A Christmas Tree Named Jimmy

Much like the annual Battle for the Halloween McNuggets, there is a battle that rages in my family each year as we decorate for Christmas.

(I’m sure that this surprises none of you that my family can’t even fucking decorate for a holiday without wanting to maim each other.)

This battle, however, is slightly less violent than the one for the Halloween McNuggets because it involves my brother and my mother rather than my brother and me. For years my mother has been trying to convince my brother that having an artificial Christmas tree would be just as nice as having a real one only without the hours of work that it takes to string hundreds of lights in its flimsy branches or the mess of pine needles everwhere. Of course the irony here is that my brother bitches about having a real tree but he doesn’t do shit to help decorate it.

My mother finally won the battle though because, since I’m at my mother’s this Christmas and I have a beautfiul artificial tree that would otherwise be sitting in the attic, she insisted that we use my tree this year. I was thrilled because with being the writer who works from home, a large portion of the decorating would fall to me, and not only is a fake tree easier to decorate than a real tree, my tree is also pre-lit. Boo-yah!

But then I should know that nothing is ever that easy for me.

I was opening the Christmas tree branches last week when I looked up to see a large section at the top of the tree had gone out.

What the hell?

half out tree, half lit tree

Not my tree, but I feel their pain.

My tree is supposed to be a closed circuit system which means that if one bulb goes out the rest of the string will stayed on.

“It has to be a bad bulb,” my mother insisted.
“No it’s a closed circuit!” I insisted right back. “It’s got to be a fuse.”
Mummas gave me a skeptical look.
Don’t anybody move! Hold it right there! The fuse is out,” I rumbled. ((Bonus points if you get that quote.))

Thirty minutes later I walked into the dining room in defeat.
“I tried replacing the fuse, but it wasn’t that,” I grumbled.
“Where did you get a spare fuse?” my mother asked suspiciously.
“I took the one that was in the light of the Christmas star tree topper.”
“Aaaaaaaaah!” my mother shrieked.
“Calm down! I put the other fuses in it so it’ll still work… I think.”
Mumma gave me another skeptical look. “It’s definitely a bad bulb now,” she added. “You’re going to have to take out each bulb and see which one isn’t working.”
“Like hell! Those lights are a bitch to pull out!” And then I felt my pupils dialate as the truth dawned on me. “Holy shit!” I gasped. “Despite our best efforts our tree has unionized! One bulb decided not to work and they all followed suit.”
“We can just string a single set of lights in the dead zone,” my mother suggested ignoring me since she has long since because used to my absurd declarations.
“Oh no we won’t!” I yelled.”There’s no unionization in this tree! I don’t know what these fucking bulbs want since they only have to work one month a year! That’s it! I’m going maffia on Jimmy’s ass and he’s getting back to work or getting thrown off a bridge!”

prolight keeper

Reach for the sky, Jimmy!

And in true maffia fashion, my problem was solved with a gun.

After deciding that I wasn’t going to accept be pushed around by my unionized tree, I jumped onto the faithful Interbutz (the second time that he has saved my ass at Christmas time) and looked up the best way to find out which of my non-working bulbs was the union leader. The most recommended solution was the PROLight Keeper Gun which would test the electrical current on the string of bulbs to find where the circuit was broken.

Jimmy refused to cooperate with the first electric method where you attach the gun to the string of lights and fire away–this is supposed to be the easiest method so naturally it wouldn’t work–but then I tazered him with the metal end of the gun and he finally gave up the leader. I ripped that sucker out and I’m happy to say that the rest of the bulbs went back to work after that.

It was only later that I realized that there were more than just rebellious bulbs involved in this scandal.

elf on the shelf, christmas tree

I’ve named him “Brat”.

Son of a bitch.

FYI, entries for the giveaway have ended and I’ll be announcing the winner later this week!

Also my latest BirchBox video is up and as usual I have to be all arrogant as usual and say that even if you don’t give a mummer’s fart about makeup, the video is rather entertaining. There’s a shoutout to my Wonder Twins in there.

(The blooper reel is coming soon.)

Christmas With The Kat Sidhes

christmas insanityChristmas this year was marked by slutty shoes, squid, my dog and a bunch of hoes.  And this is tame by my family’s standards.

I was still recovering from a hellacious battle with food poisoning, my grandmother was sick, my brother was late, and mother was sick and late and upset for unhilarious reasons, so Christmas Eve was rather subdued.  It was kinda like going into a mental asylum right after the patients’ doping drugs had kicked in.

My aunt, BFF, and Kira, however, were bouncing off the fucking walls and provided the majority of material for this sequel to A Very Katsidhe Christmas.  Like that post, this one looks long, but it’s all conversation so it goes quickly.

I’d already shared the first trauma of the evening in Sixty Squid A-Screaming because finding a box full of intact squid was enough to warrant a post of its own, so I’ll just jump right ahead to where BFF arrived and helped me clean the squid.

***

The mail slot on my front door opened, followed by kissy noises made through it and Kira’s subsequent furious barking heralding the arrival of BFF.

“The squid were whole!” I immediately screamed as he walked in the door, “I’m talking eyes, tentacles, sand!

The poor man barely had time to get his coat off before I was yanking him into the kitchen, pissing Kira off in the process since I was robbing her of her requisite greeting rubs.

My grandmother, aunt and cousin, M., arrived about half an hour later.

“The squid were whole!” I again screamed by way of a greeting, and then filled them in on the gory details.

“You did good cleaning up the puke stain from the carpet, Kat,” my aunt remarked eyeing the scheme of the crime, “I cleaned it as best I could and then just dumped Mop N’ Glow on the area so it wouldn’t smell.”

“I know, that was a good idea.  I felt horrible that you had cleaned up as much as you did though,” I told her.

“It was really thick, too,” my aunt continued, “I just closed my eyes and held my breath.”

“Uh…huh, yeah I think it’s time to open the wine now,” I told BFF and M.

After a glass of wine and giving the savages the first course–Crab and Asparagus Soup–everything was pretty calm.  Except for Kira.

When Kira was a puppy, she barked at my aunt and my smartass aunt barked back at her.  Kira has never forgiven her for this and as such she barks and growls whenever my aunt moves an inch.  Since I was in the kitchen, and Kira knew I was too busy to execute any threats, my shouts of “Kira hush!” were completely ignored and she continued to growl and glare daggers at my aunt until my mother showed up and distracted her.

“The squid were whole!” I screamed at my mother when she walked in the door.

I had just finished frying said squid and put them on the table along with the spaghetti and marinara sauce.  My aunt got her spaghetti at which point Kira suddenly forgot her grudge and wanted to be besties with her.  In other words, Kira wanted my aunt’s spaghetti.

Kira knows a number of tricks including sit, shake, high-five, and down, but one of her most impressive is her ability to speak.  If you ask Kira to speak, she doesn’t bark but will usually say either “hello” or “hearf” which I take to mean “here” as in “put some food here”.  Lately though Kira has been making a new sound that sounds suspiciously like “hoe”.

As Kira pawed at my aunt and wagged her tail my cousin suddenly asked, “Kira, what is your aunt?”*

“Hoe,” Kira responded.

(Yes, my dog has incredible timing which you know if you’ve read this entry.)

The thing is though, that Kira gets so much attention–and usually food–for saying this that once she starts she will keep saying “hoe” all night, thus Kira continued to smack my aunt with her paw and call her a hoe.

I ignored the debacle and told BFF that the next dish was almost ready.

“I’m not eating anything called a snot-knocker!” my grandmother suddenly announced.

“What?  What the hell is a snot-knocker?” I boggled at her.

“You just said that the snot-knockers were almost ready to come out of the oven.”

“The croissants!  I said that the croissants are almost ready to come out of the oven!”

“Hoe,” said Kira as she nudged at my aunt.

My aunt ignored Kira and instead asked my mother how she could stand wearing the hooker-heeled shoes she had worn that night. (I get my love of slutty boots from nowhere strange.)

“Because she’s a real woman,” BFF answered for my mother.

“Haha! And what am I?” my aunt responded.

“Hoe,” Kira reminded her.

(My dog is a fucking genius, I swear.)

My brother finally arrived, but at that point I was getting tired and cranky, so instead of greeting him with a scream about the squid, I snapped at him that it was nice of him to finally show up.

“You’re lucky I came at all!  You still owe me restitution!” he told me.

“Restitution for what?” my mother asked.

“Last week we saw that girl that Kat was going to hook me up with, and the girl told us that she had just had a three-way with her new boyfriend!  If Kat hadn’t waited to hook us up that could have been me, but noooo she had to wait.”

“That’s sick!” my mother gasped.

“Hoe,” Kira agreed.

(I say again, a fucking genius.)

“Kat owes me restitution!” my brother pointed an accusing finger at me, and I was about to say something really snarky when my mother interrupted.

“Gator, is that the kind of girl that you really want?  To do that sort of thing!  And she’s not even married!”

At which point we all nearly choked from laughing so hard.

“You’re right, Mom, you should definitely wait until you’re married to have a threesome!” I howled through my laughter.

“That’s not what I meant!” my mother turned red.

I returned to the kitchen to finish the last dish when BFF turned and told me, “You know, Kat if you were a real woman you would be wearing heels while you were in here cooking, too.”

“Yeah, well, we know I’m not one of those,” I told him as I grabbed a piece of Cod with my bare hand and gobbled it down whole and finished cooking.

***

I’ve been asked by readers how I remember exactly what people have said when I’m regaling ya’all with conversations I’ve had with, say, my family for example.

I can answer this questions by citing a quote from “Psychology  and Aging”:

Posttraumatic stress disorder is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma.”

So there you have it.

*We were actually able to video this but it features family members who don’t want to be publisized so I’m going to try and edit it and then post it.

The Year in Review 2011 Post

I usually avoid writing about events that I know every other writer is talking about on their blogs, but I’ve been doing the Year in Review thing for many a New Year’s now, so I’m making an exception.  I’m actually happy that this is a blogging trend and would probably follow it even if I had not been doing it for years because I’ve really loved reading everyone’s reflections on the past year.  This Year in Review is a little different than the previous years though because it was it was one year ago today, I started seriously blogging.   As a result, I don’t need to chronicle the events of 2011 in detail since most of the major ones are listed in the archives, that thing to the left that I call the “Athenæum” because I love ridiculously obscure words.  Instead I’m going to reflect a bit on how those events affected me.

Oh dear God she’s going to get introspective.

Yeah, this is likely gonna be one of those entirely skippable entries since I’ll babble and emote to the point that the entry will be just a squishy mess of fucking feely mushy mush that will make your teeth hurt.  Don’t worry, the next entry will be back to holy-shittery as usual though.  To those wise peeps who are jumping off at this point of the entry, I just want to say Happy New Year!  Thank you for helping make my year rock out with its cock out.~

Now on with the mushy-mush, heavy, thinky shit.

WARNING:  LAST CHANCE TO RUN BEFORE I START SENTIMENTAL BABBLING!

Writing has always been a huge part of me.  I was about four years old when I began drawing pictures and making up stories to go along with them.  Unfortunately, since I seemed to have a natural gift for writing pretty well, I took the skill for granted and never pushed myself to become better.  I think this had to do with my most hated emotion and the one that I seem to be fucking constantly battling: fear.  I was afraid to find out that “pretty well” was the best that I could do.  I was afraid that, while I might be a star in the Little League, that I could never compete in the Majors.  I’d done too much stagnating during the past five years though, and it was time to either face the truth if I sucked, or to stop making excuses and write like I’ve always wanted to do.  For whatever reason, I chose to blog as a means to figure out if my writing was shit or not, and it’s one of the best things I have ever done.

I’ve experienced several devastating losses in 2011, the first and the one with the largest impact was losing the job I had held for nearly ten years.  To fully appreciate what a loss this was you would have to know how impossible it is for me to stay in one place for very long, let alone ten years.  That alone is indication of how much the place meant to me, but also, losing my job resulted in the loss of many things such as a steady income, health insurance, several friends who I would no longer see every day, and just security in general.

2011 also saw the loss of a dear friend, one whom I still go to text when I have an urge to say something stupid and be called mental.  I could say more about her loss, but honestly it’s one that I’m still dealing with and don’t want to talk about.  Suffice to say it’s been pretty shitty.

If I had experienced either of these losses in the previous year, they probably would have been enough to send me spiraling back down into the walking ghost phase that I had been living since 2006, but fortunately this year had been enriched in ways that I could have never imagined.

What I’m getting to in a much longer route than I had anticipated was that this blog has made the difference for me this year.  Oh my God that sounds so fucking sappy.  On a writing level, it helped me to maintain a better–though still not brilliant–writing schedule.  It’s also given me some confidence that my writing might not be completely crappy given the amount of positive feedback that I’ve received about it.  My writing even led to my blog getting BONed, a honour that I’m still reeling over.  And if someone had told me that by the end of the year that I would have 800 people following my writing, I would have called them a filthy name.  It makes me think that perhaps my writing doesn’t suck.

On a personal level, I have formed some fucking brilliant relationships, and that is as amazing, if not even more amazing given my guarded nature, than the writing progress.  Jewels, Randy, Nicki, even S.O., and quite a few others that I’ve mentioned in past entries (see my Blog roll for more), were all people that I did not know a year ago, and cannot imagine not having in my life now.  They, and all of you dear readers, are a blessing that I never, ever saw coming.

patron, tequila

Drinking baby Patrons.

I’ll wrap this squishy package up by saying that while 2011 punched with some heavy fists, I was also held by some gentle hands.  The glass of Tequila is always half full.

Unless it’s my glass, in which case it’s empty.

Not because I’m a pessimist, I just love Tequila.

Best Wishes for Happiness, Health and Kicking ass for you all!

Slàinte! (<—Scots Gaelic spelling, as opposed to my usual Irish version, in honour of Auld Lang Syne)

Sixty Squids A-Screamin’

Okay, maybe there weren’t sixty squid, but it certainly felt like there were at least that many as I was pulling their little corpses apart.

But let me back up a bit.

As I stated back in this grinchy post, I do the Feast of Seven Fish thing for my family on Christmas Eve because it makes perfect sense for an Irish/German/Lenape chick who doesn’t cook all year to follow an Italian custom which involves cooking seven courses in one night.

Last year was the first time that I had attempted this feat and while it went really well, I did note things that I would do differently to make it easier on myself next year.  Armed with those notes, I figured that this year would be a breeze, but then I should know better by now.

The first wrench in the monkey works this year came from my infamous “part-time” job and the fact that everyone except myself had quickly written on the schedule that they couldn’t work on Christmas Eve once we found out that the doctor planned to have hours that day.  I was pretty pissed off given that, unlike my coworkers who just didn’t want to work that day, I had actual shit to do on Christmas Eve, so I wrote on the schedule that I would work but I didn’t give a fuck if there was an office full of patients that I was leaving at 12:30.  (I didn’t write that exactly, but they got the drift.)

Having to work on Christmas Eve was bad enough, but the true fuckery came from the very ill-timed bout of food poisoning that I chronicled in my last entry.  It made it so that not only was the cleaning that I had planned on doing during the week before Christmas not done, but in fact my apartment was even messier than usual since I was too weak to do much more than let my empty bottles of Gatorade and half-eaten bowls of soup accumulate around me for five days.

I ran home after work on Saturday, did my hair in pin curls (based on learning last year that cooking for hours over a hot stove in a tiny apartment leaves you hair looking like hell.  It’s also annoying), and cleaned up my apartment.

cleaning squid, squid

SURPRISE!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE! YOU GET TO PULL OUR CORPSES APART!

Once the worst of my messiness had been cleaned, I scrambled to the kitchen to start on the fish.  I opened the first package of fish and then jumped back and screamed like a fucking girl as a box of intact squid stared up at me with their black accusing eyes.

What the fuck is this?!” I howled.

I had bought all of the seafood fresh, but in much the way that the salmon had been cut into a filet and was not a whole fish, I had expected the squid to be dissected into tubes.  However I didn’t have a choice but to get over my squeamishness though because there had to be seven fish and at 4:30 pm on Christmas Eve, there were hardly going to be any places open to get a replacement fish.  Instead I raced to my computer and googled “how the fuck do I clean a squid”.

((I don’t know how many of you know how to clean a squid, and I don’t know how many of you really want to know how to clean a squid, but today’s your lucky day because you’re going to get a brief breakdown.  Consider it a late Christmas present.))

To start, you have to grasp the squid just above the eyes where the body is coming out of the tube.  Ideally you want to rip the majority of the body out of the tube, but since these squid were a little icy, the body tore a bit more than it usually would.  You are then supposed to reach in the tube and “eviscerate” the squid, but since my squid bodies weren’t separating themselves as cleanly as they should have, I had more to “eviscerate” than normal.  It didn’t help matters that I had been unable to even try touching the squid again until after I had donned a pair of rubber gloves and they made it so that I couldn’t feel inside the tube all that brilliantly.  When I finally had the first tube sufficiently rid of its contents, I grabbed my cooking scissors and cut it into rings.  When something pink dropped into the bowl along with the pieces of squid, and I realized that I had cut my glove and was being a pussy, I ditched the gloves and continued dissecting my squid.

squid diagram

Handy, dandy diagram

cleaning squid

THANK YOU, BESTIE!

The act of having to rip apart squid was bad enough, but what was also stressing me was that the squid-cleaning was throwing me way behind schedule.  I decided to pull all of the squid bodies out of their tubes, since that was the most disgusting part, and then let my BFF who was coming early, finish the cleaning and cutting of the tubes.  I’m sure that BFF appreciated being yanked immediately upon arrival into the kitchen to look at a sink of half-dissected squid.  (Thank you, BFF.)
Overall the Second Annual Feast of Seven Fishes went well–no one threw up and I didn’t set the broiler on fire this year–but I’ve added to the list of things to change for next year and number one is to get CLEANED SQUID.

A final note: My family of course said a number of brain breaking things throughout the night, so an entry of familial what-the-fuckery a la A Very Kat Sidhe Christmas Part Deux will be forthcoming.

A final final note: I’m adding this entry to my List of Shameless Shit because I did number 6: “Act girly or manly in a way you’d normally avoid” by getting so worked up like a priss over some dead squid.