Well, it’s that time of year again, and as I blogged so lovingly last December, my trials and tribulations with the “Elf on the Shelf” are back in full force.
For those of you who may not remember, Elfie, the name of our sweet Elf on the Shelf, he is a small stuffed figure who comes the day after Thanksgiving and watches the children of the home to make sure they behave. Each and every night, the elf returns to the North Pole to tell Santa whether the children should get coal or Cabernet in their stockings.
Freudian slip: coal or candy.
The magic of it all is that the elf sits in a different spot each and every morning, convincing our sweet, innocent youth that he actually did, in fact, travel to the North Pole to give a full report to Santa.
The elf is supposed to make things perfect for the parents, and in a way, it absolutely does.
When Baby Stephen is running around the house swatting me with his blanket and yelling Poo Poo at the top of his lungs, all I have to do is nod toward the elf to get him to instantly stop.
When I ask Cynthia to do something she doesn’t necessarily agree with, like make her bed, help baby Stephen get his shoes on or fetch me a glass of Cava, I just mention our sweet Elfie, and her nos turn into instant yeses.
So, where is the trouble in that, you may ask?
I’ll be honest. I’m getting really tired in my old age. And when my kids finally get into bed and actually go to sleep, I am five seconds away from lights out myself.
The sleep is pretty good until I jolt out of it trying to remember if I moved the elf from his previous position or not. When I finally convince myself I didn’t move it, I tiptoe down the stairs to get little Elfie and find a new spot where he can sit and watch.
It’s quite stressful, and just putting all of this in writing makes my mouth yearn for an 8 ounce glass of Cava.
Now, here’s the reality of the last 24 hours:
Last night, I get home at 11:35, and it’s cold and I’m really tired. Long night at the restaurant, long week in general.
When Marina gets in her car, she finds it won’t start. Being the hero she ultimately is, she pops open the hood, goes to the trunk and finds some car starter device with jumper cables hooked attached to it. We get her car started, and five minutes later, she is heading home.
Big mistake number one: Instead of moving the elf and going to bed, I pour my nightly glass of bubbly and watch Modern Family on www.hulu.com.
I’m not sure when I fall asleep, but it was after 12, and at 5 a.m., I awaken to Cynthia and Stephen saddled up beside me in bed.
Except I am wet, and it doesn’t take me long to realize someone has wet the bed. And that someone, my friends, is not me.
Knowing I have 2 hours and fifteen minutes before I absolutely have to get out of bed, the three of us travel in a pack down to the guest bedroom and get in a dry bed. It’s not fun, but it’s necessary, and while I am a little tired this afternoon, I am nowhere near as tired as I could be.
When 7:15 a.m. rolls around, all three of us are disoriented so I bribe them with Bojangle’s to quickly get dressed for school and get in the car.
Glory be to Bojangle’s because it works everytime, and the three of us are off by 7:32.
Bonus number one: Because we were in such a hurry, my kids never noticed the elf was nowhere to be found.
When I get back home, Stephen is waiting for me in the living room.
“I have some bad news,” he says.
“What is it?”
“What about the elf?”
Big mistake number two: Letting my husband believe it’s a good idea for him to be in charge of the elf.
Apparently, when he got home last night, he took it upon himself to move the elf to another location in the house. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out so well.
He tried to place him in a spot over the fireplace that just so happens to be hollow.
The elf wasn’t ready for his new seat, and instead of sitting nicely, he plummeted down to the bottom of the wooden structure with a fate that looked like he would not be found until 2101.
Once I realized what had been done, I climbed to the top of the wood above the television, and down in the darkness, I saw Elfie’s shadow.
The words I lamented after this revelation are not allowed to be published on my blog, but I will say I was pretty irritated.
“It’s fine,” Stephen cooed, “we’ll just go get another one.”
“Do you have any idea how much an Elf on the Shelf costs? We are going to get this one back, if it’s the last thing I do.”
I tried using a broom, and I tried praying to Santa, but neither worked, and, before long, it was 10:30 a.m. Stephen and I both needed to work lunch and hopefully, sell wine so we quit trying, knowing we would come back with new energy that afternoon.
Around 2:30 p.m., when I realized we had 20 minutes until we needed to pick up the kids from school, I jumped in the car to see if there was some way I could rescue Elfie from the depths of hell.
Stephen took some string from the restaurant and tied it to a clotheshanger. I got a flashlight and tried like hell to latch sweet Elfie.
It wouldn’t work so Stephen left to go pick up the kids.
The clock was ticking.
I found scotch tape and doublesided it all over the hanger, hoping the sweet, light-weight elf would feel my desperation and stick himself right to it.
I had one more idea if I could just find Stephen’s tacklebox.
BINGO! I find two fishing hooks in the pantry. I tie a small, Shad hook to the coat hanger, and lower it down, down, down, down, and then…..
It catches. Marina walks in the house and I slowly, slowly, slowly bring Elf up into the light.
Thank God. He is back.
I place him on one of my Chateau Mouton Rothschild lithographs hanging in our hall.
Elfie looks happy and comfortable.
I am sweating and dancing for joy all over the living room.
Marina goes down to the basement to tell God she knows I am crazy, but she prays I am not dangerous.
Cynthia and Stephen come running in the back door.
“Elfie, Elfie!” they cry. “Where is he?”
Big Stephen gets ready to make up something right as Cynthia screams, “There he is!”
Elfie is back, for better or for worse.
Now, if I can just keep him safe for sixteen more days, I feel certain Santa will put a very nice bottle of Burgundy in my stocking.