Thursday, December 25, 2014

Lights, camera, action!

Lights, camera, action!
     - the traditional cue to the members of a film crew at the beginning of a take

Christmas morning started out a bit like 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' - dark and loud. 

The twilight crew huddled in the hallway and vocally whined their displeasure at needing to wait while Angie made the Director a coffee.
'Okay, guys. We only get one take, so make it work. I'm going to go set up the camera - I want a shot of each of you seeing your gifts for the first time. Peter, you're up. Then David, then Tommy. And remember - no peace signs and no silly faces.'

Peter came out first and totally nailed the scene.

David came out, but he apparently got confused and thought he was trying out for the role of a music conductor with a fat lip. 

This didn't help Tommy, who decided to follow suit by showing me his 'Kung Fu Panda' pose.

David was the first one to unwrap his Nintendo grin.

Soon after, Peter also had a starry look in his eyes.

For Tommy, well, to be honest, he could unwrap a bag of potatoes and still go nuts, so there was no telling what actually peaked it for him.

For Angie, it was simple, since I only gave her one gift.

It's called a YUYU bottle and it is the only full-body hot water bottle available on the market. Trust me, nothing says I love YUYU like giving your lady a pink worm. You can hug me later. 

David didn't wait until later - he power hugged Peter after receiving his glass-cased box full of precious stones, fossils, and cement. 

David then opened a gift from Santa, but his thoughts must have drifted back to the one that Peter had given him and he went in for take two.

Take three came shortly after the last wrapping had been shredded, when all three boys pile-drove the Director's personal assistant with a group hug.

I wasn't jealous at all. I could have totally snoozed on the sofa and let my children squeeze the love out of me, but someone had to document the memory, right? Don't answer that.

'All right, boys. Cut! Let's break up this disgusting display of affection and go get some Turkey!'

'Huh? Are we going to visit Nil?'

See, a few years ago, Mama flew to Turkey to attend Nil's wedding. This completely confused Tommy, who at the time explained to our neighbor that 'Mama went to eat chickens'. He now knows the difference between a chicken and a turkey, but he apparently still has some poultry-country issues to work though.

'No, Tommy, we are not going to Turkey. We are going to eat a turkey.'


'Never mind, you'll see.'   

When we got there, Judy had the meat thermometer in.

'It's been in for hours, but it's not done yet; it's supposed to reach 180 degrees.'

I noticed that the oven temperature was set to 160 degrees and was still wondering how the inside of a turkey could be hotter than the oven when Peter asked if I would like to see his Christmas Cactus Man.

'I would love to.'

Dinner was great and the boys behaved rather well, except Tommy, who almost nodded off in a pile of mashed potatoes and gravy. I guess staying up until midnight the night before and waking up at 6:00 in the AM can really tucker out some people. Not me.

After dinner, Barbara broke out her new Polaroid camera that she got from Jil, Leif's sister. She warmed up things with a shot of Angie holding the world's smallest iPad.

Next, Barb scored a metro shot of pure manliness (yes, I photoshopped out the chest hair).

That's when Peter came racing up, shaking like a, wait for it..., Polaroid.

'Ooh, ooh, can I take a picture? Huh? Huh? Can I? Can I? Please!'

'Sure, Peter, here you go, but just be careful that you don't...'


That's right, Butterfingers dropped the camera. Tommy's sensitivity radar picked up on what had just happened and immediately tried to calm his brother, who was thankfully not wearing mascara.

'Oh, that's not good, Peter. Why did you do that?'

The good news was that it landed on the lens. Oh, wait a minute, sorry; that was the bad news. The good news was that Opa, Barbara and Leif are collectively quite skilled at figuring out how to snap tiny plastic pieces back into their proper place.

I wasn't jealous at all. I could have totally fixed the camera and saved Peter from even more tears, but someone had to document the memory, right? Don't answer that.

If you've never witnessed pure relief, just check it out. Both of them, actually.

After the curious incident of the camera that goes bonk in the night-time, two things happened. First, Barbara decided to attach the safety strap to her camera. Good idea.

Second, Tommy awoke from his Christmas lumber. See, after almost falling asleep at dinner, Tommy had disappeared to build his Lego alligator that would have taken Peter two and a half minutes to build. Tommy is the youngest of three brothers, though, so he still insists on doing all things 'by me-self'. This of course meant that the rest of us were able to enjoy two and half hours of silence as Tommy remained focused on deciphering the picture-by-picture instructions.

What goes up, must come down. And what goes dark for two and a half hours must come out loud and wildly proud of his self-built Lego-gator. 

After that, all bets were off. The Genie was out of the bottle and it was wired for sound. At one point, he honed in on Grams as his victim of choice and kept racing up behind her to see how close he could get to her neck before she would turn around. As it turns out, I think that Grams has played this game before. She at least took my preferred approach and simply ignored the insane giggling and head poking.

After an hour of Tommy's version of hide-and-seek where nobody was really seeking, I announced the upcoming release of the Director's Cut.

'Okay, guys. We only get one take, so make it work. I'm going to go grab the bags of food that Grams has given us - I want a shot of each of you putting on your shoes and coats. Peter, you're up. Then David, then Tommy. And remember - no hiding and no more farting noises.'

Peter came out first and totally nailed the scene. 

David came out, but he apparently got confused and thought that he was supposed to whack his brother with his shoe.

This didn't help Tommy, who for some reason decided to reenact a scene from 'Raging Bull'.

Even Scorsese knows when it's time to close the curtains.

'All right, everyone - that's a wrap!'
Ladder Talk: 
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That today is Christmas and that we got so many presents.
David: That everyone had fun and it was the best Christmas I had until now. 
Tom: That we got presents and that it Christmas was. 

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That I didn't get the Lego set with Hulk and Captain Falcon. 
David: That we couldn't stay longer by the cats.
Tom: That I got a belly-ache.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to build my Legos.
David: I want to play with Luca.
Tom: I want to play with my presents from Christmas Day.

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