Winter Makes You Wonder
Max is partial to ladders and handy man tools.
I am attracted to lights and sparkly things.
That is why we make a perfect team.
Now, I remember a Christmas from a very, very, long, time ago.
The year was 1976.
I was going on twenty and living in Gardiner, Montana, with my husband, Jason.
Jason and I, and another friend, opened a bakery in a flourishing town that was located on the north entrance of Yellowstone Park.
It was all very exciting.
Especially since none of us could even bake.
And what was even more exciting than watching that big mixer, was the first snow of the season.
“Whhooooo hoooo!” I hollered, as giant flakes fluttered past the glass case I stood in, in the middle of nowhere, quickly dusting the brown foothills. I pushed in the Operator button, and made a collect call to my folks back in Wisconsin.
When I think of dumps I think of my sweet Sven.
You see, we fell in love way back when.
And when we did, we were so in love, that we did everything together.
Even trips to the dump.
“What in the hell are you doing?” says Shirlee-Bunny.
“What?” I said.
“Emmit told me that you were at the dump with Sven yesterday.”
“He told me that you were helping Sven toss your recyclables into those containers.”
“Yeah,” I said, again.
“Well, stop it Millie. You are giving the rest of us girls a bad name.”
So, in the name of sisterhood, I opted out of our Saturday morning dump dates.
It was my first week in the credit department.
I had a new desk and a new computer and my very own telephone.
It was 7:00 AM.
My very own telephone rang at my new desk.
“Shit,” I thought, setting down my freshly brewed cup of coffee. “Who in their right mind would be calling the credit department?”
I cleared my throat and picked up the hand piece.
“Good morning. Credit Department. This is Millie.”
It was my youngest.
I could barely hear him.
My mind began to race.
“Why is Rene calling me? He’s on a field trip.”
Unlike his mother, Rene was a joiner. It was his freshman year in high school. He was on the football team. He was in band. He joined Forensics, which I thought had to do with dead bodies and solving crimes, until I went to a forensics meet. He was on the math team. And he was also a member of something called, The FBLA.
I’d gone to a meeting. I’d signed a permission slip. And I’d written a check.
At the crack of dawn, he’d proudly boarded a bus that was headed to Green Bay for a four day, Future Business Leaders of America, conference, carrying a duffle bag in one hand and over his other arm was draped his brand new suit.
“You need a suit?” I’d said.
“Yeah. It’s for our presentation.”
Good thing I nailed this fancy job here in the credit department.
As he walked the runway in our kitchen and stopped to pose, I told him how handsome he was, all the while feeling my first pangs of “shit, he looks all grown up.”
“Rene?” I said into the mouth piece.
My puppy has been showing signs of dissatisfaction with his doctor as of late.
Last year, three quarters of the staff was called in to hold him still, in order to draw a little blood.
He has peed on their floor. He has curled his lips and shown off his pearly whites. And he has growled a few choice four letter words.
But, I think what caused that big star next to the yellow high-lighted word MUZZLE on the front page of his profile, was that time he tried to take that arm off of that technician.
Since then, Hunter has been instructed to take three teeny-tiny tranquilizer pills, two hours before all visits.
“Two hours before. And no stimulation,” his doctor had said.
That is why Sven and I were trying to get our dog, who seemed to be made of Jell-O, into the car.
“He’s a puddle,” said Sven as I walked in the door.
We tried to get him to stand up.
“Here puppy,” I said.
“He is not a puppy,” said Sven.
“Yes he is.”
The wiener stuffed with cheese did no more than get him to lift his head off his bed. We knew we were screwed when he set it back down.
“What?” I said to Sven.
I was standing on the counter wiping off a shelf in the duplex we lived in before we were married. The one with the olive green vinyl flooring.
Sven had just walked in the kitchen door.
“Did Bob Dylan die?” he repeated and he set his dusty lunch bucket on the table.
“Oh my God,” I thought, “What does that have to do with my hair? I knew I shouldn’t have done it.”
You see, when God was handing out my genes, he thought, “Hmmm. Make her hair gray right away. It will keep her humble and give her something to bitch about.”
The first thing I ever won in my life was a complete set of children’s encyclopedias from the grocery store. I was twenty-three and seven months pregnant.
My second big win came the day they drew my name out of a hat for a random drug test at work. I got to visit the nurse and pee in a cup.
“Hello?” I answered the phone.
“Is this Millie Noe?”
“Congratulations, ma’am. You just won a vacation for two, which includes a two night stay in Orlando, a three day, two night cruise to the Bahamas, four nights in Daytona Beach and three more nights in New Orleans.”
“What?!” I screamed. “Me?”
“It’s a trip for two.”
“Me and Sven?” I screamed.
Jigsaw (tool), a tool used for cutting arbitrary curves
That is what Wikipedia says.
What Wikipedia doesn’t say, is that Jigsaw Puzzles are addicting and there is no help out there for individuals with this particular addiction.
Sure, if you are rich there is always Jigsaw Acupuncture or Aromatherapy for Bitches with Cartoon Sized Pooches in their Purses. And, of course the old-fashioned Jigsaw Rehabs for the tough love crowd. But then they had to ban those. You see, there are always jigsaw puzzles set up on tables for group therapy and free time at those joints and when they switched them over to crack and alcohol tables instead, it just complicated the situation.
And people were still sneaking out and putting together puzzles.
Sadly, the ordinary guy today has nothing to fall back on.
There is no safety net.
Insurance doesn’t cover that shit.
Insurance doesn’t even cover emergency boob jobs or hang nail surgery anymore.
Like most things, it all starts out pretty darn innocently.
You might think, “Oh, what a pretty picture on that box.”
Since you are an authority on holiday etiquette, I am hoping you can solve an argument that my husband and I have been carrying on for the past twenty-eight years.
You see, I believe that the Christmas tree and all of it’s trimmings should come down shortly after Christmas.
Ed thinks that the tree should remain in the stand until there are no needles left on it and that he should take down the outside lights when the weather is cooperative, which is typically June.
He says that he will take your advice as long as he agrees with it.
Up to my ass in prickly needles, here in White Pine, Wisconsin,
Dear Mrs. Brown,
First of all, you should water your tree once in awhile.
Second of all, your Christmas Tree should be taken down on New Year’s Day.
The reason for this is simple. I am sure that you and Ed will stay up on New Year’s Eve all the way till eleven o’clock watching that ball drop in Time Square out there in New York City, just like everybody else in these parts. And since you are going to stay up all the way until faux midnight, you will be celebrating with that fancy white wine out of that box in your refrigerator, that goes so well with that expensive seafood that your sweetheart brought home from the SEAFOOD MARKET for such a special occasion. So special that you will have dinner at home so as to avoid all the crowds and all the cops.
Because of this unruly behavior, you will not feel so great on New Year’s Day.
Not to worry.
Nobody is coming over.
The ballerina is my oldest granddaughter and to her right is my youngest nephew. The year of the photograph is 2000.
Today the ceramic tree they are admiring is seen on Facebook next to the old, “Share if you ever had one of these in your house.”
If you ever had one of these in your house?
People, we can hear you. We aren’t dead yet.
And neither is that tree.
I was born a Pisces but I am pretty sure that my real sign is the Christmas Tree.
My girlfriend says she wants jewelry for Christmas.
What do you think she means?
Thanks for your help,
It sounds to me like your girlfriend means that she wants jewelry for Christmas.
But let me tell you a little story.
Years ago, my Sweet Sven went on a trip to Dallas to partake in a builder’s convention, leaving me at home with three kids and a dog and a cat or maybe there were two.
I pictured him partying it up and having a crazy good time.
It turns out that he and the gang he went with got real wild one night. They ate hot wings at Hooters as they admired the scenery and then they stopped for some ice cream before going back to the hotel.
I could tell by the three large canvas bags of shit, with things like Barbie Doll tape measures, hammer-shaped-pencils, yo-yos, hats and one thousand pamphlets about solar panels, shingles, windows, doors, nails, nail guns, skill saws, table saws, wood flooring and cabinets, that he’d visited each and every booth at the convention.
Who does that?
I could also tell by the three rolls of film that he had developed, that in his spare time down there he was out snapping pictures of grassy knolls and suppository windows, gathering evidence to solve that lingering question that drives him nuts, “Who really killed J.F.K.?”