Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).

13 December 2015

My Christmas Present Onion (Layers)

I AM NOT COMPLAINING, I AM JUST SAYING (for your entertainment).
There's a difference.

E.g. This is just saying:
<Listens to Westlife on radio>
Ha! This suuuucks!
I'd rather this wasn't happening!
But hey ho!
<Hums along happy enough now has shared thoughts>

E.g. This is complaining:
<Listens to Beiber on radio>
It hurts! It hurts! OWWWWY OW OW!!!
<Starts hitting the radio, whilst stuffing bread into ears>
He's in my mind! I am being polluted!
<Gets hammer>
... Can't. Bare. It...
<Smashing occurs>
Ahh.... better...
<Radio stops working>

But oh my Xmas-shizzle, is this Christmas requiring a lot of planning.
Team Parents (yay!) have had to call a lot of planning meeting of late. I love the tea and biscuits at the meetings, the organiser is HOT!, but they can drag on a bit and I always wish I took notes, because I seem to forget everything later, or stuff is made up.
The present requirements for this year, are well, complex...

How about a bit of coal for Boy8?
'Hmmm... not sure he will 'want' coal'
Bag of coal?
'Still probably no'
Does he like food?
'Er... sometimes'
<Both sigh>
'He's probably thinking more a toy?'
Pie-toy? That's weird...
Miss4 into coal?
'She's probably thinking toy too...'
Cool, they can share
'Probably hoping for one each'
TWO TOYS! Jinkies!
<Gets a look for Jinkies>
I've been watching Scooby-Doo
<Still getting a look>
With Boy8! <Is lying>
And BabyBoy1?
'er... Coal is fine'

So obviously as we are all on the naughty nice list we will all be getting a FC present.
After last years mind change near disaster gate regarding Boy8's present. The letter to Santa rules were laid out very plainly this year.

a) Once the letter has been sent / burnt it CANNOT BE CHANGED.
It's like ordering with Debenhams on-line, once your order is in, it cannot be changed. Santa and one of the UK leading high-street stores (sigh!) web site, seem to have the same administration system. I forgive Santa coz well he has to draw a line somewhere. But Debenhams WTF! (Why can't I change my order? I had had too much wine and was drunk clicking, a mere 20 seconds later I wanted to change me order (second thoughts about the full scale R2-D2 for Mrs. Amazing, she probably only wants one), why can I not change it online? Do your computers (servers) work differently to everyone elses? DO THEY!) (the answer is no).

b) There is no cash alternative. Christmas is not a financial transaction (and never will be, unless you are going travelling).

c) You may only submit one letter per year. The administration staff get a bit cranky if they have to update your records constantly.

d) No weapons (Unless you need a sword for sword class).

e) None of the smegging pets need to write to Santa. And no the fish doesn't get a present. EVER.
The Cat may.

Fig 1. FC's present and stocking requirements

(The letter in a circle is to indicate that Boy8 and Miss4 have already written and chimney-sent their letters to FC asking for loot stuff).

As you can see, each child gets a present from Santa and a stocking. 
Me and Mrs. Amazing tend to get over looked by Santa for a present (we are naughty together sometimes), but we do get a stocking. BabyBoy1 doesn't send a letter as he is illiterate (still!).
The Cat gets a dotty line as he tends only to get a present if anyone else remembers he needs one.
The fish gets nought. HA HA!

Now then, that present requirement probably seems quite reasonable.
Let's add in Team Parents (yay!) presents.

Fig 2. Team Parents (yay!) present and stocking requirements

Team Parents (yay!) get each child a present. Nice. 
Animals and livestock are out of our remit.
Note that the Team Parents (yay!) presents are smaller than FC's. We don't like to upstage the big guy. I am always DELIGHTED that FC gets the most present glory. As it should be.
Logistically up to here I am fine, my mind can cope with this. This is reasonable amount of presents I feel. 
It's the next layer that seems to cause Brainzilla problems...

Fig. 3. The kids presents to each other, and us AKA the start of the madness

Even as I draw this now, I realise BabyBoy1 hasn't got his Mum a present! (and again two days later!)
AND Miss4, whilst I know what she is getting Mrs. Amazing, I haven't actually ordered it.
<Goes on-line in mad panic>
<Gets distracted and buys booze and chocolate for self>

I have mentioned to a few people, enemies mainly
That the amount Team Parents (yay!) have to organise, is a lot. Some have responded with understanding and compassion.
'Ooooooo that's a lot of organise'
'Poor you'

Etc... As you would expect.

But others <sigh>... respond strangely with.:
<Snippy> 'Well it's your own fault for having three foul child spawner from Satan's own flock!'
Yes <Is confused, having listened to a hour of their tedious job complaints>
... I suppose it is <Fake smiles>
It's also my own fault for expecting simple, easy, empathy and compassion from you
Let's speak again later... some time in the future.. think personal robots...

A little support surely isn't that hard?

Anyhoo ho ho ho...

As fig 3. clearly shows there's quite a bit to work out and plan.
We hit the internet hard and ordered away. Once most things turned up we had another meeting (!) where we undid all the boxes, checked the right things were here, and then laid everything out on the bed in lines to make it easy for me to understand.
A few things were shuffled about, but we were 75% done.
Mrs. Amazing made a new list and we started operation 'stuff we forgot'.

Bet you thought that was everyone?
Nope... Grandparents...

Fig 4. Spaghetti Grandparents

Hurts doesn't it.

This is the 'kids' chance to say thank you for all the care and support the grandparents provide through out the year. It tends to be a hand made (by child) gift that says we love you.
Without the grandparents helping out, Team Parents (yay!) ship would have sunk many years ago. Dramatically and with all hands going down.
So these are important presents.

Fig. 5 All the other relatives AKA when Brainzilla hides...
(Really it’s Jackson Pollock's- Wide Walls… but shhhhh)

OK fine. That's not really the image. 
Basically that information cannot be drawn on a computer. I tried and it blew up my computer. I tried a bigger super computer, and that blew up too.
But missing is: My siblings (kids aunts and uncles), siblings wives and husbands (kids aunts-in-law and uncles-in-law), my mnieces and nephews (kids cousins), my god-children and my god-parents, close friends and a man called Ed.
Mrs. Amazing's additional list is similar but she has more friends on it, me, and she still has grand parents living.
I've made a rough count, and it comes to roughly 57 presents. Shiiiit
No wonder we hand make so many presents! 
Yes we could skip a few. But we don't want to.
We like giving stuff. The impossible trick is doing it on the cheap.

As I said at the beginning I am not complaining.
I love giving presents to people we love. I love thinking about what they may like, and what might make them smile. It's a very personal thing you can do for someone.
I always feel quite upset if I cannot think of a present for someone, as though I don't know them well enough. Still, whenever that happens, there's still wine, beer, a mix tape, pie, chocs, dead arms...
The Christmas logistic may be close to madness, and very close to what ol' Brainzilla can cope with.
But I wouldn't change for all the life sized R2-D2's in the world.
And secret Santa's suck.

<Dusts self off and packs up keyboard, Tale done> ...
<Goes to make a cup of tea>
<Whistles randomly>
<Raids chocolate cupboard>
<Smiles at tree, grabs chocolate off tree, makes it look like the kids took it>
<Sits and relaxes to eat chocolate>
<Isn't thinking about much and is happy everything is planned brilliantly and covered>
<When Brainzilla pipes up...>


58 presents.