Saturday, December 22, 2012

Santa Claus Is Coming to Work

I slept in a little bit this morning. When I did finally get out of bed, I ran a few cartoons and TV shows while I had breakfast and gathered presents to be delivered to various relatives and friends. Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales is the third Peanuts holiday specials. Unlike the original show, this one is a series of random holiday-themed skits based after various Peanuts Christmas comic strips from over the years. Sally gets most of the best ones, including writing a note to "Samantha Claus" and how she gets a Christmas tree.

The Year Without a Santa Claus is my favorite Rankin-Bass special. When Santa gets sick, he becomes determined to have a holiday. His wife is just as determined to prove that he's still a beloved part of Christmas and enlists two elves and a reindeer to find some Christmas cheer in the world. What she didn't count on was the elves ending up in the snow-less American south...or become involved in the feud between the infamously hammy Heat Miser and Snow Miser!

The Monkees' did their Christmas episode about half-way through the second season. Compared to some of the other, stranger shows they did that year, this one is actually pretty simple. The groovy quartet find themselves babysitting an obnoxious rich boy when his aunt goes on vacation. The kid refuses to enjoy the boys' attempts to create Christmas cheer....until Mike Nesmith figures out what he really needs.

I finally headed out around 12:30 with a bag of food deliveries. I got lucky with my first two gifts. Andrew was downstairs, clearing out Miss Ellie's old apartment, and Richard was outside doing yard work. I was able to give Andrew the cupcakes for him and his wife Linda, and Richard the loaf of Cranberry-Orange Bread for him and his family right away.

Stopped at Doria's Deli to deliver cupcakes to the store's owners. Mrs. Doria was happy to receive my gift. She gave me a treat, too. Apparently, she makes Truffles for her family's get-togethers from cream cheese, Oreo crumbs, cocoa, and candy coating. She gave me two to try. I took a bite out of the one with chocolate coating. It was absolutely delicious, but as you can guess from something that's mostly cream cheese and thick candy, very rich. I decided to save the rest for later. I thanked Mrs. Doria and went on my way.

Made a quick stop at the bank to deposit my paycheck, then rode over to the Acme for this year's employee luncheon. I wasn't really due in at work until 5, but I figured most of the food would be gone by then. It was 1:30 when I finally made it over there. The back room was filled with employees enjoying every kind of food ever served at a holiday meal - lasagna, kielbasa and sauerkraut, franks and beans, shredded pork, potato salad, three kinds of pasta salad, turkey and gravy, sliced beef for hot roast beef sandwiches, ham, shrimp and pasta, cole slaw, a huge plate of mini-sandwiches from the deli, coconut cake, two cheesecakes, pumpkin bread, rolls, fresh pineapple topped with maraschino cherries, bowls of tortilla chips and potato chips, bags of candy (I snagged one for my 2-year-old nephew Khai), and at least three trays of cookies in addition to mine.

There was too much for me to try everything. I had lasagna, some of the shrimp and pasta, ham, one of the pasta salads, a slice of coconut cake, a mini-turkey sandwich, and several cookies. I had to have three of my friend Jade's coconut macaroons. She and her mom make their cookies, and their macaroons are the best I've ever tasted, sweet and just firm enough.

I forgot Santa Claus was supposed to be visiting the store between 12 and 2 today. He briefly joined the party, along with Mrs. Claus and a helper...and I got quite a surprise when I realized that "Santa" was played by Sam, the head manager! He's a small, skinny 30-something yuppie with sideburns and a goatee. I can only imagine how much padding it took to make him Jolly Old St. Nick - probably a whole couch. ; )

Santa's entourage was more attractive. Jade and Katie, two of the female college students who work as cashiers and customer service clerks, wore striped stockings and short red dresses trimmed with fur. Jade, as "Mrs. Claus," added a pretty cape and hood to her ensemble. And apparently, Jade made the whole outfit herself from an old bridesmaid gown - baking awesome macaroons isn't her only talent.

I've been having problems with the bike for the last few days. Ever since the storm the other night, the gears were sticking and not wanting to move. I thought they needed to be oiled. I forgot contact solution and light bulbs when I shopped yesterday. I just added a can of WD-40. I sprayed all around the gears, and while it was enough to get me home, they still didn't feel right.

I took a good look at the bike when I rolled in. As I inspected the gears, I noticed that the guard over the gears was half-hanging off. That was the problem! The guard must have come loose when the bike was blown over during the storm. I put the guard back into place, tightened the screw, and tried it out. Thanks to the WD-40, it was working better than it did before the storm!

Spent the next hour inside, doing things around the apartment and running a few more cartoons. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is the first and most famous of the Rankin-Bass holiday tales. In this version, Rudolph, an outcast due to his scarlet nose, flees with Hermie, the elf who wants to be a dentist, and wacky prospector Yukon Cornelius, to the Island of Misfit Toys. When the toys won't let them stay, Rudolph returns to the North Pole. A heavy storm almost grounds Santa, before he sees Rudolph's red nose and knows it's just what he needs to help him through the weather. Did a couple of Tom and Jerry Tales holiday episodes after that, including the odd one about Tom chasing two Jerrys in Jerry's dream.

My actual work shift was pretty much the same as the last few times I worked late - busy when I came in, dead when I left. It's a good thing I did bring the cookies early. There was only bowls of chips, bags of Philly Factory pretzels, and plates of cookies (none mine) remaining when I came in at 5. By the time I left at 10, only the pretzels, tortilla chips, and a few cookies remained.

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