Monday, December 03, 2007

"Season Of Lights" my foot!!!

The Magical Snow Day Rituals seem to have done the trick.  The early morning cancellation lists all included my school district and a merry little dance was performed by yours truly to celebrate the first Snow Day of the school year.  It was a happy little moment, that's for sure.  I then began pondering just how best to spend this day that was gifted unto me.

*Note:  "Gift" is sort of a less than descriptive term since schools are legally required to be open for a certain number of days and this day will be made up to ensure that we are compliant.  But, a Monday off is a Monday off and I refuse to let little details get in the way of my enjoyment.

I normally put up my Christmas tree during the first weekend of December, but I sort of let the weekend get away from me this time around.  I figured that a snow day falling right after my breach of personal tradition must be a sign of some sort and that the tree was meant to go up today.

*Note:  My yearly assembling of the mighty fake pine is not something to which I look forward.  I do it because I consider it to be my last stand against the onset of grouchy spinsterhood.  There will come a year that I decide to just forget about it, citing the fact that I am the only one who ever sees it and that hanging tinsel from a houseplant or two is just as festive.  But I know that this will also be the year I accept the transition into that phase of life which involves people shaking their heads sadly over my existence or insisting that I join them for various celebrations to ease what must be my loneliness whether I like it or not.  

As this is not a year during which I have opted to become the Pathetic No-Christmas-Tree-Lady, the tree was dragged from it's hiding place in the back room and the pieces laid out on the floor for assembly.  I then spent some quality time observing The Annual Berating Of Self For Not Clearly Marking How To Put The Branches On In The Right Order Like I Swore I Would Do Last Year After I Put The Tree Together Upside Down.  This is a time honored tradition in my home and, more than anything else, signifies the true meaning of the season for me.

*Note:  The move to an artificial tree was made a number of years ago after a rather horrific incident which involved me being trapped under a fallen and ice-coated pine in the middle of my living room.  There was every reason to believe at the time that I would be stuck there until spring.  While you are entangled in the dripping, sticky branches of a freshly cut Christmas tree, you have a great deal of time for reflection.  I vowed that, if I got out of that situation alive, I would purchase a fake tree for the following year.  After all, it would be so much easier...

With the first portion of the day's festivities complete, it was time for the more fun aspects of the task.  Trimming the tree always makes me glad I went ahead with the whole process.  I carefully go through each ornament, remembering from whence it came and reliving Christmases past.  First, though, the lights must be carefully and evenly strung.  

*Note:  If you aren't picking up on the foreshadowing here, then you just aren't trying.

Things went so wrong at this point that it is almost impossible to describe.  Before a single ornament was placed, there was a tantrum of such epic and non-Noelish proportions that I fear I may be banned from the whole holiday on general principle.  My fool-proof system for storing the lights from year to year, the one that has served me faithfully for nigh on a decade now, failed me in such a manner that one might even call it treason.  

*Note:  We are not yet in an emotionally safe place and will not be ready to admit that we may have inadvertently wound the lights up last year in such a way that getting them ready for stringing was pretty much impossible.  We will work on this and may find the inner strength to take responsibility before the New Year.  

The lights proceeded to clench themselves into a tight ball of green wire and bulbs, clinging all the more tightly in response to my efforts at coaxing them apart.  I started off chuckling about the whole thing and resigning myself to an extra ten minutes of light wrangling.  When those ten minutes had expired, I moved into a slightly more miffed state of mind and may have even said, "gosh darn these things" once or twice.  Thirty minutes later, with the lights now hopelessly enmeshed, there was a great explosion of "holiday spirit" which culminated in my vigorously kicking the light ball across the living room and into the new laptop.  Now there's an image you won't see featured on any of this year's Hallmark line...

*Note:  The laptop is fine.  

After a brief time-out and the consumption of some coffee, I felt able to return to the job.  After all, to have come so far and to not have a tree to show for the effort would be just heartbreaking.  As Kris Kringle was my witness, I was going to have a lit tree to admire!!!

*Note:  This is a second chance for those of you who missed that foreshadowing thing from before...

It should have come as no surprise after all the tugging and kicking that two of the three strands of lights were no longer functional.  You really don't have to be an elf or an electrician to figure that one out.  Fortunately, by that time, I was a little tired from all the exertion so there really wasn't much left in me for another tantrum.  I put up the one sad little string that was functioning and, as the weather wasn't really conducive to venturing out for more, called it a day.  I was not, however, without the ability to get in the last word and those words were uttered with great force as the offending lights were tossed into the trash can. 

*Note:  The forcefully uttered words do not bear repeating. 

**Note:  I will purchase more lights this weekend.  I've not lost complete faith in the process, you see...

The remainder of the day was spent watching online episodes of all the television shows I've been meaning to catch but always seem to forget about on the designated viewing day.  This more than made up for the tree debacle and my blood pressure is now well within the correct limits.  I even opted to try a little holiday knitting as an homage to the falling snows and half-lit tree.  I've an appointment with The World's Greatest Stylist this weekend and I sort of like to give her something knitted for Christmas.  I figured that a scarf might just be doable in a week's time, even for me.  




Artfully arranged photo for your viewing pleasure.



And now we can all safely say that The Sheep has fully enmeshed herself in the holiday season.  The tree is up (such as it is) and she is actually attempting to knit a Christmas gift in full defiance of her self-imposed ban on all deadline needlework.  I guess that's what a little snow will do for you...

But, it is also true that I may just be one year closer to becoming The Pathetic No Christmas Tree Lady.  I'm not sure my mental health will survive another Season Of Lights.

SA

21 comments:

trek said...

Phrase to remember: electrical tape.

Buy multiple colors of electrical tape. On either side of each join, put a strip of electrical tape. Use different colors for each join. You might want to try a pretty pattern like this: blue-blue, green-green, yellow-yellow, red-red. Then you can repeat if needed!!

Good luck.

Mel said...

We have yet to get our tree, not having succumbed to the call of the artificial pininess. I think this weekend is when it'll go down. We are, however, a little apprehensive about its chances of making it through the season with Mr. Cougar in the household. He is, shall we say, rather exuberant.

Teri S. said...

I'm so glad you had a snow day, but it sounds like it wasn't so good what the the Christmas light debacle and such. I always approach the stringing of the lights with trepidation, given how we don't even had system for putting them away, other than coiling them up like a climbing rope. I hope the rest of your week is better!

Mouse said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who improperly puts together their fake tree EVERY SINGLE YEAR.. In my defense- I've never had a fake tree before I started living with the hubby. We always had live trees in my parents house.. but I guess that they'd die so fast down here in GA that it isn't really worth cleaning up after them.
I'll let you know how backwards I manage to put mine up when I finally bother to get it out of the garage.

Lazuli said...

Ugh! Those lights are always very tricky. Pretty, but tricky! I hope the next few strands have better luck!

Marianne said...

Yep, loves me those snow days!

(won't you get another one tomorrow... what with the deep snow and all? You would if you lived this far south... just sayin')

crzjane said...

I really wish I could have been there. I've started wrapping my lights around cardboard. It seems to cut down on the tangling and wrangling.
The scarf looks beautiful.
I'm glad the tree is lit and you're not. (giggle)
Merry Christmas!

Kath said...

I became the No-Christmas-Tree-Lady a few years ago and I truly do not miss it. There was a transition year with the "Christmas Ficus" (it is a pretty big ficus tree) but after that I quit. Now I hang a long string of lights along the balcony railing outside, plug it into a timer, and I'm done.

Beth @ Felt Like Knitting said...

Your scarf looks great! I can tell because it was so artfully arranged. :) I'm glad you survived the fight with the lights and that you got a snow day.

Melissa said...

Sounds like you had a very interesting time with the Christmas tree. I don't even remember going through the light stringing on my tree each year since I decided to buy a pre-lighted tree. It comes in 3 pieces that I hook together and then I hook together the lights and it is fluffing time (since I like a fluffy tree). I hope that all goes well with the purchase of new lights and the stringing of said lights.

Good luck.

Knitting Linguist said...

Oh, no. No, no. That's sad. I hate it when the lights betray my trust and tangle themselves up in their little boxes during their year in storage. It makes me cranky, which is most decidedly not what's supposed to happen! We converted to a Bodhi Tree (read: ficus) several years ago. Far fewer lights :) Your scarf is absolutely lovely, and I'm hoping you get more snow tonight -- you deserve a day to recover.

Lorraine said...

Ha! I avoided the whole stringing lights thing by insisting I was too busy knitting holiday gifts. My 13yo daughter took on the tree lighting ceremony, with some rather unwelcome help from 2 younger sisters and I have a beautiful tree with no fuss or muss.

In DD's favor, though, Hubby bought brand new lights this year. Lucky girl!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you had a snow day.
The scarf is lovely and will bring great joy to your hair stylist.
Karen
http://nothingbutknit.blog-city.com/

Cursing Mama said...

I will use you as an example the next time someone feels the need to poop on my preassembled, prelit, tree of plastic. It goes up & is ready for the adoration of tasteful decorations in minutes.

The children have a tree like you just for their ornaments & it takes them DAYS to get it done.

Bobbi said...

oh my! Makes me glad I've opted not to put up the tree this year.

kmkat said...

Sheepie, I have one word for you: pre-lit tree. Okay, that was three words. Whatever.

Our fake Christmas tree came with the lights already on it. We do not disassemble it after the holidays, merely drape it with an old sheet as a dust cover and put it into the attic. No muss, no fuss.

You may need to get yourself an attic so you can do this, too.

debsnm said...

Trees come pre-lit now, you know. And lights come in the pretties colors! We have purple Christmas lights hanging outside this year - and REALLY CHEAP!! Keep looking, and buy a new tree for next year - pre-lit!

mehitabel said...

Strings of lights are so cheap now, they are practically disposable! I have been the No Tree Lady for the last 5 years, much to the chagrin of my children who hate to see me slide into the grinchy mode. But really, until I get the house somewhat tidied up and rehabbed so that people might come in, I'm enjoying the vacation. D3 has enough Xmas spirit for the whole famdamily!

Veggies.... said...

We gave up on having a tree years ago, after one to many landed sideways, thanks to kitties!!! How do D and P feel about the faux pine??

I think Trek has the right idea, electrical tape, Im a great believer in the stuff too, in all its colors, very handy indeed.
Huggs, G

PS I surrendered and signed up for a blogger acct. Its what they want right LOL!!!

catsmum said...

that's ok Sheepie - I've got your Christmas decoration quota more than covered. You may now officially relax knowing I've got your back!

Yarnhog said...

See, this is why we buy new lights every year. We may not be ecologically-friendly (that pretty much went out the window with the arrival of the last baby and the subsequent arrival of a monster SUV), but we are mentally sound.