Gifts are under the tree. Cookies are out with the requisite bites out of each. Milk glass emptied into the sink minus a few droplets. Side note: still haven't had a sip of milk since 1979. Nasty stuff.
One final task: place the frozen chocolate croissants on top of the stove so they could rise by morning. Simple, right? Yes, with one caveat. All were frozen together and required separation. "No problem," I said, "I'll just chop away at the ice that's formed in between with a dull butter knife."
Thirty minutes later, I drove myself to Hunterdon Medical Center after having plunged said dull butter knife into the soft, fleshy skin between my thumb and pointer finger. The nurse responsible for my intake didn't buy my story. She called in another nurse to assess my psychological state. I don't remember the exact conversation, but it ended with me pleading, "Yes it was a butter knife and I don't know how it broke through skin either."
After the two ladies capitulated, I watched the Pope deliver Midnight Mass, along with a bag of Doritos, in the waiting room.
Two hours later I arrived back home, armed with four stitches. I purposely made enough noise upon my return to add to the Santa ruse. It worked as my daughter claimed she heard St. Nick walk through the front door. Stitches worth it.
I have no pictures from that night. Not even one with my arm wrapped in bandages as we opened gifts later the next morning.
That won't happen again.
"No seriously wife, I can level the front walk on my own."
"Yes, the slates are heavy but I'll be careful."
"I'm 48, not 88, I can handle it."
I didn't handle it.
And the photo above is four weeks after the fact.