Monday, November 18, 2013

I Totally Broke Character And Let's See How This Goes

So I just went all Clark W. Griswold on decorating my house for Christmas and now I know I am completely insane.

Yes, I've already put up Christmas decorations. MOCK ME, I DON'T CARE.

I wanted to do something new and special for the boys by decorating their bedroom (the dorm) and surprising them with it, which when I see through my rabid cloud of winter wonderland insanity, is really fucking stupid given that they're boys and they trash everything.

We're also in a new house and therefore, I had to figure out how to make the old decorations fit in our new space. I felt like I needed time to figure it all out. I wanted to get to work.

First of all, how to create something magical for little boys? I tried to tap into my inner child and draw upon what made Christmas magical for me as a kid, which should be super easy since I've never really matured beyond that of a 12-year-old boy, but no, it was harder than I thought. My ability to make constant penis references wasn't helping me out here.

After much deliberation and thought, I started to pull some ideas together. This was actually really hard because I'm no Martha Stewart Mom. Crafts are not my thing. I spent about 10 minutes looking on Pinterest, somehow got zero ideas, and realized that I was on my own.

Then I visited the magical wonderland of the Dollar Tree and was thrilled to find nearly everything I wanted, plus ten million other things I didn't know I needed until I saw them.

At home with my cheap lead-based goods that will slowly kill my family,  I went to work. And, like I knew I would, screwed a lot of it up.

IDEA #1: Wrapping paper names

I thought the boys would enjoy having cutout letters of their names wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper and hung on their bedroom wall. Since I'm totally lazy and opt for gift bags over wrapping paper, I have shitloads of 10(or more)-year-old wrapping paper around and figured I could spare some for this. I started cutting their letters out of lightweight cardboard and about two letters in wanted to stab myself in the face with the scissors. 

What the hell was I thinking? I've never in my life wished I had kids named BJ or CJ more. My hands were cramping and it was such a pain in the ass. But cutting out the letters wasn't even the worst of it; wrapping them in fucking wrapping paper was. 
Basically, let's try wrapping a feral cat high on catnip and fear, it might be easier.

It took HOURS.
To top it off, as I was wrapping the Ns, I kept noticing that they were looking kind of funky, but I could not figure out why. 
It wasn't until I was hanging them on the wall that I noticed: I had wrapped them backward.
Check out the last one in Brandon's name.
Of course, out of the 18 letters that their names are comprised of, five of the letters are Ns- the highest percentage. I wrapped three out of the five wrong. WAY TO GO, me.

... And, I'm a college graduate. MONEY WELL SPENT.

IDEA #2: Snowflakes hanging from the ceiling 

We don't get much snow here on the coast of California, and by "not much" I mean, none at all. So I thought it'd be nice for the boys to have "snow" in their room. But without all the mess. MAGICAL!

I got snowflakes from the Dollar Tree because fuck taking the time to cut out my own. I have letters to wrap, damn it. Plus, I knew they'd end up looking like a drunk 4-year-old made them.

I thought I'd save some time the night before OPERATION DECORATION commenced by tying the strings around the flakes so they were hang-ready the next day. After tying the strings around them, I carefully placed them on top of each other, hoping that the strings wouldn't tangle.

You can wish in one hand and shit in the other, see which gets full first.

I basically made up for the time I "saved" prepping the strings by having to untangle the massive mess they made somehow on their own, overnight in the garage. It was worse than a massive ball of Christmas lights. 

I almost gave up on that part of the project, but I could see from the few I had managed to hang that it was going to be worth it. So, as I was attacked around the head by the already-hung flakes as I hung the newly-untangled ones, I persevered, and goddamn, they are going to stay up year-round.

Because they look good (far better than I could capture via camera), and because I'm never doing that shit again.

TIP: To easily adjust the lengths, just pull the end of the string through the tape, which is what I used to secure them to the ceiling.

IDEA #3: A paper Christmas tree on their wall

My drawing abilities are terrible (my 7-year-old can draw better than me) but I free-handed an outline of a tree on two large pieces of green card stock, cut it out, then immediately saw that I screwed it up and it looked like a huge spiky penis. Fortunately, knowing I'm a craft fuck-up, I had bought an extra piece of card stock and was able to fix it. 

I stuck on glittery paper ornaments that were actually gift tags (I wasn't going to make my own for the same reasons as the snowflakes), tied some bells on some of the branches, then used red glitter glue to make "tinsel." 

I decided to see if the card stock could handle the weight of the bells and picked up the tree by the top.

That was a mistake. The glitter glue was not dry and immediately ran in giant globs down the tree.


I looked at the screwed-up tree and almost trashed it, but damn it, I am not a quitter. The boys were going to get some kind of tree decoration, no matter how janky it looked.  I realized I could stick actual tinsel over the glue and did just that.

It still looks like a drunk four-year-old made it, but I hung it up anyway.

IDEA #4: Doors "presents"

Even though I've never seen this pain in the ass idea before and came up with it on my own, it's probably already been done by seventy million people. 
I say pain in the ass because getting the taped ribbon to stay stuck to the door WITH THREE WILD BOYS AROUND isn't so easy. So far, I've retaped it like four times in two days.

Some other things:

The spray snow on their bathroom mirror does a GREAT JOB of covering up their toothpaste splatters! And they've already touched it and messed it up but who cares, right?

Here's the snowy village I told them not to touch, that they've touched approximately 4,289 times in two days.

The "family photo tree" is now a "Christmas tree."

There's also a bunch of other stuff that I didn't picture here but you get the idea.


The boys love it. I talked with them about not touching stuff and not being rough around it all, knowing it was futile but giving it a try anyway. I told them that if they liked it and wanted me to do this again in the future, they needed to touch it with their eyes only.

That's not going so well, but hey, it's totally what I knew was going to happen anyway. 

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