I Gave My 4-Year-Old Nephew a Drum Set for Christmas

NOTE OF CAUTION: This is a tale of two nephews. The story doesn’t make sense to begin with, but it makes even less sense if you think I’m talking about the same nephew.

Now, you read that title and you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow, Lorca, you’re a bitch,” or, “What has your sister ever done to you?” and you’re actually right on both of those points, but that’s not the case here. My sister was totally on board with this plan, and I happened to have an extra drum set lying around that he would love, complete with two–count ’em, TWO–cymbals! The best part is she now gets to foster his musical creativity (an hour away from where I happen to live) and my kid no longer owns a drum set. It’s a win in every direction.

But ah, the karma gods of Christmas got me back. My closest living nephew, a young man who is decidedly not a little boy and therefore has evolved past the loud-Christmas-gift stage, unwrapped a present last night from some other hopefully well-intentioned person in the room, and took off down the hall with delight to go put it to good use.

When he came back, I stopped dead in my tracks, certain that a gift I’d bought my husband had been broken on the trip over to my in-laws’ house. The room filled with a horrible, eye-watering scent that caused tiny flames to erupt inside my nostrils. I was certain the expensive doe urine I’d bought him for an upcoming hunting trip (that’s a story for another blog post) had leaked out of its tiny bottle and was at that very moment filling the room with noxious fumes.

No, someone had given my teenaged nephew… AXE BODY SPRAY.

My darling nephew had doused himself in this concoction under the mistaken impression that it would be a good idea, or possibly because he thought the commercials were true and half-naked women would throw themselves through the front window like a team of Black Ops, so attracted by his smell that they couldn’t keep their hands off him. That’s the only version that makes sense, since no one in the room wanted him to smell like anything other than Ivory soap and appropriate amounts of deodorant. Well, except for the yuletide jerk who was fulfilling some dish-best-served-cold against the nephew’s parents for something they’d done, something horrible on par with clubbing baby seals.

It’s possible that it was his own parents who bought it at his request, but there are times when a parent has to look around and think, “I know that’s what he really wants, but it’s not a good idea.” Trust me on this…that’s how I came to own the damn drum set in the first place.

Merry Christmas! I Have a Blog!

So I took a learn-at-home course in chainsaw juggling and cut off my own hands. It turns out I hadn’t actually bothered opening the learn-at-home yoga course and therefore wasn’t quite bendy enough to adapt to typing with my feet. That’s my very good reason for neglecting this blog since an entire season ago. Plus, it’s a way better story than “Now that I’m an author with a twelve-book deal, I’m just way too busy to give my brilliant content away for free.” Even I would want to punch me for that remark.

So I just got really super busy and couldn’t post anything, and besides, publishers hate seeing new blog posts and lots of Facebook selfies when they’re expecting a manuscript. But that smacks of that previous braggy comment, so I won’t go there either.

Lots of things have been happening since my last post, but since none of them involve gorgeous billionaires whisking me off to their red rooms or sparkly vampires, you won’t be seeing my life story played out on a big screen. I did purchase a bottle of urine the other day (and I’m quite pissed–get it? PISSED?!–that the holiday shipping woes mean I won’t get it until next week), so that’s probably going to work its way into a blog post soon, especially if our UPS guy pulls his usual douchy stunt of crushing everything he delivers. Actually, no…that is the story: our UPS guy is a douche and he crushes everything, so I ordered a bottle of urine just for the fun of having him explain that to his bosses.

But per the headline of this post, MERRY CHRISTMAS (or whatever appropriate holiday-themed greeting goes here in your world), and I promise to try to do better keeping this blog alive. It’s been a banner year for our handicapped goldfish, so maybe I can do it.

Dysfunctional Family Christmas Math

Anyone who has read this blog at least twice (or even once, if it was a long post or if it involved making puppets out of fresh roadkill), knows there’s a whole lot of weird taking place. As my holiday gift to you, I want to give you a sneak peek into how the weird happened in the first place. Trust me, it will make me feel better about yourself because you will never again read one of my bizarre stories and worry that something similar could happen to you.

I am writing this from an Army cot in my parents’ living room. My head is actually under their piano. We celebrate Christmas several days prior to actual Christmas because there are a butt-load of atheists in the family and we don’t observe on the actual day out of respect for their beliefs. Wait, their lack of beliefs. Whatever.

It turns out that about 53% of the family consider themselves to be somewhere on the “I’m not a Christian” spectrum, so they are fairly confused about why we’re exchanging gifts and cooking a turkey. Add to that the fact that the remaining 46% who consider themselves to be “believers” actually believe in a wide variety of different things, so there’s some argument as to whether or not Mary stayed a virgin for the rest of her life and if the wise men actually showed up at the manger. (For the record, I’m one of the 18% of us who are Catholic, so trust me…she kept her legs together and the wise men showed up about two years later.)

To keep the festivities interesting, 24% of the people in attendance cannot eat any gluten products or consume any dairy products and 3% of the family members don’t eat root vegetables, so the meal takes a downturn whenever it comes to deciding how to prepare the smashed ‘taters. There is also an ongoing rage-filled argument about how coffee should taste, with an unfortunate majority (77%) insisting that it be so black and thick that it could be used to attach the shingles to the roof.

Here’s where it gets sticky: Santa Claus, or no Santa Claus. We’ll happily respect each others’ religious and dietary beliefs, but the fists are gonna fly when it comes to believing in Santa or not. We are also pretty much evenly divided on the issue, but the 2% majority the pro-Santa crowd holds means that there will be no disparaging remarks about the kids’ Christmas hero.

DISCLAIMER: I’m really, REALLY bad at math, so these figures are completely made up but they feel very, very real. I hope it provides a very calculated look at some of the hurdles that we can manage to overcome, even if it’s only once a year. Trust me, if this crowd can try to get along, world peace is gonna be a breeze.

How Much Did the 12 Days of Christmas Set You Back?

How Much Did the 12 Days of Christmas Set You Back?

My daughter, Tax Write-Off the First, had a class assignment to estimate the total cost of buying all of the presents listed in the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. It started out well, but turned into a fire-hazardous parent-fail before we made it to the five golden rings.

CHILD: What’s a partridge-in-a-pear-tree?

ME: Those are two different things. One’s a bird and the other one is, well, a tree.

CHILD: I’m just putting down fifty cents. (determined scribbling sounds) How much do French hens cost?

ME: Were they free range and humanely killed?

CHILD: I guess so.

ME: Then I wouldn’t know. We can only afford chickens that smothered to death on the fumes of their own poop within the confines of the tiny crate they spent their entire lives in.

CHILD: (eye rolling) I’m guessing a dollar each. I don’t think you know what a calling bird is, so I’ll ask my friend’s mom for that one. How much do gold rings cost these days?

ME: We can’t afford real chicken and you think I know about the street value of gold rings? Okay, but first you have to determine if they are stolen or not.

CHILD: Is Dad busy right now?

ME: Very. What comes after the five golden rings again?

CHILD: Well, the six geese-a-laying and the seven swans-a-swimming are still poultry answers, so I’ll come back to those. What about eight maids-a-milking and nine ladies-dancing?

ME: Hmm, those are tough. You’re getting into minimum wage and labor law issues here. Are the dairy girls in a union?

CHILD: I don’t think so.

ME: That makes it easier. But all the rest of the items on this Christmas wish list involve humans. Unless you plan to get involved in actually purchasing the lords-a-leaping on the black market, you’re going to have to pay these people, either hourly or by the day. And this is Alabama, so you’re going to have to factor in the cost of paying off the cops to look the other way on the new immigration law.


ME: And are they freelance pipers-piping? Remember, any of these people who happen to be performers of any kind you might have to pay the industry standard charged by the artists’ guild.

CHILD: Can you just write me a note saying I lost my homework like you did when I had to paint that solar system project?

ME: Hey, don’t take that tone with me. You know why the solar system project didn’t work out. It’s not my fault that your teacher doesn’t know about Pluto.

Al Gore Made Christmas Suck

Here in the South, this time of year is the season that singlehandedly kills more people than any other, and not just because we get drunk and fall out of our tree stands while deer hunting. According to everyone, the wild fluctuations in weather are responsible for literally all illness. Forget that guy who discovered the germ theory of disease, no. All sickness is caused by the fact that it might be 78 degrees one day and 27 degrees the next, meaning that we in Alabama never know how to dress for the weather. I’m sure it makes sense to someone.

The real problem with the crazy shifts in temperature is that I have been unable to decorate for Christmas this year. I’m not going to stand outside in shorts and a T-shirt and string Christmas lights or hang wreaths from every window. You might already think, “Hell, 80 degrees would be perfect for having to spend three hours in my front yard doing something pointless,” but no. You’re wrong. It’s the festivity issue at stake.

This weather thing is not new. It’s a phenomenon that has been killing azaleas and confusing farm animals for hundreds of years now. But thanks to Al Gore and his movie that I had to sit through, now I know that it’s not just something natural that happens in cycles with the constant warming and cooling of the Earth. Now I know it’s my fault. And your fault. Mostly your fault.

How am I supposed to slather on sunscreen and selfishly stand in my front yard basking in the glow of a sun that is now killing polar bears as we speak, just to toss some Walmart inflatable yard art around my property? It just feels wrong. That’s why I have not flung a single decoration at this point. It’s entirely your fault, Gore, and not at all due to my laziness. I hope you can live with yourself.