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Inspirational Reads

Styrofoam Peanut Angels, Anyone?

December 7, 2007

Here is a recent cartoon from Cow & Boy that really hit home, especially this past weekend (the cartoon was printed on Saturday, December 1st; the incident I'm about to recount occured Sunday, December 2nd):

I really like Cow & Boy. I thought the premise (a boy's best friend is a talking cow) was lame when I first came across it, but several Halo references later, I've come to quite enjoy it. It's one of my daily reads. And this one was particularly solid because it captured the spirit of trying to capture a bit more sleep (read, ignore the world for a while) while raising young children.

Anyway, aside from my digression there, last weekend was...interesting. We went to see Santa on Saturday and the kids had their pictures taken (and they were really good pics) with the jolly fat man (who bore an uncanny resemblance to Alton Brown in a beard). Sunday was designated the day we'd go get a tree (and rather than Clark Grizzwald it, I went to the local tree lot), so the air of Christmas has settled over the house. And when it settles on two kids, ages 3 and 6, it's about the same as opening a can of tuna in a house full of cats. Destructive comedy ensues.

In order to get the tree, I felt the need to clean the house up, which was to be the Sunday task. I wanted the house to look pretty when we brought the tree home, plus my wife was at work, so I thought if I could clean the house up, she'd come home, marvel at all the hard work I had done that day and say, "Let's go get that tree!" shortly after ripping her blouse open. I know, I know...the fascination I have with my wife's chest is probably a bit misplaced, given the circumstances, but whatever. That was the plan.

Come Sunday, I tried to ignore the sounds of mirth coming from the downstairs. I tried pulling the covers over my head to squeeze just a bit more sleep out of the morning, but that was not to be. Around 7:30 or so, here comes the little boy asking if we can go to IHOP. Now, IHOP is a perfectly fine place to long as they have breakfast-platters-smothered-in-cream-and-fruit-compote deals going on. However, their normal fare is a bit...insipid...for my tastes. I'd like my sausage to taste like something other than cardboard and/or dust. But that's just me. Plus, Sunday morning is a bad time to go because everyone is there either before going to church or after going to church, and it makes me feel like a tool because I didn't roll my ass out of bed for Church (but I can make it for the cream-and-fruit-compote-smothered breakfast pastries). So, IHOP was off the table as far as negotiations go, but he was insistant that I feed him something for breakfast (and the other one, too), so I had to get out of bed and do something.

I ended up making them pancakes. And they loved them. You know the Bill Cosby routine where he gives his kids cake for breakfast and they're singing the song "Dad is great, he gives us the chocolate cake"? Well, that's how I was treated on Sunday morning. "Daddy is great, for making us pancakes!" Score, right?

So, in the aftermath of breakfast, I went upstairs and checked my email and worked on some stuff in my bedroom and then took my morning constitutional then took my shower. I was probably out of it for 15 to 20 minutes. I get dried off and dressed and come downstairs to find the entire dining room, entryway, and living room covered in half an inch of styrofoam packing peanuts...many of them crushed into tiny little white balls. Before the string of profanity completely forms itself upon my tongue, I see my three-year-old son on his back in the midst of this chaos making styrofoam peanut angels. In my mind's eyes, I saw myself yelling "Why you little!" and giving him the Bart Simpson special.

He looks at me and with that big, infectious three-year-old blond boy grin says, "It snowed, daddy!"


I learned then that styrofoam peanuts sweep up fairly well with a broom and a dustpan, even on carpet. I swept the mess into big piles and then made them both clean up the piles of packing peanuts. I even cut my daughter off before she could get out the "Well, he made the mess" and just pointed to the piles and repeated "clean them up". In fact, most of the downstairs was cleaned by the time the Comely and Buxom Boudicca came home, and though there was no ripping open of blouses, we do have a lovely Christmas tree standing in the back corner of the room.

Now I just need to figure out where my mother-in-law hid the tree skirt...


Chemgeek said...

Hilarious. All I know is that during winter in the northern mid-west the dry air in the house would allow static electricity to wreak havoc with the clean up. Sadly, I know this from experience.