Forgetful Forgetful Grandma

My grandma, Mama Dot (my dad’s mom), was a true character. I hope to be as sassy as she was someday. She was this fantastic combination of the ultimate nurturer and illogical judgment, as I’m sure many grandmas are.

For example, she stocked her cupboards with candy so that her grandkids could gorge themselves on Reece’s cups and York peppermint patties. Then, she’d admonish us for not wanting to eat dinner.

She was a very generous Christmas gift-giver. I didn’t have to come from a broken home to get two Christmas stockings, because she did them for EVERYONE – four grandkids, three children, two in-laws, then, eventually, two in-law grandkids. She would also give us several Christmas presents – a mixture of whatever she randomly chose, and a nice number of things from our specific lists. This of course meant she was buying things that she had no clue about. And, really, who would care to learn more about plastic ponies with pictures on their asses?

One year, either my sister or I had asked for Hungry Hungry Hippos. Here is the ad:

Hungry Hungry Hippos is one of those toys that no one who lives with you wants you to have. It is noisy, it has marbles as game parts, and, usually within the first day, at least one hippo commits suicide. Plus, once you take the dancing cartoon hippos and catchy jingle away, all you have left is the game, which is entirely lame.

But, that’s not the point. The point is that to a kid, the colorful Hungry Hungry Hippos ad makes this game look like a fine way to spend your time, and we wanted it. And we got it. Mama Dot got it for us.

“Hooray!” we exclaimed to ourselves in our minds because we’re both introverts, we got Hungry Hungry Hippos! We immediately opened and set it up, and commenced with de-hungering the Hippos.

Now, if you didn’t watch the commercial, watch it. You will notice that you don’t actually HEAR the game being played. You hear the ecstatic giggles of the children, and you hear the very loud jingle. There’s a reason for that. HHH sounds like a construction site but instead of jackhammers, there are hippos, and instead of cat calls, there are marbles rolling around.

So, when my sister and I happily started our first game (and that is the only time you happily play HHH), Mama Dot walking by, stopped, and exclaimed:

Mama Dot: Who in the hell got you that!?
Us: You did!
Mama Dot: I most certainly did not.
Our Mother (knowing very well who the hell got us that): Yes, you did.
Mama Dot: I think I would know if I got something like that. I wouldn’t get something like that.

After much back and forth, it was established that yes, Mama Dot had gotten us this thing that was filling the house with the sounds of plastic clacking and clanging like awful Christmas bells.

It was actually a running gag in our family – aunts and uncles would get their nieces and nephews noisy toys on purpose. My parents won this contest because they got my nephew an extremely noisy police car. My aunt and uncle thought the torture would be over when the batteries ran out. They swear that the battery somehow fused with the casement to create a never-ending lifespan. You didn’t even have to play with it. If you looked at it wrong it would yell, “STOP! Pull over!”

However, my grandma never participated in this tradition because we actually stayed at her house, so she knew it would eventually bite her in the ass. Needless to say, she was very disappointed to find out that she had brought Hungry Hungry Hippos on herself. But, it never stopped her from complaining about how we have too much stuff, about 25% of which was her fault.


This post was written in response to Studio30 Plus’ prompt: The Gift

Pictures from Disney World, Which You Wouldn’t Know if I Didn’t Tell You

Everyone knows what Cinderella’s castle looks like. Plus, screw her and her fancy schmancy high-value location abode. Instead, here’s a random selection of things I found worthy of photographing. And I promise this is the last of squeezing content from the Orlando stone.

These were "pay phones." You used to use them to make phone calls. Now, they are used to decorate awesome dinoaur/Route 66-themed restaraunts.
Speaking of vintage dinosaurs, someone please find me this pink ceramic stegosaurus ceramic cookie jar. Christmas is right around the corner.
Here's a picture of me, holding my charging phone and a ball of light, wearing my Shaun of the Dead shirt.
I want the phrase "nine pound lemons" to replace "brass balls."
This dragon dressed as a skunk farted in our faces and made us miss the Touch and Taste segment of the 5 senses tour. Then we had to see him taking a bath on the ceiling of his home. It was a whole ordeal.
If I had focused as hard at school as I did helping out Buzz Lightyear, I may have been a better student.
This pair of Chip and Dales were from the future. They were looking for someone named John Connor.


How to Tell a Girl You Like Her OR Leave Me Alone – You Can Decide Later!

Tom (my husband) and I are going through a lot of old stuff, trying to stem the tide of becoming pack rats. We’re about to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, and were together for six years before marriage. So, a lot of our “old stuff” is also shared memories. Tom, who is much more of a paper pack rat than me, is going through boxes of paper, and it’s been quite fun finding things I thought we never kept. More on that later, though.

Tom and I knew each other in high school, and became best friends when I was a senior in high school and he was a freshman in college. We were best friends for a year before becoming a couple. This year was the fun “what does he think of me, does he like me, does he know I like him?” era of our relationship. And by fun I mean torturous – I can’t stand ambiguity.

In going through my old stuff, I found the first thing I remember Tom ever getting for me. Trust me, I like weird stuff just as much as the next person, so it’s not that I didn’t LIKE it, it’s more that in obsessively trying to come up with what it could mean, I was very perplexed. So, I present to anyone who would like to give a gift that says “I got this for you. It may be because I recognize and appreciate your off-kilter-ness, or it may be because I’m trying say I’d like to give normal gifts to other women, buddy.”

Nothing says "I got you a rubbery half snake/half lady" like a rubbery half snake/half lady.

In retrospect, I of course realize how lucky I am to have found someone that would get this for me, put it in a little cardboard box, decorate it, and give it to me for no particular occasion. And I appreciate it that much more because of its context and the hilarity of me obsessing over what it could “mean.”

Nice one, future husband.

P.S. And it’s a good thing she doesn’t have any nipples cause she’d totally be nip slippin’ after 16 years of her tube top slowly sliding down.

What? No, 1950s, wanting a pair of Santa Claus slaves is totally normal. Stop worrying.

I love stuff from the 1950s and 60s (pre-hippie and avocado green). Specifically, I love Made in Japan ceramics from that era. Salt and pepper shakers, planters, figurines, Christmas decorations – I’ve got a good amount of it. Unfortunately, most of it has been packed away for a couple of years now because we tried to sell our house two years ago, I’m lazy, and we’re going to try and sell our house again someday. The upside to that is when I finally get to drag them all out of their boxes, I won’t remember half of it. It’ll be a nice surprise.

One of the reasons I really like this stuff is because it is weird. Very weird. It’s like everyone was on a post World War II high and decided to channel that through crazy kitchenware items. Luckily, two of my favorite things aren’t packed up.

First, my favorite thing, ever. This is a Holt Howard relish condiment jar (the Holt Howard line of condiment jars like this is called “Pixieware,” btw). Don’t even try to tell me you don’t want one. Back in the 1950’s, if you were a real hostess, you didn’t humiliate your guests by forcing them to accessorize their hamburgers with faceless, soulless jars and dispensers. You put condiments in a ceramic jar with a spoon too short to reach the bottom, and you put a whimsical face on that spoon, or you can fucking forget it, I’ll eat my hamburger plain.

You have to get your relish out of the jar it came in? Oh, God, I'm SO sorry.

There are tons of these jars. I own several. But this relish one is my favorite. Partly because of the colors and he has my favorite thing-that-represents-the-condiment-expression, and partly because it was a Christmas present from my sister and parents. The relish jar is rare, and my relish jar is in mint condition – so suck on that, it’ll make your breath fresh. But, I show you this only as a gateway to my second specimen. I don’t think you could have handled it by itself.

You know all those people who lament about how unequivocally awesome and more better “simpler times” were? About how “back then” you didn’t have to x, y, and z, and Back Then is the captain of the football team and Now is the slutty drop-out under the bleachers? And kick the can, apple pie, gingham tablecloths, lemonade, scooters, and Norman Rockwell? You can argue until you’re blue in the face that time moves forward, awesomeness is always a give and take/subjective – some people in the 50s thought it sucked, just like people think now sucks, etc. Or, you can just show them this picture:

Yah, Santa! Yah!

Yes. That is a blond angel, dressed to the Christmas nines, holding a giant candy cane with one hand, and wrangling two tiny Santa Claus’ on chains in the other. My sister and I inappropriately call this the “Santa slaves girl.” That came from the 1950s, y’all. In the 1950s, somebody said, “Let’s make a figurine of an angel, and let’s have her walking one, no, two Santas, each attached to a chain. You know, for Christmastime.” A more innocent time, my ass.

There’s actually a lot of big-thing-with-two-littler-things-on-chains figurines from that time. Most of them are animals – a mama and two babies of the same kind of animal. Here is one. Here is another.

Here is a lady with two sophisticated children, I’m guessing. Weird, yes, but I can see that perhaps, like the real-life modern day child leashes, that this was done for safety’s sake.

But two malnourished, failure-to-thrive Santas? On chains? Look at it!

Ok, ok. How about this – anyone who thinks that the past was a more morally “pure” time than the present, admit that this figurine is totally and completely messed up, and I’ll do you the favor of modernizing it so that you can feel comfortable that the original version is less sick. Deal?

I’m just glad we could all come to an acceptable compromise.