Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

My Photo
Location: United States

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"I see you have constructed a new light saber. Your skills are complete." - Darth Vader, Return of the Jedi


Can you fit an electric Arctic Cat® PowerWheels™ into the back of a family sedan? Only if you take the car for dinner and dancing first.

Christmas has come and gone again, but that’s because we have time. Time is the thing that makes sure that everything doesn’t happen all at once, and also the thing that makes sure that your beer goes flat if you don’t drink it within some reasonable time period. The best definition I ever read of time is the “measure of increase in entropy of a system”, which, if applied to the wrapping paper on a Christmas present is quite a measure. Entropy, of course, is the measure of increase of disorder of a system, i.e., a group of tiny cats, when you shake them up in a bag and then pour them on the floor will go every which way. From a true physics standpoint this isn’t good experimental design, but it’s just fun to grab a bag of small cats, shake them, and then drop them on the floor. The sight of small cats running in terror from the gigantic beast that encased them in burlap and then vigorously shook them puts me, for one, into the holiday spirit.

If The Boy and Pugsley had their way, it would be Christmas everyday. Of course it would. They’re eight and three, and don’t realize that it’s far more fun to go to work and slave away for hours at a time. Don’t worry, Internet, they’ll eventually get there.

Our family is a “Christmas Eve” present opening family. It tends to lead toward a more relaxed Christmas Day, not to mention that the little dears get so excited about the presents that they got the day before that they don’t get up at 3:42AM to see what Santa brought. If you’ve had any wine at all, you can see what sense this makes.

I don’t know about your house, but Santa definitely leaves very little at ours, the cheap elf that he is. Most (if not all) of the really good presents come from Mom, Dad, and the Grandparents. Santa might bring a few doo-dads; an orange, perhaps a toothbrush, but nothing really, really fun. Santa (at least at our house) seems somewhat overly obsessed with hygiene.

Anyhow, Christmas Eve brought a celebration of the Geek. Each boy (including yours truly) received a brand spanking new Light Saber® (these are the really cool ones with the polycarbonate blades that make the appropriate sounds when we turn them on and smack them together), with which we battle continuously, if somewhat inconclusively. I was unsure that a three year old would be a good owner of a Light Saber©. So was The Mrs. It turns out Pugsley is as giddy as a kitten with poo to cover to have one.

The Boy was likewise happy with his presents. “You didn’t get me crap like you usually do.”

He stammered a bit, even at eight realizing that this was a slightly impolitic statement to make. “Umm, I mean I really like that stuff you got me last year, but I just don’t know where it is.”

Eight is a big year for Legos® and he has a bundle of them. Already he’s made several improbable-looking Jedi© moving contraptions that he loves. Like Pugsley, The Boy will at a moment’s notice, attack me with his Light Saber™. Thankfully, I spend most of my time working on my relationship with the Dark Side® of The Force©.

Pugsley? He just rides on his bouncy horse when he’s bored. (Let me tell you, putting that thing together was an exercise in the near-grotesque-the horse came headless, and no small number of Godfather™ jokes were made in putting it together.)

The Mrs.? Oh, she told me exactly what she wanted. Through a small bit of luck, even though what she wanted was definitely a special order item, it just happened to be available.

So, a merry Christmas was had by all.

Now if I only had a bag of small cats to shake . . . .
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 21, 2008

" A pentagram, and reindeer laughing. You figure it out." - Tom Servo, MST3K


Angel Six, Angel Six, this is Red Nose. We have a man down, repeat, we have a man down.

At Christmas, we’re lucky enough to get letters from our friends that tell us of the fun events and excitement that they have had during the previous year. Generally, it’s the good excitement they tell us about – new babies, fresh cosmetic surgery, and never mention terms like “claw hammer” or “incarcerated.”

I say we’re “lucky” because I can’t recall sending a Christmas card out in nearly a decade – yet these people (I’ll call them “nice”, because they are) haven’t given up on the Wilders. I mean, oh, sure, they’d like to give up on us, but they know our address, and, heck, it’s just one more card.

The real reason that we don’t do it is that we’re lazy procrastinators. Really, we intend to do something like that, and vaguely recall that intent sometime late at night two days before Christmas.

This year I’ll repeat the process and give an update of the Wilder Year, but do it in distinctly non-Wilderesque fashion – I’ll do it before Christmas. So, here’s the annual update:

Pinewood Derby. The Boy’s car won, but my taking a claw hammer to the competition for some last-minute “adjustments” may have had something to do with it. It also averaged 130°F outside during the days.

The leaves in our trees fell out sporadically. I called the Centers for Disease Control, but they told me it was nothing to be worried about, since it was due to something called “winter.” I also went to Canada, where I found a tropical paradise festooned with palm trees. Just kidding. It was Canada, where the national motto is, “Politus, Frozenium.” I think the Canadians are so suspiciously polite because they worry we might just turn our tanks north, now that we’re done with Iraq.

I nearly kill The Boy after having to spend the night with him on a submarine. I’m thinking that the other people on the sub wanted to kill me, given the whole “snoring loud enough to create a tsunami” thing. Fortunately, the tsunami destroyed only Cuba.

I paid taxes. There are no state income taxes for individuals in Texas, so I paid no Texas taxes. It’s funny because they have the same letters, but only one of them has a sense of humor.

We were sucked into a time-space vortex and missed most of May. I think that was good. They still paid me at work.

We blissfully headed north for a Family Reunion on The Mrs. side. It was 103°F in Houston, so we escaped the heat in Dallas where it was only 102.9°F. Cleared toilet (not the bowl, the PIPE WAS CLOGGED) of 142 little bars of hotel soap that Pugsley had dropped into the toilet. I’ve never felt so dirty yet clean at the same time.

We headed farther north, where it actually was cooler, again to see relatives of The Mrs. (if parents are considered relatives). We made it home and The Mrs. and I were briefly incarcerated after a naked claw-hammer fight on the front lawn (we were just recreating a scene from Aliens). Alcohol may have been a factor.

Discovered endless cheap energy source that anyone could fabricate in their garage out of common household materials, but did so just as the price of oil fell. Guess nobody wants that now. I’ll just burn the plans for heat in my fireplace.

Hurricane Ike hit Houston, then doubled back and hit it again while it was down and quivering. Since there was no electricity, cable, or Internet, the family had to devolve to “talking to one another.” Happily power soon returned.

Stock market crashed, and the Fed Chairman called me and asked me what to do about it. I told him, “Oh, just lend money to the most incompetent businesses, but only the ones that were really reckless. Don’t bail out competent businesses.” Does that man not understand sarcasm?

Turkey-induced coma. Sadly, I did not get a call from the Obama transition team. I was really hoping for to be appointed to be the Secretary of Health, Education, Pantyhose, and Pez®. I already had my position papers ready on National Pez© Policy.

Decided that I believed in Global Warming™ after all. The snow in Houston was my first clue.

Merry Christmas!!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Dude, some guy in a wolf costume with a light saber just said 'Hi' to you." - Shawn, Psych


It snowed in Houston. Really. Apparently, it snowed several inches in a spot or two, and the accident count was ~100 an hour. Yay, snow! Of course I was out of town, so I guess I’ll just have to wait another few years for the next snow. This must be a harbinger of Global Warming®, since snow in Houston can only be related back to global warming (I think I really read something like that).

Pugsley has begun to speak. Oh, sure, Internet, you might not interpret the shouted “MO!” as “NO!” or “mew” as the word “cat”, but give the little guy a break. Pugsley is three, and has been in no hurry to talk.

Of course, this confounds babysitters, who ask Pugsley if he wants “more” and then he says “mo” and for some reason gets angry when mo isn’t interpreted as “mo.”

Pugsley’s talking (or lack thereof) becomes somewhat secondary with the stupidity drug that Christmas is for all those under 12 or so. Pugsley and The Boy are all atwitter, dancing around like goons while humming out-of-tune versions of “Carol of the Bells” and eating candy canes. Am I the only one who thinks that it’s grossly unfair that all we had when I was a kid growing up were those crappy mint-flavored candy canes, and now you can get them in all sorts of non-sucky flavors?

I tried to explain to The Boy how lucky he was that we had the ability to buy him toys for Christmas, how my Mom related that during the Depression had been happy to get gently-used uncomfortable underwear for Christmas, and were happy about it. The Boy just gave me an expression that indicated:

He didn’t understand me.

He didn’t care.

This better not be a softening up routine to signal he was getting used socks for Christmas.

Actually, that isn’t the case. This will be a Star Wars®-themed Christmas, since I intend to kidnap a Princess®, invade and Ice Planet© and finally watch my evil schemes torn to shreds by little walking teddy-bears™.

In reality, The Boy and Pugsley are getting Light Sabers® (and I am, too) so we can wander around the house willy-nilly hacking on each other. Exciting? Yes. We should have some fun with this, especially if I can avoid having them hack my right hand off.

I look forward to a continued batch of idiocy in the house as we head towards Christmas, even if at times it comes in the form of incomprehensible little outbursts of red-faced rants from a three-year-old who is getting frustrated that we can’t open the presents today.

Me? I say, “Mo means mo.” Also? “Just say mo.”

Keeps things consistent.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 07, 2008

"Surprise! I got us a second wife to help with cooking and cleaning. Her name's impossible, so I call her Thundercat." - Stan, American Dad


This is probably not a bad representation of Thundercat.

It’s amazing what a three-year-old remembers.

I mentioned Christmas tree, and Pugsley immediately started pointing at the corner where we had last year’s tree. Of course, last year’s tree is identical to this year’s tree, because we’re definitely the “having an artificial tree means you have the same tree every year for a tradition” kind of family and also I’m a “buy a tree once and you don’t have to buy a real tree year after year” kind of cheapskate.

There may be those among you that say that Christmas is no place for cheapskates, but I would wager that had Joseph called ahead for a reservation that there wouldn’t have been any of this manger business. I can only imagine the six layers of abuse that Mary gave him. Me? I think this is the real untold story of Christmas.

But I am not Scrooge, though really it all turned out well for him in the end and he had oodles of cash. I like Christmas very much, and I like it even more now that I’m an adult and on the giving end of presents more than the receiving end. The way that the eyes of Pugsley and The Boy light up when they pull those great chunks of coal out of their stockings? Priceless.

Okay, I don’t do that. I’m not a monster. In reality, we try to keep our holidays here a little less strained than some, and that’s all for the good. I don’t know of any sibling rivalry in either family, but I am attempting to stir some up between The Boy and Pugsley, just to keep the holidays interesting when I’m older. I think I’ll tell each of them that I like the other better. That might do it.

But, sadly, right now I have to deal with small children who believe happily that Christmas is all about love and family, about spending time together, about (Houston version) slightly cooler weather, trees, candy canes, time off from school, and presents. I think they vaguely understand the religious connotations.

Me? I have the problem of selecting gifts. Not for Pugsley and The Boy – I know (and, perhaps, The Mrs. knows even better) what little boys like – Light Sabers® and Legos™ and science kits and soldering irons and books and BB-guns and slingshots. Anything that can put an eye out counts as a big plus.

No, my problem is much deeper, Internet. It’s The Mrs.

Oh, sure, The Mrs. is happy to sit and write the night away, and is happy with her two pairs of shoes and four pairs of jeans and has asked for very little while we’ve been married, but darned if I can figure out what she wants for Christmas.

DVD’s? We’ve got oodles that we’ve no time to watch.

Pez®? The Mrs. has a lifetime supply. The Mrs. even has the coveted Yosemite Sam© dispenser.

Watches? The Mrs. has enough watches for Kali®.

BB-guns? No. The Mrs. would shoot my eye out.

Diamonds? No. The Mrs. is unimpressed by highly compressed carbon. “Carbon’s carbon,” is what The Mrs. says.

So, Internet, help a friend out.

Oh, sure, I can think back to those two Christmases in the past where The Mrs. went online and created a shopping list of things that she would like, printed them, and then handed them to me. I picked from the lists and ordered presents (The Mrs. was kind enough to specify size) and a Merry Christmas was had by all.

Surprise value? Hideously low, but it was outweighed by the “husband’s present not sucking” value, like the time I got her a commemorative plate of the Pope visiting Dodger® Stadium, complete with photocopied certificate of authenticity.

So, Internet, give a guy a hand. Help me with a good surprise, so I can keep using both eyes.
Posted by Picasa

Silktide SiteScore for this website
Blog Flux Directory Blogarama Free Web Counters
Web Counter
Search Popdex:
Humor Blog Top Sites Top100 Bloggers
Top100 uscity.net directory