Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sloooooooooooow Tuesday

A slow Tuesday night shift led to hilarity.

Let Shortcake explain.

Shortcake was running late.  Well, it wasn't her fault.  She left the house on time, got on the train, and then the train sat in time out for 15 minutes.  And since the train is underground, she couldn't text Cider to let him know what was happening.  She got there as soon as she could.  She clocked in at 3:08pm.  Which is about 20 minutes later than she wanted to be.  And, of course, Santa had left her a voice mail at 3:03pm wondering where she was.  As payback for all those times Santa was late and he got a voice mail from Shortcake.

Shortcake brought her ukulele in, and had some time at the end of the night to practice.  Santa gave her some tips on strum patterns, and she played 3-4 songs.  Poorly, but she played them.

Willie came by to see Santa.  Remember Willie?  He showed Santa his photo album of this year's Thanksgiving Day parade, and said he'd lost last year's photo album.  Shortcake promised to keep an eye out for it, and to return it if she found it.

During a lull - it was slooooooow - each hour had no more than 200 visitors - Shortcake read some letters to Santa.  Not her letter.  That she mailed to the North Pole.

Santa went on an event with Sprinkles and brought back cupcakes.

They... did not fare well in transit.

But Shortcake still ate one.

It was such an easy night that Shortcake was super relaxed and chill - which led to some gentle rubbing from Santa.  He made it very clear that Shortcake had a completely different personality in the morning than in the evening.

At the end of the night, Shortcake was standing with the elves at the Gate.  Figgy was gatekeeping, and there was no one at the gate.  So Shortcake sent Frostbite off to check the maze.  Frostbite checked the Express Pass, and then, at Shortcake's urging, checked the maze.  Penguin confirmed the train was closed.  And Shortcake called it.  She went off at a brisk walk to get Santa out of the house.  She walked in, full speed, saying at the top of her voice "Santa, it's OVER" and then she got bodychecked by Chance because - wait for it - there were still three adult women in the house.  Shortcake was so startled, she knocked her headset off her head, and sheepishly looked at the women - Santa didn't notice, but one of the women certainly did - and said "Merry Christmas."  After the women left, Shortcake reenacted the entrance for Santa and he laughed and laughed.

Really, this story is better in person.  Get Shortcake to reenact it for you the next time you see her.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Letters to Santa

It was a slow Monday, which makes sense, since it's the first Monday of the season.  BUT.  Monday mornings are the best.  First of all, it's a nice breather after the hustle of the weekend.  AND Peppercorn and Shortcake are on together along with Mr. Claus and Santa loves teasing Shortcake, but it's in that special way she misses on the weekends.  And then Shortcake saw Cider and caught up on all the things.  He told her he does not do a pep talk with the Village elves in the mornings, which is good because Shortcake tried it once it was a disaster.  She decided she could not strawboss like Cider, however inspiring he may be.

Housekeeping vacuumed the dressing room!  This may not seem exciting, but there is something very satisfying to see a clean floor.

Treetop had a balloon tied to his apron today.  He named it Branch.

Peppercorn was showing off her accent abilities, from Jamaican to Irish to Scottish.  But Shortcake didn't get the memo, so she said "Peppercorn, that Jamaican accent doesn't sound Jamaican."  And Peppercorn exclaimed, "I was doing Scottish, Shortcake, how could you not tell?" as if she had been brutally betrayed and then threw something to the floor in a fit.

It was hilarious.  (It may have lost something in the telling.)

Anyway, here's some letters to Santa:

"I love you Stant Claus"

"I want a big lego."

The note at the bottom is what gets Shortcake.  She apologizes for sassing her parents. Not Shortcake.  The child who wrote the letter.

Alright.  Clearly, this is an (English) parent writing for their almost 3 year old son.  Probably the son was dictating as Shortcake does not think an adult would voluntarily write "big big crazy big ladder."  BUT.  Shortcake does not think the child did his own coloring.  That is not the coloring of an almost three-year-old.  Shortcake says that as a connoisseur of children's drawing.  Clearly, the adult also did the drawing.  Honestly.  If the adult wanted to color so badly, they could have just colored a picture and sent it to Santa on the adult's behalf.  They didn't need to color a Christmas tree and send it accompanying a child's list.  Shortcake felt the letter misrepresented its sender.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Flamingo Club

Sunday was the second day of the season and so many things happened.  Santa brought Shortcake a present.

It was so sweet of him.  And Shortcake was proud of herself because she only ate 2 and shared the rest.  In the spirit of the season.

The day started with an event, Autism Speaks.  Shortcake didn't watch any visits, and every time she talked to someone about the visits, she started weeping, so.  No stories from Autism Speaks.  Just know it was successful.

Figgy played a game in the break room.  Shortcake thought it made a lovely photo.

Shortcake brought her ukulele in, and Santa spent some time noodling around on it.  It's useful for keeping him occupied when he's on break.  You'd think that since Santa is such a busy man, especially this time of year, he could keep himself busy.  But, uh, no.  If he's not occupied, he considers teasing Shortcake a valuable use of his time.

This flamingo has been in Santa's dressing room for years.  Years.  Santa decided he would take the flamingo into the house with him today.  The first time around, Shortcake said no.  But she gave him Figgy as a photo elf, which is kind of like having a flamingo in the house.  He's tall and lanky. And they agreed the house should be renamed the Flamingo Club and Santa could do a cabaret act welcoming visitors.  On break Santa got the flamingo down, dusted him off, and informed Shortcake the flamingo was going in the house.  Shortcake said okay.  Santa took a photo with the flamingo, and then Figgy tried to put it on a beam above Santa's head.  At which point Shortcake put the kibash on the whole endeavor.  She strawbossed the heck out of that adventure.  The flamingo went back into the dressing room.

What else happened?  Shortcake and Santa had a wee dance party.  Fa La La and Shortcake exchanged many high fives over the course of the day, making up for the years in which they did not work together.  Sprig magically made the register line disappear right when Shortcake needed it to.  There was a family of Cubs fans who wore Cubs World Series shirts for their picture.  (For those who decided to stop paying attention to world events after Halloween, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series this year after 108 years.  And Shortcake is a Cubs fan.)  Shortcake made a point of saying hi and bonding with them.  The mom said they had thanked Santa for the World Series, and that Santa slew the billy goat.

The register line got so long and backed up, that the Village had to hold for about 15 minutes.  So Shortcake went and checked in with Santa.  There are dolls on the shelves in the house.  They look creepy.  Creepy dolls.  So Shortcake and Santa named them.  Liliane, Mrs. Bates, Pink Swan and Wilhemina.

Aside from the dolls, Santa loves what Macy's did with his house.  There's new wallpaper which makes it feel calmer, and there is a fan for when Santa is warm.  Santa said the house is "possessed with Christmas cheer."

Saturday, November 26, 2016

I am Fion

There are new headsets this year.  Shortcake does not like them.  She wears her headset on her left ear, and it kept falling off her head, and the clip button doesn't slip to her shirt in a convenient place, and she has to have consistent access to the button to talk - oh, fun fact, there's a new CD player at her desk, and it stops playing whenever she talks on the walkie.  So that's effective.

Did Shortcake mention today was the first day of the season for her?

Someone brought a service dog in with them, and there was confusion as to whether or not the dog touched Santa.  Remember kiddies, dogs are not allowed to visit Santa.  They are only allowed in as service dogs, and they are not allowed to touch Santa.  But then one of the white flowers thought the dog did touch Santa, so he might have to change pants, but then Santa and the elves said the dog didn't (all of this brouhaha is about allergens - by the by), so Santa did not have to change pants.  He did change gloves.  Like, three times.  Because.

The letters to Santa are starting to come in.  The favorite today was the one that ended "Love, Fion.    I am Fion."  Like "I am Spartacus."  Or "I am Groot."  "I am Fion."  Preach, child.  Preach.

As long-time readers of this blog will know, it can get hot in the Village from time to time.  So this year, a fan was installed in Santa's house.  A metal fan that's in the roof and facing Santa.  Santa loves this development.  Super helpful.  The switch to turn it on and off is, of course, above Shortcake's head.  Like, far above.  Like, if she stands on Santa's bench on her tiptoes maybe she can reach it.  So she has to get tall elves to help her out.

Similar story.  The photo elf needed a bell or a shaker thinger or a sparkly ball or whatever to get kids attention, so Shortcake went searching for one.  Of course, it was in a basket on a high shelf in the elf break room.  Which Shortcake could not reach.  So she stood on a table.

What?  Are there other options?

From this angle, Shortcake looks like a giant person.

Tall people.  They don't know how good they have it.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday

Shortcake did not have to work Black Friday this year, so she slept in to the late 'o'clock time of 8:00 a.m.  The she made chocolate chip and pancakes and french toast for breakfast.  Because: delicious.

The Wise Men have started their journey!

The Wise Men have to journey to the Nativity, so they spend the time from now until January 6th (the Twelfth Day of Christmas: Epiphany for those not in the know) traveling through the apartment to get there.  No, the Wise Men do not show up on Christmas.  They were late to the Nativity.  This metaphorical representation will not be more inaccurate than necessary.

Shortcake & Dorkwad used to fight over who got the move the Wise Men ever day.  Has Shortcake told this story?  Vicious, fights every day.  Shortcake takes traditions and rules very seriously, and Dorkwad was the younger brother, so.  She may have had some influence over what mattered.  Or maybe he was just antagonizing her for the fun of it.  Shortcake's memories are clouded by personal bias.

Today Shortcake went on a walk through a park, opting to go outside, exactly like that REI campaign #optoutside.

Look!  Shortcake found this stone arch bridge with pretty trees.  She wants to put one on the grounds of her castle.

And under the stone arch bridge were these eyes.  It's like something out of Doctor Who.  Or a writing prompt from that Chris Van Allsburg book.  You know the one.  The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

This is a man Shortcake met.  He's got a portable amp, speaker and looper, and he's playing electric guitar under the archway.  It had a great echo, and he said he'll set up for an afternoon, practicing his music and other musicians will join him in a jam session.  It was awesome.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the third year year in a row, Shortcake ran a Turkey Trot.

However, this year Shortcake's brother, Dorkwad, will not be joining her for Thanksgiving dinner.  He went and moved to Germany.  LAME.  If you think living in a democratic socialist state is lame, which Shortcake does not, so mostly she's calling him lame out of envy.  And, in the grand tradition of the Jingleberry family, no one in the immediate family is spending the day with any other family members.  Shortcake's dad is in Colorado.  Shortcake's mom is in Nicaragua.  And Dorkwad, as previously mentioned, is in Germany.

So Shortcake is spending the day with friends in New York in a teeny tiny apartment cooking dinner in a teeny tiny kitchen and eating dinner at a teeny tiny table.  For eight people.  Welcome to New York!

This is the hot cider station because there is no room in the kitchen for said hot cider.

No, but seriously, Shortcake ran 6.5 miles and finished a book, so..  Today's a win.  Gratitude!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Many Faces of Strawbosses

This is Shortcake's favorite of Cider & Blissful.  Don't they look great?

"Be angry at Cider since he's your President."

"Be mad at Blissful because she's new."

Shortcake hates this photo out of pure vanity.  She looks terrible.  Blissful looks confused.  And Cider looks good.  It's like he can't take a bad photo.

This is what happens after they collectively fail to make a duck face photo.

This is Shortcake's favorite strawboss photo.

Pin Lady!

Today was the soft opening.  After this the newbies are flying free.  Fly my pretties, FLY!  Including Blissful.

Also, the Pin Lady came.  Remember her?  She was so moved by Santaland 15 years ago, that every year she comes back and gives pins to all the elves and staff.  This year Shortcake got a pin and a necklace.

And here's Blissful and Shortcake with their pins and bling.

And here's Peppercorn in all her glory.

Who's ready for the season to start?

Sunday, November 20, 2016


They trained the new elves today.  Shortcake, Cider and Blissful went to the big meeting with the Man in Red and told why they were at Macy's this year.  Well.  Basically it was everyone telling their origin stories and why they work for Santa, and there may have been tears shed because they are all emotional people.

Then they went down to train the new elves, and Shortcake moved some stanchions.  Yes.  Stanchions.  You thought those days were over when she moved up to strawboss, but.  Alas.  Stanchions.  As Cider is President of the Strawbosses (Shortcake has taken to calling him Fearless Leader), she let him take point on training Blissful.  (Shortcake's title was Secretary, and they were going to make Blissful Treasurer or something, but then Cider decided Shortcake should be Vice President and Blissful Speaker of the House, but then Shortcake deemed that unacceptable and claimed the title Secretary of the Interior, which Cider accepted and now Blissful may be Secretary of State?  It's in flux.)  Shortcake ran some errands, met some people, and discovered this a capella group singing in front of the train.

Shortcake tried to avoid walking in front of the group by knocking on the express pass doors, but no one let her in, so she had to pass the group to get to the main entrance.  This required crawling on her hands and knees, so as not to block the cameras of the audience members recording the performance.  It was a delightful experience, and let it never be said Shortcake was precious about her dignity.

After a lunch break, Santaland opened for the employee preview.  Santa had many good visits.  He was excited to get back into the swing of things, and see people face to face instead of looking at names on a list.

Blissful had her first day in charge.  She wore the headset while Cider and Shortcake gave pointers and watched.

Cider planning for Black Friday

Shortcake spent most of her time eating TicTacs.  She ate an entire pack single-handedly over the course of the day, then opened a second pack.  At which point Cider tried to take them away from her, stating they would make her diabetic.  Shortcake pointed out that if she wasn't diabetic after 7 years at Santaland, TicTacs probably wouldn't hurt her.  And then she proceeded to consume more TicTacs.

The many faces of Blissful

This is Shortcake's favorite

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Press Event

Well readers, Shortcake and Blissful went in to work to do some more preseason things - cleaning, paperwork, etc, and they were surprised to learn the Press Event was this evening.  And a strawboss was needed for it.  Blissful and Cider were busy, so it fell to Shortcake to jump in.  It was a good night, even if she had to cancel dinner plans with a friend to do it.

But before that.  Shortcake did some paperwork and scheduling, because she likes paperwork and scheduling.  No one is surprised.  Not a single elf.  Blissful made the bulletin boards look pretty AND organized the coffee station.

Isn't it beautiful?  So neat and clean and there's storage room under the shelf to put all the coffee accessories.

The Press Event was super fun.  Santa saw some families, and the register area was turned into a magical place.

With face painting!  (Shortcake was unable to get her face painted.  Sadness, indeed.)

With a band!  They sang Christmas songs!  Shortcake danced!

With a bar!  With delicious fancy drinks!

With a hot chocolate station!  The nice man gave Shortcake a hot chocolate!  With a cinnamon stick!

Isn't it pretty?

Shortcake thought it was delicious.  It was a special treat because Shortcake is on a No Sweets November kick.  She is trying to break the sugar monster, and she has made it 16 days so far.  (There was an exception made for the day of the New York marathon, as there will be an exception made for Thanksgiving.  Some things are more important than not eating dessert.  Like running 26.2 miles in one day or celebrating Thanksgiving with friends.)  Oh, the desserts looked gooooooooood.  Santa sampled them - Sweets and Latke made sure Santa was given all dessert options - and said they were delicious.  Tempting.  Very tempting.  But Shortcake stood strong and drank her hot chocolate, as is allowed in the rules set forth by Shortcake herself.  DON'T JUDGE HER, OKAY.  THE RULES MAKE SENSE IN HER HEAD, AND THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS.

Sweets and Latke also brought fancy schmancy drinks to Shortcake and Katt (elf-name in process), so obviously there was a toast, and those fancy schmancy drinks were also delicious.  Predictable.  The only things Shortcake didn't get to try were teeny, tiny, adorable grilled cheese sandwiches.  She had a teeny, tiny, shaped-like-a-gingerbread-person PB&J sandwich.  But alas, no grilled cheese.

There were a lot of elves present, and they were a little under-utilized, so they ended up forming an elf gauntlet before taking a picture with Santa.  He decided a group of elves is called a bauble.  So, here Shortcake presents to you, a bauble of elves:

Left to right, that's: Licorice, Latke, an elf whose name Shortcake forget and that's humiliating, Tootsie (probably), Noel, Pringles and Dumpling.

Maybe Shortcake should not have named the elves in her description.  Alas.  Hindsight is twenty/twenty.  And, no, now is not a good time to point out that this is a blog post on the digital, ephemeral, fickle internet and could easily be edited to correct her mistake.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wednesday November 16

Today was the first official strawboss meeting.  Cider, Shortcake and Blissful met with Patches - the new head of Santaland - to discuss special events and operational changes in the land.  It was a good meeting.  Then Cider and Shortcake talked Blissful through how to be super efficient on busy days - okay, really, it was Cider telling Shortcake and Blissful how he does it, since he's been in the trenches of the weekends for the last 4 years, and Shortcake has not.  Then Shortcake hunkered down and worked on the calendar and other paperwork while Cider and Blissful did... other stuff.

It was a full day, but not much to talk about, really.  So here's a picture of Shortcake with a Macy's sign.

And here's a reminder of when Santaland opens.  November 25, 2016, to be specific.


Sooooooo, Shortcake is back at Macy's.  As planned.  She flew into New York on Sunday, and went to work bright and early Tuesday afternoon.  Of course Cider was in on Monday, but, well, that's why Cider is the president of the strawbosses.  Shortcake is the secretary of the strawbosses.  And... do you know who the third strawboss is?

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

It's Blissful!

That's Blissful in front with Shortcake and Miss Denise and Santa from last year.

Cider and Shortcake are super excited about having her join the team.

Anyway, so Cider and Shortcake did preseason stuff.  Cider washed Santa's cups, and Shortcake went to Macy's training.  Remember Macy's training?  When Shortcake has to fill out hiring forms and watch videos on the "MAGIC of Macy's" and "safety protocols" and "gun shooter safety."  She's done them eight times previously.  She started reciting them to the new hires in the elevators.  It's boring and a little dumb to make Shortcake do it every. single. year. But, you know, corporations have corporate rules.  But this year.  This year! This year Shortcake did not have to watch the videos.  She only had to fill out the forms.  Huzzah!  What a glorious day!

In the evening all the elves and strawbosses managers and Peppercorn and Gingersnap and Ruby and Santa got together for the big Santaland orientation.  Shortcake hugged so many friends. Dash is back!  Teddy Bear!  Gingerbread!  Star!  Estrella!  But there are so many new managers.  Only two are returning.  I know.  No Dewdrop.  Sadness.

Anyway.  Santa wasn't supposed to be able to attend because he had an event, so they watched a video of him reciting "Twas the Night Before Christmas."  Because Santa always recites it.  BUT THEN.  Santa burst into the room to ginormous applause and recited the entirety of "Twas the Night" in person.  Because he's Santa.  Then we all traipsed down to the Land to walk through the maze.

Shortcake and Blissful saw Santa and showed off their Christmas socks.