Monday, December 04, 2006

Why Can't Christmas Decorating Ever Be Easy?

I would enjoy the Christmas holiday so much more if someone ELSE did most of the decorating.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Christmas decorations. They make our home feel more cozy and comforting during the Holidays. And I'm OK once we get the Christmas tree up. But it's the process of getting the tree up that is so damn frustrating I could just scream! Add to that the frustration of hanging ANY type of Christmas light ANYWHERE, be it on the tree, on the house, around the house, on the lawn, on a tree outside, on a bush, on a shrub, on any frickin' type of plant life, or just randomly dangling inside the house...something will always go wrong. Just guess what my two main Christmas decorating jobs are. DING, DING, DING!!!

My first job was hanging Christmas lights on the eaves outside our house. I tackled that one last week, but it was a two-day job and it nearly cost me my life...again. There's very little traction on a ceramic mission tile roof, something I get reminded of on an annual basis. Add to that several awkward ladder positions, one of which has me dangling roughly twenty feet over our cement driveway, and Christmas-light-hanging becomes a death-defying experience. Anyway, the only reason it was a two-day job this year was because of the light bulbs. One fricking bulb on a 1,000 bulb strand of lights will cause 50 lights to go out, and it's my job to go through each bulb one-by-one to figure out which light it is. Well, this year I said SCREW IT. I am not playing Find-the-Naughty-Light-Bulb this year. This year, I am going to Target and buying NEW LIGHTS so SCREW YOU!! And that's what I did. I even bought an extra set so I don't have to play Find-the-Naughty-Light-Bulb next year either.

The lights had the last laugh, though. The other night as I drove into our driveway, I noticed a section of lights out on the side of the house. They weren't out when I put them up. Looks like I'll be playing Find-the-Naughty-Light-Bulb after all.

This morning began our annual Christmas tree fiasco. Today was the only day Diane and I could pick out the tree together, so we headed out first thing this morning. We got our tree at Home Depot. That's so depressing. When I was a kid, we used to go to Talbot's Tree Farm, grab a hacksaw and trek for hours looking for the perfect tree. There never was a perfect tree, so we'd settle for second-best while freezing our butts off. On second thought, Home Depot isn't so bad.

This morning was not a normal tree shopping day. We picked the first tree we saw: an eight foot noble. I've never picked the first tree. Today was going to be different. Today we were going to break the curse of the Christmas tree.

We took the tree home where I unloaded it from the top of our van and took it to the backyard. I had some other errands to run, so tree setup needed to wait. The plan for this afternoon was: 1.) prep the tree and get it in the stand; 2.) get lights on the tree while Diane takes the girls to gymnastics; 3.) eat dinner and then decorate the tree as a nice family evening. Why do we even bother making plans?

Everything was going smoothly. I returned after running my errands and immediately went to work on the tree. I trimmed off the lower branches. I cut off the recommended two inches of the trunk so the tree can take in water. I shook the crap out of the tree to get rid of loose needles. I had the tree stand cleaned and prepped and when Diane was ready to go, I carried the tree in and placed it in the stand. Diane held it in place and when I had determined that the tree was straight, I went to work on fastening the screws that would hold it in place. Wham! Bam! Bam! Done!

I grabbed a pitcher from the cabinet, filled it with water, mixed in the preservative that came with the tree, and returned to give it its first drink in its new home. I emptied the pitcher and refilled it to top off the stand. I can't believe this went so smoothly! No sooner had this thought gone through my head than I noticed a puddle of water growing on the tile next to the tree. Our stand had a leak. Diane was minutes away from taking the girls to gymnastics. Plan aborted.

We freed the tree from its stupid leaky stand, and I took it back outside where I placed the trunk in a bucket of water and leaned the tree up against the house. Diane and the girls left and I hauled my butt to the store to look for a new stand. Of course I couldn't find one right away, and it was only as I was leaving the store that I noticed the tree stands OUTSIDE. So I bought the stand, went back home, and waited for the girls to get back so we could put the tree in its new stand. I should have gotten to work on checking the lights, but I didn't. I started writing this blog instead. Yes, I am stupid.

We got the tree in the new stand without a hitch, ordered Thai food to go (Gaeng PaNang is a festive holiday dish), and then I went to work on the lights. Only one strand out of the six I had in storage worked. I already bought two new boxes of lights, but I was counting on at least two of my old strands to work. So guess what I did for the rest of the evening? That's right, I played our favorite Holiday festivity, Find-the-Naughty-Light-Bulb.

So now the tree sits in our family room, unlit and undecorated while I nurse a margarita and put the finishing touches on this blog. Family decorating night has been postponed until tomorrow.


The Beast Mom said...

Sorry to laugh at your pain, but I'm laughing. :)

On the issue of exterior Christmas lights and such, you should do as my dad did. He finally got fed up enough w/ all that nonsense and bought 2 heavy duty spotlights as well as 1 red and 1 green bulb. He stuck the lights in the lawn out front, plugged them in, and voila! Our house was instantly, painlessly "lit" up in red and green. He smiled a satisfied smile and went inside. It took him 2 minutes. This has been the way my parents' house has been lit for Christmas for about 17 years now.


the battered ham said...

I always knew your dad was a smart man. I, on the other hand, am not. I'm a glutton for punishment.