Three hundred Christmas trees in Target stores the first week of October is bad. Three hundred Santas in the lobby where you work the first week of October is crazy good! It means your facility is hosting one of the oldest and preeminent Santa schools in the country and class is in session! Try having a rotten day at work when the line in the ladies’ room is all jolly, holly-draped grandma-types who drank too much peppermint tea during the “Being Mrs. Claus” breakout session.
One might wonder – okay, it’s me. I’m wondering! – what exactly goes on at Santa school? Do you debate the number of ho’s in your ho-ho-ho’ing or frosted sugar cookies vs sprinkles? I tried quizzing random Santa’s between classes to see what I could find out, and they were all pretty tight lipped. It’s not like I was asking for the secret formula for flying reindeer corn. They just all chuckled and told me to work harder to stay off the naughty list (like that’ll happen). While Undaunted is not one of the reindeer team, it’s exactly what I was, so I went to the internet.
According to the Charles W. Howard Santa School website, aspiring and seasoned Santas can, among other things, “Practice Santa Flight Lessons.” That sounds a little like Santa has a posse covering the exits and a plan to jet the scene if the po-po shows to break up the ho-ho. Do we really want Santa to be a flight risk?
Santas can also attend the session on “Live Reindeer Habits.” What? I’m doing a quick check with building maintenance to find out who gave clearance to have a 400-pound caribou in the auditorium. I’m hoping the first habit that’s getting covered is how many times does a 400-pound caribou need to be walked outside every day to avoid a localized carpet catastrophe. Exactly how many Santas have a reindeer anyway? It’s not like you can run over to the local animal shelter and adopt a Rudolph.
As expected, there are sessions on handling terrified toddlers, what must-have toys need to be coming off that elfin assembly line in China, and accounting advice to keep Santa off the IRS naughty list. But most importantly, they’re all learning “He errs who thinks Santa enters through the chimney. Santa enters through the heart.” (Charles W. Howard, 1937)
The power went out at my house last night for four hours. While this may not seem like a major catastrophe as it was the middle of the night and I was sleeping, except for the fact that when the power went out, so did the heat. And it was cold last night. Really cold. The kind of cold that completely explains why Michigan is shaped like a mitten. The kind of cold that makes a Texas girl wonder, What the Heck am I Doing Here?! And then it started snowing. Again.
It is only the first of dadgum December! In the last month alone, I have collectively experienced more winter than I have in my entire lifetime combined. But get this: Winter doesn’t even officially start for another couple of weeks. What really makes that remarkable is that last winter only wrapped up a couple of weeks ago. I’m almost positive that there are winters here that just overlap right onto each other. You never know if one winter has stopped before the next one starts.
While I am a great advocate for clean oceans, preservation of endangered species and conservation, I am also now a great proponent of global warming. As temperatures hover in the teens and 20’s, I’ve put my wool sock covered, insulated booted foot down that I will refuse to leave my house until the temperature is at least my age. And for the first time in my life, I’m happy to be as old as I am. Bring on the birthdays and the heat!
For that matter, at my age, where the heck are the hot flashes that are supposed to be showing up? What does a girl have to do to get a decent hot flash around here? Thankfully, I have friends my age and I will bask in the heat of their hormonal misfortune. Let’s face it, I am a silver-lining kind of girl like that.
As we push towards that longest night and the official start of winter, I’m increasingly concerned about the fact that there’s now only about 20 minutes between sun up and sun set. I have tan lines from the sun light simulator lamp on my desk and monitor my cravings for salted whale meat as a sure sign that I may be transforming into a polar bear.
Oh, and it’s snowing again.
Heed my words: Do not pray for patience as God will provide the opportunities for you to learn it. Never ask, “What else can possibly go wrong?” Trust me, nothing tempts the Universe to yell, “Hold my beer!” more than that. And never ever, don’t ever say never. I actually said once I’d never live in the Middle East which landed me in Saudi Arabia for three years. As Harvey threatened Texas, I said, “My house will never flood.” It flooded. And then I said, “I’m never moving again.” Fill out the change of address card because I’m moving. TO MICHIGAN!
Imma gunna freeze!
Michigan, where cold fronts are six foot deep! You don’t understand, people; my blood is so thin, it’s invisible! I fully expect by the end of my first winter to be found encased in ice like a Yeti on the backside of Everest, a look of miserable shock forever captured on my face. Ice belongs in tea or cream, not spread in deadly sheets across the road with the sole purpose of sending your car careening into a ditch so no one finds you until the “spring thaw” in July.
We’ve already bought a house there from a very nice couple who are gleefully laughing with giddy joy as they hippy-hop off to retirement in Florida. I think I may hate them. Despite that, they were so very kind as to agree to leave the outdoor patio heater and the snow blower for us. Snow blower? Are there YouTube videos for how to operate that? I mean, do you run out as soon as it starts snowing and blow the offending fluffy ice masses back into the sky? Do they have plow attachments for the mower? And in the name of all things holy, how do I get a pizza delivered in January?!
I’m trying hard to see the positives. I’ll have seasons and Hurricane won’t be one of them. I can look forward to summer – all 26 days of it. White Christmas will be more than just a song. I suppose, too, if I can survive three plus years in Saudi Arabia, I can probably survive Siberia. Wish me luck. Imma gunna need it!