The Christmas Challenge
With Help From The Fella



I’m sick.  And I’m the worst kind of sick too.  If you’ve been following me on Facebook you know that … I have a Man Cold.  A cold I caught from a man.  And as we all know, men get the exact same kinds of sicknesses that women get only much, much worse.  They need constant help and attention to keep them from death.

And now I need constant help and attention to keep me from death.

My symptoms are limited.  In fact, I only have two symptoms. Exhaustion and a fever.  No sniffles, no cough, no sore throat.  Just the inability to stay awake for more than a few hours at a time.  I have successfully slept for 13 consecutive  hours for the past 3 nights, embellished by several hours of sleeping throughout the day.

So, back by popular demand is the fella to help me with this post on how you can get a jump start on getting ready for Christmas.  I am unable to write it on my own in my weakened state.

Me:   Fella … what should everyone do to help them get ready for Christmas this weekend?

The Fella:  Christmas isn’t this weekend.

Me:  No, I realize that, but there’s a lot of work involved in getting ready for Christmas and I’ve created this Christmas Pledge, where everyone pledges to get the majority of the crap they need to get done prior to December 4th.

The Fella:  Oh.  Then make a list.

Me:  That’s it?  A list of what?

The Fella: A LIST.  A LIST!

Me:  So far this isn’t very helpful.  My readers are used to a bit more insight.  (The fella’s still a bit sick as well, so neither one of us is working at our full potential)

The Fella:  Well, that’s what I do.  I make a list.  Oh look!  Donny Brasco is on.

Me:  Yeah.  So, about this list …  Telling them they need to make a list  isn’t helpful.  They need suggestions. Guidance.  They need, for example, to know a list of what.

The Fella:  Maybe you think your readers are stupider than they are.

Me:  For the love of God.

The Fella:  A list of presents to buy.  Seriously … I keep a list in my pocket all year long and whenever someone mentions something they need or want, I write it down.  I told you this already.  You wrote it in a post a year ago!  I know you did!  I remember it.  If they didn’t listen then they’re outta luck. They were warned.  They were told what to do.

This is what the website’s designed for isn’t it!  For just this stuff.  If your readers are gonna just pick and choose what they listen to don’t come cryin’ here because … HEY!   You know what?   I could go do all my shopping tomorrow.  I could be done by Saturday without breakin’ a sweat.  You know why?  ‘Cause I have a list.  I could see what time the bad movie starts and I could be back in time for that movie.  Maybe not the stocking, but the majority of it, and I could be back in time for whatever movie’s on the History Channel.  Sound asleep on the couch, clutching the converter securely.

So.  They should have paid attention.

Me:  Yes, but since we’re a mere month and a half away from Christmas, and a lot of people haven’t done this,  maybe that isn’t very helpful right now, so much as annoying.

The Fella:  O.K.   well … tell them to clean the house and put up decorations and shit.  That’s all.

Me:  You really have no idea what’s involved with getting ready for the holidays do you?

The Fella:  (his eyes are now glazed over and he appears to have stopped breathing, totally immersed in watching Donnie Brasco which he has seen approximately 172 times already)

Me:  Focus please.  I’m sick and I need help.

The Fella:  Oh really?  The way I needed help when I was sick with the ebola which I’m pretty sure I got from the terrorists last week?  Sick like that?  When you wouldn’t give me any medicine for hours on end?

Me:  You were at risk of  overdosing on acetaminophen and Neo Citron.

The Fella:  That’s bullshit.  You’d make a terrible nurse.

Me:  How about those holiday recommendations now?

The Fella:  This is bullshit.

Me:  How exactly is this bullshit?

The Fella:  I dunno.  It just is.  I’m still close to being snatched by the Grim Reaper you know.  You’re not the only one who’s sick.  I’m still sick too.  I think my eyeballs are moister than normal.  I’d rather talk about my new jeans.

Me:  Any other points you’d like to make about getting ready for the holiday season?

The Fella:  Yes.  Be prepared.  Have a plan. Enlist help.  Explain to significant others that things are about to become a shitshow.  As a significant other, I find the best way to help is by staying out of the way.  You can’t go wrong with staying out of the way.  If all else fails, organize a cookie exchange.  If you gimme a sec., I’ll call my dad and get a list of the true cookies. Just as soon as Donnie Brasco’s over.

And that, my Internet friends, is what I have for you today.  So to recap, our tips on preparing early for Christmas this year, make a list last February, watch Donnie Brasco, stay out of the way and randomly refer to things as bullshit.  And for the love of God … don’t get sick.

Works for me.

Update: The true cookie list will be made public in next Wednesday’s post (November 16th, 2011)!



  1. Karen says:

    Whenever I am in need of a good laugh I come to your blog. I am not laughing at the Canadians. I am laughing with them….oh wait-I am laughing at the Canadians. You and the fella are a hoot.

  2. KittyCardea says:

    I’m sorry you and Fella are sickly. Thanks for taking the time to blog. I enjoyed the dialogue.

  3. Lianne says:

    Forget the true cookies… I want to hear about his new jeans (I’ve seen pictures of the man)! ;)

  4. Stella says:

    So funny!! Christmas is a lot of work… and you can’t do it all on a man cold! ;)

  5. Stephanie says:

    You’ve seen this right? The Man Cold

    BTW, thanks for the chicken inspiration. My DIY chickenhouse is no Karen creation, but Rosie, Georgia, and Rainbow are quite happy. And since organic eggs are 70 cents each here in Switzerland, we’re saving a fortune! Feel better soon – Stephanie

    • Karen says:

      Stephanie – I *have* seen The Man Cold! Hilarious. 70 cents each?! That’s a lotta scratch. Glad to hear you got chickens and they’re happy! They’re an enormous amount of fun. ~ karen!

  6. marilyn says:

    funny, funny, funny same advice my fella would give! he is an expert at staying out of the way lol!

    • Karen says:

      That’s the fella’s true skill. Staying right the hell out of the way. And going to the store to pick up anything I need. Like “I NEED MILK!!! IMMEDIATELY!!! Or … I NEED A lime green 12 oz HAMMER! IMMEDIATELY!!”. Which, pleasantly, also helps keep him out of the way because he’s browsing the aisles of Home Depot looking for a hammer that doesn’t exist! ~ karen

  7. Valerie says:

    The idea of being ready for December 4th blows my mind. Get well soon!

  8. Tabitha says:

    I loved this! New follower and I hope you are feeling better!!

  9. Renee says:

    First,…I think your fella is smarter than the rest of us. I really do. I’m puttin’ a piece of paper in my pocket TO-DAY!

    Second,…about your chicken debacle. All I could think of was,…WTCluck?

    Lastly,…feel better. I pray you don’t have mono. It’s horrible.

    • Karen says:

      :) Thanks Renee. Oh! The fella suggests that you get a spiral bound book, not a little scrap of paper. You apparently “need to take this seriously”. He also suggests you tell your husband about the list and tell him the only time he’s allowed to go into it is the exact moment he wants to ruin Christmas. ~ karen

  10. Meg says:

    Wow. This was very bloggess-y, you should go check in on Jenny if you haven’t already. She’s not so much with the DIY unless it involves taxidermy, BUT she is very much with the having hilarious conversations with her husband.

    FEEL BETTER! I had a man cold last week and it was miserable… I took so much Dayquil I may have damaged my liver. OK, so maybe it wasn’t the Dayquil, but the fact that I forgot about the Dayquil and had three glasses of wine one night. I do not recommend doing this.

    I’m also going to stop typing now…

    • Karen says:

      Hah! I’ve read one post from the Bloggess and I loved it. The problem with this here blog of mine is I have almost no time to read anyone else’s blog. If I have any spare time at all I like to use it to bathe. ~ karen

  11. Heather says:

    bus what are the TRUE cookies??

  12. Julie shinnick says:

    So ‘Poor Diddums’ didn’t make him feel better?

    I saw a sign on Pinterest the other day…. you know …..those annoying ‘Keep Calm’ ones…..only this said

    “Keep Calm and sing Soft Kitty” argghh that started the loop again!

    I was going to try to do the Christmas card photo of kids and dog this weekend…..only hard to do when the son is at his girlfriends…sigh…..
    Hope you both feel better soon and thank you for relaying your conversation/debate ….. guys eh?? lol

  13. Suzy says:

    Please take care of yourself. Are you sure you don’t have Mono – both my husband and daughter had it this summer (yes we don’t know where a 56 year old man got it) but the first symptoms were fever and tiredness. – Suzy

    • Karen says:

      Suzy – Huh. Mono never even occurred to me. Even though I have a friend who had it this summer. Hmm … I’ll give it a few more days of rest and see. I’m already feeling slightly perkier. Although I say that having just got up from a nap. ~ karen

  14. Kate S. says:

    I’ll be waiting for that list of true cookies, haha.

  15. barbara says:

    I am howling!! It’s good to know that we aren’t alone:) Thank you Karen!! Oh.. And feel better soon!!!

  16. maria says:

    Sheesh, even sick you still crack me up! Hope you and your fella feel better soon and are able to tackle “the list”!

  17. Nancy says:

    HAHA…He’s a treasure Karen…Tell him that I will be making my lists (plural) this weekend..Hope you are both well soon!!!

  18. Caroline says:

    Since I pledged to simplify this year I also need this list of true cookies so I don’t waste time and money making unnecessary ones!

  19. Ruth says:

    Gee December 4 seems SOOOOOOO much closer than the day you wrote the pledge. Hope you feel better soon! The true cookie comment slayed me – love the fella – any you!

  20. Danielle M. says:


    Is this the same father-in-law that gave you the list of true pies??


  21. JennyA says:

    I want the list of the true cookies.

  22. Lisa says:

    This post is horse shit! (Not really, I actually enjoyed it immensely-just thought I’d shake things up with a little horse shit.)

  23. Jennifer says:

    This is my thinking…

    Move Christmas to January. Move Halloween to August. Get some rest and lots of liquids. Go to Costa Rica mid-December. Clean up your room (oops…that was my thinking for my kids…), and cancel your subscription to Martha Stewart, who has lots of cash and people to do the grunt work.

    Get well soon. I am sure your chickens are a tad bit concerned.


  24. Elise says:

    EW I’m sick too. I’d just as much prefer to stay sick through Christmas as to avoid it all. But I know that’s not going to happen. However, if anyone dares piss me off or gets in may way the day before Christmas as I’m finishing my last minute shopping, I just threaten to cough and sneeze on them. =)

  25. SK Farm Girl says:

    LMAO! They’re all the same – men: to them it’s all bullshit, they have survived more near death experience that an ER has ever witnessed, in-laws @ Christmas = shit-show, one gift to buy on Christmas eve and they’re “wooo, glad that’s done, the crowds are crazy downtown!”. My fella’s idea of “getting ready for Christmas” consists of a barrage of questions posed to me: “When are you putting up the tree?”, “Have you done any Christmas cards yet?”, “We should have people over – lots of people!”, “So you’re done Christmas shopping (a couple of gifts purchased on my part)!”, “Where did you hide the butter tarts?!”, “Are you putting up the Christmas wreaths outside?”, “RUM”, where’s the rum? You can’t put up the Christmas tree without rum, it’s tradition!?!”, you get the idea! But in reality my fella is quite helpful: he gets the tree and decorations down from the garage attic (a month sooner than necessary – Oct 1, but they’re down none-the-less), writes Christmas cards, consumes rejected baking, hangs the outdoor wreaths, and invites a million people for a Christmas soiree! And know what, I love ‘im in spite of all his quirky little quirks! I think he’ll get me for Christmas this year!
    PS – Our “decorating the tree tradition” starting many yars ago and is a tradition shared between my fella and me ever since. You see we are not your traditional-traditionalists; we drink rum, watch a Friday night “blue movie”, and decorate the tree! LOL, told ya we’re not traditional-traditionalists; Redneck – yes!!!

  26. Design Love says:

    hahahahaha, your fella is a riot! It’s like he was getting all agitated by your questions! So funny…. and yes, True Cookies got my attention.

    Feel Better Sickies!!!


  27. Monica says:

    Karen I read your posts every day, thank you for many laughs, but this is my 1st time commenting. About 5 years ago I had the same exact symptoms as your man cold. I could not stay awake, I’d get off the couch and wash some dishes, before I could do anything else I’d have to lay down and rest for 20 minutes, then maybe I’d vacuum, then rest, etc. finally went to the dr. after about 4 or 5 days. And turns out I had a raging urinary tract infection. I had none of the normal symptoms (burning, frequency), but that was my body’s way of dealing with the infection. I’m just saying it might be worth peeing in a cup and getting it checked.
    PS. My neighbors have backyard chickens, I hardly ever hear them, and when I do it makes me smile. And when I get eggs I smile even bigger.

  28. Jeanne says:

    You always cheer me up. I had a “shitshow” last Sunday in a tent; tomorrow in a barn. 3 one hour, one way trips with carloads of crap. My MAN gave me a cold he got at a funeral hugging friends last week. My head feels like a block of wood that my throat sanded. Christmas Open House’s suck at this point. I think I might become an atheist and avoid the whole thing next year.
    Now, where did I put that bottle of Creme De Menthe I gargle with?
    LOL, Jeanne

  29. Jillian says:

    Have your Fella go out to the natural food store and pick up some Oil of Oregano (not oregano oil). This stuff knocks out the most vicious of bacteria & viruses. Begin taking it as soon as you feel something coming on and you won’t get sick. And if you already have it the Oil of Oregano will help you recover faster. My daughter had a wicked case of Chicken Pox last year, (all over and in every crevice) and within 3 days it was gone except for a few spots. It is natures anti-biotic but it takes out viruses as well. Be well dear Karen!

  30. christine hilton says:

    Have you thought about getting in front of the camera again? You and the fella could have a reality hit(no,there is no s) show on your hands.

  31. Ann Roberts says:

    Get thee to a doctor right away. Those symptoms are not a cold but of a possible strep infection. My last strep infection had exactly those same symptoms and lasted for 10 days before I went. My strep test was highly positive and I never had a sore throat at all. The doc gave me hell for not coming in when I was sleeping so much I should have known something was wrong. Even the nurse at the office should be able to at least do a strep test and then you would know for sure.

    I am also waiting for that list of true cookies!! And praying for the final results on the chickens. I will go hug one of mine for you right now.

  32. Brenda says:

    I could be on the quest for ‘The True Cookie List’, can ‘Dad’ be bribed ?
    Moist eyeballs is a symptom not to take lightly, google it…..just kiddin’
    Hope you are all back to your ‘old selfs’ real soon.

  33. maggie says:

    Maybe if you are a good girl the Fella’s Dad will make a batch or 2 of the “True Cookies” and that will be one thing off your sh–list and the sh– show will be over. Just thinkin

  34. Nicole says:

    Oh Karen, I’m so, so happy I found you! You give a great start to my day, you’re such a funny writer!! Your exchange with the Fella sounds like an exchange with my Fella. The eyes glazing over and all that. His favourite things in life are watching the news and reading the paper. Anything else, the eyes glaze over. I first noticed it when we went wedding invitation shopping. Glazed eyes during the whole process. We almost broke up because I got mad that he wasn’t more interested in something so, so important as picking fonts for our wedding invitations. Girls and Boys, two different species!

  35. Tisha says:

    ” Explain to significant others that things are about to become a shitshow.” This is something you have to do every year, btw. They seem to forget and need to be reminded.

    Can’t wait for the True Cookies list!

  36. Susan says:

    So sorry you are sick Karen! Probably caught something from those disease ridden chickens! Ha! I believe speaking privately with councillors is safer too! But in reference to the lists and true cookies! I would love a list of true cookies … In the store we did my true cookies…. And truly they were my favorites and the best! I can’t wait to meet this true pie .. and true cookies man! Tee Hee! Would we have something to talk about! Get better soon and if you need help call me! God knows I’m not sick and have nothing else to do! … My family have come from Austria for Christmas the last 2 years and stayed with me in my home. I am still missing things from the new spots that I put everything in when they came and fully appreciate the before picture! Get better real soon!

  37. Cindy Marlow says:

    I’m with everyone else on the word, ‘shitshow’. It goes well with my other favorite word, ‘dumbass’. Several years ago, in an attempt to relieve my adult children of the stress of going into severe debt at Christmas, I instituted a ‘no gifts’ rule. Our family is allowed to give to charity (Hefer International is a favorite) or make something by hand. That’s it. The holiday is celebrated by time together. This year we are trying to reduce the stress at US Thanksgiving, too. We are taking a scenic trip along Skyline Drive in Virginia and ending it with dinner at the Mimslyn Inn in Luray, Virginia. As long as we don’t kill each other during the 2.5 hr drive, it may start yet another family holiday tradition.

  38. Janet says:

    one weekend to decorate, one weekend to shop, one weekend to bake.
    Still have plenty of time……….
    This weekend is for the craft fairs around town

  39. Alicia says:

    I laughed out loud over the “true cookies” are there more true cookies than true pies?

  40. Jamieson says:

    Just woke up and while reading your blog — as I do every morning in bed — I suddenly remembering my dream… You know the only thing I hate more than poor grammar is when people describe their dreams, but I’ll allow it this once.
    For some reason I was naked in public, working in a government office (I’m more likely to be naked in public), on a Sunday (clearly no attempts at any semblance of reality), and I was carrying a chicken cage in a giant bag with 4 hens and a handful of chicks. I was chicken-sitting for you! I was so busy trying to keep them in one place that I completely forgot people could see my no-no bits. I’m pretty sure I managed to keep them all corralled though.
    Feel better!

    • Karen says:

      Jamieson – That’s just about the best dream I ever heard. Your subconsciously protecting my chickens. And getting ready to become a vagrant stripper. It’s heartwarming. Honestly. ~ karen

  41. Bev says:

    we must have a true cookie list – and oh, does he consider fruit cake a cake?

  42. becky mercado says:

    Actually considering the male opinion you asked for you were lucky to get more than a one word response. The response I usually get when I ask for input is “WHAT”. Mine adamantly denies he’s going deaf…it makes for quite the back and forth … but if I have to repeat the questions 3 times…it better darn well be worth it. At least Donnie Brasco is an hour long show. Try to wait for “Sports Center” to end….unending sports highlights. I think my other half still thinks the elves come during the night and set everything aglow…

  43. ev says:

    OMG! Still laughing, and I’m sick too! Had a cold, went into a sinus inf, was feeling better, and now-worse. 65 yrs old and asthmatic. bBt so thanks for the humor! “shitshow”–what a wonderful description. Kudos to “fella”!

  44. Sandra C says:

    Between “shitshow” & “ass-head” (ie the ass-head rosebush) I vote that you should get the new word of the year award! You & the fella make me laugh until the tears fall!! Feel better soon!

  45. Claudine says:

    True cookies list: yay!

    (At least the Fella’s overly moist eyeballs aren’t preventing him from watching Donnie Brasco.)

    Donnie Brasco: great movie.

    Rebekkah: Thanks for the links.

    I hope you feel all better really soon.

  46. Tricia Rose says:

    I’m going to abandon any thought of other Christmas cheer and start a quest for the true cookies. Should keep me busy until January when the whole horrible thing is over and I’m two kilos heavier.

  47. rebekkah says:

    well, here is my input(is that spelled right? it doesn’t look right – whatever)…here is my 2 cents (that works better?!) for christmas, use these…

    thats a bit too neat for me, i panic. I have family coming to our house this year and trying to find homes for everything since my brother and his wife and 3 kids are coming….I have to child proof the house. My house is in no way shape of form picture ready, unless its the before picture of someone else’s after house. lol.

  48. Marti says:

    Like everybody else, I’m looking forward to the “True Cookies” list.

    But meantime, maybe The Fella as his list. But is he physiologically different from every other man out there? Or does he wait until the day before Christmas to take that list out of his pocket and actually TRY TO SHOP FOR IT?

    • Karen says:

      Marti – He really gets it all done in one day. Usually around the middle of December. It’s kind of gross. ~ karen

      • Marti says:

        I have to admit he does seem to give great gifts.

        Speaking of which, when’s the city council appearance? Lots and lots of media appearances before and day of, Karen. Might just save you and the Girls. ;)

        • Karen says:

          Heh. Well … I’m still considering my options. I’m not entirely convinced a public meeting is the best way to make change. In my opinion, it’ll just turn into a pissing match, if you’ll excuse the phrase. My preference is to do this privately with the councillors. I have some thinkin’ and plannin’ to do. All of my neighbours want me to keep my mouth shut, LOL because they love the chickens and the eggs. :) ~ karen

        • Nicole says:

          Wear a chicken mask and appear anonymously as the Great Chicken Saviour.

  49. Sheri says:

    You can’t just tease us by mentioning “true cookies” without the list. There’s less than two months before Xmas. Don’t want to bake the wrong thing and have to start all over Xmas eve!!

    Feel better!!

  50. Nicole says:

    the…true cookies?

    (ps: shitshow may be my new favorite word)

    • Karen says:

      Nicole – Yes. True cookies. In relation to the list of true pies. You know of the true pies don’t you? And shitshow. Yes. It’s a favourite around here. ~ karen

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