They are wonderful, kind, loving and supportive people, and I genuinely enjoy spending time with them. You would like them too. They happen to be exceptional grandparents, who despite living a thousand miles away, are an active presence in the boys' lives. Naturally the boys adore them both, but they idolize their Pop Pop.
To them, Pop Pop is everything a man should be. Because Pop Pop is The Sender of The Box.
The Box is a hefty affair that arrives at our doorstep every two to three months via UPS, packed with various toys and treats and books and games and crayons and perhaps a few dollars for each boy to leave haphazardly on the floor until their father or I shriek MONEY IS NOT GARBAGE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHEN WILL YOU TWO KIDS LEARN THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR?
The toys in The Box are not all shiny and new (thank God). Each May, near the New Jersey town where Larry grew up, there is a famously massive rummage sale, where Pop Pop makes his annual purchasing trip. He warehouses his treasures on a shelving unit in his garage and carefully (and privately) hand-selects the items to be included in each Box.
While much of what he scouts is traditional kid fare, Pop Pop does have one genre of toy in which he specializes: Electronics that have no off switch.
He managed, for example, to procure for Gus a Harry Potter Wand that hisses and pops at the slightest proximate vibration. Should you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night when not a creature is stirring--SHIZAHHHHHH!--prepare to shit your pants full of Bertie Botts. The Harry Potter wand is as loud as evil itself. You can't turn it off. The batteries are the kind that never die. And to remove them would require a teensie weensie screwdriver the size of a ladybug teat.
Another characteristic of The Box is that its arrival nearly always coincides with the completion of one of my Domestic Realignments, in which I become overwhelmed with clutter, decide the boys have entirely too much "stuff", give 90% of their possessions to Goodwill, alphabetize the remaining 10%, and lecture everyone about how This Is It I'm Serious From Now On We Are Only Going to Own Things That We Absolutely Need.
We are going to choose quality over quantity!
We are going to use our imaginations!
We are not a bunch of crazed pack rats hoarding piles of mass produced crap because IT'S OUR FAVORITE!
In giving this lecture, I am so persuasive and so convincing that I actually emit a fragrance. It is the smell of COMPLETE AND UTTER CONTROL. And it is a scent so powerful that it wafts northward across the eastern seaboard to alert Pop Pop that it is time.
Time his deprived grandsons had their very own rubber potty eraser sets.
We love The Box.