Wednesday, January 22, 2014

981. My Rebound Fling With Santa

Did I ever tell you about this?  It was years ago.  I had just gotten through a bad break-up, and that’s when we started dating. 

What first attracted me to him was his positive attitude—he was always in a good mood.  He just had this way about him, he could light up a room, so to speak.

Kids loved him.  My mom has always said you can tell a lot about a guy’s character by how children and pets react to him.  I didn’t have a child or a pet, but I could see other people’s kids adored him.
And he was thoughtful.  I’d mention I had a tough day at work, and he’d give me a little felt penguin to cheer me up.  My room-mate and I had a fight, and Santa would show up with a tiny plush snowman.  One time I called him when my car died to ask if he could pick me up.  Of course he said yes.  I smiled to see he brought a fuzzy moose with faux suede antlers.   

The longer Santa and I were together, the more shelf space I needed for my stuffed animal collection. 
But it wasn’t the materialism that drove us apart, nor the binge eating. 

Oh, I didn’t tell you about Santa’s weight issues?  He had a sweet tooth.  In fact, he liked to joke that he had his dentist on speed dial.  (This was way in the days before cell phones and iPads, I guess everyone’s on speed dial now.)  He’d have cake for breakfast, cookies for lunch, ice-cream for dinner.  It was the Sugar Channel, 24/7.  At first, that was great.  I crave sweets, too.  But aren’t you supposed to be with someone who makes you a better person, not an obese one? 
The thing that came between us, though, was Santa’s insatiable appetite for attention.  People recognized him everywhere we went, and it got to be a bit much for me.  But S.C. (that was my pet name for him) thrived on attention.  He needed it, like I needed a trip to Hawaii. 

There you have it.  Another of our fundamental differences.  When things started to get serious, we would talk about where we should live, as the long-distance thing was killing me, and he loved the cold and snow.  He’d say, “How about Montana?  Or Alaska?  Do you like Northern Canada?  Have you ever been to Russia?” 
I’d suggest Miami or San Diego and he’d cringe.  He’d say (in that upbeat way of his), “Wow!  Miami is fantastic!  But you know what’s even better?  Greenland!”  There was just no arguing with him. 

He bought me a new coat, or I should say he had a friend make it for me.  He had a lot of “friends” that worked for him, he never told me his exact line of work except that is was “seasonal” and involved “import/ export.”  Frankly, the way he hid the details of his life, I thought he was involved in dealing drugs or embezzling funds or something shady like that. 
Turns out he was married. 

He had been upfront about things when we met, saying that he was separated.  His wife was a bit of a control freak, and the other thing was that they couldn’t have kids.  I don’t know if I mentioned this, but Santa was really crazy about kids.  It broke his heart to think he might not be able to have kids of his own.  He brought up kids a lot.
Santa:  MOV, how many kids would you like to have someday? 

Me:  Oh, I don’t know.  I never really thought about it.  One.  Maybe one, or I guess I could have two.  Definitely no more than two. 
Santa:  I want 15. 

Me:  Did you say 15!?  Are you out of your mind?  How would you pay for 15 kids? 
Santa:  Oh, I’m pretty financially secure.  Money is not a problem. 

See?  There was that secrecy thing again. 
He showed up on my doorstep one morning with a giant toy polar bear.  That’s when I knew something was wrong. 

“MOV, I don’t know how to tell you this, but Carol and I are getting back together.  I’ve really enjoyed our time together.  You’ve made me feel young and merry, but I miss Carol and I need to give our relationship a chance.  You are a wonderful person, MOV, and you deserve someone better than me.” 
That was it.  That was his whole explanation.  But instead of feeling like I’d been kicked and dragged by reindeer, I actually felt good.  That was part of S.C.’s charm, allure, and charisma:  he would take his idea and make you think it was your idea.  How could you be mad at someone like that?    

I haven’t thought about Santa in years, but the other day I found an old picture of us.  I was sitting on his lap, and we looked happy. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

980. Free Book Giveaway!

I am in a crazy mood today, so I am going to do something I have never done:  have a giveaway!  Yep, that’s right, I will be giving away 10 free autographed copies of my book,  “Epic Mom,” to the first 10 people who comment and answer this one simple question: 
Why do you like my blog? (You will immediately be disqualified if you say, “Because you give away free books.”  That is a dumb answer and does not count.  You are also disqualified if you are my dad or sister—you should have to pay for my books like everyone else.)
So, if you see that you are in the first 10 for comments, then go ahead and leave me your email info so I can contact you privately* and directly to send you the book (I promise I am not a stalker). 
Also, re-reading that first paragraph, it sounds like each person gets 10 books.  NO.  The first 10 people each get a book.  Got it? 
Thanks!  I look forward to reading your comments!  (And the more complimentary, the better.  I could use a good jolt of kind words to start my New Year's right.)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

979. Funny Rhymes with Money (and Sunny)

When I tell people I am a writer, they immediately assume that I write for something real, like John Grisham, Shakespeare, or the Wall St. Journal.  When they find out I write humor, they are briefly excited, expecting me to say that I am Kathy Griffin’s lead writer, or that I did consulting for Seinfeld when it was on the air.  They seem vaguely disappointed to discover that I write a blog.

The conversation typically goes like this: 
“So, what do you do?” 

“I write humor.” 
“You do?!?  That is so cool!  Say something funny!” 

“Umm …”
“Oh, are you going to use things that I say?  Am I giving you good material?  Will I be famous, and will you mention me in the credits?” 

“I don’t know …”
“Who do you write for, anyway?”

“I just write for myself, on my blog.”
“Blog*?”  *The word blog is said like someone might say “Tuna flavored ice-cream?”

“Who pays you?” 

“No one.” 
“You write for free*, then?” *This is the point where they are losing interest, and if we are at a holiday party, they start scanning the room for someone more interesting to talk to.

“Well, technically the idea is not that I want to write for free, but because I have no ads on my blog, by my own choice—I find them to be distracting—I don’t get paid.”
“You make zero, then?  Why don’t you volunteer?  My mother-in-law’s nursing home needs someone to edit their monthly newsletter, and it is for free, but you might make some contacts!”

“Umm, no, thanks.  I actually have written a couple of books, based on my blog, so I am not really looking to edit a newsletter, but it is a really nice offer.” 
“Books?  You write books?  So you must make some money.  Have you been on any talk shows about your books?  Have you thought about trying out for a reality show?”

“Not really.” 
“In that case, seriously, you should consider the newsletter.  It’s not all obituaries, there are some fun events.”

“I appreciate it, but no.”
“I know the director personally, I can totally get you an interview.”

“It’s not all doom and gloom, the name of the nursing home is ‘Sunny Skies’ and they have sports night and dancing!”

Here I give a weak smile, a smile that says, Next time someone asks me what I do I will stick with “I am a stay-at-home mom, and I mostly do laundry and make peanut butter sandwiches.” 

p.s. Happy New Year, 2014!