Merry Christmas, everyone!
For reasons known only to her, Lynnette decided she wanted to attend midnight mass this morning. She took Madison. This gave me time to finish a game of NCAA Football (I have since left the University of Kansas for Washington State University), wrap Lynnette’s gift, and sleep – in that order. When Lynnette and Madison returned home after 1 in the morning, I was groggy. We still woke up relatively early to open gifts. I got up first, as usual, and was able to sneak in a game of football. Lynnette was next and took the opportunity afforded her by a slumbering Goobi to get dressed and put on her makeup.
There are far too many gifts to take pictures of. I am surprised Madison didn’t complain about sore cheeks because I don’t think I’ve ever smiled as much as she did today with the exception of the two days during which I took wedding photos. The Bucky Pirate Ship from Jake and the Neverland Pirates was the undisputed champion. Madison loves the show on Disney Junior and up until KSSK started playing Christmas Music on a loop about two weeks ago, she listened to the soundtrack on CD incessantly in Lynnette’s car. It was so bad, I actually would have rather listened to Lynnette’s music. She’s already spent time getting to know the nuances of Bucky’s capabilities, including the water cannon launcher and the pop-out Tick Tock Croc.
Lynnette and I have moved to the point in our lives where we purchase each other Christmas gifts based primarily by considering which things we could not reasonably afford and/or justify during a non-birthday/non-Christmas period of the year. Lynnette bought me a pair of expensive Nikes when we went to Kicks Hawaii a few weeks ago. It was the first time I had been there in years. I hope that it becomes a tradition. That maybe just once a year I will be able to indulge in a single pair of sexy, not-necessarily-functional shoes.
Similarly, Lynnette had made not-so-subtle overtures about Uggs for a while. She lamented Madison’s pair with some kind of statement like “Even Madison has Uggs!” to emphasize her utter lack of social credibility due to her lack of boots completely unsuited to Hawaii’s climate. Well, Merry Christmas, Lynnette. Your feet will be hot as hell, but at least they’ll look good.
Last Christmas I sent Lynnette off on a search for her Christmas gift by writing a series of clues leading to other clues. I was most proud of the rhyme scheme and other literary devices I was able to weave into the clues. But I dorkfully digress. Since Madison is a huge Jake and the Neverland Pirates fan, I devised a simplified treasure hunt for her to take part in after opening her presents. Since Madison can’t read – let alone decipher the use of literary devices and their effects on the works as wholes – I decided that clues would be pictures of places she would be familiar with.
We started in the house with a picture of our neighbor’s home alarm sign. Madison likes to stand behind it sometimes and pretend she’s a political sign-waver. I’m not kidding. Anyway, Lynnette explained the rules of the treasure hunt to Mad and once she understood, Madison shouted “Follow me!” and she hustled down the stairs. I taped the next clue to the back of her sign.
The picture in the envelope was of the trash bins near our home. Madison broke into a jog towards the trash bins. I opened the gate and Madison entered swiftly. She twirled around and found the envelope taped to the inside of the gate. “A clue!” she screamed. But since she is a princess, she did not quickly remove the envelope as she had done at the sign. Instead, she looked up at me with those concerned eyes that say “help.” I guess she didn’t want to touch anything in or around the dumpsters. Good call. The picture in this envelope featured a photo of the hydrant near our driveway. Madison and I cruise there sometimes when we play with water balloons. She ran there and received the final clue.
We made a stop at Pearlridge on Christmas Eve so that I could buy a little sack of plastic gems for this treasure hunt. I printed out the pictures 1-hour over the internet at Walmart. In true Phil Higa fashion, the whole thing didn’t come together until the 11th hour. I hung the sack of gems – similar to the one featured in the resolution of Goonies – on the water faucet outside our garage. When Madison got there she didn’t know what to do. Like the clue at the dumpster, she seemed reticent to touch the red bag of jewels. I pulled it off for her, then handed it to her.
She took a few steps before opening the bag. “It’s jewels!” she shouted. “Mom! I found treasure!” She immediately wanted to go into the house to “sort dem out!” As we left our home for lunch at my parents I overheard her tell Lynnette that she had fun on the treasure hunt. That pretty much made my Christmas. “Maybe next year I can make a more elaborate treasure hunt for you, Mad.” I said. “Do you mean a longer one?” she replied. That cracked me up. “Will it just be in Mililani?” she asked. “I hope so!” I replied. After all, I’m not so great at the whole “planning ahead” thing.
On a side note, I have eaten a terrible amount of food in the past 24 hours. You know it’s on when you look around while undoing your belt and button to your shorts under the table. Merry Christmas!