Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Gingerbread House

Yesterday we were in desperate need of some holiday cheer, so I took out the gingerbread house kit that I'd picked up at Target a few weeks ago. I followed all the directions on the box: kneading the icing for one minute, carefully piping the icing down the sides of the front, and holding the pieces together for the requisite period of time. Still, when it was all put together, it looked like this:

The Baby got a little over-zealous with opening up all the gingerbread pieces, which is how it cracked. It wasn't Santa and his reindeer landing on the roof.

After a few minutes, the whole thing came down like a 2-1 bungalow in the Great Lakes neighborhood. (Translation: we have lots of tear-downs and rebuilds in our area).

I found this all to be poignant and fitting because I feel a little bit like our real house is falling apart, too. After the Baby spent all last week down with the crud, the Girl caught her cold and is wracking up the secondary infections like the Duggers wrack up children. As of today, she has bronchitis, a double ear infection, and an eye infection. Our window sill/medicine cabinet looks like this:

Thank goodness the house next door is vacant, or our neighbors would think that we are cooking up meth in here. (Obviously, organic honey is a key ingredient in methamphetamine!)

Meanwhile, the Boy has been left largely unsupervised, which allowed him to charge over $150.00 on iTunes buying players on Big Win Football. Has anyone ever successfully challenged Apple about something like this? The K is planning to call and trot out his best contract law argument: the Boy is a minor and can't be bound by the terms and use agreement, but I'm not all that optimistic. I hope the Boy got some really good pretend players for all that real money.

Since the Girl is sick and less animated than usual, the Baby has seen fit to fill the void.  Yesterday, when I was driving the Baby home from school and the Girl was practically asleep in the back of the van, the Baby informed me that Audrey the Moose has a new name: Ella Cookie. This is confusing because Ella Cookie is the name of the gerbil in the Baby's classroom that we will be fostering over winter break. I tried to convince the Baby that it is best for Audrey to stay as Audrey because it would be confusing for some sort of mischief to happen and not know if it was Audrey, now known as Ella Cookie, or Ella Cookie the gerbil who caused the mischief. The Baby said that now only Abe our Elf on the Shelf causes mischief.

Then, because I've lost all sense of normal conversation topics since I've been trapped in the house for 11 days,  I told the girls about Prince and how he had the fight with the record company and changed his name to the symbol and then everyone called him “the artist formerly known as…” because no one knew what to call the symbol.

Me: So, then he made up with his record company and went back to being called Prince.
The Baby: Did he play football?
Me: No. He is really short.
The Baby: Really short?
Me: Yes, he’s about 5’3” and he likes to wear high heels because he’s so short. And purple.
The Girl: Does he have a high voice, like Justin Beiber?
Me: I guess so. Some of his famous songs are “1999” and "Purple Rain" and “Little Red Corvette.”
The Baby: Was the red purple?
Me: No. He likes purple, but the Corvette, which is a car, was red.
The Baby: Little red riding hood likes red.
Me: Yes.
The Baby: I call it a coat.
Me: You call her little Red Riding Coat?
The Baby: (yelling) No, Mommy!  It’s Little Red Riding Hood, not coat.

The Girl has got to get better so that the balance of power can be restored and the Baby will stop yelling at me about my knowledge of fairy tale characters. More importantly, the Girl has to get better because her tolerance of being home with me was even shorter than her sister's. Today, with a temperature of 101.5, she begged me to let her go back to school tomorrow so that she can learn about the partial-products algorithm from someone who doesn't have to Google it. And most importantly, she has to get better because I may literally go insane from the sound of her coughing. Are we sure that it is babies crying and not the sound of a loved one's incessant coughing that we use to torture terrorism suspects? The sound of the coughing has broken me, I promise you that.

Back to the Gingerbread House. I decided that the icing was the problem and I happened to have some old (scary old) Betty Crocker cookie decorating icing that I used to cement the house together. Voila:

As Hemingway said, "The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places." Let's hope that Ernie was right about that; for the house and for me. 

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