Sunday, December 17, 2006

Moon Sand and Monetary Misadventure

Okay, I know...It's been over two weeks, and I just know the three of you who read this blog are wondering just what the bloody hell happened to me. Sorry. I kept meaning to post, but as it happened, by the time I'd come home at the end of the day, all I could seem to muster the energy to do was cobble some kind of edible nourishment in the kitchen and collapse into my bed. Getting up at 5:30 ain't easy when you're not used to it. Especially when it's still dark outside when you get up...(shudder). I be. The job is going very well, thank you, and I'm knee-deep in catching up on the Christmasy goodness. That's the other thing that's been corrupting my blog time. It gets harder and harder to shop for my family each year. I try to be creative with gifts and get something that maybe they had never thought of having, but realized they wanted or needed once they opened it. I get kicks out of that. But jeepers, it's difficult. I have no idea what to get my niece and nephew--I mean yeah, they're kids, and kids should be relatively easy to buy for, right? Well, not these little munchkins. I have the blessing and curse of having two very smart, very creative, and frighteningly discerning young whippersnappers for whom Barbies and Tonka toys just won't cut it.

My niece--I'll call her C--is nine years old. Bubbly, full of laughter, terrifying in her erudition and intelligence, and every inch a budding pre-teen. She's artistic, likes music and good books, loves gymnastics and group activities. Loves her sleepovers with her contemporary Scary Preteens, and still gets a little scared when there's a big thunderstorm in the middle of the night. She likes dressing up and putting the pretty on, but she also has equal enthusiasm for getting down and dirty with Daddy when he's mucking out the yard or gutting this year's deer. She's that heartbreaking combination of delicate flower and unstoppable tomboy. In other words, one day her boyfriends are going to have their hands full, and her parents and I are going to be downing Alka-Seltzer in bulk.

My nephew--I mentally refer to him as Animal, because he reminds me of that wild, uninhibited Muppet drummer--just turned five. He's an Imp. I swear, in the classical sense. He's always got this glint in his eye that lets you know that there's something going on in his brain that will completely flummox you once he lets on what it is. And he gets a real buzz off of confounding those of us who are a few decades older. He likes anything that has to do with dinosaurs. Doesn't matter what. Puzzles, erector sets, card games, action figures, DVDs, whatever. He doesn't care, as long as it has scales and teeth and is, for the most part, representative of an extinct species. Animal also loves the usual boy stuff--cars, trucks, his little motocross bike, baseballs and basketballs--you get the picture. Ironically, he's also a tomboy to an extent, although he's gotten past the stage where he liked to dress up and play Princess with big sister C. But he still retains his sensitive side.

Anyway, my sister called me in triumph this morning, having discovered the Holy Grail of the progeny's desires. "Moon Sand!" she crowed.

Moon Sand? MOON SAND? What the hell is Moon Sand? I hadn't a clue. Unfortunately, Sis didn't either, really--she just knows that's what it's called. Apparently, that's as far as she went in her research--the rest is up to me. Having used the great oracle Google, I've discovered that it's apparently some kind of water-resistant, shape-shifting kind of sand that holds together so well you can build sand castles with it. And even more remarkable, the sand has such fortitude that whatever castle you build could conceivably last longer than Buckingham Palace. Jeez, we've come a long way from Play-Doh and Silly Putty.

So, later this week, after payday, I am braving the wanton insanity of the department stores to do all my shopping in one go, and will gird myself for the relevant battles therein. Toys R Us alone is going to take body armor for the Moon Sand and dinosaurs.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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