One would think there would be a certain freedom to having one's tubes tied.
Not necessarily, as some ungracious pastors pointed out, the freedom from condoms, but the freedom from certain tensions surrounding the sex act.† And future freedoms of financial and social varieties.
Freedom from 4:00 ayem feedings.
Freedom from second-party barf.‡
Freedom from babysitting bills.
Freedom from paying for band uniforms.
Freedom from teenaged-boy car insurance bills.
Freedom from college funds.
[SUMMARY: I'm pretty sure that's in the Constitution.]
Apparently, being a doting aunt, it does NOT include freedom from whatever the latest toy craze may be.
The conversation goes something like this:
"What is Dr. Doom into? Animals is all I know for sure. Does he have any new fetishes or hobbies that would at least give me a theme for this Christmas?"
"eBeth is SO glad you asked. The only thing he wants this year is this animatronic stuffed lion cub. We don't know where he saw it or where you get it,§ but nobody is getting him one. It's got a name like 'fur real' or something. It's a commitment -- like a $50 stuffed animal..."
"Fifty dollars is nothing to Superaunt."
"Well, it's the only thing he wants and it could be The Lion that Ruined Christmas."¶
"That's pretty much my goal."
[SUMMARY: I just want the Christmas shopping to be over.]
So I blithely Googled "animatronic stuffed lion" this morning and found a whole bunch of WowWee...
...and a sprinkling of FurReal.#
Seriously, all other things being equal, which would you choose?††
[SUMMARY: All lions are created equal, but some are more equal than others.]
So I set off to find a WowWee Alive Lion Cub in Tan,‡‡ only to discover I was seeking this year's Holy Grail of necessary toys. The Cabbage Patch doll, the Tickle Me Elmo, the fucking Furbee of 2008.
I have never been so stressed about Christmas in my life.
The MSRP is $49.99. Any retail store that lists them for anything *resembling* $49.99 is sold out.% Amazon has them for $190. A company called ANTOnline was charging $888 for one.§§
Since I started looking this morning, ANTOnline sold out.
Take a moment to goggle at that.
[SUMMARY: Lotta crazy in the world.]
I also learned that Canada will not ship to me. I don't know what I ever did to Canada, other than have a weird, inexplicable love^ for the country and its people, but Canadian Sears and Canadian ToysRUs won't ship to US addresses.
Thank goodness for eBay. For $90, including shipping, I am the proud winner of a genuine, NRFB,¶¶ WowWee Alive Lion Cub.
I shall live ten less years because of this ordeal, but Christmas is saved.##
[SUMMARY: Drawing the lion at ruining Christmas.@]
The gods bless us, everyone, but particularly eBay.
†FOOTNOTE (crossed): i.e. -- condoms breaking.
‡FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Well, not second-party barf for which one is personally responsible.
§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Yeah, right. As a parent, aren't you plugged right in to the must-have toy market? I now realised I have been goodly duped by parents who don't wish to park at the loading dock of Wal*Mart at 3:30 in the ayem to fight women in polyester pants and pink curlers over the last of the WowWee Alive Lion Cubs (in Tan) and think the single and devoted aunt probably has the time, but definitely has the inclination.
¶FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Which would be Dr. Doom's own personalised version of The Helicopter That Ruined Christmas. When Tallest, Hairiest Nephew was about a year-and-a-half, he had a thing for helicopters like Amy Winehouse has a thing for drugs. The very first present he opened that year was a helicopter that had lights and a motor and made noises and winched and the doors opened and everything. He had no interest in other presents. He had all he needed. He got cranky when other presents were thrust upon him. Ever since, we speak in hushed tones of The Helicopter That Ruined Christmas.
#FOOTNOTE (pounded): The FurReal name was right, but it's only $13. The other price was right, but the name was wrong.
††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): I did try to call Brother to see if the concept was important or the brand, and if the brand was important, exactly which brand did he think I was looking for, and if I wanted the WowWee Alive line, would, say a tiger be sufficient or was lion important... only he wasn't answering the phone. Don't tell me he didn't know why I was calling.
‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): For that is its full name.
§§FOOTNOTE (it do spin one's head, don't it?): I can only assume the price includes an ounce of pharmaceutical grade coke.
%FOOTNOTE (percented): There are three other WowWee Alive cubs to be had (tiger, polar bear, panda) and not one of them is sold out anywhere. Every kid wants the lion because it looks like Simba from The Lion King. Damn Disney. And for the Jonas Brothers, too, so long as I'm making my infernal wish list.
^FOOTNOTE (careted): Particularly inexplicable now that Canada has shunned me.
¶¶FOOTNOTE (like meerkats on the plains): Never Removed From Box. That's another thing I learned today -- eBayspeak. Sure, you couldn't just dump me on an eBay street corner and expect me to survive, but now I can at least ask where the bathroom is.
##FOOTNOTE (if that lion is two pounds, I'll eat a spider): And simultaneously ruined. See: helicopter.
@FOOTNOTE (atted): I think I'm funny. More important, I think puns are funny.