Monday, December 11, 2006

Definition of Ironic: Holiday Edition 2006

You may recall this item I presented to you last Christmas. The irony then was turning the very meaning of the Christmas special and perverting it.
This year, however,
Urban Outfitters is selling a companion piece: The Linus Blanket. If you don't recall the special, Linus, after the tree has been "trimmed" by the gang, lays his blanket around the tree. It's quite a touching moment really, especially if you understand how hard it would be for Linus to do that.
So why is this ironic and what's my issue with it?
For starters, the blanket is thirty-four dollars ($34 for the word challenged). That's one pricey blanket to lay around your twenty-four dollar "pathetic tree" from the same store. I found it almost horrifying last year when they sold the tree, now comes the blanket. What's next? What else can they milk from the special except for action figures and a stage? Imagine:
You, too, can pretend to be Linus delivering the meaning of Christmas to the masses. Maybe you'd rather relive your bad days as (good grief!) Charlie Brown. Only $100 for the it now!
Now...there is a positive side to this irony. Some of the blanket's proceeds do go to charity, and that's great, but it still seems to be polluting (for lack of a better word) the very essence of the special.
The tree? You can still get one, but the blanket is sold out, boys and girls.
Then again what do I know? I'm still waiting for my Channukah Harry Channukah Bush. I could be wrong.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

(Insomniac) Ramblings for the Evening (12/10/2006)

My insomnia is back. I haven't slept much this weekend. On the plus side...well...I have my students to direct my anger at all week.... Ok, I wouldn't do that. No really.

My wife's birthday was on Friday. Every year, I plan a new surprise for her. One year I showed up at her work, and, while she was in a meeting, I laid rose petals all over the floor of her cubicle and then put some roses in a vase on her desk along with some music and a food she wanted.
This year, because of my schedule, it would be impossible to sneak into her work. So...the following ramblings all relate to her birthday and events around them
So without further ado (haven't done this in some time): THE PRICE IS WRONG!
The Gift:
I have found something I hate more than going to the movies (pay attention, Tom): Shopping at a mall.
I wanted to get my wife something special, so, way back in January, I started to pull money from every paycheck. I had enough to buy her something from Tiffany's.
Last Monday, when school was over, I headed over the Edina Galleria.
I have never, in my whole life, felt more out of place than when I was in the Galleria. Even though I had some cash in my pocket, and even though I was wearing my work clothes, I could tell that not wearing a truly "hot" name made me stick out. Several people just stared at me as I passed by.
Beyond that, what is it about shopping that makes people like the living dead. I know that what's George Romero was getting at in Dawn of the Dead, but I didn't get it until that day. People walking in front of me would stop and stare at windows. Then they would walk very slowly while contemplating the most random things. Worse still was when people would be on their phone and walk in the dead center of the lane. How do you go around those people when they weave? See...when a person talks in a movie theatre, you can ask them to shut up, but when a person walks in a way that holds everyone up, you can't just say, "Hey! Walk over there." They just stare.
Even worse, however, is what happened when I made it into the actual Tiffany's store. Every store, if you've never been to one, has security personnel. As soon as I walked in...the guy started following me around. Of course one look at the clientle made it clear why. Suits, expensive dresses, and even tuxedos could be seen around me. There I was in khaki pants and a striped, button-down shirt. I could almost hear the song buzzing in my head:
"One of these things is not like the other....which one is it...LEAB!"
When the guy in front of me finished his purchase, I felt sick. I wanted to spend what I thought was an exorbanent amount, but the guy in front of me spent, and I wish I was lying, $16,000. For those of you who are afraid of numbers, that's sixteen thousand. The price of brand new Hyundai...or something like that. Even worse, however, was the way he bragged about the money he was spending (which shows no's not gentleman-like). He felt compelled to announce to the rest of us that he had bought all this jewelry. When I stepped up and started haggling over price and size, I felt stupid.
I won't tell you how much I spent, but I will tell you that I bought my wife a nice necklace with a diamond centerpiece. This led to part two of the plan....
The Surprise:
With gift in hand, I moved to the next step: surprising my wife. I called her boss (the last person she would think of) and convinced him to help me. His only demand was not to tell his wife, because she would think he's a horrible human being for not being, "so romantic."
So, last Thursday I made my way to her work after the school day (and my club duty) were over. I had everything I needed:
1 mylar balloon
3 dozen roses (yellow, orange, and light green)
1 gift from Tiffany's
1 card (with an evil clown on it...long story)
1 box of chocolates
1 trash bag to hide all evidence
1 bottle of wine (payment to my wife's boss for his help)
1 bottle of water to put in...
1 vase for the flowers
Her boss let me in the building and showed me where her new cubicle is (she moved recently). He left me to go to work.
I tied up the balloon, cut the stems on the flowers and put them in the water, hid the gift, and left some notes around her cube.
After all that work and finding a way to keep my wife from being suspicious, the response I get on her birthday is as follows:
That was nice.
Her co-workers flipped out. One woman asked me if I could teach her husband. Suffice to say, I was hoping for a little more than, "That was nice." I know she was happy, but she also told me she was embarrassed to have all that stuff there in front of her co-workers and boss. Makes it hard to separate home and work.
When work was over, my wife came home to prepare for part three:
The Dinner:
I want to do this in a separate post. I had planned a nice dinner months ago. I had setup a table at Vincent (in downtown Minneapolis) with my wife's favorite wine (a bottle of 2003 Blacksmith Cabernet Sauvignon) as well as flowers spread out all over the table (I have this thing about rose petals). It was canceled on Tuesday of this past week. Why? Because of my wife's boss' Christmas party that was to be held on the same night. That's a whole different post however. Still, I was crushed.
The Bottom Line:
My wife had a good birthday. She was happy. I, however, was just tired and discovered that a ton of hard work can lead to a, "That was nice."
Still, it's about her not me.

Namaste...and happy birthday, honey. I know you'll never read this.

Trash Can Buddy

I hate being sick. I REALLY hate it. The aches, the cough...ugh.
I'm not sick now, but a few weeks ago, I was in really bad shape.
My son is currently in daycare, which means that he's bringing home colds all the time. He comes home one day and coughs. That night, my wife pulls me over and suddenly I'm on hair duty....As in hold her hair while she pukes.
The next morning, I'm hurting. I'm already tired, because I spent the whole night taking care of my wife.
As I walk out to my car to drive to school, I feel that wave of nausea. I'm going to be sick. I had to do something. There was no way that I would make it to a toilet, so I bolted to trash can in the garage. It became my buddy.
Having thrown up, I convinced myself it was just stress.
"Oh...I'm not sick. I'm just stressed. The end of the trimester is coming, I have so many grades to get in, and I have to write tests. That's all this is: stress."
One teeth brushing later, off to school.
First class: no problems. I think I'm in the clear. I'm wrong.
I head over to the Chemistry Lab in order to talk to a colleague about one of my advisee's grades. The lab the kids are performing has them attempting to replicate specific smells. My stomach becomes upset, but I power through it.
After the bell has rung, I quickly get to my classroom and start my Senior English class. The deaf and hard of hearing interpreter I work with comments that I, "appear to be very green." I'm feeling it. Immediately I get the kids to work in groups and bolt from the room. I'm thinking "get to the staff bathroom," over and over again in my mind. I don't make it. When I hit the second floor, my stomach says, "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more."
I hit...another trash can. Here's the embarrassing part: this very can is outside the teacher's lounge and near a classroom...that has it's door open. The kids can hear me. They can't see me, but they can hear me wretching into the can.
The teachers try to convince me to go home, but I can't do it. The logic part of my brain is stupid, because I'm sick.
My rationalization: I drove a half an hour to be here. I'm already here, so I'm not leaving. Made sense at the time.
I return to the class, but stop short of the door noticing that I'm slightly covered in my own vomit, but I hide that fact by spilling water on myself as I enter through the door.
The rest of the day was nearly impossible to make through, but I did stay. During my prep period, I had to vomit again, but I made it to the bathroom this time.
The final two periods of the day, however, were a test of strength. I was close to passing out during my fifth period. Had I not had a podium to lean on, I would have collapsed to the floor at one point.
Sixth period was worse. I told my T.A, "If I pass out, make sure I'm not bleeding...then call the nurse." She stared at me as if I had just told her that I had killed her mother.
"Why are you here?" she blurts.
"Couldn't leave," I respond.
Then comes the part where I show how I'm really an idiot. I stayed for the club I advise. Luckily the kids didn't notice when I passed out sitting at the desk. Fifteen minutes passed with me asleep at the desk, but no one noticed.
That night my wife and I each had a trash can with us. The unfair part was that my son felt great and had a ton of energy. It's hard to play with a baby when your shivering with cold sweats, and the room is moving at the speed of light (damn that's fast). I also had to take the next day off. That angered me more.
So what's the lesson here, kids? If you're sick, don't try to be Superman or Supergirl. Just roll over and let your body heal. might find yourself needing a trash can buddy.