As part of a Christmas holiday ritual, my wife and I watched a couple of well-known classic movies on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Those movies were the perennial holiday favorites, “A Christmas Story” and “Home Alone”. I am still trying to figure out how to get that holiday feel-good romp “Die Hard” into the annual viewing schedule.
There is a scene in A Christmas Story, where Ralphie and his little brother first come down the stairs to see what Santa left them, that is reminiscent of Christmas past for many of us. In our youth, the day was full of anticipation, excitement, and energy. As we age, Christmas for many evolves somewhat. This is particularly true when, like my wife and I, no family is in the area, and you spend the holiday time together alone. It is still a very important day, but the vigor and enthusiasm of youth have been replaced by quiet appreciation, a desperate need for coffee, and stiff morning ankles. The degree to which Christmas has changed for us was driven home with one of the gifts my wife bought me this year.
My wife and I will have been married 25 years this spring (although we've been together 32 years, and she will eagerly tell you she wants credit for “time served”). Buying the “big gifts” over the years has become increasingly more difficult, as many of our creature needs have been met. We decided several years ago to buy each other a series of smaller “stocking stuffer” type gifts. This gives us the opportunity to exchange and unwrap gifts on Christmas Day but ultimately makes it a much less stressful build-up to the holiday. (This is not dissimilar to our anniversary arrangement, where we normally coordinate to get something for the house. As I blogged last May, I bought her a cute little cat statue for the living room, and she bought me a Mustang convertible for the garage. We excel at equitable exchanges)
This year, one of the gifts my wife gave me was a “Battery Daddy.” A Battery Daddy! Do you know what this thing is? About the size of a laptop computer, it is a two-sided clear case that organizes and stores ALL of your batteries! It holds an impressive 180 batteries. It'll hold my D's, my C's, my AA's, my AAA's, my Button-cells, even my 9-volts! And if that isn't enough, it comes with a battery tester, so I can make sure my battery stock stays fresh and ready for any job.
As I was eagerly emptying my disorganized battery shoebox from the garage into my brand-new Battery Daddy, it dawned on me how much things have changed. When I was young, getting a gift that required batteries was generally the pinnacle of holiday giving (or receiving). Now, getting a box that tests and stores those batteries was the highlight of the holiday. How times have changed.
I suppose you could say I got a real charge out of my Battery Daddy (yuk, yuk, yuk).
The day was not without some disappointment. The Battery Daddy did reveal some glaring shortcomings in my battery preparedness strategy. I only have about 15 AA batteries, yet the Battery Daddy will hold 76 of them. I just have 4 D batteries, when 8 are accommodated by the Battery Daddy. It is a slightly worse situation with the C's. I only have 4 when 10 are apparently the appropriate complement. And my 20 AAA's don't even come close to filling the 70 slots available for that size. It was a glaring realization of the inadequacies of my battery prep. I clearly had fallen behind in my husbandly duties regarding the maintenance of proper supplies for the household. Easily remedied. I just need to go buy a buttload of batteries. We don't want to disappoint the folks who make the Battery Daddy.
I certainly hope that your Christmas holiday was a special one, whether it was filled with children or grandkids, or a quiet day at home. If you are my age and did not get a Battery Daddy, I am truly sorry. But don't worry. Maybe Santa will bring you one next year.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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