This Christmas our neighbors Dean and Stacia came over for dinner--they're like an aunt and uncle to Katie and Tim. Tim especially has made lots of connections with them; Stacia works at her computer and watches out the window as Tim plays outside. Over the nearly five years we've been here, she's seen him dress up in myriad outfits imagining himself to be a soldier, spy, cowboy, animal--sometimes we're not too sure what he is. But he gets lots of laughs and attention from them as a result. They've also alerted us when the neighborhood got a bit threatening for Tim. He's one of the youngest kids out there; as a homeschooler (read: perceived as different) and with no siblings playing with him, he's vulnerable to attack from them whether individually or as a gang, and Stacia has saved his skin a number of times. They've also taken him to Denny's, to Boeing Family Days, and other outings.
Overall they're just extremely nice to both Tim and Katie; they spoil them rotten. When Katie came home from college for the Christmas break, Stacia had made a cute big sign on our door to welcome her home. So with it being Christmas, and them being over for dinner, they pulled out the presents they'd brought along for the kids. (My present, since I kept telling her not to buy me ANYthing, was The Incredible Mr. Limpet, a Don Knotts movie I'd given her after it failed to sell at our garage sale. Oh, goody. Really, Stacia. You shouldn't have.) Tim opened up a certificate from Dean for Best Buy--not $10, not even $25, but $50! Dean wanted to get him some games to play. Well, he was happy and thankful, in a "boy, that was nice" kind of way.
Well, that would have been more than enough (really, Dean), but you should have seen Tim's (chicken-pox-spotted) face, his shaking hands, his excitement welling up from his toes, when he opened a second package, this from Stacia. She and I had seen it during the after-Thanksgiving sales. Tim had been hounding, no, badgering, no, what is that superlative? Well it escapes me, but he wanted me to buy him this thing badly. I'd been telling him, no, the TV ads were deceitful, it wasn't going to work like in the ads, it wasn't worth the money, how could they think this mass-produced monstrosity could sell? Every time we were at a store that would carry them, he'd run over to that shelf and gaze at them. Stacia thought it was terribly funny and told me she was going to buy it for Tim and didn't care if it didn't work. No amount of talking could dissuade her. She'd heard about them, told me what they were really like, and then I had even less faith in them. What were these wonderful things? Potato-peeling gloves. Oh, the joy. You take a potato, cook it 5-6 minutes (anything can get a peel off a potato after that long), and take these gloves covered with fishtank rocks, and rub them all over the potato. The potato is practically guaranteed to be peeled within 8 seconds.
So why haven't we tried the gloves after a number of days have gone by? Well, maybe by now we would have. We can't. They're two left gloves! Ha. I told you, these things are never quite like they show in the ads.