Sunday, December 26, 2010

Twas the night after Christmas

The night before Christmas wasn't exactly silent, so I didn't really expect breakfast to be served on a silver platter of peace and tranquility. The boys woke up at insane-thirty in the morning, followed by loud and most definitely explained roaring. I usually just snoringly ignore this, but since we were guests of Grams and Opa's, I (Angie) thought that I (me) should at least try to quiet down the animals. I grabbed a sock and some duct tape and went hunting for my offspring.

I found this one at the kitchen table, but its face was too severely smeared to even identify. I tried to convince myself that Grams had nothing at all to do with feeding him a bucket of chocolate on a day where he really didn't need that much energy to get his motor started, but then I saw the coffee mug. Busted.

I checked that the mug wasn't actually filled with coffee and was glad to see that Grams had not completely lost her mind. Milk - it does a baby good.

Somewhere in the distance, I heard war cries followed by battle screams and immediately thought of my other children. I couldn't bring myself to look, though. I had seen enough chocolaty carnage to last me until dessert.

Instead, I disappeared into the other room to build the first of what would be a long line of toys that apparently require a degree in architectural engineering and a shitload of patience. I have neither.

I inadvertently made several mistakes when picking the room that now housed their brand new entertainment center. First of all, it used to be where Tommy's toys were stored, so he kept poking his chocolate face in every ten seconds shrugging his shoulders and asking 'where dey go, Papa?'. Second, the room is a standing ovation to Bose, Samsung, and several other expensive guys who all have restraining orders against any Johnson under the age of seven. After Peter and David's fifth attempt to breach the flat screen zone, I gave up on David's million-piece castle in search of hot coffee.

I asked Angie if maybe it wouldn't be a good idea to make a quick trip home to let the animals run wild in the safe and inexpensive jungles of our apartment. She sported a frown that I know all too well, and was undoubtedly about to tell me how stupid I am when Tommy came walking out of the entertainment room holding a piece of white plastic that looked a little bit like the clamps used to bundle cables behind a TV. When Angie asked Tommy what he had in his hand, it was Opa that answered.

'It's the white plastic clamp I used to bundle the cables behind our new flat screen TV.'

With that, Angie was 100% onboard with my stupid plan to bring the wild animals back to the quiet ranch. Opa was probably closer to 110%, but the veins in his neck were nice enough not to vocally admit it.

Grams was on turkey duty, so I asked her what time she wanted us back.

'Everything will be ready at 5:30.'

I correctly assumed that this meant we should bring the wild ones back at 5:29. Heidi, Klaus, Sonja and her David incorrectly assumed that we would be eating at 6:30 since that was the time we ate the night before. Silly relatives. At 5:35, I asked if they had actually been told to come at 5:30. Other than a few giggling crickets, silence prevailed. Awkward.

'Let's eat!'

The good thing was that the boys were finished by the time everyone showed up; feeding time can be quite disgusting on occasion. By 'on occasion', I of course mean three times daily, but that's beside the point. It was also a good thing that Angie was done eating, but instead of making an observation on where the boys get their dining skills, I'll just say that it was because she could watch the boys and make sure they didn't pull plastic anythings from anywhere. Opa can thank me later.

After dinner, the rising noise levels in the living room encouraged me to continue my toy building in the entertainment factory. After a few minutes, I made a mental note to convince Opa that all of the best entertainment centers in the world were sound-proofed, but like most of my brilliant thoughts, they were interrupted by impatient creatures. For a change, though, it wasn't Angie. No, Peter and David were the culprits who had flung open the door and demanded to know when their super-secret-agent-rocket-ship-monster toy would be finished. Let me just say, I was the camel and their question was the last straw.

'LISTEN! It may be Christmas, but SANTA has left the building, so BACK OFF, okay?! I've got roughly EIGHT BAZILLION of your little projects going on here and YOU are delaying each of them by coming in every TWO minutes and BUGGING ME. If you ever want to play with your precious toys, heed my advice and GO AWAY!'

It was at that point that I noticed Opa, who was in the doorway of the un-sound-proofed room.

'Would you like a beer?'

I didn't even bother answering. We exchanged an understanding look and two minutes later, I had a cold bottle of liquid hops in my hand. That is what Christmas is all about. Unless you ask anyone else.

After dinner, the gift frenzy began again.

I have to say, Sonja went completely nuts this year. Don't get me wrong, she's normally on the tilt side of a pinball machine anyway, but this year, she really went above and beyond the call of family. All of her many, many gifts were enjoyed by everyone and it was all fun and games until Klaus stepped in a big pile of Play-Doh. Then it was hilarious!

National Geographic pictures often depict ape mothers grooming their babies and it still amazes me how desensitized they become to plucking out all the disgusting crap that they call 'grooming'. Angie didn't even know at this point that it was brown Play-Doh, but she was more than willing to help pick whatever it was out of Klaus' shoe with her fingernail. Yuck.

After de-poohing Klaus' shoe, we finally managed to put the animals down for the night. Or so we thought. I guess the adrenaline rush of getting even more gifts grew a couple of hairs on Peter's chest. He had finally yanked his wiggly tooth and raced downstairs to disgust everyone with his bloody gums and calcium trophy. Yuck.

When we tried putting the boys to bed a second time, it was obvious that they needed some calming down. They were sleeping in one guest bed and after 30 seconds of fighting over the pillow, I forced them to sleep at opposite ends of the bed.

I normally read them a book, but lately we've been doing 'three word stories' where I let each of the boys pick one word and I have to spontaneously come up with a story that includes the three words. Tonight, it was Peter, the tooth fairy, and a telephone. Go!

Once upon a time, there was this goofy looking kid named Peter. He was a strange boy by anyone's standards. His feet smelled horrible and a fun Friday night for him normally involved burping the alphabet at the dinner table followed by somersaults on the sofa.

As the odd creature grew in both size and weirdness, he noticed a slight wiggling of one of his teeth. True to character, he freaked out, curled up into a little ball on the floor and sucked his thumb until his hairy-chested dad found him and explained the tooth fairy tale.

Afterwards, the courageous thumb-sucker spent weeks pushing, pulling, turning, and yanking his wiggly tooth to no avail. Christmas came and as Peter was being tucked into bed, his incredibly attractive dad offered to use his tanned muscles to rip the tooth out if he was too much of a wuss to do it himself.

In a move that made himself proud, Peter yanked the final yank and then screamed a little scream. After impressing very tolerant family members with his missing chopper, Peter fell into a satisfied slumber.

After a few glasses of wine, the Tooth Fairy showed up with a clipboard. She looked at her papers and then at the bed. Peter had slipped under the covers, so the Tooth Fairy only saw David, snoring away and drooling on his pillow.

She tip-toed over and lifted David's pillow. Nothing. She checked her clipboard again. It was the right house and the right day. She checked under the pillow again. Nothing. She huffed and puffed and looked at her watch. She had a schedule to keep, so she wasn't going to just sit around all night waiting for this kid's tooth to fall out.

She opened David's mouth, checked her clipboard again to make sure she got the right one, then she yanked out David's bottom front tooth. David continued snoring as she dumped the loot and moved on to her next customer.

The next day, Peter woke up and was very disappointed to find nothing under his pillow. Peter's crying woke up David, who discovered that he was missing a tooth.


David then found a bunch of coins under his pillow and started dancing a jig that really irritated Peter.

'That's it! I'm calling the tooth fairy hotline!'

Peter stormed over to the phone and called up the number. After several minutes of listening to elevator music, someone with a pulse picked up.

'I lost a tooth and your fairy service delivered my prize to the wrong boy!'

'That's impossible! Give me your name.'

'Peter Johnson.'

'Well, I see here that we picked your tooth early this morning. What's the problem?'

'What's the problem
??!! Are you people insane? You yanked out my little brother's tooth and gave him my stash!'

'Hold the line, please.'

After several silent minutes, Peter heard a click.

'Mr. Peter, we are so sorry for the mix-up. We just spoke to the tooth fairy responsible for your pickup and clarified everything. She's actually still on probation, but after this, I can guarantee you that she will be not be lifting another kid's pillow for a long, long time. I'll send someone over right away to make the exchange.'

Peter hung up the phone and not even two seconds later, a fairy appeared holding a bag of money and a balloon that said 'sorry'
. Peter forked over his tooth and was too busy checking out his loot to notice that the fairy had vanished.


My well intended bedtime story did little to calm the boys down. David almost started crying and telling me over and over again that he didn't want the 'toof fairy' to rip out any of his teeth and Peter asked if David could sleep in the basement to avoid any confusion. If there hadn't been cold beer downstairs, I probably would have stayed to comfort them.

'Sleep tight!'

About a month ago, Eisi told me that he needed some of our family photos. All of them, actually. Rather than burn 400 DVD's, I found an online exchange site. I could only upload a fraction at a time, so for several weeks, I would upload a batch and wait until he confirmed that he had downloaded them. Then I would delete them and add some more pictures. Tonight we unwrapped the mystery behind his request.

I had assumed that he was just another obsessed fan wanting pictures of me, but it turned out he was creating the The Johnson's Zoo year book, which was a big hit with everyone. As the ladies oggled over pictures of me, I mean the family, I snuck upstairs to play the second made-up role in as many nights.

Peter's stash consisted of all of the pocket change collected from my jeans, Mama's purse, and Opa's sofa. Angie threw in a pack of gum, claiming that this was the ritual that she grew up with, even though Judy and Horst both deny ever doing this.

Sunrise with the Johnson's is always darker and earlier than nature intended, so when Peter began squealing like a school boy at 6:00, I ran over to try and stifle the rising. Peter was pointing at his loot and visibly shaking with joy. Even David looked rather relieved after checking his mouth for missing teeth three or four times.

'I'm glad that your tooth fairy was a competent one and absolutely thrilled that David's teeth weren't knocked out, but you guys need to snooze for at least another hour.'

For a change, they actually listened and racked out for another hour and a half. I would later regret this additional energy charging when we decided to go make snow angels.

I explained to them over and over again that flinging balls of snow at semi-innocent bystanders was not how you make snow angels, but they are complete crap at listening to walking wisdom providers.

Everything was hunky-dory until I nailed Peter smack center in his ear. The only good thing about having your ear pressure-packed with snow is that you cannot hear your father's insane cackling as he points at you and high-fives your younger brother.

Needless to write, Peter wanted to go home. The only way I could convince him to stay was to stand a few feet away from him and allow him to practice his curve ball until he nailed me in the ear as well. After only the fourth pitch, my ear went numb and I could see Peter convulsing on the ground clutching his belly. Oh well - tit for tat.

When Peter finally regained consciousness, I pushed the little demons down in the snow and told them to act like angels.

Snow angel making didn't last long because according to Peter, the ground was 'cold'. I thanked Genius boy for his stunning observation and put him and his sidekick on the swing to check if the air blowing on their cheeks was 'cold' as well.

We checked a few more rides and Peter finally concluded that it was, in fact, 'cold' everywhere. I rounded up the Eskimos and put David in charge of snow plowing our way back to Grams and Opa's for hot chocolate.

Okay, the slide wasn't exactly on the way home, but considerate Davey probably just wanted to clear the path for any other insane kids crazy enough to go to an icy playground in sub-zero temperatures.

Twenty minutes later, the boys were enjoying a warm cup of liquid chocolate. A strange tingling sensation came across the living room as the energy of three wild and chocolanated boys started to build.

It twas actually the day after the night after Christmas, so we decide to spare Grams and Opa of the noise and chaos that would be released at any moment. Instead, I grabbed a sock and some duct tape and started packing up the car.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That I play with my secret agent ship.
David: That we play with you the game why you throw me on the bed.
Tom: I was in the big truck.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That I can't sleep in my new hammock.
David: I didn't got a worst part.
Tom: I bonk me head and then Davey laugh.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to play with you my new Playmobile ship.
David: I want that Yuki, Lorenzo, and Laeticia come over and look at my new toys.
Tom: I want to go up, but not up there.

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