My youngest just asked when I was going to put up the "New Year's Bucket".
This is one of those times when you realize that your kids actually do remember things that you say, even if you wish they didn't. Because the "New Year's Bucket" comes from a story I told The Beast last year when I was putting him to bed after I had maybe just one too many adult beverages one night right after Christmas.
The story is that on New Year's Eve a man in a cape, named Captain New Year's, rides through the streets in an old Pontiac with a broken muffler. He looks for the houses of Moms and Dads who have been working really hard and need a rest. When he finds those people, he sneaks into the garage and empties the beer fridge. Then he prank calls the house and invites the Mom and Dad to a New Year's Eve party at one of their adult friend's house. When the Mom and Dad think about how much a sitter would cost and all the trouble it would take to get ready to go out, they decline...until dad checks the beer fridge...seeing that there's nothing in the house to drink, the parents call up their unsuspecting friends and invite themselves over for a party.
Captain New Year's only appears to parents of more than two kids, and only when the kids have spent the entire Christmas break fighting with their siblings. It also helps if one of the parents has a real pressing need to tie one on.
So every year, good Moms and Dads leave a bucket of ice in the garage so that Captain New Year's has something to keep the beer cold in the back seat of the old Pontiac. It's also nice to keep an empty bucket next to Mom and Dad's bed...as a decoration you know... on New Year's Eve.
Skippy remembered that story. It's kind of touching, in an "I'm going to end up in jail" kind of way.