Thanks For: WHAT DID I DO WITH THE DONKEY LAST YEAR? and other Christmas classics

Dearest Mother and Brother,

Confession time – Mom, the Hedgehog and I shared a chuckle when you asked us i”f your big balls were positioned right between the sticks”. You of course meant the red Christmas balls perched in the garland on the fireplace but we went a whole other route. Consider it sibling bonding fun times.

In fact the entire Christmas decorating experience turned into a bizarre list of catchphrases.

As always, setting up the nativity is my job. I finally found out why this year. Apparently it’s not because I’m so skillful at arranging camels but because “you don’t like the feel of Styrofoam”. Basically I’m just there to take things out of boxes for you. The Father escaped to the office. At least I’m not Hedgehog. His new life purpose is to:

1) Lift this heavy thing

2) Reach that tall place

3) Hold this thing right there. No there. A little to the left. Up. No too much. Down a touch. I said a touch. Don’t you know how much a touch is? That’s too much. Put it back. Hold still. Stop moving. What do you think. There? No I think we should put it over there. Hmmmmm. Repeat x10

So while the brother is lifting heavy things I’m busy wrestling with a wooden Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the crew. Mary, Joseph and Jesus are the easy part. Jesus goes in Mary’s arms, Joseph looks down adoringly. Put the whole thing in the middle. Shepherds go around the back and sides. It’s easy

Then there are the animals. Do you know how many animals I’ve got to wrangle on a piece of burlap ARTISTICALLY?! 4 sheep, an oxen, a goat, a GIANT CAMEL and a donkey. Oh the donkey. Just when I’d artistically placed the sheep, bunched the ox and goat together and stuffed the camel in the back corner. BOOM. I missed the donkey. This of course leads me to shout, “What did I do with the donkey last year?”.

Not a phrase I’d normally say.

Even better. When the mother was swapping her fall sticks for winter sticks (just nod at the difference) we got the delightful phrase, “There is a goat stuck to my scarf, someone help!”

Phenomenal. That’s what I’m thankful for. Rouge Christmas Goats.

Aria

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Thanks For: Mother Desperately Trying to Understand Technology

Dear Technology Challenged Mom,

You’ve mastered the Kijiji ad, you’ve adjusted to Windows 8, you’re mostly okay with the majesty of touch screens. But now you want to work on Dad’s advertising both at the office and at home – as your daughter it’s fallen to me to take on this hair-pulling, mind-blowing task of teaching you how. Mother. It’s time to understand The Dropbox.

I’m sorry for laughing when you didn’t know how to get to your files. It was laugh or cry a little. I was trying to keep it all upbeat. That’s difficult when you seem to think that your Kijiji account can only be accessed from one specific computer. Thanks for not questioning me when I popped a shortcut onto Chrome. Thank you for rolling with it. Thanks past me for teaching mother how to use Chrome and not Internet Explorer like the Father.

Sigh. Sadness.

But thanks for trying so hard mother. I know this is frustrating for both of us. I promise that ctrl c and ctrl v really are the same as clicking with the mouse. At least you know how to copy and paste. I’m thankful that you can at least do things. I’m thankful that you realize how aggravating it is to move at a pace that a turtle could beat without all that sketchy rabbit napping.

Just remember how happy you were when you first got it the dropbox to work at home! You said, and I quote, “It’s just like magic.”

Let’s not do it again,

Aria

ps Hedgehog little  brother – I DON’T CARE IF YOU HAVE A MAC AND DON’T ‘KNOW THOSE WINDOWS THINGS’ STOP LYING. YOU CAN STILL TEACH THE PARENTS ‘TO EMAIL’. I’M ONTO YOU!

Thanks For: The Great Pumpkin Naming Crisis of 2014

Dear Overly Smiley Poorly Carved Gary,

My brother is demanding that I rationalize why I named our freshly carved pumpkin Gary. Personally I don’t think he deserves an answer as a) not home b) didn’t carve the pumpkin c)didn’t have the intimate experience of pulling out Gary’s guts with his bare hands. Gary and I bonded okay, little brother. His name is Gary, your name is Hedgehog. All things considered, I gave the pumpkin a more normal name than you. What does that mean?

You never bond with someone so deeply as when your hands are full of their guts.

While I personally think that my little hedgehog of a brother is jealous that I’ve replaced him with a grinning pumpkin, we need to have a chat Gary. A chat about the truth. And the truth is that I have literally no idea why I named you Gary. But really, does any parent? They just go, ‘hey, i like how that sounds. Yes. I shall perpetually call this wrinkly spud of a human by that collection of sounds.’ I arbitrary started calling you Gary. Then the mother called you Gary. Congratulations, you’re now Gary. No reason. Completely on a whim. That’s the word that popped out of my mouth.

I’m turning into my mother. I don’t actually remember the last time she called me by my name. She just says whatever name she wants. This goes doubly for Hedgehog because at least he calls me by my name.

No my parents didn’t name my little brother hedgehog. That gem was loving bestowed on him by his much more beautiful and intelligent older sister.

But Gary, dear grinning Gary. We had a naming crisis. I called you Gary. Then I got questioned as to why I called you Gary. My brain broke. Did you look like a Gary? Would you grow into the name Gary? Should I change it? What if you hated the name? Could live up to the all connotations of the name Gary? Had I doomed you to a life of poor nicknames and sadness?

So thanks Hedgehog and Gary for that little bit of parenthood. That was more than enough. Let’s not go there again any time soon. And Gary?

Thanks for grinning,

Aria

Thanks For: Backseat Driving Little Brothers

Dear Overly Cautious Hedgehog of a Brother,

I know that its *our* car but if you insist on dramatically flinging yourself against the window in fear and criticizing the space distance between cars then I will relegate you to the backseat. All 6 foot 5 of you. Stuffed in the backseat. Knees banging your chin. This goes doubly if you ever again attempt to touch the steering wheel. DO NOT TOUCH.

I was just being a superb big sister and picking you up in the dead of night to bring you from your University home of filth and squallor to the Kingdom of Mother’s cooking and laundry service. Do you know what I was missing on your behalf? The latest episode of my current favourite tv show. I missed my OTP and the shipping. Then I got spoiled by tumblr. All for you little brother.

And yet you think you’re hilarious by dramatically hanging off the door every time I make a turn or by over-flinching each time we stop. “Slow down. You’re speeding. What if you hit a deer? You need to leave 3 seconds between you and the car in front of you. Stop stopping so fast. turn RIGHT NOW. You should have known that even though you don’t live in this city. You should signal sooner.”

You are such a baby driver. Also I will lovingly turn up the country music as loud as it goes until I can no longer hear you. And I know how much you love country  music.

So little brother. Thanks for the driving lesson, I’m glad that you’re so invested in my safety. I’m thankful that you think you’re hilarious as I’m told it’s good for the self esteem.

Just stop doing it when I’m driving,

Aria

Thanks For: My Mother Put the Whole Family on a Colonoscopy Diet

I wish I was kidding; I’m not getting a colonoscopy for another thirty years but I’ve been eating like I get one this morning. Basically when The Father has to get a colonoscopy, we all have to eat colourless food for 3 days. Is that TMI? Too LATE! It’s written now and as per guidelines, no erasing.

Thankfully those of us not getting invasive tests got to skip the medication and its uber unfortunate side effects. There’s one bathroom in the house that I’m staying far far away from. TMI again? Sorry. But anything red, purple or orange has been a no go. Anything with a lot of spice? Nope. Dinner has been interesting. Basically the rule is don’t tempt The Father with things he can’t eat. The Mother seems to think he has no willpower. She’s right.

Besides the vast increase in available jello there is only one real bright spot. The Mother said not to tempt The Father, guess what the Hedgehog and I have been doing all weekend?

“Hey Dad, look. I’ve got a muffin fresh out of the oven. Still warm. Homemade. Slathered in butter. Look at that. Look how it melts. Mmmmm delectable. Oh wait, you can’t eat this. Too much fiber. And the delicious blueberries are one of the forbidden colours. Too bad for you. Guess i’ll have to eat the whole dozen by myself. Why hello little brother, would you like an insanely good muffin?”

“Why yes dear sister. That muffin looks so good and its too bad for anyone who can’t have one. Let’s go eat sausage and chips and chocolate until we burst. Oh hi Dad. What you got there? Plain chicken broth with nothing else in it? Yum. I’ll just have to suffer along with this muffin”

*Dad stares longingly at the muffin from the corner* He has a baked good weakness.

My brother and I have never been so cordial to each other as when we’re teasing the Father. When the Mother is out of the room. If she asks, we’re angels.

Thanks for the chuckles and sibling bonding,

Aria

Thanks For: Big Little Brothers Who Steal Showers

Dear Younger but Taller Brother aka Hedgehog,

As your elder and wiser sister there’s a rule that I will always love and feel protective of you. However, stop persisting in taking over MY bathroom right WHEN I HAVE TO PEE SO BAD. I do recall that technically it’s our bathroom but you’ve been back to school and moved out for a couple of months now and I feel that realistically I should now own 80% of the bathroom time. Now that you’re home for reading week, I feel I need to remind you of a few ground rules.

Especially due to optimal bathroom time. For example, first thing in the morning when I wake up (to go to work, not lounge about all day like you) please VACATE THE PREMISES IMMEDIATELY. I have timed my wake-up to match the maximum bladder allowance and i really really really need to pee. You know what I can’t do if you’re in there shaving? Pee.

And honestly, you have basically no facial hair. Plus it’s blonde. You do not need to shave more than one a week. I promise you’re still manly. Adorably manly.

Also, in regards to the shower. Places wet towels do not belong include:

on the floor If you keep doing this mother will kill you. with love. but you’ll be dead.

on the shower floor You do this so that mother won’t see it. I applaud. But you know who sees it? Me. I will kill you. with love.

hanging over the shower directly before I’m about to shower Your butt was on that towel. I do not want to touch it. This is simple. Especially because it’s wet and so many germs.

draped over the toilet Just a hint, someone may want to use that. Also, girls sit. Wet toilet seats are not things we want to sit upon.

in the bathroom sink Under what circumstance could this EVER belong here?

in the drawers under the bathroom sink Why do you think I won’t find it here? I keep my shampoo/conditioner/etc in that drawer

Please attempt to put the wet towels directly into the laundry where they belong.

However, because I’m your elder sister. Welcome home. I’m thankful for your existence in spite of all of these things. I’ll even let you get away with using my body wash. I respect your desire to smell like cucumber melon or shea butter.

With necessary sibling love,

Aria

PS – WOULD IT KILL YOU TO CHANGE THE TOILET PAPER WHEN IT’S EMPTY?!?

Thanks for: Lazy Girl Hair

Dear Curls of Craziness,

I’m pretty sure that I have two heads worth of hair on my scalp. It’s thick, it’s crazy curly, it’s got a mind of it’s own, it literally breaks the super expensive hairdresser brushes when I get it cut. I can’t brush it unless it’s wet. Even after drowning it in conditioner, it makes ripping noises when brushed. IT’s like it’s own entity. My little brother has the exact same hair but in a shorter man length cut. Guess why I call him Hedgehog? It’s the hedgehog hair.

But I’m so thankful for this unruly head of hair because I am the laziest hair person ever. I literally do not touch it. I wake up, look in the mirror, go ‘eh good enough’, and head out the door. No product. No brushes. Sometimes I’ll sport a clip or a ponytail if things really went askew.

And hair, dear animal pelt affixed to my scalp, you keep me looking presentable. As a child you were thick and frizzy. Basically straight. As I grew up you increased the frizz. This was okay. Children can get away with unfortunate hair-dos. But then I got to high school and hair mattered. BAM puberty hits and you bust out all the curls. You’ve only gotten curlier. This is mildly alarming as The Mother already refers to you as a sort of near-Afro.

But you keep me looking presentable with no work. Because honestly, I wouldn’t do much to you even if you looked straight and limp and frizzy. Also dearest hair, the rain does absolutely nothing to you. I don’t need to do that girly screech and cover my head when it rains. We’re fine. Wet. But we look normal.

Sure, I’d like to try straightening my hair once in while if you’d stop being so stubborn and maybe it would be nice if you actually looked as long as you are and maybe I’m terrified of cutting my hair too short and becoming a Hedgehog, but those are minor complaints. You let me be lazy curls.

Thank you so much,

Aria