. It is currently chock full of ideas for “teacher gifts.” I know we all like to be creative. I know we all love to be thoughtful. But for the love of humanity, I am begging you to CEASE AND DESIST!

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Are you kidding me? Two months into school, when everyone doesn’t have a pencil…guess what happens to all your hard work?

Trust me. No teacher wants a pencil holder made of pencils. And if they do, they are either too new at the job to know any better, or so close to retirement they just don’t give a flying fig. The same goes for stickers or markers or whatever in Mason jars…would you give your accountant a Mason jar full of calculators? I hope not. Save the Mason jars for pickles or salsa. And unless you have an award winning recipe, we don’t want that mess either. Seriously. Also, regarding gift cards to the educational/teacher store…please consider that the equivalent of gifting a stay-at-home mom with a Costo sized jug of laundry detergent.  I know it is the thought that counts, but honestly, what the hell are you thinking? And you wonder why you had a a whiner, a runner, and a nose-picker assigned to you on the last field trip.

Congratulations. For the amount of time/money you spent on crayons, glue, scrapbook stickers and a measuring tape...you probably could would have been better off gifting the poor teacher with much needed supplies.  THAT CAN BE USED.

Congratulations. For the amount of time/money you spent on crayons, glue, scrapbook stickers and a measuring tape…you probably would have been better off gifting the poor teacher with much needed supplies.
THAT CAN BE USED.

We are all on a budget, and we all want to provide thoughtful gifts for these hard working, dedicated people who are stuck in a room with our kids all day. Please believe me…there are MUCH BETTER options out there than a Christmas mug full of candy canes. So here is the list. And the reasons why you should consider it.

1. Gift cards to places like Target, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble or any other store your teacher likes: Even small amounts ($5-$10) are appreciated. Or better yet, rally the parents and get them to donate 3-5 dollars each. With a classroom of 30 kids, you can give your teacher a fairly nice shopping spree. I know this seems like an impersonal and typical present. So why should you do this? Because your teacher spends countless amounts of his/her own money on toys, games, and supplies for the classroom. Let her know you appreciate it by giving her an opportunity to shop for herself. Also, you won’t be spending your hard earned money on something that will end up in next summer’s garage sale. Don’t worry, DIY craft lovers. You can still stick the damn card in a Mason jar.

Really, if you must...

Really, if you must…

2. Me Time presents: Gift certificates for a massage, mani-pedi, or really nice restaurant. I know of a classroom that gifted their teacher with the knitting lessons she was planning to take at the local yarn shop. Find out what your teacher likes and again, rally those parents and save everyone a few bucks. Collecting several dollars from each person for a gift certificate is far cheaper than having to spring for it on your own. Pretty much every classroom has an email contact list nowadays. Use it. Why should you do this? Because your teacher probably spends every Sunday night doing a lesson plan, and every other night grading papers, and all her other time preparing things, attending school events, and going to classes to keep that teacher certification up to date. Give them a couple hours off. Again, you can stick the damn card in a Mason jar.

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Just don’t do this…

 

3. Time: If you can’t afford to even put in just a few dollars, offer the gift of time. Volunteer in the classroom.  And I mean actually volunteer, as in doing something useful. Don’t just stand in the back of the classroom with your Starbucks in your hand gossiping with the other parents. If you can’t physically come to school, offer to do things at home. Staple booklets together, sort papers, make playdough. Anything. The parents who were willing to cut out projects for me were always my heroes. Don’t think you have any time? If you have time to hot glue ribbons and pencils to a cup, you have time to cut out 32 snowmen. Why should you do this? Because if you don’t, your teacher will be doing it at 1 o’clock in the morning. Because that is the only time he/she can fit it in after doing all the other stuff I mentioned in #1 and #2. Also, you can make little coupons with your offers of time and stick them in a Mason jar.

Think this...

Think this…

Not this...

Not this…

I am going to get into so much trouble for this last one…

4. Wine: There is nothing wrong with giving a bottle of wine. Throw it in a nice bag and the kids won’t have a clue. And it doesn’t have to be pricey. You can’t be a wine snob on a teacher’s salary. Why should you do this? Spend a day or two in the classroom right after several indoor recesses or the time change. You’ll understand. A bottle of wine won’t fit in a Mason jar. But you can give them the kind with a straw

It’s a jar, isn’t it?

FYI, I don’t teach anymore, but I am now really good friends with the moms who gave me this:

Yes. This happened. Or at least something similar did.

Yes. This happened. Or at least something similar did.