from the archives: War on Christmas brought to successful end
The sweaters known as "Roadkill" and "First Class" are making their way south by air, as seen on the GPS-style tracking map below. Still no word on the Sweaters to Be Named Later.
The Executive, seen below admiring the sweater she has pledged to wear in first class, among other fashionable places, has not yet submitted her entry. There are rumors that Team Executive sought the time extension as a ploy to force Team Kamikaze to wear their sweaters out-of-season, in the mistaken belief that there is even such a thing in the Midwest, where the Christmas sweater is a year-round wardrobe staple.
Teen Executive, seen below wearing the sweater known as "Roadkill" and demonstrating the unshakeably blasé teen composure that could put her team over the top.
Follow the thread: The Christmas Sweater Throwdown, Part 1
Your holiday fashion guide, pulled from the archives of Christmases past:
When the Executive and her teenage daughter claimed they had the jingle balls to wear holiday-themed sweaters in places where they would actually be seen, the girl and I dropped everything to rise to the challenge.
We would find the most appalling holiday sweaters the Midwest could produce; social suicide in a cable knit.
"I will wear my Christmas sweater in first class," brags the frequent-flying Executive.
Her daughter, a 15-year-old with ordinarily impeccable fashion sense, claims she will wear our sweater to a Justin Bieber concert. How my daughter's eyes lit up at the thought of that!
And so, it was on. The 2011 No-Limit, How Low Can We Go Christmas Sweater Throwdown. As it has developed so far, the rules go something like this:
1. An exchange of sweaters shall take place between two mother-daughter teams. Team Kamikaze selects the sweaters to be worn by Team Executive and vice versa.
2. Points are awarded to team members for skill in procuring the most appalling sweater possible and for risking the greatest amount of social currency in wearing such a sweater in public.
3. We will post the pictures as we go and you, our devoted reader, can award points in the comment section. Or stars if you prefer. Whatever. Create your own system, but be sure to use decimals because that makes the judging seem more professional.
I won't lie to you. We like our chances. Because we didn't take any. We started at Goodwill. And went downhill from there.
Girl Kamikaze's creation is just about the cruelest thing I have ever seen. She is in her third year of middle school, which is pretty much like having a Ph.D. in Social Cruelty. If she had a little more time, I am pretty sure this sweater would have a Christmas tree attached somewhere. Girl Executive may be the first teenager in Justin Bieber concert history praying that he will not notice her.
My vision for the Executive is, by comparison, a fairly restrained little number. I can see her wearing it as she settles back into her extra wide seat among the better class of people, jingling with entitlement as she reaches for her cocktail, sending out gleaming arrows of reflected light upon the faces of the rabble as they make their way back to steerage...
Team Kamikaze: Please. We are going to own this.
So here's a look back at last year's. It's still just as true.
Warmest Holiday Wishes to Our Non-Werewolf Friends:
What a year it has been! I hardly know where to begin except to warn you that there is no way I am going to be able to stick to my exclamation point limit this year!!!
As many of you know, we finally took the plunge and became one of those ultra-chic, extravagantly beautiful vampire families this year. We'd been mulling it over for so long, it seemed like all the cool people were doing it - and so, well, here we are, glimmering, immortal and on our way to becoming obscenely rich just in time for the collapse of the newspaper industry!
And don't hate me, but it's true what they say about the undead: there is no such thing as a bad hair day.
In hindsight, we probably should have spent a little more time considering whether the teen years were the best ages in which to preserve the children for all eternity. There is really nothing good that can be said of the combination of teenagers and a superhuman sense of smell. And that pile of debris under my couch? Not something you really want to experience with heightened vision.
The good news is that I am pretty sure we have located the elusive Higgs Boson particle everyone has been looking for. The bad news is that it is covered covered in lint, salsa and a collection of abandoned socks no one outside of a haz-mat suit should ever have to touch.
On a brighter note, I can't believe how much time I have now that I am no longer expected to handle the feeding habits of two impossible-to-please human teenagers!
In just the amount of time we used to spend arguing over milk, I have managed to create a young-adult series, a screenplay and a fragrance line: Whatever. (Look for it in the dairy section of your local grocer next year. Or possibly the year after that. It's not like I have a deadline.)
My point is, immortality is everything they said it would be: pale, cold and everlasting. Just like winter in Chicago!! And you wouldn't believe our abs!!
It goes without saying that we have no intention of letting our death-defying fabulousness come between us and any of our warm-blooded friends. Our love and best wishes go out to each and every one of you this holiday season, with the exception of those of you who have gone werewolf. In that case we are, sadly, contractually bound to commit ourselves to your destruction, though we can, on occasion join together out of our mutual interest in reining in the teenagers.
The Kamikaze Family
Would it kill them to smile once a year?
The South Side girl stops by to share with me one of those holiday dilemmas in which an adorable 9-year-old boy drafts a plea to Santa, or possibly "mom," for some over the top Christmas wish that seems completely impossible - but for which the child has made a rock-solid, irrefutable case.
The South Side family already owns approximately 700 pounds of dog and has a work-sports-volunteer schedule that would destroy one of those whiny slacker families on the North Side, but one glance at the boy's letter tells me she has no grounds for appeal.
"He's got you," I tell her. "If you don't buy him a non-poodle puppy, I will be forced to publish his letter and people will send you puppies from across the world."
It's not that I don't recognize the sheer absurdity of adding a dog to a home that the equivalent of five or six dogs already calls his own. But you can't argue with the logic of the argument that a boy needs to own a dog "from the beginning" and not just the middle and the end. And it definitely should not be a poodle.
Also, I am inclined to believe him about those test questions if only because so many questions make no sense. If Ryan doesn't deserve a puppy, who does? And why would anyone own a small, angry dog with puffy hair? Case closed.
How many times have you heard the story of the clueless parents who spend a fortune on the latest in battery-operated colored plastic for their toddlers only to find them happily playing with the packaging?
Here is a little known fact that Steve Jobs spent his entire career attempting to cover up: Teenagers do not think all that different.
They might write "MacBook Air" in their letter to Santa - but leave a handful of 50-cent mousetraps around the house and they will occupy themselves for hours, studying the mechanism, putting an endless array of household objects to the test and trying out hundreds of ways of getting their siblings to accidentally snap their fingers or toes. Trust me, we have been wasting our breath all week repeating "please stop playing with the moustraps." Also "what the hell happened to all the moustraps?"
And I am talking about actual mousetraps. Not an iPhone app.
And suddenly it all makes sense. These are the same children who spend hours swatting virtual flies on their iPods where they experience but a shallow approximation of the satisfaction that comes from real-life pest control. Can you imagine how delighted they will be to find an actual flyswatter under the Christmas tree?
You're welcome. -SK
from the gift giving archives: Christmas shopping is easy, non-toxic
Having been outvoted on my tree preference (1. None. 2. Small, potted and tropical), my choice of restaurant (1. Tapas 2. Anything but fast food) and having never been given any say at all as to family style (1. Well-mannered, tapas-eating and tropical 2. Potted), I resign myself to the Season of Compromise and Vacuuming.
On the other hand, it is the first time in a decade that I manage to get the entire Kamikaze family in one place for a holiday photo. And all of them smiling. Laughing even. Then slowly pulling away, leaving me standing in the drive-through lane with my camera and my holiday photo fantasies. Funny.
from the archives of Christmas past: Happy Holidays from our Dysfunctiona! Family to Yours
In which we continue our quest for the perfect
olive no-fuss Thanksgiving dinner and are outvoted by our family members. Just like every year...
But that doesn't mean it won't work for you! Here is a collection of the unbelievably
useless savvy advice we have accumulated as the result of painstaking trial and error. By which I mean, potato fights. Which, at a certain point, become enshrined as tradition. Which is exactly what is wrong with tradition in the first place, if you think about it. Not to mention marshmallow-topped vegetables.
That is 24 kinds of wrong, but no one seems to have the power to stop them.
My point is, if Thanksgiving means anything at all, it means that we must never, ever stop trying to substitute vegetarian tapas. Or possibly just an olive bar.
So here, free of charge, is a selection of inspirational Thanksgiving ideas from all of us at Suburban Kamikaze.
Inspirational Thanksgiving Ideas:
Posted at 08:13 AM in Holiday Traditions I Just Made Up, The Underachiever's Guide to Everything Worth Doing (Halfway) | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
It was not the kind of thing I should have delegated to teenagers probably.
Still, Mr. Kamikaze is not my father, so there's no reason for me to to feel bad about him spending the morning repairing my computer. Midmorning has him out in the driveway adjusting the basketball hoop for the girl and by late morning he is re-mowing the lawn to take back the swath of property that Boy, Esq. has been ceding to the neighbors a few inches at a time in a plot to shrink the backyard.
But today is Father's Day, possibly, and so we are here to pay tribute to Mr. Kamikaze as the sovereign of a small, volatile and highly demanding kingdom in the Midwestern suburbs. But first, the upstairs air conditioner is on the fritz and he will have to take a look.
We are a high-maintenance family, it's true. But would he have it any other way? We prefer to think not.
That does not mean his day will go unacknowledged. As part of a longstanding tradition, I offer to make one of his favorite meals, which I will reinterpret as a vegetarian dish, or tapas, or possibly by substituting wine and olives for all of the ingredients on whichever one of his mother's tattered old recipe cards he has pulled out in a rare outburst of hope.
You can hardly read them anymore. It looks like it says "spare ribs" but it could be tahini.
Dearest Friends and Family:
The palm trees are decorated, the limes and tequila are stocked and glossy color photos of the Bulova diamond sport watch have been taped to the walls. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
It goes without saying that I will be celebrating each and every one of you when we finally crack open the bottle of Key Lime wine we have been saving for the holidays. Key Lime wine is a vintage so searingly awful it can only be tolerated in the company of friends. With the right people, you can actually start to enjoy it. 2010 was a little like that. Also, Wisconsin.
The ongoing home renovations would have been intolerable if not for the
fact that I spent most of them on the beach in South Florida handsome home improvement guy who made every plumbing project into a labor of love.
The exact exchange rate of labor for love, however, is not one I can divulge here without succumbing to home improvement double entendres involving spackle or perhaps joint compound, which I think we can all agree have no place in a Christmas letter.
Speaking of low moments in good company, there were few as masochistically fun as the piety epic Eat, Pray, Love during Margarita Tour 2010's extended Fort Lauderdale run.
If there was a worse movie in 2010, we were lucky enough not to have seen it. And yet, like Key Lime wine, the experience is one we are still savoring, and only partly for the pleasure of talking other people into seeing it and imagining their pain.
Sadly for the four of us who plotted against her, the Suburban Executive's long investigation into pension fund chicanery had pretty much destroyed her faith in human beings and she was able to see through our faux enthusiasm for Julia Roberts' spiritual journey. We are planning to make her watch it over the Christmas break when she and her family will be joining us for an old-fashioned Chicago/Key Lime Christmas with Four Teenagers and Not Enough Liquor in the World. The ham ball will be spectacular.
Speaking of liquor, it was a very good year for Margaritas. Even when our recipe was off, the company was pretty much perfect. I uncovered a secret cabal of Margarita drinking playgroup moms in the suburban Midwest and even my Bud Light drinking sister-in-law learned to love the Cointreau. We had to put it in a can to get her to taste it, but still, we are so proud of her.
There were other
millstones milestones. Though they said it couldn't be done, the crust of dried egg adhering to every surface of the kitchen says otherwise: Boy, Esq. has learned to make scrambled eggs.
It seems like only yesterday he was building a working violin from scratch for a school project while insisting that his sister operate the toaster for him at home.
The girl continues to be a beacon of hope and optimism in an otherwise grimly cynical family. She and her middle school posse can really light up a room. And we have learned our lesson about storing matches where they can reach them.
The part of Handsome Home Improvement Guy is being played by James Bond, except that Mr. Kamikaze insists it has to be announced as "Bond, James Bond." Also, he feels compelled to point out that spackle and joint compound are the same thing. Which makes no difference whatsoever in this context. The surly teenager is portrayed by Olympian Michael Phelps. The girl and I, of course, do all our own stunts.
Archive Christmas greetings: Season's Gratings