Icicles and hairdryers

Ok, I normally don’t use foul language in my blogs, but to be fair, 2018 had a pretty fucked up way of saying welcome to my family.  Seriously, we hadn’t been spending many hours in the new year until she decided to kick me in the nuts – smack in the pubic bone!

Thanks to digital streaming on the AppleTV, we missed the ball dropped live.  Apple apparently decided that there’s a lack, so despite stating ‘live’ on the screen, it is actually delayed by almost 2 minutes.  I suspect that is false advertisement, but we somewhat say the switch to 2018 twice.

Anyway, a few hours after the famous Waterford Crystal ball dropped, we moved our ageing corpses to the beds.  Gone are the days of drinking all night, dancing like crazy on the tables, mingling with strangers in a smelly night club or having to clean the house from alcohol left-overs, smoke and confetti.  That is the curse and benefit of being responsible adults, and also the fact that kids give zero fucks about hangovers.

While zombie walking through the house, more asleep than awake, I turned the heating down … or so I thought.  You see, we live on the East Coast, and this happens to be winter. So, it gets a little chilly outside and the last few days had been sub-zero.  If I didn’t know better, I would say that we were about to reenact “Day After Tomorrow” scenes and experience arctic super deep freeze.

Next morning as I stumbled towards my coffee machine to get a caffeine kick, I noticed that the ground floor was chilly.  Did I mention that my absolute favorite coffee brand i ‘Black Riffle Coffee Company‘ – they kick arse.

The thermometer showed 52F so I instantly knew something was wrong.  It’s not like I’m a natural born plumber, but when the baseboard pipes are colder than my freezer, then something is off.

Thankfully the heating in the basement and 2nd floor were both working, so I used those areas to heat up the rest of the house.  I spent the remainder of 1 January 2018 heating up the baseboard pipes using hot towels, hair dryers and my Scandinavian charm … nothing worked.

hotshotNo other option than called in the cavalry in the form of the local plumber.  He showed up with what looked like an oversized car battery jumpstart kit.  Two larger clamps were attached to the copper pipes, and 2 hours later he had managed to thaw the pipes.  Heating was coming back 🙂

It takes a big man to admit when he has made mistakes, and I’m no big man!  That said, I had accidentally turned off the heating when going to bed, and with the sudden drop to arctic climate, the still water in the pipes decided to freeze.

The plumber that came to help was top drawer.  An amazing customer service and fair priced I suppose.

I can honestly say that this was not the way I had hoped for 2018 to start, but at least we have heat, food, each other and 363 days to get back to Christmas.

While we wait

jesusmangerChristmas – the most family focused event in the Christian side of the World’s religions.

They wait in anticipation for the coming of Christ, and celebrate his birth in a small barn somewhere in the outskirts of Bethlehem.

Perhaps not the most sanitary surroundings, but this is how Mary and Big Joe were rolling.  In fact, clean healthy environments were probably very hard to find, as indoor plumbing was still fairly basic during the rise of the Roman empire.  But I’m impressed Mary kept the sheets so white.

santa-stuckToday kids are eager with suspense as they wait for a fat dude to drop off a load of presents.  Somehow the simple science that a obese old man can fit into a small chimney does not not deter kids from believing – and rightfully so.  Santa is awesome and he loves to make kids happy (and some adults including me!).

How do you entertain kids from when school closes for the holidays, and how do you prevent them from searching the house in best Indiana Jones style, looking for the hidden presents?  Do you actually admit that Santa does not exist?  Although that would be lying to yourself too.  Of course he exist 🙂

Our little family really enjoy the festive season.  Every weekend is Christmas baking, thanks to my awesome wife, and spending time with the kids for Advent.  They get a small Advent present, which they look forward to.

On the day itself, 24 December, which is day when we celebrate Christmas, the kids wake up super early.  I mean ridiculously early.  Much earlier and easier than on school days.

The day starts with movies, breakfast, and then more movies. It is the old classical movies such as ‘Jingle All the Way‘, ‘Home Alone 1+2‘, ‘Santa Clause‘, ‘Elf‘, ‘Sound of Music‘ and of course ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation‘ … the shitter is full.

It’s all about total relaxation, doing as little as possible and simply spend time with the family. All while eating 🙂

cookiesThis year we introduced family board games.  We wanted to encourage the kids to play board games instead of Xbox games.  The beauty is that we can all participate, and nothing wrong with teaching kids competitiveness. Probably too early to introduce Risk to teach them World domination –  maybe next year.

Later in the morning, we start making cookies while I prepare the traditional Christmas dinner. Kids get the chance to help, but they seem more interested in playing games.

It’s not that hard entertaining the kids. You just need to participate and have fun. Not rocket science really.  Merry Christmas y’all!

What do you do while we wait for Christmas dinner and the imminent arrival of Santa?

Christ back in Christmas

When we moved to the US more than five years ago, I was honestly a little surprised with a few cultural differences.  I guess that is what to be expected and all people talk about cultural shock.  It was not a shock where I went into seizure or panic crying, but more like “W-T-F?”.

I fully support political correctness, but we also have to be realistic and not overdue it.

keepchristWhen I first saw some adds for Christmas, or should I say festive holidays, I was surprised when I read “Bring Christ back in Christmas.  In my head I was like “oh no, another Christian fanatic message trying to preach about Jesus.” But as I’ve lived and worked in the US for a few years, I can start to relate to that message.

Not necessarily the religious message about Christ and waiting for his second coming.  But the fact that we cannot say Christmas any longer.  That is starting to worry me, and the political correctness has stepped over the line.

Why is it that we cannot say ‘Merry Christmas’ to our colleagues?

We are being told that we offend people who do not celebrate Christmas.  I understand that some people may be celebrating HanukkahKwanzaa, or other holidays like Diwali or Mawlid … or nothing at all.  And by using the political correct phrase “Happy Holidays” we apparently avoid discriminating or offending anybody.

I’m calling BS on that way of thinking.  Why is it that we should (and must) express our well wishes to other special holidays, but cannot share the same courtesy for Christmas?

I have friends from many different religions, and none of them seem offended when Christmas is mentioned, and they wish me a Merry Christmas.  I’m just as respectful for their holidays and will offer them my well wishes for their special days.

Some shops are even banning Christmas decorations such as Nativity scene, but will happily put up the Menorah.  I don’t see a problem showing baby Jesus in the manger, while the wise men are holding a Menorah.

For many, saying Merry Christmas may not even be a religious statement, but rather a celebration for the family, and admiration for Santa Claus.

Treat people the way you want to be treated.  This also means respect other religious holidays, without blocking out Christmas.  It does not give you the right to send a Merry Christmas card to people who do not believe in your holiday, but I may send a card to my Jewish friends wishing them Happy Hanukkah.

If this trend continues, then one day we are going to be a sanitised country, where we don’t celebrate any holidays in public.  We have to show that we are proud of being Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and other cool religions.  We have to be able to celebrate and respect our holidays – that does not mean blocking them out with saying ‘Happy Holidays’.

Listen, if the atheists would have some sort of special day, then they are welcome to celebrate it too. They seem to be busy blocking everyone else.  I guess if they don’t have a special day, then other people can’t enjoy their days.  To me that is just rude and inconsiderate.

Anyway, Merry Christmas my friends … and Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Mawlid, and enjoy all the other special holidays. Don’t hold back celebrating your special days.

Merry Christmas – hope you’re not offended

123ae2681b367cb92eb1d77ec787fdafIt is obvious – we live in a World were freedom of speech has become a misused verb.  It has lost its value and has been replaced by an exaggerated use of political correctness, which is driven into us by the media and daily routines.

Heck, even this blog might be considered inappropriate and offend people.  It may even go viral, but somehow I doubt it.  It’s just a post written by a middle class white immigrant dude, who’s enjoying life and living the American Dream.

What do I mean?

People can no longer express opinions, be assertive or even be proud of their heritage without worrying about how people might react.  We are stepping on glass, and at times that prevents us from being creative and drive progress.

Personally, I could care less what color, religion and political views you have, as long as you treat people the same way you want to be treated.  It’s rather simple really.

In an ideal World, we respect each others believes and traditions.  Just because you have a Christmas tree in your front-garden, and greet people with ‘Merry Christmas’ does not mean that you are attempt to offend people.  Heck, you are just happy and want to pass on your happiness to others no matter background.

  • I say Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends and Happy Eid al-Fitr to Muslim friends.
  • I hug my African-American friends just as hard as I hug my Irish/Danish relatives
  • I drink Guinness just like my Irish friends (not as much 🙂 )
  • I love food from around the World, no matter who cooked it
  • I’m utterly amazed with cultures and sights when travelling

We have to be careful we don’t put up too many obstacles for people to enjoy each others company. Some people will always be offended, and they will never be happy.

It’s like dealing with Father Jack (Father Ted series) or Archie Bunker (All in the Family series).  You just can’t make them happy no matter what you do.  But, let’s be polite to each other, respect each others celebrations and traditions.

So, my words to you during the festive season “Merry Christmas y’all.  I love you all and hope you will have lots of love in the future”.

While we wait for Xmas

xmas treeThe tree has been nicely decorated, food prepared, gifts almost wrapped and the kids are restless – it’s a few hours before the Christmas party starts and a few more hours until the man in the red suit drops down the chimney to deliver presents.

So, how do we ‘kill’ the hours until the big moment?

Well, I had prepared the Xmas feast in advance so I did’t have to stress around while trying to calm down three very impatient kids screaming for snacks, Santa and roasted duck.  That also left me time to do many other things while we waited.

Due to my dear wife’s childish behaviour when it comes to Xmas presents, I have to leave it to the very last minute to avoid a large scale search and rescue mission.  If she senses the smallest present for her in the house, she will not let anything stand in her way to find said present.  And, it doesn’t matter that she has three kids who look on in amazement that their mummy is turning into a she-hulk for her presents.

The day before Christmas my youngest (3 year old) and I drove off to get the meat for our Xmas dinner from our local meat collector, and we decided to pick one present for my wife.  Not that she would notice, given all roads and shops were pretty packed with Christmas shoppers.  It would be a natural delay.

My wife had instructed me not to bring the 3-year old to any mall, as she would get lost.

After being gone from the house for about 27 minutes, the first text message arrived on my cool yellow iPhone 5C, asking me to come home.  It was as if the all-seeing eye had spotted me leaving the butcher.  In reality, my dearest South-American flower had tracked my movements using ‘Find My iPhone‘ and knew exactly where I was!  Is that not a breach of privacy?  Not in her book. Drastic measures had to be taken for the security of our daughter.

16 text messages later I returned to the house, only to be greeted by a displeased wife.  Honestly, we had not been near any mall, just a small speciality shop that did not entail lingerie or diamonds.

World-war-zThe following day my oldest daughter and I drove off to the nearest mall to get the last few presents, and having only just seen ‘World War Z‘, it was pretty clear that some strange occurrence had happened.

Shortly after having parked and left the car, we were overtaken by a small group of elderly men, all running towards the nearest Sears, and they didn’t care that they knocked over a few kids on their way.

A few more middle aged men came running towards us, with a frantic look in their eyes, which was clearly aimed at Victoria’s Secret shop.  A shop that I do not dare enter as my wife will literally maim me – assuming I had drooled over the latest VS model.

Inside Macy’s we were almost crushed by a herd of zombie like men “running” to the perfume counter, grabbing the nearest gift set,  while we were opening the heavy glass doors.

These mindless drones were circulating the shopping areas as vultures or Crebain of Dunland scouting the hood for great deals.  We men are not great at planning ahead, so we end up leaving everything to the last minute – panicked aimless movements, empty stare, frothy sides of the mouth, tense muscles, less facial expressions than humpty and still no clue as to get our wives.

As we arrived home, the kids fired up the Xbox, my missus laid out the clothes for mass later and I trotted into the kitchen to assume the role of Jamie Oliver, preparing the various dishes so it’ll be easy to heat up later.

All we had to do now was wait for dinner and pressies.

Merry Christmas y’all!