Saturday, December 24, 2011


Claude Hinkey's been really upset because their house doesn't have a chimney and he's worried that this means his new baby brother Otto will not have a proper relationship with Santa Claus. So all this week I worked on my latest invention, the Claus-o-Fred, a self-installing, roof-drilling, temporary chimney.

To be sure nothing would go wrong, I tested it last night on Mrs. Smocksputter's house since she's old and if Santa Claus doesn't visit her, she'll understand. Her niece Gladiolus always visits her on Christmas Eve anyway and a visit from Gladiolus is enough to discourage other visitors.

I didn't think Mrs. Smocksputter would notice the test run, but unfortunately the Claus-o-Fred had to be launched onto her roof with a giant slingshot and it fell a little short. Mrs. Smocksputter seemed a bit peeved about having a chimney in her bathtub. (Actually my mother may be a bit peeved too once she notices that I used her shower curtain to make the slingshot.)

On my second attempt, I successfully landed the Claus-o-Fred on the roof though Mrs. Smocksputter may have to re-plaster her bathroom ceiling. Not to mention fixing the roof. But at least the hole is big enough for Santa to fit through (along with five or six of the reindeer). I just hope it doesn't snow before the roofer can come.

Anyhow, after Mrs. Smocksputter chased us around the block, hurling Michigan Rock cookies, Claude decided that maybe it would be easier if he and Otto just spent tonight at our house. Otto can sleep in my room while Claude and I stand guard in the living room to make sure Blitzen doesn't manage to open the cookie jar again.

In the meantime I'm re-arranging our outdoor Christmas lights. We'll be the only house in Wampler flashing a red-and-green "Merry Otto Hinkey's over here!" sign.

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