This time of year always seems a little bit surreal to me. There's a fantasy setting called Exalted where, at the end of the year, there's a week called "Calibration" that falls outside the calender, where the natural laws are suspended and anything can happen. And the week between Christmas and New Years seems like that to me. A solid majority of the working world take most or all of the week off, you get together with people who haven't seen all year and generally do the things that you don't otherwise do. It's where we take the time to enjoy the things we've worked for all year, a time of fewer responsibilities (or at least different ones). I suppose this feeling of strangeness is exacerbated by the career change I'll be making in the New Year, and while it's more pronounced than it usually is, it's how I feel this time every year.
Christmas was nice, with a few rough patches. At the end of the day, our house was filled with dozens of new toys and the next morning Lily woke up and wanted to spend the morning solving math problems on the back of a piece of scrap paper. Not that I'm complaining about this, but had I be able to anticipate it, I think we could have gotten through Christmas spending much less money.
The other day, Lily was naughty before dinner and I sent her up to her room. She stomped upstairs and a few moments later I heard her angrily singing "Jingle Bells, DADDY smells!" It's the first time I ever heard anyone angrily burst into song outside of a musical.
Look at this picture and tell me what you see.
It is not in fact a Marcel Duchamp piece, but rather the aftermath of my afternoon with Lily.
We had been to a holiday party earlier in the week and one of the presents Lily had received was a "Make-Your-Own-Bouncy-Ball" kit. The instructions were to pour the crystals into the mold, then keep it submerged in warm water for two minutes. I was watching the kitchen timer, so I know that she was out of my sight for no more than that long when she wandered back into the kitchen with gum near her ear and a pair of scissors in her hand. She said, "Daddy, can you help me cut my hair?"
Lily has never had her hair cut and I knew Jen would not pleased with me if this were the circumstances of her first trimming, so I put the ball down, went to the cabinet, grabbed a jar of peanut butter and started rubbing it around on the gum. I'd like to say that I was putting my chemistry degree to use with my solution, but that's not even true. I just happened to remember this from childhood (though the chemistry background at least let me understand why it would work.)
So I got the gum out and then we shampooed her hair with Berry scented shampoo. Even though her hair smelled faintly of gum, peanut butter and strawberries, I think we would have gotten away with it, had I remembered to discard the incriminating comb by the time mommy came home.