"Here I am!" She joyfully presented herself in the kitchen for my hugs and kisses and, as always, I marveled at my beautiful child and silently acknowledged that these days when I am the greatest person in her world are numbered.
"Come see our reindeer car!" She shouted, eyes shining.
Reindeer car? Oh, no. My eyes darted quickly to Serge in an attempt to see what he's been up to now. He immediately busied himself rearranging fridge magnets that didn't need rearranging and refused to meet my questioning expression.
The man, quite simply, cannot be trusted around Christmas. He loses his shit. Straight up. The entire month of December is a constant battle of wills. No Serge, we don't need life-size lawn ornaments. Yes Serge, I think ten rolls of tinsel will be enough. No Serge, we don't need a Christmas tree on the back porch. His debit card must be confiscated, he should not be allowed in any stores and, quite frankly, he has proven he should have his computer privileges revoked, as well.
"No you cannot purchase that $600 plastic Santa and eight reindeer to put on our roof."
"Not eight reindeer. NINE. Rudolph is included. Do you know how rare it is to find a blow mold Santa and all NINE reindeer? .
"Blow mold? What does that mean? It sounds like a costly home repair."
"You don't even know what blow mold means? Hmmph. Santa hates you and, to be honest, Jesus probably isn't all that thrilled with you either."
Now, as our daughter begs me to come see our "new reindeer car" I am fearful of what I'm about to discover.
Turns out, it's just a couple deer antlers attached to the driver and passenger window of our SUV. A large red nose is wired to the front bumper. A reindeer car.
"Look, Mom! It's Rudolph!"
"Yes." I say while giving Serge my best stink eye. "It's Rudolph. It's definitely Rudolph."
"All I'm saying," I tell him later as we watch TV, "Is that being Reindeer Car People is a kind of thing you might ask me first. Kind of like those family car decals you stick on your back window."
You know the folks. The ones who tool around town with whimsical cartoon figures proudly depicting each member of their family affixed to their back window. "Are we Family Car Decal People?" I ask Serge. "No. Maybe you're Reindeer Car People but I don't really think I'm Reindeer Car People. Not that there's anything wrong with Reindeer Car People," I add.
I'm giving him a hard time, mostly as a joke, but there is some truth there, you know? Not everybody is Reindeer Car People and, after I damn near lose an antler on the freeway and ten minutes later nearly make a reindeer antler deposit at the drive-thru of our local bank, I decide that, all jokes aside, I am not Reindeer Car People either.
Reindeer Car antlers are more trouble than they're worth, truth be told. They are festive, to be sure, but festive in a the-old-lady-at-your-work-who-wears-Christmas-tree-balls-as-earings kind of way. But, to Serge, festive is festive is festive and so, pain in the ass or no, the antlers stay. Kind of. We've lost no less than four antlers on various roadways near our home. The antlers attach to the window but, to keep them secure, the window needs to remain closed. It's something that, after a lifetime of rolling down car windows at my leisure, I keep forgetting.
The first time I lost an antler I was relieved. Reindeer Car is over, I thought. But Serge, in the wink of an eye, was pulling a brand new set of antlers out of the back of the car. "I have three spare sets in the garage," he told me without meeting my eye.
And so we've spent much of this week marauding around town in our Reindeer Car and, just as often, retrieving fallen antlers. Yesterday, noon, found Serge backing up on highway 64 until I could jump out and retrieve an errant antler from the side of the road.
At this point, even though he would be loathe to admit it, I think even he is exhausted with the effort of maintaining our Reindeer Car People persona because I have yet to see replacement antlers go up after he lost another one when he rolled down the window last night to "get a closer look at an eagle" he spotted while on his way to the grocery store. Mr. Christmas has been forced to admit defeat.
It was a good run though, Serge. A good run.