Thursday, December 5, 2013

Grutz says, "When the sh!t hits the fan, er, rather the floor." or "St. Nicholas comes tonight! But be wary of Krampus!!!"

Little room for deviation.

Into our technically third week of Dad Duty pt. II, and things are going very, very well.  The kids and I have a pretty good routine so far.  Chores get finished, naps are fulfilled, bellies are amply filled, and much time is spent playing, goofing, and baby-talk.  Bowels are evacuated (usually in tandem by the the kids) and they are painstakingly cleaned (by me).  Usually dinner is more or less ready by the time Mommy gets home and all is hunky-dory.  Get to listen to great music or great radio.  Heck, I even send in emails that get on the air on  the fine Talk of Iowa on IPR.  Yeah, I'm "Nick from Chicago".  I post blogs.  Make lists of thing I need to do, lists of things I'd like to do.  All is pretty darn good.

BUT, when life adds a little spice to the routine, well, things can get dicey.  Case in point, our fearless (some may say fear inducing) dog, Arnie, has got a bug or something.  Let's just say rugs have been cleaned, floors scrubbed.  I'm sure he'll be heading to the vet, at some point.  But with his "Oh my I really have to get out or I'm going to use the floor again!" to my "How the hell do you dry a wet 8x10 rug when it won't stop raining and a wicked cold front is coming?" and everything in between, it has been a stretch to maintain a sense of positivity.  (For the rug it takes fans.  And rigging it in such a way your almost-two-year-old won't hurt himself.  And he does try.  Tenacious that one is.)  Now, normally, this incident would not be much of an issue, but with kids, things can become very difficult, very quickly.  Like logarithmically difficult.  There is no more "drop whatever it is you're doing and address this issue", rather it is evolved into "I HAVE to do this now, but A, B, and C have to take place first, and hope that the little ones are in a good mood."  Quick, slip on your shoes and coat is not a reality when a sleeping baby is strapped to your abdomen.  And we don't have a yard so I can't just let him out.  Fortunately, up until today the weather has been wet, but balmy.  And Nolan is very, very compliant.

But this is an example of life, right?  This is what happens and it is all about developing new skills and outlook.  Carleen had a rough day the other day when 12 additional students joined her class for the day due to an absent teacher.  Challenging, I've been there.  So it comes from all fronts.  But you get through it and, usually, you come out the other side better suited to handle the next crisis.  And there will be more crises.  Luckily, I have Carleen to be there at the the end of the day, so we can look into each othes' tired eyes and I mutter something like, "Jeez, I can't remember when I showered last.  I love you." and it makes things better, maybe just a bit, but better non-the-less.

As I walked Arnie this morning I was feeling bad for myself and I stopped and said, aloud ('cos I'm crazy), "You've been through worse."  And I have.  And it turned out all right.  And I smiled.  Life is good.  My boy won't stop yapping and my daughter won't stop giggling.  What's better than playing peek-a-boo with your daughter?  Nothing.  Except watching your son play peek-a-boo with your daughter.

And St. Nicholas comes tonight!!!

Growing up you would put your shoes out on the 5th and if you've been good you'd find the next morning an orange and a candy cane in your shoes, gifts from St. Nicholas.  If you've been naughty you'd get coal, and if coal wasn't readily available, you would get gravel and stcks in your shoes, which did happen to me ONCE.  St. Nicholas would even leave candy canes on our desks at school, too!!  We are excitedly anticipating a visit tonight!!!! Hope you've all been good!

A number years ago, my Dad told me about Krampus.  Krampus (and his other incarnations) trace back thousands of years to pagan times of central Europe.  He's devil-like entity who punishes naughty kids. He usually joins St. Nicholas, dishing out the fear, while St. Nicholas gives the cheer.  A fine coupling of christian with pagan ritual.  He's quite a big deal in Europe and he's more common in the US.  I definitely believe Krampus should have a more prominent role today.  Best get moving on making a costume and mask now so it'll be ready in few years.  MWAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  A little fright does a body good.  Here are some photos of Krampus:
Old school St. Nicholas and Krampus.

Present day Krampus in Austria.  (Photo:Kerstin Joensson)
Here's an article and video from 2011 from NPR.  Check it out.  And I hope you've been good this year, if only not keep Krampus at bay........

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