Note: I’m on vacation (Fred’s holding down the fort) and will be back home at the end of the week. For the entirety of this week, I’m posting some of my favorite old posts to keep you entertained. I’ve included a few Noms pictures at the end of each post. Regular posts will resume next week!
(Originally written on December 11, 2002.)
So, ever had one of those days? The pre-lit Christmas tree – the one that was, according to the eBay auction “$170 retail!”, the one I paid $57 for (plus $30 shipping), the one that was, according to the woman who listed it on eBay, “New in box!” – arrived yesterday. I was sitting in front of the computer, of course, when I glanced up and saw a FedEx van sitting in front of the house. I watched for a few minutes, and when I didn’t see anyone bringing anything to my house, I went back to what I was doing.
About five minutes later, the doorbell rang. I opened it to find my favorite FedEx guy standing there. This guy always looks extremely happy to be doing his job, is always cheerful and friendly, and I just want to adopt him and install him in the guest bedroom.
“Is this the And3rson residence?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“I have a delivery for Robyn And3rson,” he said.
“They had it addressed to 2225,” he told me, when he came back from his van, carrying the tree.
We live at 222. (Not really, stalkers, so scratch out that mental note you made)
As the FedEx man set the package down inside the door, I glanced down and saw that the woman had managed to spell my friggin’ name wrong. Of course.
Last night, Fred carried the tree in its box upstairs, and I decided to get up bright and early this morning to put it together, so that when the spud got home from school, we could decorate it.
I was up at 7 – yes, SEVEN – this morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with the anticipation of getting the tree put up. But before we get that far, let me show you a picture of the box. The “new in box” box.
Doesn’t actually look all that new and unused, does it? Looks, actually, like someone’s been taking it out of their attic every year for ten years and using the tree and then putting it back into the attic, doesn’t it?
But that’s fine. As long as the tree looked halfway decent from the street, I would be happy.
And then I put it together, plugged all the parts into all the other parts, and then I stomped and screamed and called Fred and used all the bad words, and stomped some more, and got even madder.
And then? And then, my friends, I was filled with the Christmas Spirit. And lo, I said unto myself, I said “Self. Why are you doing this? You’re trying to put a Christmas tree in a small room, decorate it, and then shut the door so that it cannot be appreciated. And lo, this might be an ugly tree, but this tree – this big piece of crap – is trying to teach you something, self. This tree is trying to teach you that no one in this entire house but you gives a flying f— whether there’s a tree in that room or not. And yes, perhaps having a tree in the big window might impress all the neighbors, but – lo – the neighbors probably don’t much care about your decorations because they’re too busy mixing white and colored lights and buying too much stuff for their children, who spend many hours tromping across your lawn, and will probably continue to do so with their brand-spanking-new toys on Christmas day and lo the many years following, until they have grown into teenage punks, and will then spend their nights lolling about on your lawn smoking the dope and having the sex.”
And lo, I was filled with the True Meaning of Christmas.
“Self,” I said. “What if you took this tree down, and hauled it to the Downtown Rescue Mission so that someone who cannot afford to throw away $87 on it’s hideousness can pay $5 for it, and bring it home, and make it look decent with sixty-three days of hard work? And what if, further, you took the OTHER tree, the big one that Fred sweats and swears over every year as he strings the lights on it, and you also hauled THAT to the Rescue Mission, and what if -”
I hesitated, afraid to utter the words, for fear that the world would crack open, and yet the words, the words would be so liberating. I took a deep breath, and then I said it.
“WHAT IF YOU JUST DIDN’T HAVE A BIG TREE AT ALL?”
And the angels sang. And the birds chirped. And the Baby Jesus gurgled in his crib.
But I was not done with myself, not at all. For I needed to carry it further, to it’s natural conclusion, so that you readers who are hurriedly opening your mail clients with judgemental looks on your faces can just shut them and keep on reading.
“But, the child,” I said to myself. “The child will be so very disappointed that there is no big tree, to decorate and admire. She will cry bitter tears in her bed at night, and tell her color picture of Elijah Wood of her horror. ‘No big tree! No big tree! Elijah, take me away!’ What kind of message will this send the child?”
And the answer came to me, as if straight from the Baby Jesus himself.
If the Baby Jesus ever cared about Christmas trees, that is.
“The message that the child will take away from the experience of not having a big tree is that you don’t always have to do something because it’s expected. The little tree is fine, and once we go through our box of ornaments and pick some out to put on the little tree, all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.”
And the birds, they did sing. And the Angel Gabriel did appear to give me a high five, and the cats, they did dance.
So let it be written, so let it be done.
(The next day)
So last night, after Fred got home from work, he went upstairs to the study, where I’d left the tree, after I put it together and then stomped off in disgust.
For nearly an hour, I heard him dancing around in the room over my head, as if he were performing a strenuous ballet. I went upstairs once to see what was going on, but he had the door closed, and when he heard me coming up the stairs, he poked his head out and said “No! Don’t come in here! Go back downstairs!” I went out to get the mail, hoping that I’d be able to see what was going on through the window, but the shades were closed, and I couldn’t see a thing.
Finally, just as dinner was ready, he summoned me. Slowly, I trudged up the stairs, and at the top he smiled at me like the smug bastard he is.
“Look!” he said, gesturing to the study. I turned and looked.
Grudgingly, grumpily, I said “Why, that looks an awful lot like the picture on eBay.”
Fred smiled wider.
“And I see that you got all the lights to work.”
Fred smiled some more and nodded.
“I hate you.”
If possible, Fred smiled even wider, but pretended to not understand. “Why?!”
“Because you always do this! You always swoop in and save the day!”
“I just don’t give up,” he said smugly.
So I made him help me decorate the tree.
“I really do hate you sometimes, you know,” I told him as we were putting ornaments on the tree.
“That’s okay,” he said. ” I hate you sometimes, too.”
I think he was just saying that to make me feel better.
Fred called me from work yesterday. “You got a Christmas card,” he told me. “Do you want me to bring it home, or throw it away?”
“Odd,” I said. “I haven’t worked there for over two years. Why would someone send me a card there? Bring it home so I can see it.”
And he brought it home, and all was made clear. It was from my old friends George and Laura! Pardon me for a moment while I do my “I am special, for I received a Christmas card from Our President and The First Lady, and you did not” dance.
Return address? The White House. But it’s postmarked Crawford, TX, where George and Laura have a ranch. Oh, I certainly remember the good times, sitting around the fire and making fun of Al Gore (George does a mean imitation) and Tom Daschle, and trying to pretend Laura and George weren’t groping each other.
The front of the card. I don’t want to tell tales out of school, but rumor has it that Bill Clinton used a certain appendage to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” during the 1997 Christmas party.
That Laura always did have such nice handwriting.
Hallmark. When you care enough to use taxpayers’ money to send the very best. Honestly? I’m touched. I really am.
What’s been going on in Alabama this week.
About 10 seconds after Fred got home from dropping me off at the airport, he let the Noms out of their room. He reports that there was very little hissiness, and it took about two hours before they (and the permanents) acted as though they’d always been out in the house. While I’m gone, he leaves them in the guest bedroom during the day, then lets them out when he gets home. Then puts them back up for the night. Or so he claims – I wouldn’t be too surprised to find out that he’s been letting them have the run of the house 24/7. (Also, he swears that he hadn’t intended to let them out, but they were screaming and scratching at the door and it was driving him nuts. Uh huh.)
Also, we have a bunch of baby chicks.
2011: I love how, at this age, when you rub their bellies, they think about it for a moment, then begin vigorously grooming themselves.
2010: Now that Maura is gone, we’re down to just our eleven, plus four fosters. Why, it’s like we hardly have any cats in the house at all!
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.