jannica merrit

humor. honesty. sometimes both.


November 2017

Transforming A Christmas Curmudgeon


Since I found out the horrible truth about Santa, I have always been a huge Christmas Curmudgeon.  I had been concerned as a small child, as our house didn’t have a chimney.  My parents explained that Santa was not only wise but clever, and could crawl through the opening of our swamp cooler on the roof.  Year after year, I would diligently wait for the jolly old man, only to just barely miss him after falling asleep, and one year after going out for ice cream, I missed him by a reported only five minutes.

But somewhere, Christmas became less about Jesus (and presents) and family (and good food), and more a time of year when I would get sad, depressed even.  If I decorated at all, it was with an eighteen inch “tree” made out of bare branches, with one or two gifted ornaments.  (Think Tim Burton’s house). 

I hated the lights and decorations, because they just reminded me what time of year it was.  I was annoyed at the wasting of electricity.

I would send cards to the people who had sent them the previous year, and made a list of family members and friends who hadn’t reciprocated and made sure never to send them anything again.  I called it my “Christmas Grudge List”. 

Then came two beautiful children. 

A two year old who gets excited by an honorary aunt’s Elf on the Shelf, calling it, “Santa! Santa! Santa!” and a five year old who was beside himself last year riding around looking at the lights.  Yes, we deliberately got in the car with no purpose other than to actually drive around and seek out people’s houses with Christmas decorations.  And he loved it. And I even enjoyed myself.

As my son grew from infancy, I bought a pre-lit tree and cursed quietly under my breath every time I scratched myself on its branches walking past it, as it stuck out too far in our smallish great room.  I bought hard-to-break plastic ornaments, and stockings that repeatedly fell off my mantle (though Santa does have a chimney to slide down in my house).

This year, I found the most wonderful thing; a “pencil tree”!  I put it together while my children slept one morning after Thanksgiving.  It looked beautiful and didn’t stick out.  My kids were utterly unimpressed.

My son, “I want the other tree.  Can we get the other tree down from the attic?”

“But we have this tree.  Isn’t it beautiful?”

“We can have two trees!  Let’s have two trees!”

Big sigh.

And later, my son asked, “When are we putting our lights up on our house, Mommy?”

When designing our custom family cards, I bought an extra package of twenty so we wouldn’t run out. 

In our yard is our brand new projector light to put reindeer dancing on our house.  We were the first house on our block to get lights up.  Both Christmas trees stand guard over a singing and dancing Santa that my daughter found, contributing in her own way.

Bah humbug?  Not in this house!



Grateful for the Strangest Things, Part Two

We have a wonderful Thanksgiving planned this year, but I still find that while I am grateful for the usual things, I am also grateful for some of the strangest things.  Some of them have changed since last year, and new ones have cropped up:

I am writing this with one hand and at a thirty degree angle while my daughter plays with a retractable tape measure and laughs at a deafening level with her legs across my stomach, and my son is “making a salad” for a monkey on a cooking app on his tablet, and squeezed in a space of approximately six inches between me and the arm of my couch.  Spending time with them is my happiest time; and I am grateful they want to be with me.

When my son said he had his sister’s “co-opulation” he didn’t know what that sounded like to my adult ears.  He just meant that she had finally been persuaded to get out of the driver’s seat in my car and come in the house from the garage.  (I now have two would-be back up drivers).

My kids are still scared of what happens at “three”.  I can count, with or without the demonstration of the numbers on my fingers, and they will listen to my directions. They usually aren’t happy, but as long as they comply.

And now, my son is cooking an elephant a dish with pumpkin, even though the elephant shook his head, “no” to the pumpkin.   “He doesn’t want it, but I am going to make him try it.”  Where has he heard that before (spinach at dinner)?  My children make me laugh!

Speaking of which, grateful that my Alexa Dot has a full cadre of Alvin and the Chipmunk songs, because even though it is a tad bit strange to hear the Chipettes sing, “If you like it, then you better put a ring on it” the songs start some of the best dance parties in the history of my home.

Even though he does it with the hugest put-upon attitude, my son will go to the fridge and get me a diet soda if I ask.  (“Train them young,” I say).

My son is generous enough to find the Amazon app on my phone and find wonderful toys and presents for his friends, his sister, and me.  I am glad he is generous and wants to give.  I am even more grateful that he does not know my password.  I am also grateful that the folks at Amazon were understanding when during a brief moment that the parental controls were off of my daughter’s tablet and she ordered ninety-nine dollars’ worth of children’s shows on Prime, that they reversed the sale.  Amazing work for an hour for a two year old!

Wishing a wonderful Thanksgiving to everyone!  What “strange” things are you grateful for?

Never Said Good-bye

I found out tonight a friend died.
Too young.
Too soon.
(It would always be too soon).
Life is fragile, and I pretend it isn’t.
I don’t want it to be.
We were supposed to meet for lunch “soon.”
My fault—I hadn’t scheduled yet.
He made us laugh.
And groan when he was too “punny.”
All too human,
Living the best life he could.
Playing and milking life for all he could.
He will be missed.
Rest in peace, my friend.

Incompetent Adulting, Part Three: How I Almost Set Up A Router

My Wi-Fi kept crashing, the culprit being my very old router, and I ordered a new one.  It sat neatly in its Amazon Prime box for weeks after a brief glimpse of sunlight when I had looked at it and quickly put it away, like coiled snake whose bite I didn’t want to chance.  Sadly, my five year old knows computer stuff better than I do, but at this time is not proficient in hooking up routers; he would rather kill zombies on his tablet.

Finally one bright Sunday morning, after a week without internet, and no more data left on my cell phone, I could wait no more.  I opened the box, and sat on the floor next to my entertainment center where my modem lives and the nice internet signal enters my abode.  A good neighborhood for any router to live in!

So, I bravely began by unhooking cables and the power supply from the spaghetti-looking mess of cords and multiple power strips behind entertainment center.  I checked what seemed to be hooked to what, and carefully reproduced the connections as best I could, crawling back and forth between the front and the back, all with my son periodically on my lap, pausing sporadically to stop my still-nursing toddler from removing my shirt, retrieve lost kid and pet toys, and vacuum up several years of dust bunnies.  Somewhere in there, a wire from my DVD’s Surround Sound came unplugged and I used my phone light—in the nanoseconds between it repeatedly shutting itself off—and a mirror to hook it to something that might have been where it had been before.  Eventually, I was pleased and there were no extra parts.  Okay, one extra cord, but since the new router came with a cord, I didn’t count that.  I was ready for the next step.

The problem was I needed to register my router on the Internet, only I didn’t seem to have Internet, which is why I was replaced the router in the first place.   I figured I could use some of my miniscule remaining data to get it going, but the Router Gods didn’t like that option.  It was time for some phone support.  I called my friend.

Not understanding my technical terms regarding what I had done so far, like “cord thingy kinda where I think the other one was”, and my admission that some of the cords had gone in “slightly out of order” my friend said he would be right over. Ten minutes later, seven of which were me trying to explain what I had done, he was finished, I have internet and owe him a beer.

And that’s how I almost set up my router.


There Is A Dining Room Table In My Bowflex Room: An Adjustment of Parenthood


Adulthood came with its own changes.  The surprise of a utility bill with my name on it, and a utility company expecting me, (rather than my parents) to pay it.  I started my journey into independence slowly.  My first living room was filled with spread out folding chairs and my Grandmother’s donated couch.  My end tables were bought at an auction for ten dollars and badly needed refinishing.

My kitchen was full of half empty cabinets and for many years I ate dinner out of the pan I cooked it in to save on dish washing because I had no dishwasher.  I once found a potato that had grown and morphed into a full-size plant months after having been abandoned in a cabinet for no reason I could remember.  

But, I adjusted into adulthood, and eventually obtained pictures in frames rather than posters hung with thumb tacks.  I bought kitchen appliances and learned to operate some of them.  With time, I bought a home of my own and decorated it with adult belongings.  I did fit it to my life style and needs, but I had a nice home with my grown up belongings. 

Dinner, though now served on plates and in bowls, had been consumed in my living room in front of my large, beautiful television since I established my own residence. And my dining room was repurposed with a large, multi-functional Bowflex and elliptical exerciser.  I set up a fan, music speaker, and a small television in my work out paradise.

But, paradise has shifted since I entered the phase in my life called, “parenthood,” with my new needs running confluently with my adulthood needs.  

Because there is a dining room table in my Bowflex room!  Eating in front of the TV still happens, but many meals are in my now multi-purposed Bowflex room, which some all along called the “dining room.”

A dining room table, pushed to the side, and a Bowflex machine pushed to the other side.  Like a tiny Japanese apartment, where the bed folds down from the wall at night, my belongings shift side to side.  The remnants of my unencumbered life, still used on occasion when I fight to get my pre-baby body back battle for space with the demands of family.  The fight for space neatly (or not so neatly) represents with the needs of my current life, and all in a space smaller than I would like.  Tiny House People would approve of the shared space, but to me it is further evidence of my new morph as a ”Mother” and how it shares my current morph of “Responsible Adult”. 

Neither side wins, but each gets a turn at the space.  And I don’t resent the extra challenges, though I wouldn’t mind if a money fairy gifted me with enough for a larger space.


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