Marriage Counseling with an Elf

If you have a kid or some child that visits your home frequently and is over the age of 3, you have an Elf on the Shelf, so you can skip the following debriefing. If you do not know of this phenomenon, let me illuminate you. It is a poorly formed stuffed elf with a hard plastic head that you can barely pose, yet you are expected to contort the thing in all kinds of anthropomorphic ways. The idea is that once you name the elf, it gets its magic and every night flies back to the North Pole to report the child’s behavior to Santa. It returns by the first flicker of the kiddo’s eyes in the morning, but it is always in a new spot. You can’t touch the elf or it will lose its powers. There you have it.

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With a child of 3, this is our first year having an elf. Our daughter named the elf Jingle and every night since Thanksgiving, my husband and I have been positioning Jingle in every room of the house doing every conceivable rated-G activity. A few nights in, it was clear to me that Jingle was sent to us as more than just a way to bribe our child into behaving; she was sent here to be our marriage counselor.

1. She demands teamwork and partnership: “Did you remember to move Jingle?” “Oh! Thanks! I almost forgot. Boy, that would have been bad!” “Asshole.”

2. She fosters our creative thinking: We literally have a typed list of possible places Jingle can go so we always have something to draw from if we get stuck. We brainstormed, that’s right… together, to compile a fairly comprehensive list, if I do say so myself.

3. She forces us to communicate: We disagree on tonight’s placement of Jingle. We see the little gleam in her eye. She’s prompting us; “Tell each other how you really feel.” And so we do… “Why do you think your ideas are soooo much better than mine? You’re never supportive of me and you act so superior!” “No, you are twisting my words! I said there MIGHT be a better place to hide the elf than with its head in the oven…”

4. She helps us prioritize family values: Our child’s happiness is our number one priority so if it means that one of us can’t brush our teeth for an entire 24 hours because Jingle is “practicing good dental hygiene” with our toothbrush, then so be it. It’s all about sacrifice.

5. She encourages intimacy: After you have spent four hours coming up with an idea, creating the perfect backdrop, sewing custom-fitted elf clothes to match the scenario, placing the entire elf diorama somewhere that your kid can’t knock it over thus taking away all the elf magic, cleaning up any evidence and then discussing the answers to any possible questions your child might ask that would render you speechless and give away the whole darn plot… Well, after all that, there is nothing left to do but hold each other close while you shake and whimper, “What have our lives become?”

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The Elf on the Shelf is a marriage saver, I tell you. It really brings you closer than you ever thought you could be. So my friends, I leave you with this advice: Once December 25th arrives and your elf returns back to the North Pole for the next 11 months, don’t be too quick to fall back into the old routines. Try to carry all the lessons your wise elf has imparted with you throughout the year. Either that or pack that elf away in a box that will never get opened again, because DAMN! Hiding that little shapeless shit night after night gets exhausting and who the hell wants to stumble around acting happy to search for the thing at 6 am? We sure as shit don’t…

Nervous Laughter

I laugh a lot. All the time, even when I shouldn’t. If laughter is the spice of life then my life is the hottest, “sign-a-waiver chicken wing” SPICY! My normal laughter sounds, well, normal. Varies in intensity, generally robust and of an average tonal quality that doesn’t cause people to run their nails down a chalkboard to escape its sound. That is my normal laughter.

Now, my nervous laughter, on the other hand… Whenever I hear my own nervous laughter, I have to resist the urge to punch myself in the face. It doesn’t even sound like me. When did Fran Drescher and Homer Simpson mate and produce an offspring that has now inhabited my body and is taking over my laughter?

Is it that bad? Yes. It sounds like a cross between a braying donkey and a giggling toddler. A monkey in heat and a smoker’s cough…

Cute donkey.

Cute donkey.

It isn’t alone either. My nervous laughter has an entourage. It is usually accompanied by some additional, equally unattractive sound effects. Snorting, guffawing and loud inhalations/exhalations join in to form a united front of embarrassing chortles.

And it can’t be stopped. When I’m talking and I get nervous, my foreign laughter punctuates each.and.every.sentence. Once I’ve got the nervous giggles, short of tearing out my larynx, the only thing I can do is officially exit the situation before I can exorcise this sound. Demons and all Drescher/Simpson offspring out!

To my good fortune, it is mostly when I’m on the phone that this happens and I can hide behind an invisible connection. I guess the lesson learned is don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Or is it an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Or maybe it’s if you make me nervous, you will pay with bleeding eardrums. Right? Is that your take away? Hmmm…

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I See You Dancing in Your Car

Excuse me, sir? Yes, you in the Nissan that you purchased for its safety rating. I see you dancing. You seem so shocked. Sir, you are not in a club. You are in your car, in the daylight, by yourself, and I can see you. So can all the other cars driving alongside you. What? You are so embarrassed you are now hiding behind your sunshade?

It’s ok, man. I got you. I feel your flow. I, too, dance in my car. In my kitchen. In the grocery store. But that’s another story. I dance in my car because frankly, I don’t give a shit if you see me.

Sir, you and I may be very different, but I assure you our car dances started the same. A simple steering wheel drumming, perhaps a few head bobs. Some fidgeting with the dashboard, a couple channel changes. OH SHIT! THAT’S MY JAM! And by the first chorus, full-on dance face, body-contorting, seat-belt restrained dancing. It doesn’t even matter if you are a good dancer on da club floor or not; in the car, we all dance the same… and it ain’t pretty.

It’s OK!!! Here’s why…

IT IS SATISFYING! And not just to those of us that upper-body bop in our sedans, but pretty much to anyone that witnesses the seizure style car-thumping.

– It puts the average onlooker in a good mood. They either think you are hilarious to watch or they just feel your vibe and wish to adopt it.

– It helps a judgmental gawker fulfill their judging quota for the day. They think you are an asshole.

– It turns a peeper that is attracted to you on. They think you are hot shit.

– It perks up a sad surveyor. They are just glad they aren’t you.

So you see, those of us that dance in the car are really performing a community service. Our air drumming, hair-swinging, iPhone selfie-taking moves are doing the world a favor. To be fair, I don’t know if this reasoning will hold up in court, if say, your dance moves cause you to careen into another vehicle. Or even put a hole in your own garage.

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Princess Num-Num

I wanted a little snack just now. My belly said, “Make it good.” My belly can be so demanding. I went downstairs and threw a few ingredients in my Vitamix and in 45 seconds, I had homemade hummus that made grocery store brands want to throw themselves down the disposal. (This was amazing, considering the ingredients consisted of a crayon, celery and two mints from my purse.)

(Insert screeching tire sound…) Back it up. A few months back, a crappy, dumpy feeling me turned to a friend/personal trainer to help me better understand exercise, food, health – all things that confuse me. Other things that confuse me include Cody Simpson, plastic blow-up decorations and Rubik’s cubes.

My friend made me read a book. I liked the book. It promoted Vitamix blenders. I was all, “What’s that?” Amazon told me I needed one. I take Amazon very seriously. I happened upon a Vitamix demo while perusing Whole Foods. It confirmed; I needed one. Begging, pleading, saving, researching, bribing all ensued around me getting a Vitamix.

Recently, I got a Vitamix. Her name is Princess Num-Num and she is so beautiful.  I use her to make food. Then, I clean her and hug her and tell her I’ll see her again soon.

Princess Num-Num's first ride

Princess Num-Num’s first ride

She is not just a blender, so those of you that say that (Dad and husband, Jon) are seriously mistaken. She makes frozen desserts, hot soups (with only friction), smoothies, sauces, dressings, and so much more. She is a blender, food processor and happiness-infusion machine. Whatever ingredients I throw in her, I can almost hear her say, “Bitch, I got this,” which is exactly the kind of thing a regular Target blender will not say.

Long story, short… Princess Num-Num gives me yum-yum for my tum-tum. I’m 33 years old.

 

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I’m Back – Pretend You Care

Some of you may remember that years ago, I had this very popular blog entitled, “JennaFYI”. It had a huge following of about 10 people, mostly blood-related. So what happened to this really awesome blog? Well, I got knocked up. By my husband. Planned. Nine months later, I birthed a child and time for writing was as mythical as a two-headed unicorn. Duocorn as it may be.

So now, as said child approaches her third birthday (hold on while I cry for awhile), I’m back in action. And by that I mean that every few weeks or months or minutes, I may have time to post.

So join me if you will. Come aboard this wild ride called my blog. What will it be about? F&%$ if I know. But we’re in it together, my 2-3 friends reading this. Without further ado, I give you some boring posts, until I get back in the groove. I’ve made a lunch appointment with Stella who promises to share her secrets with me. (Old 90′s reference? Yes. And not at all ashamed.)

Fasten your seat belts; you’re in for a slow, possibly dull ride and when you fall asleep, I don’t want you to fall out.