Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Curse of the Dickersons strikes again

Also known as Dickerson motto #4: "Dare to hope...prepare to be disappointed."

Due to unknown problems...but mostly lots and lots and lots of people,

These guys:

Didn't get to see this guy:

Or any of this actually:

Because they were stuck 3 blocks behind the Capitol building with nary a loudspeaker nor jumbotron in sight in the midst of a human blockade pushing everyone into the person in front of them with no where to go. Someone took the whole "an inauguration for the masses" theme a little too far. They join the lots of other ticket-holders who didn't get anywhere near the actual thing. To make things extra fun all the public buildings and museums and nearby metro stations were closed down so you could neither leave nor get out of the cold once you realized you had missed the whole thing. This isn't really a surprise. We are Dickersons. This is our fate.

Hip hip hooray - Inauguration Day

Thanks to this guy:

I got tickets to this:

But due to these:

And this:

These guys went instead:

And I hope you sir:
make us proud.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What they're saying

Will: Mom, it wasn't nice for you to call the children annoying!
Me: Who did I call annoying?
Will: Us!
Me: Did I say you were being annoying?
Will: Yes!
Me: Well were you?
Will: Yes! I emptied out all the toys.

Will insisted on getting in the shower with me yesterday even though I told him I was turning the water off in 10 seconds, which I did. He played around in the empty tub for a while and then walked in to the office, naked, with his hands on his hips and announced:
"Mo-om! Uh! Apparently, I don't have any clean underwear!"

Will: Can we go to a restaurant and get something to eat? I'm so hungry. (repeat about 1 million times)
Dad: Maybe we can stop somewhere after we go to the store Will.
Will (in his squeaky, scratchy, sleepy voice): Maybe somewhere with a toy?

Those 3 are from yesterday.

The other day I told him it was time for bed about 10 times, and, as usual, he pretended he didn't hear me.
Me: Will, it is time to go up to bed.
Will: Uuuuhh! You're being annoying Mom! (I love how his vocabulary is used against me.)

Also last week I told him he needed to pick up toys, and, as usual, he ignored me.
Me: Will, if you don't clean up the toys I will have to take them away and you won't be able to play with them any more.
Will: Mom, you're making me stressed.

I hear some variation of this on a daily basis:
Will: Mom! If you don't give me a piece of candy RIGHT NOW, you will be in time-out! You will get a spanking! It is NOT NICE to not give me a candy. Uhh!

Sawyer says: Mama, Dada, Bo (means ball, balloon, anything ball shaped), Woof Woof, Ooo Ooo Ahh Ahh (monkey noise), and Buh-Bo (football). Repeated "Will" a couple times yesterday. Also says "Mo" which seems to mean "more" as in "I want more food/candy/drink"

Thursday, January 08, 2009

And in case you just can't get enough...

Clearly you will be voted out of the family if you willingly miss the opportunity to tell a good story...so you can also hear from Michael or Kyle on the matter.

One more time!

And Megan wrote this one post-Idaho:

Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot.

But the weather just north of Whoville did NOT!

The weather hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!

Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

In Island Park Idaho, the snow never stopped.

Our plans, it would seem, would have to be dropped.

The first group of Who’s arrived safely on time

The following Who's would be partners in crime.

They would leave later that day and make it by night,

Bringing Christmas to Idaho, to children’s delight.

It was quarter past six… the Who’s had been waiting

To hear from the Who’s who were audibly hating

The weather, the ice, the whole Christmas plan,

Of which neither of them was a fan.

The truck had been packed – the presents! The wrappings!

The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,

They slid off the road and threatened to dump it!

They thought of the groceries – of the Who’s feast!

They thought of Who-pudding! They thought of roast beast!

But the Who’s were relieved to hear both were okay

And could continue to the cabin with little delay.

The Who’s in the cabin were not done quite yet,

Something happened that had the whole cabin upset.

They turned around fast, and they saw a small Who.

Little Sawyer James Who, who was not more than two.

He had come out of the bathroom, poison in hand,

In a strange turn of events that no one had planned.

His tiny Who mother, had held on the line,

And finally found out that he would be fine.

A different Who Mother and her little Who twins

Went to work making their cabin a Holiday Inn.

The next day, despite snow, a rescue party was sent

To retrieve the stranded Who's after the dramatic event.

In the meantime, a Who husband began his trip up

And made it eventually without a slip up.

And later that day it was a naked Who daughter,

Who’d just taken a shower of nice warm hot water –

She was locked out of her room without any clothes

Saved by a Who brother from all of her woes.

It was nightfall again before the Who’s all returned,

They unloaded the cars and the day was adjourned.

Then it was Christmas Eve, but the Who’s lacked a tree!

In 3 feet of snow, there was no time to disagree.

It was obvious, without the Who father intervening,

Once it was up, the Who tree was leaning!

They grabbed the tree and they started to shove,

The poor crooked tree would be tied from above.

The presents were set out under the Who Christmas tree

The tiny Who children were so excited they could pee.*

All their windows were dark. Quiet snow filled the air.

All the Who's were all dreaming sweet dreams without care.

Nothing could stop Christmas from coming! IT CAME!

Somehow or other, it came just the same.

Although there were bows, presents and food galore,

This story of Christmas had a little bit more.

It would have come without ribbons. It would have come without tags.

It would have come without packages, boxes, or bags.

Christmas, they found, doesn’t come from a store.

Christmas, the knew, meant a little bit more.

The next morning Christmas had come in its glory

And then comes the very best part of the story.

Although 2 Shanley Court was quite faraway,

All the Whos, every one, were together that day.

*editor's note: (I could have rhymed with “glee”, but come on. How fun would that be?)

And now in verse...

Mom wrote this poem (before going to Idaho) and read it on Christmas Eve:


"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the cabin
The family was waiting to see what would happen.

The stockings were hung on the railing with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas would know we were there.

The children were restless in rented-out beds
While thoughts of Connecticut danced in their heads.

And I in my bathrobe and Dad in his garments
Were praying for safety from grizzly bear varmints.

When out by the chimney there rose such clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the stairway I flew in a flash,
To find out the source of that terrible crash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a three-yr-old boy with his eyes wide with fear.

He'd snuck out of bed 'cause he couldn't wait longer
But now wished his wee, little hands had been stronger.

The damage was done now and he had been caught
Dropping a truck labeled "Sawyer J. Ott".

I sent him to bed with a threat of no presents
Then wished that I hadn't been quite so unpleasant.

I lay down again but still sleep wouldn't come.
The upstairs emitted a rather strange hum.

I trudged up the stairs till I got to the loft
But nobody noticed until I had coughed.

And then there were Evan, and Michael, and Kyle,
Each looking up with a mischievous smile.

Their laptops were humming and clicking and tapping
When I had supposed they were all upstairs napping.

"Get to sleep", I admonished, "for dawn will come early
"Without proper rest you are apt to be surly."

I dragged back toward bed, but I wasn't there yet
When I found still another one hooked to the 'net.

Mollie was woefully writing a post
About how this Christmas was prob'bly the most
Inadequate holiday she'd ever had
And it all was because of twin, Megan, and Chad.

I told her I knew that the break from tradition
Has caused her to sink to this gloomy condition.

Next year we'd be back in our home I assured her,
And hoped that my promise of Cromwell had cured her.

Then back to my bed I did wearily crawl
When I found that another noise came from the hall.

What was that racket that kept me from slumber?
Why Megan was playing a clarinet number!

"Now, Megan I realize that practice you must
But it's quarter to four!" I fumed and I fussed.

"I'm old and I'm tired and I must have my sleep
But the spirit of Christmas I'm trying to keep."

Then back to my bedroom I dragged o'er the flooring
To find that my husband was blissfully snoring.

And finally my head on my pillow I laid
And stewed about holiday bills to be paid.

And was just dropping off when I jerked back awake.
Something was wrong. There could be no mistake.

Someone was puking and retching and gagging.
This couldn't be so when my eyelids were sagging!

But it was, yes it was, oh yes, Erin was sick.
She'd returned to her yesteryears holidays trick.

She never could celebrate any event
Without her last meal being forcefully sent
Back out of her stomach and onto the floor.
But at least she could now do her own clean-up chore.

But wait, maybe this really isn't just nerves.
She's been know to throw us some Christmas Eve curves.

Maybe a new little Ott baby's forming,
And she will be breaking the news in the morning.*

I pulled up my covers and laid down my head
And comfortably settled back down in my bed.

I'm fin'lly exhausted enough now to sleep,
And the cabin is quiet, I don't hear a peep.

But what is that light now beginning to glow?
Christmas is dawning? How can it be so?

Then rang through the cabin without any warning
"Get up now! It's Christmas! Please hurry. It's morning!"

And there was sweet William all raring to go
Tear open the presents he saw down below.

But first there were pictures that had to be taken.
We're still missing Evan if I'm not mistaken.

And finally we've got the whole crew on the stairs.
There really is quite a large group posing there.

There's Michael and Evan and Mollie and Kyle
All looking disgusted in Dickerson style.

There's Megan and Chad, who was added this year,
And still seems confused by the sarcasm here.

There's William and Bryce and our cute little Sawyer
And Erin, our daughter, the passed-the-bar lawyer.

And there they all are. Every face I hold dear.
The family we've raised for the last thirty years.

They're talented, witty, intelligent too
Generous, thoughtful and kind through and through.

But where are the babies that dozed on my shoulder?
And how can it be that we're all so much older?

Oh, time marches on without skipping a beat
And though we might like to, we cannot retreat.

The future is waiting. We have to move on
And cherish the memories of days that are gone.

And soon with the wrappings the house will be trashed
And we'll know that another year's Christmas has passed.

But Idaho taught us a lesson worth learning.
We don't need our house with a real wood fire burning.

We don't need a marching band hung from the mantel.
We don't need a pine-scented, green Yankee Candle.

We don't need the girl in the red velvet dress,
We really can get by with quite a bit less.

For Christmas is more than the wreath up above.
To have a great Christmas, you only need love!

Author's note. If you are a Dickerson you understand all the references in the poem. If not, I can't imagine why you'd be reading this, but you should know:
As a child, Erin got sick for pretty much every holiday.
Both of Erin's pregnancies were announced on Christmas Eve (*but there was no announcement this year and she enjoyed Christmas much more without the constant vomiting).
Megan is a music education major who plays clarinet and is required to practice two
hours per day.
We have an electronic, musical decoration called "Santa's Marching Band" that we
hang from the mantel every year.
The "girl in the red velvet dress" is another Christmas decoration that Mollie got
when she was three or four.
Erin passed the Utah bar in 2008.
We always have a real wood fire in our fireplace on Christmas Eve. (The fireplace in
the cabin was gas.)
We went to Idaho because Megan's new husband, Chad, didn't have any vacation time
and we wanted them to be with us for Christmas.
All children are required to pose on the stairs Christmas morning before opening
presents. Evan is usually the last one there.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Elaboration, Decoration, Celebration Part 2

Evan relived the trauma of the truck wreck with some gingerbread therapy.

Everyone finally made it back to the cabin after dark on Tuesday. Left to our own devices sans parents all day, Mollie, Megan, Kyle, my boys and I spent the day doing not much of anything besides watching it snow. Megan took a shower and discovered, while wearing nothing but a towel, that she had locked herself out of her room. Her bedroom, unlike the other upstairs bedrooms, had an actual keyed lock on the door. Kyle spent a while trying to pick it with a bobby pin and the rest of us searched the cabin for keys, but we were all unsuccessful. I called the management company that rents out the cabin:
Me: "Hi, I'm Debbie Dickerson's daughter. We are renting the South Fox Lodge."
Lady: "Oh, hi."
Me: "We managed to lock ourselves out of one of the bedrooms."
Lady: "Oh, well that's not good." (this didn't sound like a sympathetic "oh that's a problem" this was more like a "well aren't you a bunch of geniuses.") "Doesn't it just have a little hole that you push something straight in to to unlock it?"
Me: "No, it has a keyed lock."
Lady: "Oh, well, we don't have any other keys for that cabin." (Sigh) "I don't think the owners do either...they just bought the cabin...I could try to call them, but they are probably working. And our maintenance man went to Utah for the holidays." (Sigh) "I'll get back to you."
I have a sneaking suspicion that at this point she didn't call anyone, as we never heard back from her.
Forty minutes go by. Kyle pries off the molding from around the door frame and picks the lock. I call the lady back.
Me: "Hi, I was just calling back from South Fox Lodge to let you know we got in the bedroom."
Lady: "Oh?"
Me: "I guess my brother is handy at picking locks."
Lady: "Oh, what a sweetheart!" (ummm...or a convict?)
Me: "Ok, bye."

Mom and Dad arrive back with the forlorn travelers and all of the Christmas presents, decorations, and food that was so carefully retrieved from the side of the highway. The only known casualty is my bottle of cinnamon oil which Evan found in the snow and stuck in his pocket. He later discovered it was leaking and now he smells like a Red Hot.

We set to work decorating the cabin with the 270 feet of garland my Mom had me purchase for the occasion.

It continues to snow.

The next day (I think...days kind of blur when you don't leave the house and it never stops snowing and the sun hasn't been seen for days) we go out to cut a Christmas tree. The snow is thigh-high so I give up trying to carry Sawyer around and retreat to the parking lot. The foraging crew of Mom, Kyle, Mollie, Megan and Chad quickly (did I mention it was still snowing?) find a tree and cut it down and drag it to the car. Back to the cabin we go.

The box of tree decorations didn't survive the trip up, but my Aunt Karen (once again) saved the day by producing several spindles of Christmas ribbon that she "wasn't going to use any more." Megan and Chad put lights on the tree and piece together decorations from paper and ribbons.

My family usually just has snacks on Christmas Eve, but Bryce's family always had a steak dinner started off by shrimp cocktails. Since no one in my family generally objects to more food, Bryce and I make a steak and shrimp dinner for everyone.

We do our usual family "Christmas Eve Program" in which every family member is required to read a story, play a musical number, or in some way contribute to the entertainment. Usually the family band is required to perform as well, but no one had room to bring their instruments this year. Chad did bring up a keyboard though so Megan and Mollie still get to play a flute/piano duet. Bryce, Will, and I sing Jingle Bells because it is the only Christmas song in Will's limited repertoire. Bryce says it was humiliating. Michael failed to bring a copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which is his traditional Christmas Eve reading, so we find the words online and he reads them off the computer. Kyle didn't bring his traditional The Polar Express either, but he one-ups Michael by finding a narrated slide show with pictures from the book and plays it on the computer instead of reading.

Meanwhile, it snows and snows and snows some more.

We take the kids upstairs and put them to bed and help Santa set out the presents. Bryce and I are very proud that we did all our wrapping before we left so we don't have to do anything besides put stuff out and wait for the morning to see how much of it was damaged in the accident.

And neither the snow nor the accident stopped Christmas from coming, it came!

[please disregard the verb tense shift...sometimes it just happens]

In the morning, we finally convinced Michael (who was sick) and Evan to get out of bed before Will had a heart attack. Will could see all the presents through the railing from the upstairs and he wasn't inclined to wait for everyone before going downstairs. He was especially excited to spot the unwrapped scooter leaning against the tree. Presents were opened. Except by Sawyer who wasn't that interested and still had several left at the end of the day when Will found them and opened them on his brother's behalf. It kept snowing. By the end of the day the snow on the deck was up to the railing.
This was the first year my family has worn matching pajamas. We were waiting for everyone to be old enough for it to be sufficiently humiliating.

The next day...Miracle of Miracles...it stopped snowing! We even saw the sun for a while. What a great day to head to Yellowstone, maybe rent a snowmobile, maybe ride the snow coach. If only the cars weren't buried in snow...not to mention the 3 feet covering the entire driveway and road out to the cabin. Mom calls management lady to ask when we'll get plowed out. Her response, "Right now we are plowing out people who have to get to the airport." Luckily they did come and plow us out...after dark...and after it had started snowing...again. So, needless to say, we didn't make it out of the cabin that day. In fact, we were beginning to think we might never make it out of the cabin. We had lots of food so we figured we could make it until mid-January before we'd have to start eating the flies that kept mysteriously showing up all over the cabin. Bryce and I were in charge of entertainment for the evening so we played my version of The Amazing Race. Bryce maintains that it is a little hard to have a race around the world when you can't leave the cabin...but the cabin had a basement, a loft, and an upper loft so we had a race around the cabin instead. Dad and Kyle won after taking the fast forward that required them to sit in the hot tub before making their way back into the cabin. Mollie/Evan and Megan/Chad tied for second after placing 30 years worth of Christmas morning pictures in the correct order at the same time. Mom and Michael finished...eventually. They had trouble finding an ornament hidden in the cabin. Megan found one right under Michael's nose leading him to call her a "butthead" and causing Megan to reflect that "it has been a long time since Michael called me a butthead!" Ahhh...the memories of childhood.

Saturday: it snows. All day. Bryce and Michael were going to have to leave on Sunday because Michael was flying home Monday and Bryce had to be at work. The decision is made that we better all leave on Sunday before another larger storm hits on Monday. In the week we have been there it has stopped snowing for approximately 8 hours.

Sunday: prepare to leave the cabin. All the towels have to be washed and beds have to be stripped. All the carpets are vacuumed and dishes washed and a small miracle ensues when the menfolk are able to fit all the luggage into the 3 cars we had with us...even though it took 5 cars to get it all there. We head out and eventually make it to Pocatello after going 30 mph for about 3 1/2 hours. Bryce and I stop at the wrecking yard to take the plates off the truck. We head for home, but the roads start to get really bad about 10 miles outside of Tremonton. Within about 5 minutes we pass 2 slide-offs and a pick-up truck on its side in the middle of the highway. A few minutes later we see a tractor trailer avoid slamming into the back of a car at the last possible second when traffic in the other lane clears and the car is able to switch lanes. Given our luck with vehicles and poor roads so far this trip, we decide to stop for the night in Tremonton. We find a room at the Western Inn (note to self: Western Inn is not the same as a Best Western) and eventually get the kids to sleep.

Monday: We drive home to the comforts of our 45 degree house and unpack. By which I mean Bryce took mostly everything out of the car. We finished the actual unpacking yesterday. I'm glad to see that there is plenty of snow here. I haven't seen quite enough snow the past couple weeks.

New Years: When did that happen? Mollie came over, we went to the grocery store and bought junk, then came home and ate it while waiting to watch the ball drop in Times Square. It is less than thrilling to watch a 2 hour tape-delayed ringing in of the New Year.

Today: Will started Primary. Which means that now every Sunday when we go to Church, instead of going to Nursery, which consists of snacks, singing, toys, puzzles, and all the fun a 3 year-old can have, he now goes to Primary which consists of singing, lessons, and several hours of chair-sitting. He says he liked it so I hope he will have a good time. I fully expected that one of the teachers would bring him to me at some point because I have never seen that child sit for more than 5 minutes, but I didn't hear from them so they are either long-suffering or Will did amazingly well. I suspect it was more the former.

I still can't find my card-reader so pictures will have to wait some more.