The “Happy Holidays? My Foot” Edition

In Advice, Relationships on January 7, 2008 at 6:14 am

Damn right I’m back! Should I be? No. Not at all, since I have at least nine other things I could – and really should be doing right now.

But I shall ignore everything else for a little while. Rejoice.

In a slightly delayed response, I will attend to Dan’s question. He writes,

Dear Ally,

Being a child of divorce I find the holidays to be a particularly stressful time. Rushing from one house to the other in an attempt to see both parental units; too many celebrations and never any time to put my feet up and relax.

My question is this: what is the best way to deal with the stress resulting from this broken home x-mas mambo whilst still seeing my whole family?

Dano the Mano from parts unknown

*   *   *   *   *

My Dearest Mr. Themano,

I sympathize with your plight entirely. And even though it’s now a full week into the new year, I find that these things have a way of repeating themselves, and so I shall answer your question approximately two-or-three weeks after it would save you any heartache.

I too well know of the issues involved with dual-house holiday panic, and the inevitable guilt trips which come as a neat little bow on top.

It is the burden of divorced families, which are all too common nowadays. In Canada I do believe that at least 1 in 4 marriages end in divorce so we could probably take a chance and assume that means that 1 in 4 kids have divorced parents (and, I’d like to take this moment to respond to those mean kids in grade 2 who made fun of me for having a split family: HA! Not so funny, is it? Now that’s done with, we’ll move on).

It may sound like I am insensitive to the issues that come with divorced parents, but aside from some lingering rage over cruel (and now ironic) schoolyard bullying, I am not. There’s not really much to do aside from purchase a daily agenda with each hour of the day marked off, and delineate an exactly equal number of hours for each parent… and even then, you run the risk of an ill-timed bathroom break leaving you at your mum’s for an extra 3.45 minutes…

I am personally quite partial to allowing myself to fall about 3/4 of the way into utter raving insanity for about two months of the year, forcing my parents to place me into an institution where they will have to figure out how to visit me during the holidays. Takes the edge off.

What you need to do is construct a very complicated pie chart, outlining the way in which your holiday time will be divvied up between all of the insanity which need to be done. It might look like this:

Ask Ally’s Holiday Pie Chart (Yum! Pie!)

Holiday Pie Chart

And so, there you have it Dan(o)! It’s as simple as spending a ridiculously long time on a very poorly done and probably not mathematically accurate pie chart! Well, it isn’t, really, because then you have to put up with those nagging questions like “how come you’re planning on spending the same amount of time watching Chris Colombus’s movies as you’re spending with me? You don’t even like him!” (there’s no answer here, I guess I’m just a masochist), or “why am I blue? why aren’t I green? I like green!” or the ever present accusation, ” you spend more time with Strombo than you do with me!” To which the obvious answer is… parents – have you seen Strombo? Like, fer-realz, guys.

OMIGAWD! Strombo!

Anyway, good luck with the pie chart, Dan! And remember, this handy little puppy has gotten me out of a lot of stressful situations when it comes to many other occasions: birthdays, Easter, Winter-een-mas (that one’s a whole week long!) and so forth. I’ve even used it to help my co-workers become acclimatized to my “Work Christmas Party” time allotment (including 22% “me showing off my really horrible Christmas sweater and throwing about deliciously unfunny Christmas-themed puns” and the obligatory and inevitable 6% “awkward drunken encounter with at least person I that won’t remember and which may or may not be sexual in some way or another”).

To next year! And remember, if all else fails, just leave the country and blame the guy who invented time-share: who can refuse an offer like that? Your parents will forgive you… eventually.


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