I expect by the time you read this, Kim Jong Eun will have launched his nukes.
And yet it gave us time to ponder the true meaning of Christmas, which apparently includes having your wallet lifted from your purse on Christmas Eve and then waking up in the middle of the night to clean up dog vomit.
I suppose we can’t blame our black Lab, Charlie. On Saturday night, I took the family out for our traditional Christmas Eve ritual: to have fajitas and see a Hollywood blockbuster. Charlie had a resentful look in his eyes as we left. We were going to see the new Sherlock Holmes, and he’s a big Robert Downey Jr. fan.
When we got home four hours later, the living room was strewn with paper. Charlie had helped himself to all of the presents that had food in them: a bag of chocolate coins from my sister, a couple of Cadbury Dairy Milks my younger daughter brought home from England and a bar of expensive gourmet chocolate I got in Chicago.
Just how gourmet was my chocolate? So gourmet that it had hickory-smoked bacon in it. Who puts bacon in chocolate? And who puts bacon-chocolate on the floor of a house with a dog in it? In retrospect, I was asking for it.
As we were calculating exactly how much chocolate it would take to kill a 75-pound dog, my phone chirped with an e-mail from American Express. Someone at a Target store in Largo had just tried to charge $253.96 to My Lovely Wife’s Amex card. She ran to her purse, only to discover that it was walletless. Was it taken by the seemingly drunk man who tried to high-five her as we walked to the Tex-Mex place? Or was it the guys at the table next to us who, in retrospect, seemed to have left the restaurant rather abruptly?
If you’ve ever wondered whether credit-card-fraud departments and animal hospitals work at midnight on Christmas Eve, they do. While Ruth called American Express and Citibank, I called the hospital. She canceled her cards — each had already been tried — and I was told to watch for signs of seizures, tremors or rapid respiration. In the dog, not my wife.
We went to bed exhausted. It made us miss the Christmas Eves when all we had to do was stay up late assembling a Little Tikes kitchen and freeing Barbie accessories from the wire clutches of those impenetrable boxes.
About 4 a.m., there arose such a clatter that we sprang from our bed to see what was the matter. Eight tiny reindeer? No, Charlie thoughtfully purging himself of the chocolate he’d eaten, throwing it up on the dining room floor. We dragged ourselves downstairs to clean up the mess. Sugarplums it wasn’t.
So, what did we learn? Well, for starters, that dogs and chocolate don’t mix. We have the cutest little Santa outfit that we dress Charlie in for his Christmas morning walk. Not this year, though. I figured the sight of a vomiting Santa dog might be too much for some people. And we learned that bad people are bad year-round. They don’t take Christmas off.
So, God bless us everyone — except for the person who stole Ruth’s wallet. God can do something else to him.
We’re down to the wire, folks. If you’ve been meaning to donate to Children’s Hospital, now is the time to do it. We had a lovely influx of donations at the end of last week — bringing the total so far to $144,509 — but we really need to pick up the pace if we’re going to reach $400,000 by Jan. 6. Can we do it? Yes. All it requires is that everyone within the sound of my voice — my newspaper/Web site voice — donate something, anything. Five hundred dollars? Wonderful. But $50, $25 or $10 would be just as appreciated, especially from thousands of readers.
To make a tax-deductible donation, go to washingtonpost.com/childrenshospital, or send a check or money order (payable to Children’s Hospital) to Washington Post Campaign, P.O. Box 17390, Baltimore, Md. 21297-1390.
Donors who give $250 or more will receive a $20 gift certificate to the
family of restaurants.