Monday, December 15, 2014

Wreath beats turkey

“Where’s my turkey?” our son Evan demanded, pointing at the wreath on our front door accusingly. 

The huge-ornament-and-possibly-fake-pinecone-festooned ring occupied the spot where his beautiful crayon Thanksgiving drawing from kindergarten had been taped for weeks.

Silence filled the room.  My wife Kara had stuffed the drawing in the trash five minutes prior, after holding it up to me and looking sad.

“Bah, he’ll never notice,” I said.

“We could save these seasonal drawings somewhere, and pull them out throughout the year…” she said, her voice trailing off as she realized that we would never be able to pull that off without hiring a personal assistant.

“Oh, we had to move it to the kitchen to make room on the door,” Kara told Evan, which was technically true.  The turkey drawing really was in the kitchen, just the trash can part of the kitchen.

Fortunately for our peace of mind, Evan wouldn’t have found his drawing without doing some serious archaeology.  We’ve learned that when you throw away your kid’s art projects, you must always stuff them down deep.  You never leave them sitting on top of the other garbage, or you’re just setting yourself up for cries of, “AAAHHH!  Why’s my bunny in the trash can?”

Before you judge us, it’s important to understand that without a certain degree of purging, our house would not have room for humans in it.  You just can’t hang onto everything, or you’ll end up on a reality show, not being able to tell the interviewer how many cats you have under all that stuff.

But we do love our kids’ art projects, and look forward to seeing the magic they create with cotton balls, pipe cleaners, construction paper and glitter.  Well, not glitter.  The only reason that stuff is even used in schools, I presume, is because of the powerful Dust Buster lobby.

It was in the spirit of jettisoning the old to make way for the new that we assembled our family in the toy room, formerly known as the living room, to prepare for the Season of Receiving.

“If we can’t clear this room out, we’re going to have to put a sign in the fireplace that says, ‘Too many toys already.  Thanks anyway, Santa.’”   

“Nooooo!” the kids agreed.

I nudged an empty plastic bin into the center of the room. 

“We need to fill this with toys we don’t use anymore,” I said.  I figured they’d start with the little Happy Meal toys that litter our lives, since the kids generally spend more time playing with the McNuggets than the toys.

Without hesitating, Evan walked over to the avalanching mountain of toys and plucked a Woody doll out. 

“Here,” he said, dumping Sheriff Woody into the bin.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Dude, we got this toy for you at Disney.  It’s like an actual real one, just like in the movies” I said, grabbing Woody and pulling the string in his back.

“There’s a snake in my boot!” Woody said.

“Nobody ever plays with it,” Evan replied.  Woody didn’t have a friend in Evan.

“What about those plastic trumpets?” I asked.  I’d had it out for those trumpets since the day they came home from the county fair, their single shrill note bouncing incessantly around our walls and craniums.

“But we love the trumpets!” Evan yelled as Zack tried to wrest it from my grip.

“Okay, okay,” I relented.

After many more rounds of negotiation, we finally got the room to a place where we could tell what color the carpet was.  If Santa decides to skip our house, it won’t be because we didn’t make room. 

Also, I’m pretty sure that Woody doll is mine now.

You can put Mike Todd on the curb and hope the trash truck takes him at


  1. I would definitely keep Woody. I love him.
    My kids' art work is in a tote under the bed and it's pretty old. There's a note telling me what happened to Luke and Laura while I was at work, and one asking why Daddy and I didn't let them into the bedroom. (Sorry, kids.) Keep some things; it's fun to reminisce.

    1. Thanks, Marcia! We'll try to leave some breadcrumbs about what life is like these days, since we're not getting enough sleep to lock in any memories.