How I Ruined Christmas

Spent Christmas Eve with my father and stepmother, sister and brother-in-law and my two nephews, one of whom brought his girlfriend to the celebration (she’s clearly a brave soul, agreeing to attend an event Chez Cohen-Glick). And it was a wonderful evening. Dinner was fantastic as always – a giant rib roast was devoured (and my prize for helping my stepmother serve is that I got the first slice, all crusty and fatty and extra-delicious). Plus, she’d whipped up some homemade French macarons (I know!) to go along with the other desserts of profiteroles and coconut cranberry cake. Which came after the cheese course (duh).

There was also the traditional opening of Christmas crackers, so we could all don our paper crowns. This year’s crackers were music themed – we each got a whistle with a different number. The conductor (originally assigned to me but I couldn’t understand the instructions, so my sister was put in charge) uses the supplied baton and sheet of music to point at each numbered reveler, who then blows their whistle. The idea is that a lovely Christmas tune will be performed; in actuality, we spent our time whistling loudly and randomly while shrieking at my sister that she was ruining everything. Needless to say, this was a highlight of the evening.

Then we gathered ’round the tree for the festival of disappointment exchange of Christmas gifts. And actually, all went well. Everybody seemed pleased with their loot. Champagne continued to flow. Dad took his traditional stance, seated with a Hefty bag at his knees to fill with discarded wrapping paper, in an effort to eliminate all traces of Christmas the moment each gift was opened. I got a truly excellent portable speaker for my laptop and a handsome watch I’d been eying for months – very cool.

But then there were the electronic robot bugs. My step-mom got them as just a little impulse buy for the cats. And I made the mistake of opening one and turning it on – and it was horrifying. They are like over-sized, brightly colored cockroaches that go skittering around in a frighteningly realistic manner. They were seriously freaking me out. I think at one point I jumped up on chair squealing in terror like a cartoon housewife who sees a mouse.

So, at some point the bugs were reactivated and one of them came right at me like it was going to run up my pant leg, so I yelled, grabbed it and tossed it across the room – where it promptly managed to find the one tiny crevice in the fireplace hearth and  burrow its way in, until it was lodged deep inside.

All manner of picks, tweezers, magnets, duct tape, goose-neck pincers and various combinations of said tools were put to use in an effort to extract the still-buzzing toy. All succeeded only in lodging the beast further into place.  And the worst? We could all still hear the faint buzzing emanating from the hearth. I likened it to a live re-enactment of The Tell-Tale Heart.

My one prayer is that the battery wears out soon. Otherwise, my father will never sleep again.

Oh, and it was also during the failed robot-bug-extraction efforts that I realized my favorite new boots that I was wearing had left black scuff marks all over the floor from the kitchen to the dining room to the living room. I guess it’s a good thing I enjoyed myself so much this year, since I’ve likely been banned from all future celebrations.  Merry Christmas!

And here, by the way, are the terrible and freakish robot insects. Seriously, they are the stuff of nightmares…

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