So, in the course of our office's annual Solstice/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Christmas/Zappadan festivities, I was part of something that I'd never been involved in (or, to be honest, even considered) prior to this.
21 years in the military, couple of years working security for the DOE - I always had a uniform. So nobody ever suggested that we have an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest.
Of course, that same excuse meant that, on top of not having a clue about this type of competition, there was one other thing I didn't have - an Ugly Christmas Sweater.
However, I had a secret weapon that nobody else in my office had access to: the Trophy Wife.
Have I mentioned that the Wife is crafty? As in, she knits, she sews, she does needlepoint, tatting, macramé, net-making, braiding steel cable - basically, if it can be translated to "playing with string," she does it. (She's also inordinately fond of cats - personally, I see a connection there.)
And suddenly, less than a week after telling her of this contest, I found myself in possession of a sweater. An awesome sweater (if, when saying "awesome," you quietly swallow the "-ly gawdawful" when speaking to the Trophy Wife).
Yes, the front has five individual, hand-crafted penguins on snowdrifts, two hand-crafted snowmen, and about eighteen hundred tiny, sparkling snowflakes. When the light hit me just right, I looked like the Christmas float at a Gay Pride parade. (Of course, I say that in a good way.) You couldn't photograph this sweater with a flash.
The truly awe-inspiring touches were on the back, though.
Yes, those seven snowflakes are hand-crocheted. And the scarf on the snowman? It's knitted.
None of them stood a chance. Although Susan, in the red, gave it the old college try, with her gold poinsettias hot-glued to her chest, and the sparkly trim at the neck and butt.
(There on the right, incidentally? That's Andie, who discovered that thrift shops in Albuquerque have an amazingly limited selection of Ugly Christmas Sweaters. But she found the Winter Shawl. Somehow, it made her want to go play bingo.)
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the awesome power of the Trophy Wife. Who I love with all my heart. Despite this (admittedly award-winning) sweater.