Aye Ca-rumba! This year I pulled out the beautiful pre-lit tree we purchased 5 years ago and the memories came flooding back. The blood blisters on my fingers from trying to fix the lighting conundrum that made me completely skitsophronzy. Yes, I said, skitsophronzy. The silly tree lights, right around the lower third, went completely out. I pulled and replaced what seemed like hundreds of blown mini, precious, white lights, each one feeling like glass as I plucked them from their little green nesting pods. Ultimately, the tree won. A bruised ego and several swollen fingers later I said, “something not so nice inserted here!” and strung the stinking thing with lights and called it good. So, as you can imagine, I really wasn’t ready for another tree caper, but alas, the best was yet to come.
I attempted to set the tree up, more lights gone, I couldn’t stomach it. Why, you ask? Because I’m an idiot, that’s why. Most people would say, “Ahhh what the heck, string it with lights again and buy a new one at a post season sale.” But no, not me, I have to have everything just so, once I get my mind on something, watch out! This from a woman who just a few weeks ago said I wanted to have a plain old-fashioned, no frills sort of Christmas this year, YA RIGHT! Like I said, skitsophronzy, hey I’m no Sarah plain and tall.
I broke the tree down, went to a ladies house who was selling a tree on craigslist, saw hers, nothing remarkable, talked it over with Stephan and eventually decided on a beautiful, and I mean beautiful, Adirondack white, pre-lit, glamorous tree, with new ornaments taboot! Hey, I had coupons, a 25% off from JC Penny, who could ask for more? It was the perfect set-up…for the perfect Christmas.
Lugged the kids to JC Penny’s, paid for the tree, friendly salesdude loaded er’ up and off we drove, into the Liberty construction traffic. Had a great lunch with friends, came home finished lights on the shrubs and porch, straightened up the Christmas fairy tale that was my living room, opened the box and it was as if I’d opened a box of glorious white light. My youngest daughter and I stared in disbelief as it’s beauty, then attacked. Like trained Christmas tree assembling ninjas we were on the mission. We had that tree up and lights plugged in in no time. Every last beautiful light shone bright and magnificent. I was proud of my purchase, proud of my tree.
The kids went on about playing in the backyard as I set about the daunting task of fluffing the branches. Systematically I began at the bottom, proximal to distal, left, right, center, left, right, center, all the way up the tree. Almost home free I continued my labor of love, left, right center, closer to the tip top, the end was near, I couldn’t wait to see the big shiny crimson globes against the purest white background. Then it happened, something, somewhere went wrong, the entire “A” section went out. Surely just a glitch I thought to myself, I shook the branch I was fluffing at the time of the event, nothing. I began to inspect the lights, the wiring, the bulbs, nothing. Every bulb still appeared fine, no busted filaments, no black shadows, and believe me it’s easier to see burnt lights against the white backdrop. Slowly and most assuredly despair sank in, I knew how bad it was because I was even too upset to tweet the current situation…too upset to tweet? Yes.
Thanks to my husband the tree is back in the box and in the garage, I didn’t have to witness any of it. Like when a cherished pet dies and your husband or father takes care of it, he did. I hid out in my oldest daughters room. She even looked at me and asked me if I wanted a hug, and if you know her, you know the situation must have been dire for that to occur. I am left tonight with a beautiful bannister, fireplace, shrubs, wreath on the stoop, box FULL of ornaments, and a big empty spot in front of the living room window. If you look closely you will find bits of a fake evergreen and bits of the gleaming white adirondack needles, and maybe even a bit of my hair, but NONE of my Christmas spirit! Why? Because I just had two pieces of dark chocolate and a moment of reflection. Who cares about the tree. The tree isn’t going to guarantee a perfect Christmas, right? At this point I have NO idea what I am going to do, and prefer not to think about it for the next 24 hrs. I have a Christmas drama to perform tomorrow night at a woman’s shelter. I will be reciting parts of the Christmas story in Luke 2. If I recall, there was no mention of a tree in that story, and I am hard pressed to believe that any of these women and their children, in the shelter, have trees of their own. Maybe there’s a reason the tree isn’t there, maybe my heart needed a wake-up call, from Christmas.