...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Friday, December 28, 2007

music calms the savage beast...

...Or so I've heard. I don't know if this is true or not, because I don't come across many wild creatures in the uncharted territories of the suburbs, but, for the purposes of my theme this week, I do believe it would hold true for sharks. Thus, welcome to Shark Week Episode Three - "Gettin' Fishy With It."

Have you ever heard "Mack The Knife"? I dare you to turn it on and not start swaying, old school crooner style. I bet sharks love this song. How could they not when the opening is a shout out to them (at least in respect to this post, so go with it, OK?).

"Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe
And he keeps it … ah … out of sight.
Ya know when that shark bites, with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves, though, wears old MacHeath, babe
So there’s nevah, nevah a trace of red."

That wearing gloves part is pretty impressive, what with the lack of opposable thumbs on sharks. But I know sharks like to cut and bite and thirst for blood. Hello? Have you seen a saw shark? That thing could do all those things and then dump you like a wounded puffer fish in no time.

As smooth as that above tune is, I quite imagine sharks like hard industrial music as they swim around the oceans in search of their next meal. They probably crank it up loud in a move that both irritates their fellow ocean neighbors AND drowns out the terror filled screams of their victims. I like my music a bit more eclectic then just the random screaming/pounding/thrashing/pick a fight with someone for absolutely no reason beats.

Case in point, I'm driving to work last week and amidst a jaunty mix of songs that included, but was not limited to, the Polyphonic Spree (god help me, I don't get these people, but I freakin' love this song), and 30 Seconds to Mars (yeah, I don't get this video either, but hello, cute guy in eyeliner. PSA - not every shark can pull off the eyeliner. trust me on this), my fully charged iPod goes silent. I sit and wait, ready to sing along to the next song. And I wait. And wait. I glance down at the display screen and it shows a song and no problems. But it's not playing. I pick it up to give it a closer inspection and realized my iPod had decided to cop an attitude with me:

When I noticed the irony of the song and the fact that my iPod was, in essence, dead after giving me a morning filled with music, glorious music, I couldn't help but give it a hearty "Heh." "Good one, iPod. You're like a black fly in my chardonnay."

Then it may have called me a stupid girl or a fool or something and was all "Don't you know the actual name of that song is "#1 Crush"? and I was all "Duh, you pathetic shark!"

And then I punched it in the nose and swam away. Because that's what I strongly suggest you do if you come across a shark. Especially sharks who like to play that loud industrial music when they go to bite ya.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

'against the sharks, we need every man we got'

Shark Week continues with Episode 2 - "The Sharks'll steer clear"
If you're a follower of sharks, and who among us isn't, you know that sharks must keep moving or they die. They collect their victims by stunning them, maybe gnawing on bits and pieces of them, and then hunting for another.
And there's always another victim. The silly ones swim right up to them and show off their sparkly fins and trick eyes meant to deter predators. Silly, silly fish.
They're kind of like the boys up there in the picture, which prompst me to ask you:
(A) Romantic B-movie prison love story?
(B) "The best Christmas presents ever (since I'm apparently never gonna get a Wii)!!" as dubbed by a 10 year old boy?
I'm opting for men's prison love story. The looks on their faces speak to their torment and rage. Especially that last guy, with his head tilted down to convey the shame and unspeakable horror that shoplifting a Snickers from his hometown Pump and Pass brought him. You better believe the next time - oh, if there is a next time - he gets a hankerin' to satisfy his sweet tooth, he's gonna think twice about the price his need for peanuts and caramel cost him.
If he doesn't get shanked in the shower first.
Or bitten by a shark.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

welcome to shark week, hosted by mike rowe...

...also known as "oh, I wish Mike Rowe was here!" as I bust out some rather lame posts the rest of this week that, in some circles, would have you thinking I've jumped the shark here at ...for a different kind of girl.
Shark query number 1 - Is it lame and/or unacceptable to link your very own blog within your blog? Hmmm.
Shark query number 2 - Haven't things around the old ...for a different kind of girl been a little shark jump worthy of late?
Mike has checked with the experts on these two matters and while they differ in their opinions that you're swimming in shark infested waters in a full-body chum suit by linking your very own blog within your blog, they are unanimously in agreement that things around the depths here haven't been shark jump worthy. Close, they say. Maybe like baby sharks. I trust them, of course, because they're the experts in this field and I imagine they've seen some amazing shark jumps.
But, because I love Mike Rowe (even more so when he takes his shirt off when I ask my TV screen if he'd be comfortable showing me his hairy pectorals...mmm. and check it! in this one, he's shirtless AND leaning on a shark's jawbone!!), I aim to bring the shark to the surface this week with little bits of nothing that, while not full on post attacks, make me happy, and because I assume what makes me happy makes you happy (you like it when Mike gets comfy, too, don't you!?), I bring you Episode One - 'This Marriage Is 'FIN'-ished!"
A couple weekends ago, my husband and I were lounging on the couch, doing what we do (him telling me how hot I am, me telling him how lucky he is to be married to me) and watching VH1 Classics on the cable. Mostly the music videos were serving as a soundtrack to our conversation until "Come On Eileen" sprung up, causing me to perk up and start "to sing just like our fathers."
"I really do not like this song," my husband had the gall to say.
Stop the presses!! "WHAT!?" I yelled. "I've been married to you how long and you're just NOW telling me you don't like 'Come On Eileen'?"
"I thought you knew this," he responded.
"I know you don't like chocolate syrup (and I married you anyway), and you think I'm amazing, but no. No, I did not know you didn't like 'Come On Eileen,'" I said. "Would you like it if I put on a pair of dirty overalls and did a jaunty jig around the living room while singing it? And I'm talking JUST a pair of dirty overalls, mind you. The kind that would make your thoughts, you'd confess, verge on dirty!"
After not even a moment's thought, my husband said no. It was then that I pondered telling him to pack up 13 years of marriage for the sake of a one-hit wonder and get his Dexy's Midnight Runner's hatin' ass outta my house.
"I do kinda like that "Tarzan Boy" song, though," he confessed, thus redeeming himself and saving our marriage in one fell swoop.
Then we got down to monkey business on a sunny afternoon.


Friday, December 21, 2007

oh my gosh! thank you! you shouldn't have!

So let's say you want to get me a little something for Christmas, and you realize that, after you've wandered the malls or browsed Amazon for hours that it's impossible to put a price on the ability to have me and everyone around me break out into song and dance at any point in the day, ala Grease, which is what I would totally LOVE, but will accept the sad sack statement you give me when you tell me that was sold out, I've decided to give you a couple options that would make me equally as happy.

  • Punctuation - Clearly, I need to brush up on the run-on sentence thing (see above). But that's pretty much how I talk. In my head. And sometimes in person. Just ask my husband. In fact, just cross this idea off your gift list, because I don't really want punctuation, but punctuation would be the type of gift my husband would buy me, assuming he could. Since he can't, I imagine I'm going to get a bizarre rap CD and maybe some temporary tattoos.

  • These red sequin Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers. I'd maybe tear up a little bit if you got these for me, and perhaps spend the rest of the year running your errands and thinking of ways to make it up for you, even though you would be all, "Please, it was a gift! You don't have to do anything. I got them because I think you're awesome. So awesome." I promise you, at least once a week, if these were on my feet, I'd tap my heels. What's that? What size should you get? Tens. You know what they say about big feet, right? I don't know how that applies to a girl.

Pretty easy list, eh? Just two things. So easy I'm practically doing it for you. But it means more coming from you, so keep in mind you have just four days to get crackin'. To motivate you, let me send you on your way with big Merry Christmas wishes. You can even pretend I'm out shopping for you, if you like. We'll giggle if we get each other the same thing, but just in case, maybe you should work on your sincerely thankful look when you find out I can only afford a few exclamation points and a handful of apostrophes with helpful tips on how to use them to spell you're.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

you can't fire me, i quit. (not really)

In an effort to bust a hole in the myth that Santa really does know if I've been bad or good, I told a little lie at work today so I could leave an hour earlier than scheduled. Why? Why tempt fate this close to Christmas, you ask?

Great bouncing icebergs, people! I've reached the point where I'm finding it difficult to smile and be friendly while people are making their lists, checking them twice, and ultimately saying "fuck it," before looking at me like I'm the elf that can solve their gift buying conundrums.

(The cussing up there? Naughty column. Come and do yer best, Santa. I dares ya!)

Here's the truth. I'm a misfit. Oh, sure, I was all gung-ho back in August when the holiday inventory started arriving, and we were getting the weekly pep talks from management ("Now you come to elf practice, learn how to wiggle your ears and chuckle warmly and go hee-hee and ho-ho and important stuff like that."). But now? I want to be done. I don't care that I only have 10 more retail hours scheduled between now and C-Day. I want to put tar on my radiant red nose and trot off on adventures with a little man who, when he asks if I'd be comfortable showing him my molars and bicuspids, really only wants to check out my molars and bicuspids.

Now that I've confessed to you all, I figure we should get our story straight. If anyone asks, my kindergartner's holiday concert was amazing! Those little angels were sooooo cute! Their performance of Handel's Messiah? Why, I tear up just thinking about it. Let's practice saying it together, shall we? Maybe say it a little slower. And might I suggest you don't make eye contact with Santa, even if he gets in your face and starts yelling and your eyes start to water because you're afraid you'll start to cry, but you'll be all, "No, old man! It's because your beard smells funny!" Hold strong. If Santa calls in his goon squad and they start kicking you in the shins with their cute little shoes, remember the goal - presents!

And know that next time you need someone to cover your back, I'm totally there for you. And if you need me to look up a book for you, I swear to you. No cussing (well, I mean I swear to you. I don't really mean swear swear to you).

Because I like presents, and I shouldn't tempt Santa any more than I may already have.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

when you're married to a major tool company rep...

"So....want me to drill ya?" my husband said, and pressed the power button to the 'on' position. "Yeah, you want my big drill, don'tcha, baby?"

Silently, I looked over the top of my book at him and then at his big whirring tool in his hand. I may have rolled my eyes a little bit. OK, I rolled them a lot. At him. Admittedly, the tool was rather impressive. I might have blushed a bit when I saw it.

"That's a mighty fine drill ya got there, mister."

My words, however, were swept away when he turned a hand vacuum on and stuck it upon my toes.

"You like that, don'tcha? You like it when I suck your toes?" he sorta yelled (that little hand vac was loud!). "You're a dirty, dirty gurl."

Again with the eye rolling. I'm so not a foot person. Blech. As if he knew just what I liked, he shut down the vac and dipped into his tool chest (or tool box, depending on how far we wish to take this double entendre business).

"This? In my hand right now? This is the WORLD'S FASTEST HANDHELD POWER SAW!!" he gushed.

"Did you just say you're holding the WORLD'S FASTEST HANDHELD POWER SAW?" I asked. "Did you know there's no way that I can think of at this moment to tie the WORLD'S FASTEST HANDHELD POWER SAW in with anything sexual? How about you get that drill out again, baby?"

But nope. Tim "The Toolman" Taylor on the other end of the couch there had something better. Something bigger and so fully charged that, well, I couldn't help but swoon when he pulled it out. As soon as I heard it fire up, I was on him, like sawdust on the ground after a major home renovation project (I know! So sexy!). In his hand was a giant cordless screwdriver! The biggest, bestest cordless screwdriver I'd ever seen.

"So," he said. "Ready to screw?"

"You know what they say, baby. Lefty-loosey, righty-tighty. Take your pick, Craftsman."

(Then I made him clean out the sink drains and hang some pictures. You gotta work around here for some time in the tool shed).


Thursday, December 13, 2007

oh, by gosh, by golly, it's time for mistletoe & holly...

...and making out with my youngest son.

OK, not really, but wow, for the past month of so, my five year old has been laying the love down on me like the only virgin in his graduating class (His college graduating class. Fingers crossed!).

To be fair, I get a bit of the love from this child on a regular basis; however, there are many times when I have to barter for a kiss or make promises I can't weasel out of for a hug (a lesson he's no doubt picked up on via the documentary that plays out daily in the living room between his father and me). From approximately February to mid-October, if our house were to go up in a blaze, my sons would be all, "Grab the man who buys us things and lets us ride in his truck! Forgo the woman who incubated us in her belly and nurtured us from her bosom! Rapido! To the mailbox, where we agree to meet in the event of emergency!"

But when the holiday season rolls around, as my youngest boy begins to realize the impact his moderate disregard for me at any time other than when I'm tempting him with ice cream or narcotics (kidding) might have on his naughty or nice scale, he turns into a little love machine. Don't be surprised if you walked into my house and heard Barry White, Sade or the soundtrack to High School Musical 2 caressing the air and my little Lothario giving me the "Come over here, woman..." gesture (which, were this my husband, would involve him jiggling his glass at me in the universal sign to get him a refill, but for my kindergartener, it means beckoning me over with a little finger wag. Alas, it's his middle finger. We're working on that).

Every day, at any time, I'm showered with kisses and squeezed as tightly as tiny arms can squeeze. Admittedly, I love it. I relish the gleam in his eye when I ask him who loves him and he says "Mama!" where, at any other time of the year, his answer is always "Daddy!" Not to take sides, I do complement my query by asking who else loves him, so he will respond by saying his father does, too, but I must admit I'm soaking up the first place love after being an "also ran" who only crosses the finish line after a lot of begging and perhaps some fake tears.

You could say I'm simply coaxing the love out of him by always asking him who loves him. I'd argue that I'm just preparing him for the psychological warfare women will unleash upon him one day and perhaps administer for the rest of his life. Toughening him up for the inevitable with these wicked games we play. But the kid can be a wonderful softy once December arrives in full force. These days, he walks around professing his love for me like some woebegone Romeo.

"I love you, Mama."
"Mama, I love!"
"Have I told you lately that I love you, Mommy?"
"My love, sweet Mama, 'tis greater than the mountains and farther reaching than the stars!"

Who wouldn't love that! I'd like to get me some of that in July, when gifts and stockings and heeds of "Santa's watching you!" didn't have to be used as warfare.

So for now, I'll take what I can get, and the delivery of hugs and kisses has been staggering. To store up on what I fear will drift off again by December 26th, I will ask for kisses at every opportunity. Waiting at the meat counter at the grocery store Monday evening for our pork chops to be wrapped, we counted how many times we could share kisses until our order was complete. At my oldest son's basketball game this past weekend, I'd snag a peck for every pick. God bless this child for not being too ashamed to plant a pucker on his mother in public. At least for now.

However the love gets doled out, whether it's sincere (and yes, I believe it is, and I believe in Santa Claus - at least a little bit! - too) or whether it's fleeting, I'm hoarding it like someone who snags all the perfect presents on their holiday wishes and looks forward to giving them to someone they love.

Because the kid is a charmer. And because I know when the answer returns to always being "Daddy!" that within that response he means me, too. And because I have to hold onto the hope that he'd actually not leave me if our house was burning. Because for now, it's burning with love.


Monday, December 10, 2007

'...has got it goin' on...'

"His triceps are perfection. Look at them!" I leaned over and whispered to the woman seated next to me about the stunning man seated in front of us.

"They are more than perfection," the woman whispered back. "I just can't think of a word right now that exceeds perfection because I'm overwhelmed imagining how stunning his abs must be. I bet his abs are tight."

"Oh, you KNOW they're tight. Look at that waist! It's so narrow! He probably has that sexy little cut thing right where the torso and waist connects. What do they call that cut?" I asked her.

"Oh, they call that cut whatever this bit of finesse's name is," she responded.

Compelled to high five this woman, I turned to face my cohort.

And came face to face with my mom. The woman who never spoke to me about sex when I was growing up. The woman in front of whom I do not curse because I do not wish to be reprimanded. The woman who would have me believe she delivered me and my sister as the result of magic and not by means of reproductive evil.

And I shuddered a little bit. My "you rock, girl!" high five fell, undelivered, back into my lap.

"So, yeah. You feel a little creepy now?" I asked

"We shall never speak of this again," Mom responded, fully unable to make eye contact with me. Thankfully.

"Agreed," I said. "But seriously. Those triceps!"

"I know," Mom sighed. "Imagine the dips he can do..."

Fifteen admiring minutes later, we finally kicked Mom's mandate into effect.

And I still will never curse in front of her.


Friday, December 07, 2007

we can't rewind we've gone to far

"Videotaped sex?" the man on the telephone said to me after I'd offered my cheery greeting.

Taken aback by his query, I was all, "How dare you, sir! I do not know what you take me for, but I am not some two-bit harlot! I am pristine!! Why, I never! The nerve you must have to sully my good name! Why, why, why if I could reach through this telephone and profer a dainty slap against your no doubt course cheek for the mud you wish to drag my made up pristineliness through, I would do so this instant! Do you hear me? This instant, I say! Videotape sex! Harummmmph! Why, that's unfathomable to me! How did you get this telephone number, anyway?"

"This is the giant megaton bookstore, right?" the man questioned, oblivious to the above dialogue. Because it was all in my head, naturally. "Ah!" I declared, suddenly remembering where I was. "You're asking me this as if it were a noun and not so much a verb, yeah? As in 'Do you have Videotaped Sex, not do you videotape sex?'"

Sure enough, I ascertained my wannabe actor was looking for a book. A how-to tome on capturing the lovey love thing for posterity. Alas, we didn't have it in stock, a fact that clearly disappointed him and required me to tell him we don't get a lot of inquiries for guides on videotaping sex.

"OK then, do you have any suggestions?" he asked.

"Well, for starters, spit out your gum or anything else you may be chewing before the camera starts rolling. That's just nasty," I responded (maybe in my head. maybe not. play along). "Oh! And whatever you do, do not look directly at the camera! Gah! People videotaping themselves having sex and insisting on breaking that third wall? That is my biggest freakin' pet peeve!"

"I was thinking maybe something about film making or photography," George Lucas-lite interrupted.

Sadly, we didn't have anything like that in stock right now, either. I fear I left him dejected. It's a fair trade off, really. Why? Because I wanted to ask him if it was truly necessary to have a how to book on making your own videotaped adventures (if you want that to happen, fast forward for this ending!). Color me naive, but if someone coerced me into videotaping the lovey love, it would be an exclusive, one time screening for an audience of two who - oh look! - just happen to be the stars of the film. No dwelling on the lighting, story arc or score, becaust it's not like anything I'd commit to tape would be making the award circuit at film festivals, thank you very much. Nor would you be able to go all, "So, you got a YouTube page?" to me in hopes I accidently send you a link because I have this really funny clip of something lame on there I want you to watch and in doing so, instead give you all out access to the rack. So give that one up before you ever start (But you? Oh, I will never give up on you!).

So read the above paragraph as a declaration that I've never taped myself having sex or engaged in any activity that may resemble sex. This could include, but is not limited to, the reactions one might see me have from eating a really great brownie or watching a movie on the Hallmark Movie Channel (The look on my face from those two options? Easily confused for the orgasm face. One a blissfully achieved appearance, the other a 'Thank goodness! Finally!' look. You decide which is which). No amount of quality lighting is going to change my mind. My rump shaker prefers to see where it's been as it moves along, not what it's doing bouncing around on my TV screen.

Because believe me, if it did start the bouncing, it would probably get a giant head and I don't want to have to figure out how it's going to hold the Sharpies to start signing autographs.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

performing way, way, way off broadway

A one-act play entitled "Sex in My House." I will be playing the part of Italic, a moderately fancy minx and temptress of San Serif, the husband, who shall be played by my husband. As the curtain rises, Italic and San Serif have scampered like bunnies to the bedroom after enjoying a bit of the kitchen counter flirting they'd be known for if what they sometimes do against said kitchen counter when Italic wears a nightgown - just a nightgown - ever got out among their friends.

"So yes?"
"What's that face?"
"Showin' ya my O face, baby."
"If that's your O face already, you've got some work to do down here."
"Hey honey? Did you eat peanut butter before you came up here?"

"Toast. I had toast. Has anyone ever told you you talk a lot?"
"They should really make one of these things with booster jets..."
"Maybe you need one of those big wand thingies. Everybody uses those."
"Who's everybody?"
"Just everybody."
"When are you talking to everybody?"
"Just places."
"You're watching porn, aren't you? That's where you get your information, isn't it?"
"No! No, I am not watching porn!"

"Really? Because that last thing you did? The last time? That seemed like a porn thing to me!"
"I am not watching porn!"
"Oh, that's what everybody says when you bring up the porn thing!"
"Who's everybody?"
"Just everybody."
"When are you talking to everybody?"
"I get out there, man."
"So, you sayin' you wanna watch some porn?"
"Porn? Blech! Porn is yucky!" (fingers crossed behind San Serif's back)
"Seriously, what is that face you're making?"
"It's just my face."
"Maybe if you talked a little dirty to me, yeah?"


"No? Maybe?"
"Hey! Did you remember to lock the bedroom door?"
"Oh, baby, did you feel that? I think I might have just... . Your dirty talk got me going..."
"So whattaya think, yeah?!" (wink)
"There!" (wink)
"There!" (wink)
"Oh! Yeaaahhh. I don't think so!"

Offstage, a faint ruckus erupts. Italic is oblivious and doing her thing. San Serif pauses.

"Did you hear that?"
"What? Dirty talk? No. No I didn't."
"That. "Did you hear that?"

-knock knock-

"Daddy? Daddy, can we have lunch?"

"That? Was that what you were talking about?"
"You good?"
"Oh, I'm bad, baby! Very, verrry bad. Rawwwr."


"I meant are you 'good' good?"
"I could eat."
"Oh reallllly?"


"You know what I'm craving?"
"Some peanut butter toast?"
"I think you just made me have the O face, baby!"

...and scene...


Monday, December 03, 2007

Saturday was recorded before a live studio audience

At about 1 p.m. Saturday, as I finished washing the dishes, wiped my damp hands on a festive holiday apron tied jauntily around my tiny waist, straightened the strand of pearls around my delicate neck, and freshened the curls in my bobbed hair, I turned to yell something at my husband and realized my house was filled with the beaming faces of people I didn't recognize.

Trapped in our home thanks to the !!!!!FIRST MAJOR WINTER STORM OF THE SEASON. YOU DAMN WELL BETTER GRAB YOUR LOVED ONES AND PRAY FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!!, my family had transformed from the usual band of roving bandits and ne'er do wells into a 50s sitcom brood. The first clue should have been the festive holiday apron I just made up that I was wearing because seriously? An apron? And yeah, like I'd be doing dishes in the middle of the afternoon. Sure.

Normally, the four of us are more akin to that group of strangers hellbent on survival who come together at the beginning of Night of the Living Dead, so imagine my surprise to find being cooped up in the house had morphed me into June Cleaver, and Ward, Wally and the Beav were engrossed in a rousing, completely uncompetitive (i.e. not making up their own rules, crying, taunting, or yelling "Those are the rules! Deal!") game of Sorry! while I smiled bemusedly and lovingly filled the loving house of love with the succulent perfume of cookies, cakes and brownies! And what's that sound I heard through the sweet dulcet tones of quiet conversation and camaraderie? Was that Frank Sinatra crooning a holiday classic on the radio? Why, Wally! Beaver! Come sit at Mother's knee here aside the charming country Christmas tree as I regale you with holiday stories of my youth growing up in Happytownfunville!

"Mother, might you share with us the stories of how it was to travel to and fro in the olden days?" Wally asked. "No matter how often they are told, we never tire of their witty, moral-laden charm!"

"Before that, perhaps you'd consent to warm our hollowed bellies with a frothy mug of delicious hot chocolate and one of your special recipe chocolate chip cookies?" the Beaver inquired.

Me. Beaming. "Now, boys, I don't want you to spoil your appetites for the roast beast I've planned to nourish your souls and raise you up strong and capable like your father, but oh, your sweet angel faces (prayerful hands raised demurely to the side of my face, which tilted in charming glee to the right as I sighed contentedly). OK! But just this once! Ward? before I begin, shall I fetch you a fresh cocktail and your pipe?"

"That would be lovely, dear (which can also be read as "Heh. You said 'cock-tail'")," Ward said, smiling eyes peering over the top of the daily newspaper.

It was just that perfect in my house Saturday. For a few hours, as we listened the the icy rain fall and mask the view from our front windows, my family slowed down, lovingly rolled our eyes at Ward's amusing tales of lore, watched holiday classics and enjoyed being together. At one point I looked at Ward over the sandy haired glory of Wally and the Beaver and had an incredible urge to burst into a song and dance production in the living room. It was just that perfect!

But, like any good television show with a few seasons in the can - You know the ones? Where the quality has gone downhill and you find yourself wondering why you still TiVO it when you know it's not like you'd be missing anything if you stopped watching (I'm talking to you, ER) - the laugh track on our perfect day started to sound a little forced around 5 p.m., when, an hour and a half into a game of Monopoly, the whining started. From me. Whatever. Seriously, why the hell can't a game of Monopoly last less than an hour and just be done? For the love of all that is good and right in this world, I'm prepared to go all zombie on someone about 30 minutes into a game, and not because I never get to be that adorable little dog.

Later, I think I heard Wally use a curse word. When I suggested Ward perhaps speak to our prodigal, he belched, adjusted himself, grabbed the newspaper and headed to the bathroom for a lengthy respite. I was going to say something to him about maybe turning on the air vent this trip when I caught sight of the Beaver ascending the couch and preparing a death-defying climb toward the peak of Mt. Christmas Tree. Wally, his encouraging, perhaps foul-mouthed Sherpa, was close behind, offering pointers and nibbles off a pilfered cookie. So much for ruining that dinner appetite.

Around 9 p.m., the icy rain began to peter out, and our enthusiastic family togetherness was now officially a wash. Those Night of the Living Dead zombies? Yeah, they had totally bust into the cabin and were growling for their first victim. Eventually, I surrendered this momentary lapse into idealism to a hour of Guitar Hero III for the boys, a computer game for Ward, and me on the laptop, chatting with the outside world. I imagine we'll go all Cleaver again before the season is over. When we do, be sure to check your local listings for reruns.

Because even though we're so one of those shows where the buzz has died down, you'd totally TiVO us, and you know it. So thanks for that. Now, let me fix you a plate of goodies, and be sure to say goodbye to the Beaver before you go.

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