Kerry McKim’s Half-Assed Hallmark Christmas, Episode 1

*This story is a satirical piece based on the real life events of Kerry McKim.  This written work is meant to be humorous. This story is not affiliated  in any way with  the Hallmark Channel though some may argue that it should be.  Currently there are no plans to be affiliated with the Hallmark Channel…yet.

While the shopping began weeks ago, this years Christmas Story began last weekend.  I was home visiting my parents and I decided that it was going to be the day where I get to live in a Hallmark movie.

All the enlightened guru’s say that we create our own realities.  Let’s face it, I am bouncing back from a shitty period of my life.  I always feel good when I watch Hallmark movies so why not make it my reality.

I have a lot going for me.  Let’s look at the facts.

I am a widow ✔

I have a cute kid ✔

I was  in my hometown, which is a small coastal Maine town ✔

It’s Christmastime ✔

Now I just to need find one of these single, good looking, successful, 
emotionally available middle aged  men that seem to be wandering around Small Town America.   

The “emotionally available” part if very important.  I know a lot of these Hallmark Christmas Men have chips on their shoulders.  I can handle that.  But he needs to be emotionally available.  I am the widow who needs someone to show me that love still does exist and it is all around.

This is my half-assed Hallmark story and I can add Love Actually references if I want to.

I will note that I did have a few things working against me-

❌ I was not there to save the Christmas parade. It seems like I was not needed.  The Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce seems to be handing it just fine.

❌ I was not here to save the family business. There is no family business. Unless you count the postal service and I don’t have have the super powers of Candice Cameron Bure or Lacey Chabert to go against that bureaucracy.  

❌ I came to realize that nothing needed to be saved.  My family home is safe and we don’t have a family farm to save.

❌ I don’t own a vintage red pickup truck.  I own a red Subaru Forester and a blue pickup and my father has a new red pickup truck.  But no vintage red pickup truck.  This is problematic because in addition to the cuteness factor of an old red pickup truck, many Hallmark movies involve a Hallmark Christmas Man rescuing a damsel in distress due to her unreliable vehicle.  My late husband made sure I had the safest winter car there is and I have been maintaining the vehicle.  Hallmark Christmas Man will have to find another way to help me.

❌ I also don’t have a high school ex-boyfriend. I wasn’t cool enough or pretty enough I guess.   

(I really need to get over this emotional block considering I am in my 40s now).

Since I didn’t need to save a business, a home, a farm or Christmas in general, I decided to go to the local Christmas parade.

I got to town about a half an hour before the parade.  My daughter is in that phase where any unit of time that isn’t “right now” is “a very long time” so I didn’t want to be standing there waiting.  

I was worried about parking.  I was having trouble locating a spot and then I see a man directing cars into a Baptist church parking lot.  I was excited.  I did not attend that church when I lived there because I am Catholic but I had cash in my pocket and my adopted New York ways just assumed I would to pay to park anyway.  I tried to hand the attendant some money and he seemed surprised and he declined the cash.  He did invite us to cookies and hot chocolate at the church after the parade.

Cookies and hot chocolate at a small town church did seem like something that would happen in a Hallmark Christmas movie.  But I am still mad at God and I didn’t want my Hallmark Christmas movie to be one where I find God.  Especially if that meant that I would have to convert to another form of Christianity to meet my Hallmark Christmas Man. 

My Hallmark Christmas Man is going to have to accept my “It’s Complicated” relationship status with Catholicism

I knew that my Hallmark Christmas Man could have been there eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate but I was willing to take that risk.

I went looking for a friend of mine.  She was convinced Hallmark Christmas Man and I were going to go after the same piece of candy that was thrown at the crowds.  Our eyes were going to meet.  I was going to blush.  He was going to say “I haven’t seen you around here before.”

Though that moment never happened.  Turns out my daughter is perfectly able to fend for herself when it comes to candy.

As I was looking for my local friend, I saw an old friend of mine.  She lives in Florida and I hadn’t seen her in about fifteen years.  We had lost contact.  She was in town because her father had passed away.  She has been on my mind a lot lately and I do believe we were meant to bump into each other.  I gave her my contact information and I do hope I hear from her.

I finally found my local friend right before the parade started.

My Dad was in the beginning.

My daughter on the lookout for candy.  

I thought I was smart because I grabbed a plastic grocery store bag to hold candy.  Turns out it had a hole.  Luckily there was enough freebies like a local newspaper and frisbees that I was able to plug up the hole and still be able to use the bag for candy.

There were lots of floats from the community. 

I told you, the parade didn’t need saving.

Since my father was at the beginning of the parade, he was able to make it back before the end of the parade.

Santa!  I know him!

After the parade, I took my daughter to the office of the local newspaper, The Ellsworth American because they give each kid a book.  They had tables set up by age group and each kid could choose a book.  My daughter chose a Snoopy book because her teacher likes Snoopy.

It is worth noting that the local newspaper didn’t need me to save it (though it did just get bought out by the Portland Press Herald) and Hallmark Christmas Man was not there.

My daughter had to use the bathroom so we stopped at the VFW Post that my father belongs to so we could use the facilities.  My daughter was hungry so my father and the other VFW members invited us to crash the cub scout pizza party they were hosting.

I felt a little awkward but my daughter made friends with the kids and I saw a few old friends of mine.  It was great to catch up.

Hallmark Christmas Man was not at the pizza party.  But my father, my daughter and I headed up to the Christmas Tree lot to look for the Perfect Sullivan Family Christmas Tree.  

And maybe Hallmark Christmas Man would be there.  Maybe we would both pick out the same Christmas Tree and fight over it.  That seems to happen a lot.

That didn’t happen.  

My father picked out the Christmas Tree, not me.  And there was no Hallmark Christmas Man fighting with my Dad for the tree.

I will say, it was nice to pick out the Sullivan Family Christmas Tree with my father.  (Think of these as flashback sequences in my Half-Assed Hallmark Christmas).  

The first reason was because we always had an artificial Christmas Tree growing up but my Sullivan grandparents always had a real tree.  My father would tell stories of going to every Christmas tree lot in town with his father (my grandfather).  Apparently my grandfather was very particular about his Christmas Trees.  Though I have memories from some Christmases of my childhood and I remember those trees.

I could tell my father enjoyed remembering his father during the process.

The second reason has to do with “das stand.”

The story of “das stand” started in 2010 when Bryon and I moved into a townhouse in Albany and we were planning on getting our first Christmas tree.  We both felt strongly that we wanted real trees.  On a trip to Maine that fall, I bought a $2 Christmas tree stand at Marden’s. 

What a bargain!

Only we couldn’t get our six foot Christmas tree to stand up in that stand.

We decided to cut our losses and we went to Wal-Mart and we invested in a $15 Christmas Tree stand.

We used that Christmas tree stand a couple of years.  

Bryon and I always left our tree up until Epiphany.  We were good Catholics like that.  Right before Epiphany in early 2014, two things happened.  The first was that I found out I was pregnant with our daughter and the second was that Bryon came down with H1N1.

Epiphany was on a Monday that year and between my early pregnancy exhaustion and Bryon’s flu, the tree didn’t come down.  Thursday of that week, we woke to a crash.  Our cat had got into my knitting and somehow wrapped the yarn around some tree branches and pulled the Christmas tree down.

By the following Christmas, in 2014, Bryon and I had moved to our house and our daughter had been born.  Between the cat and a future toddler, Bryon was adamant that the Christmas tree was not going to come down.

So he bought a Krinner XXL that he affectionately referred to as “Das Stand”. 

Bryon and “Das Stand” spent two Christmases together.  

The first Christmas after Bryon died, I didn’t feel like having a Christmas tree but I felt like my daughter still deserved one.  I got one up with the help of a friend.

The following year, I got the tree up all by myself. It was a “I am widow, hear me roar” moment.  I know that because it showed up in my Facebook memories.

Since I am travelling this Christmas, I got an artificial tree at my house (I know, so wrong and not Hallmark at all) and I brought “Das Stand” to Maine for the real Christmas Tree there.

(End of flashback scenes)

I hadn’t unpacked “Das Stand” from my car and my father asked me to go get it so he can have an idea how the 8 foot trees would stand in it.  I retrieve “Das Stand” from my car and the boy working (the Boy Scouts were running the Christmas Tree lot) says “Wow, I have never seen anyone actually bring a Christmas tree stand.”

I let the kid think we take our Christmas trees very seriously.

As my father and the actual adult working the lot put the Christmas Tree into the car, the man says “now THAT is a Christmas tree stand.”

I feel like wherever Bryon is now, he would be proud.  He might be dead and gone but “Das Stand” lives on.

When we get home, my father saws off the bottom.

And we prepare to get the Sullivan Family Christmas Tree into “Das Stand” while my daughter watches Fancy Nancy or Vampirina or something on Disney Junior.

I cringed as my father cut away the twine.  I was nervous that the branches were going to break through the living room window but my fear was for nothing.

I inspected the tree for squirrels but did not find any.

We were leaving the trimming until the next day because we wanted the branches to have a chance to fall.

I was heading out to an exciting night out in my small town.  I was excited to have dinner with my friend Charlotte.  

And maybe we would meet Hallmark Christmas Man. Maybe he would be out having a drink.

We went to a local favorite, Finn’s Irish Pub.

We had beverages, Irish Nachos and sandwiches.  I forgot to take pictures of the food.  But we saved room for dessert.  I love the Guiness Cake with Bailey’s Frosting.

I didn’t find Hallmark Christmas Man.

Or really…Hallmark Christmas Man did not find me.

But I got to spend time with one of my good friends.

I mean, as Leslie Knope says “Uteruses before Duderuses”.

The next day was freezing rain so I stayed at my parents house.  I knew the odds of Hallmark Christmas Man actually just showing up at my parents house were slim.

We watched the Patriots beat the Vikings.

My daughter made a gingerbread house.  It was from a kit.  It was standing and not all the icing made it into her mouth.

I consider it a success. 

We, I mean she, needs to bring her “A game” for her gingerbread contest, I mean, school assignment.  It’s not really a contest but a lot of Hallmark Christmas movies have gingerbread contests so a non-competitive school assignment might have to do.

Right now it looks like we need a Christmas Miracle to meet Hallmark Christmas Man.  Though Kimmy Gibbler reminded me that sometimes Christmas Magic begins to work closer to the holiday when there is a time crunch.

So where is Hallmark Christmas Man?

So far it seems like a Hallmark Christmas Mystery.

Will the widow’s daughter have an amazing gingerbread house for school? 

Will the widow’s daughter stay on Santa’s Nice List? 

Will the widow continue to be haunted by memories of “Christmas Past” and by the ponderings of “The Christmases That Should Have Been?”

Will Hallmark Christmas Man- in the biggest plot twist ever in Hallmark Christmas History- show up in Albany, thus confusing the widow since Hallmark love only happens in one’s hometown?

Will “Das Stand” continue to hold up the Sullivan Family Christmas Tree? 

Where will Charlotte and the widow go to dinner next time they see each other?

Stay Tuned for Part 2!

Advertisements

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #43

Today is Friday!  You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.

I am inviting you join me on Good Vibration Gratitude Fridays!

Exciting, right?

You are probably wondering how you get in on the action.

It’s easy! If you are grateful for something, please either comment below or share a pic of what you are grateful for on Instagram with the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude

Also feel free to follow me on Instragram at @kerrymckim

Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1.  Dinner with Kimmy Gibbler I see her less since she moved up to the North Country.  I miss seeing her as often but this means our time together is even more special.  Love you Gibbler.

    20181128_174728
    Swifty’s- Colonie, NY
  2. Those who remember BryonWe had great neighbors when we lived in Albany.  We hung out.  We watched each other’s cats on vacation.

    Our townhouses shared an attached wall.  I am sure they heard Bryon and I when we argued.  When I shared the news I was pregnant, my neighbor said she thought she had heard me throwing up.

    We both moved to our current houses in the same month.  My daughter was born and life just took over.  I am sad to say I haven’t seen them in awhile.

    They were in New York City celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary.

    Happy Anniversary!!!!!

    They had shared their plans on social media.  On one of the days, they decided to visit the five oldest bars in NYC.  (Which sounds totally awesome to this history buff. Maybe my cousin H-Bomb will do it with me).

    I had commented that Bryon took me to McSorley’s (4th oldest bar).


    It was one of his favorite bars in New York City.
    My friends had shared that they shared a drink in Bryon’s memory at McSorley’s.

    46846532_10161080815650023_1386755046212894720_o
    Facebook Photo Courtesy of Frances Esposito

    It still makes me happy when people remember him.  I can accept that he is gone but I don’t want him to be forgotten.  Especially since my daughter will only know him from stories.

  3. Getting three runs in this weekIt finally clicked in my brain that the only way I was going to be able to run another half-marathon was if I started running again.  Funny how that works.

    images
    Get it?  Christmas Humor…
  4. Encouragement and friendshipI appreciate everyone who commented their support and sent messages about my post last night where I felt like a failure as a mother.  It feels better to know I am not alone but at the same time, I am sad other mothers feel this way too.

    images (1)

  5. My daughter’s Pre-K teacherI talked to my daughter Pre-K teacher and I am grateful I did.  She was very positive about the situation.  My daughter has had trouble being quiet during naptime.  Her teacher assured me that I wasn’t doing anything wrong and that my daughter isn’t doomed.  She just has a strong personality and she is in a phase where she is testing her limits.  Her teacher said it is very common at this age.

    She agreed with me that having a strong personality isn’t bad, we just need to funnel her energy differently.  I don’t want to take my daughter’s fun away but she needs to learn that she has to respect adults.

    Her teacher also told me it doesn’t matter how small my daughter is in her physical stature, she will be able to hold her own.  As someone who was bullied as a kid, I know it is a good thing that my daughter has no problem standing up for herself.

    I do feel better because I feel like we now have a plan in place that will hopefully correct her behavior before kindergarten.  I am grateful her teacher is positive.  She doesn’t view my daughter as a problem.  She seems the good in her.  I had some hyperactivity issues as a kid and from what I have been told, my teachers were negative about the situation.

What are you grateful for this week?

encouraging-quote-positive.jpg

 

Good Vibrations Gratitude Saturday #42

It’s Saturday…a day late. But the rest is still the same.

You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.

I am inviting you join me on Good Vibration Gratitude Fridays!

Exciting, right?

You are probably wondering how you get in on the action.

It’s easy! If you are grateful for something, please either comment below or share a pic of what you are grateful for on Instagram with the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude

Also feel free to follow me on Instragram at @kerrymckim

Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.

1. Getting my car back

My car was in the shop for two week. I missed my Subaru. Nothing drives better in the snow. So happy to have my car back.

2. Pre-K Thanksgiving.

3. Rudolph Musical

A friend of mine had tickets she couldn’t use and generously offered them to my daughter and me. Luckily we got a great parking space, bumped into good friends and my daughter loved the performance. I am so appreciative that my friend provided us with the joy of theater.

4. New England Thanksgiving

I spent Thanksgiving with my family in New Hampshire. I’ll be blogging about my holiday in an upcoming post.

5. Experiencing a salt cave.

My brother and I went to Soleil’s Salt Cave in Exeter, NH. It was a cool experience. I did feel like it helped with congestion and my asthma, but I could probably use more sessions. Mayber I will do that locally.

I didn’t take any pictures because electronics are not allowed but here is a pic of the Mexica Mocha I had after at D Squared Java. However, I couldn’t taste it because of all the salt I inhaled. Oops.

What are you grateful for this week?

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #39

It’s Friday! You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.

This week I am starting something new.

I am inviting you join me on Good Vibration Gratitude Fridays!

Exciting, right?

You are probably wondering how you get in on the action.

It’s easy! If you are grateful for something, please either comment below or share a pic of what you are grateful for on Instagram with the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude

Also feel free to follow me on Instragram at @kerrymckim

Here is what I am gratude for this week.

  1.  Fall weekend in Maine.

    I didn’t take many pictures on this trip.  I didn’t do much sightseeing.  I just enjoyed a late October weekend in Maine.  I had dinner and ice cream at Charlotte’s and I had dinner with an old friend from high school.  I don’t have a nick name for her yet but you met her here.

    So I enjoyed socializing with friends, good food, watched two World Series games with my Dad and I marveled in the beauty of Maine fall foliage that is just past the peek in a Nor’easter.

  2. World Series win

    My boys did it!

    And my little one got to see the team play this year.  Can’t wait until next summer.

    34777636_10156829416797841_6373413927446904832_n

  3. Second Annual Halloween Pajama Movie Night

    The tradition was born last year when my friend and I were shopping at Gymboree and I thought the pink skeleton pajamas were cute.  My friend asked me to buy them since she had skeleton pajamas for her boys and she said we could do a Halloween movie night.  I was sold.

    My daughter and I were at Crazy 8’s a few weeks ago and picked up another pair.  And luckily movie night happened again this year.

    44996461_10160969795505203_1101733199609856000_n

  4. Trick or Treating

    Every year my daughters school goes trick or treating in a local office park.  The people who work there are great and were very generous with their candy.  It is hard to believe this is my daughters fourth and final year participating.

    20181031_142458

  5. It’s November!

    This year is the first year since Bryon died that I am excited for Christmas.  And I am just going with it.

    And before the haters get mad at me, I am just as excited about Thanksgiving too.

    CPrtRz0

    What are you grateful for this week?

    FB_IMG_1540410044568

Summer 2018: Bronx Zoo

In late August, Kimmy Gibbler and I took our little ones down to the Bronx Zoo.  Late August was a busy period for me so I never got around to posting about it.

So today we are going to take a bit of a flashback.

Going to the Bronx Zoo has always been on my bucket list.

One day I mentioned this to Kimmy and it turned out that she always wanted to go as well.

We decided to just do it.

Like Nike.

s-l300

flat,550x550,075,f.u3

We live close enough where visiting is a day trip.  I had originally thought about taking the train.  I thought that a train ride would add to the excitement of the day but there is no easy connection on public transportation.  So Kimmy drove.

20180825_111000

When you go to the Bronx Zoo, you have the choice to buy a basic ticket or an “total experience” ticket.  We had purchased total experience tickets because Kimmy did a cost analysis and realized that if you buy the basic ticket and decide you want to do the “extras,” it ends up being more expensive to do those “extras” a la carte.

My big pet peeve is that if you purchase the “total experience” package, they do not give you a wristband.  They scan your ticket at each attraction.  Now you can access your ticket electronically or print it up but it was still annoying.  We had printed our tickets which was good because Kimmy’s phone battery died and my phone battery ran low.

It was really annoying to have to dig out the piece of paper every time.

I know, I know…

download

I would sarcastically say to Kimmy “Do you know what would be really cool? If you could have a bracelet instead of having to dig out this paper every time you want to do something.”

The workers didn’t find me funny but Kimmy thought I was hilarious.

tumblr_m5ufc4GwJ61qdhsxp.0.0

If anyone from the Bronx Zoo is reading this: please, invest in wristbands.  Please!

20180825_113017

Our first stop was the world of birds.  We actually didn’t spend much time here.  We knew time was limited, especially with young ones so we wanted to head over to the Africa and Asia section.  So when we return, we need to pay more attention to the birds.

20180825_113739

Tigers!

Turtles.  One turtle kept trying to get up on the log and it was fascinating to watch the other turns reaction.  Or lack of reaction really.

20180825_125024(0)

My daughter’s favorite- The Bug Carousel

20180825_125944

Butterfly House

20180825_131103

Some post-Butterfly House fun

Back to the Bug Carousel.  My daughter would have been on it all day if I had let her.

20180825_132751

Ice cream break.

20180825_140404

Africa.

Setting the mood

Or maybe you prefer the Weezer version…?

Lions

20180825_151917

Towards the end of the day, we went on the Wild Asia Monorail.  We had to wait in line for about an hour to get on.

20180825_163212

Somehow we survived the wait in line and the monorail was awesome.  Though my daughter fell asleep somewhere after the elephants.  At this point, my phone battery was running very low so I couldn’t take many pictures.

The zoo closed at 5 pm that day.  The kids were troopers.  We did a ton of walking and they lasted the whole day.  We saw most of the zoo with the exception of the birds.  If you live near the Bronx Zoo, I highly recommend it.

Have you ever been to the Bronx Zoo?  If not, is it on your bucket list?

 

 

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #36

It’s Friday! You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.

Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1.  Fall in Maine

    I got to be in one of the most beautiful places on Earth during the most beautiful time of the year.

    20181007_113005

  2. Greeting the Troops

    My father is a Maine Troop Greeter.  Military planes stop in Bangor, Maine because it is the most Eastern airport in the country.  And there is a group of volunteers that greet them.

    My daughter and I had an opportunity to join my father when a plane came in.  My daughter was not shy at all and wanted to shake everyone’s hand.  I am so proud of her.

    I am so grateful for this opportunity, as well as the volunteers who welcome home each troop.  And I am grateful for the Troops who serve to protect our country and our freedoms.

  3. Dinner and Drinks with Charlotte

    Charlotte and I tried out the Airline Brewing Company Pub in Ellsworth. The food and drinks were good and the bartender was friendly.  I am grateful that I got to try out this new place and for time with Charlotte.

    43228419_10157112574592841_2065353814487072768_n

  4. Lunch with the Baker

    I also got the chance to have lunch with my friend who I will call The Baker because she is a baker. (Those of you who are unfamiliar with this blog- I rarely use real names) My friends business is called Affectionate Confections and she makes amazing wedding cakes.

    When my Maine Best Friend and The Scientist got married, she did their wedding cake.

    20170722_155234

    We were going to have lunch in Bar Harbor but when we arrived in town, we realized that there was a cruise ship in town that day as well as several tour buses.  I was happy for the business owners of Bar Harbor but the city was packed.  So we decided to have lunch at The Tan Turtle Tavern in Northeast Harbor.

    After lunch, we spent some time down by the water at the Northeast Harbor Marina.  My daughter had fun throwing rocks into the water.

  5. Getting the opportunity to get in touch with my old self

    I know I talk a lot about personal growth and I am a strong believer in that.

    As I have been going through and purging my belongings, both at my house in New York and my parents house in Maine,  I have been coming across pieces of my life I have forgotten.  It has helped me remember who I am and were I came from.  I think it is important to be in touch with your old self in order to grow.

    I see myself doing an in depth post about this but I wanted to share a few of my favorites.

    My school picture from my junior year in high school

    43712958_10157122474792841_4176696244699136000_n

    My palm card from my failed Maine House run in 2006.

    IMG_20181007_200633_436

    What are you grateful for this week?

    b180e7400ffe9e03266e817e1e875973

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #35

It’s Friday! You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.

Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1.  My day trip in Maine

    It was so nice to be home and feel that cool, ocean air.

 

2. Playing with my daughter

After our day trip, we did some playing in the yard at my parents house and at the playground at our local school.  My daughter said that the slide was the tallest slide in the world.  Imagine that?

 

3. Ice Cream and Gelato

My parents and I went to an ice cream and gelato shop in our town called PugNuts.  I had to get three flavors because I wanted to try them all.  My favorites were the coffee flavor and the seasonal pumpkin flavor.  My daughter chose cotton candy because it was blue.


I had to laugh because my mother said that all the pugs reminded her of Puppy Dog Pals on the Disney Channel.

 

4. Being able to watch my daughter improve in gymnastics class.

I am so proud of her.

5. My daughters Pre-K Class and teachers.

My daughter is in a great program and I don’t doubt that she will be ready for kindergarten next year.

They seriously need to bring back the laser option.

IMG_20181004_093650 (1)

What are you grateful for this week?

41210025_10155564995071604_4092732159503106048_n