We live across the street from the saddest yet somewhat endearing Christmas display ever. At least they tried. Those icicle lights are hilarious. Those things hung droopier every day. The neighbors actually had to duck underneath of them upon leaving and returning home. Then there were the candy canes, which hadn’t stayed upright all month. While the red one was a trooper, the green one was a bastard. (The green ones always are.) It fell over every day. You’d think those folks would have finally given up on it, and left it on the ground as it was in this picture taken on Christmas Eve.
But you know what? The day after Christmas, that green one was standing upright again—sort of. And THAT’S THE SPIRIT. It’s Christmas, damn it, and again this year, WE MADE IT. Now, we deal with the aftermath—and all of those maddening strands of tinsel we keep finding everywhere. My God man, we didn’t even put tinsel on the tree this year.
Now, before I start to review the items in the haul, I should mention the wife joined and navigated eBay for the first time this year. All year she stores up a special resentment for me not being easy to shop for, which she then turns into a super-power come December. “I’m going to find you things YOU LOVE this year,” she threatens.
So she signed up for eBay, which for most people, is a quick and easy five minute process. For the wife, it was an emotional and daunting journey. It’s partially my fault. As a grizzled old eBayer myself, I’ve imparted all sorts of tales about last minute bid sniping and sellers profiting off of shipping costs.
Every day, I’d get the play-by-play on how her bids were going.
“I’m still the high bidder!”
“I’m going to have to watch it the last thirty minutes so the snipers don’t get me!”
“You are going love this thing!”
She clearly believed she was winning a grand prize.
“I can’t believe I won it!” she said. “And they didn’t charge me a lot for shipping,” she added proudly. Even the old grizzled eBayer had to muster up a “well done.”
Then I started to get pretty excited. eBay combined with Christmas is the entire world of possibilities. I mean, it could be anything. And so imagine my surprise Christmas morning when the ENTIRE WORLD of possibilities brought me this:
The uhh… NINJA TURTLE VALENTINES KIT! I’m not making fun of it. I swear. I just think it’s hilarious that she fretted EVERY SINGLE DAY over the potential bidding war she might get into with someone over this thing. And I didn’t know whether to be mortified or flattered that she was so confident I’d love it. Vintage action figures are worthy of adult geek love. But an elementary class Valentine kit with 32 unpunched cards and heart-shaped stickers with Michaelangelo’s face on them? Is that okay to love? Is it?
“You’re the one who wanted that box of Ninja Turtle Band-Aids that was at that toy show,” she said.
Oh yeah. That. That I can explain.
“Band-aids are different,” I said.
Oh screw it. I LOVE IT and I’ll save a review of it for a special Valentine’s Day edition of the blog.
Also, she won that awesome 13 inch Donatello figure. Which came shipped in this really disturbing box:
I’m sort of a OCD germaphobe, so this box REALLY creeps me out. What the hell is a vacutainer? I don’t like anything that combines the words “vacuum” and “container.” But that’s not the only creepy thing. Donatello also smells really strongly of bleach. As though he were fully submerged, preserved, and pickled in a tub of bleach for days. The question is why? And does it have to do anything with blood collecting?
Let’s just say I placed Donatello high up on my Ninja Turtles shelf and promptly washed my hands afterwards. Ten times. Which is a nice even number.
But the wife wasn’t done on eBay yet. Here’s the other awesome thing she won:
CHEESEBURGER MICKEY. It’s Mickey Mouse! In cheeseburger form! How awesome is that? It’s one of the Vinylmation figures, sold exclusively in Disney Parks and stores. According to the Disney site, Vinylmation is “a collectible designer toy created by Disney Theme Park Merchandise.” That’s another way of saying “money grab,” and Walt Disney churns out anything and everything for a buck.
Disney must pipe in subliminal messages through the theme park music to get you to part with your money easier, because when we were in Disney World on our honeymoon this past September, I became mildly obsessed with the Vinylmation figures. I’d seen a picture of Cheeseburger Mickey somewhere, and became singularly focused on it. I had to check every last store, even though all the stores were exactly the same.
When we got home, and I was no longer being constantly exposed to the brain-washing subliminal Disney messages, I mostly forgot about my fling with madness and the Vinylmation figures. Even so, I’m proclaiming Cheeseburger Mickey as my favorite Christmas gift this year.
GODZILLA SLIPPERS. I’m not gonna lie. I put these on my list. Right on the top of it. It’s something you see and immediately realize there is no way you can live without them knowing that they exist. I already stomp around the house. Now I can do it with purpose.
They’re HUGE. As someone already prone to falling up stairs, these increase my chances to about 100%. The wife made a rule that I can’t go up and down the stairs in these, but I already have because I’m a rebel. I like to live dangerously. I’m gonna die. Doesn’t matter. Having Godzilla feet is WORTH IT.
REMOTE CONTROL HELICOPTER! I had this on my list because I can think of all kinds of times when I really wish I had a remote control helicopter to fly. Like, while I’m trying to think of thoughts. Sentences. Words. Stuff. It’s way better than staring at walls. Walls are so unengaging.
Well, except for wallpapered walls. Sometimes those patterns can really suck you in like whoa.
BOOKS! My mother gave me these. I love books like this even though the target audience is eight years old and I’m thirty one. There’s lots of good stuff in the Giant Cool Book. For example I’ve learned that a squid has the largest eyes in the world. At birth, a giant panda is smaller than a mouse.
And Optical Illusions are awesome. These are great additions to my library of “fun” books, where I have books about dinosaurs, sea creatures, mammals, UFOs, etc. These are the things that first sparked my curiosity as a kid, and they still do.
THE WORLD’S MOST GIGANTIC BOX OF CHOCHOLATES! From my sister, who always finds the most unique gifts every year. When she plopped this wrapped package in my lap on Christmas day, I already knew what it was. This long, lightweight rectangular package was obviously a board game. I confidently boasted that “I know what this is.”
I’m a notorious guesser and I’m right nearly 99% of the time. It’s somewhat deflating to the gift-giver when I guess it before I open it, and of course, I relish in earning that deflation. Except my sister wasn’t deflated. Instead, she looked at me with a challenging glint in her eye. “I dare you to say it out loud if you know what it is then.”
Sister: 1. Me: 0.
STAR WARS FIGURES! From the wife. I really dig all the retro re-issues out there. In some ways, walking through a Toys R Us aisle today looks just like it might have twenty-five years ago.
I opened R2-D2 first, and immediately guessed the other similarly-wrapped package would be his counterpart, C-3PO. The wife smirked. Boy, was I off. It was Princess Leia in the SLAVE OUTFIT.
0 for 2 on my guesses this year.
STOCKING STUFFERS! Is this the most perfect assortment of stocking stuffers ever? The wife gets special bonus points for finding that Dressed-as-Santa-Mr. Potato Head-Viewmaster tube topper. That thing is a load of awesome.
TOY STORY CARS! I love things in the form of other things! Like Cheeseburger Mickey. Or Toy Story cars! The wife got me these. She has a good eye for under-the-radar cool stuff. This set is perfect, except we’re both kind of disappointed there’s no Hamm car. But she’d fight me for that one. It’s a pig, after all.
ANGRY BIRDS! BOWSER HAT! I recently had an affair with the Angry Birds. I discovered them about two years after the rest of the world. I don’t have a smart phone. I finally discovered the game through the Google Chrome browser. I obsessively three-starred all the levels in about a week, and now I have these plush birds to forever represent that lost week of my life. And that Bowser hat—I love love love the strangely minimal, bootleggy, old-school hand drawn look of the design.
So that’s my 2011 haul. WE MADE IT! But we’ll still be picking up that tinsel ’til next year. ‘Til next year indeed!