Posts tagged Ranchero De-Luxe

The Last Dregs of Advent

We had a few more activities in the calendar that I never got around to throwing on the blog, so here they are:


One of the things that I tried to do with the advent calendar was to put in some activities about giving to others to stress that the Christmas spirit is not limited to what Santa brings. When the kids are a bit older, hopefully this will translate into some sort of community giving, but for this year, I decided to keep it simple. We made pine cone, peanut butter and bird seed treats for the birds and squirrels. I took each of the older children shopping for gifts for the other parents. The last was a gift for our favorite couple at the Ranchero.


Our lovely neighbor and building caretaker extraordinaire, Bill, and Rex-Goliath have a special relationship. It evolved because Rex-Goliath likes to hang out on the balcony during the warmer months, and Bill is often doing some sort of project back in his garage (which our balcony overlooks).


Bill has an affinity for the Mounds bars. He started giving them to Rex-Goliath, who would bring them into me, and I would put them in the cupboard. Sometimes I would distract him, sometimes I would give him some vegan candy instead. One day, Dan confessed that he would sometimes just let Rex-Goliath have some of the candy bar. So, without looking too closely at the ingredient list, we decided that Mounds bars would be vegan in our house. Neither of us could bring ourselves to explain veganism to Bill (who would be completely confused by the concept – he is in his eighties and cows are for eating in his world – what else would you do with one?).


As a thank you to Bill and Carol for being so sweet to the kids, one of the advent activities was to bring them a gift. A few days prior to the activity, I made some Christmas cookies, including some chocolate rum balls dipped in coconut (the Mounds bar of the Christmas cookie world). We packed them up in a red Chinese food container (I have almost worked through all of the leftover ones from the wedding centerpieces) decorated by Chloë.


Rex-Goliath decided to use the time to vacuum up the buttons he had strewn all over the kitchen floor earlier. The inscription on the box read:”To Bill and Carol, From Chloë’s family, work done by Chloë, as always.” Obviously someone was a little disgruntled over having to set the table earlier. A few more, “When I was a kid, I had to mop the floor up hill both ways” stories ought to set her straight.


The kids had a grand time delivering the package, knocking on the door, running away and hiding.

Bill knocked on the door a bit later to thank us. He seemed genuinely touched to have received the present from the kids. Mission accomplished.

On the 15th day of the advent calendar, the darn thing seemed to think that it would be a good idea to go ice skating in Rice Park. We bundled up the boys, picked Chloë up from school, and Dan dropped the older two and I off at the rink, planning to park the car and bring the baby back to hang out in the warming house.


When we arrived, a very nice warming house employee informed us that broomball would commence in about forty minutes. I figured we might as well make the best of it – it was really cold that day, and I didn’t even know how long the kids would last. I rented the kids skates, tried to put them on, then got them new skates that fit. Then tied the laces on each skate. Then I had to put mine on, find a spot for our things, save Rex-Goliath from toppling over, etc. By this time, the zamboni guy was slowly ambling around the rink, as if he didn’t know that I was on a deadline. Because he probably didn’t, but I’ll still hold it against him.

By that time, the warming house was filling with burly broom ball-types, slapping high fives and adjusting their earmuffs. We were finally able to get out on the ice with about ten minutes left of skating time. With about eight minutes left, Rex-Goliath decided that skating was not for him (thank you, divine being, as I will not have to shell out thousands for hockey crap) and began to say, “Mama, go!” loudly. Chloë made it around the rink approximately two times before the nice warming house employee called us off the rink for broomball.


If you are wondering what Dan and the baby are up to at this point in the story, so was I. Things were starting to seem a little weird. I slowly took off my skates, then slooooowly removed the kids’ skates, sloooowly walked them (two feet) up to the table, then proceeded to get really nervous. Maybe Mr. Grinch had just had it with the family holiday activities. Maybe he was sick of the kids’ whining and complaining. I figured he must of just driven off. Now, if you are smart and planning to abandon your wife and kids, it is a terrible idea to do so with one of them sleeping in the backseat. Especially the one that needs diapers and mama milk, which your wife has in her possession – not you. But Dan isn’t big on planning.


I messed up my phone a few months back and lost all of my phone numbers that her stored on it. His phone was not on him (it was in my Uncle Dave’s salsa-making kitchen), so I could not call him. I was trying to figure out a) who I could even call (the jerk had the car seats for the kids I had with me!) that b) I had a number for. Things were not looking promising. Strangely enough, it did not occur to me to notify the police that my husband was missing – I just assumed that if he was gone, it was of his own accord and not foul play. Hmmm. Maybe I should reexamine this at some point. Anyway. Back to the story.

Eventually, while I was trying to recall somebody, anybody’s phone number, he burst through the door, holding a very red-cheeked and perturbed-looking Xavier. Apparently, Dan had been forced to park eight blocks away and carried the 20-lb baby the whole way to the ice rink in the bitter cold. Poor guys.

So I sent him back to fetch the car.

Once we left, we drove trough the Taco Bell* and all was good.


*Ever try to order vegan food when going through the Taco Bell drive through? We really need a script.

Dan (to Taco Bell drive through speaker thingie): I’d like two crunchy tacos supreme, (to Leah) Why do you need the supreme?

Leah: Because I like the the tomatoes.

Dan (to Leah): But it is such a pain in the ass. We are paying a whole bunch of money for one sixteenth of a tomato, plus it makes it so much more difficult to order. (to Taco Bell drive through speaker thingie) Okay, two crunchy tacos supreme, substitute beans for meat, no cheese, no sour cream. Five bean burritos, no cheese. One soft shell taco kids’ meal –

Leah: Why do have to get the kids’ meal?

Dan: I don’t.

Chloë: Why can’t I get the kids’ meal?

Leah: You can’t get one for her and not one for Rex-Goliath. It’ll be a thing.

Dan: Is he at kids’ meal age now? That’s so cute! Let’s get him a kids’ meal.

Leah: Whatever. (to herself) Great. Two more plastic toys to surreptitiously throw away and wind up in a landfill.

Dan: The Taco Bell toys aren’t always horrible. Remember when they gave out books, like James and the Talking Pinata Talk Sacrifice?

Leah: Yeah, yeah.

Dan: Make it two kids meals, one with soft shell tacos, no cheese, sub beans for meat, one with a bean burrito, And a seven layer burrito, no cheese, no sour cream, substitute beans for meat, oh, and can we get some mild sauce and a bunch of fire sauce?

And so it goes…

–Mrs. Wonderful

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