Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Past

I came across my Christmas newsletter from last year and thought I would share it with my blog readers.

There are several blog posts in the works, regarding the holiday season, that I'll share with you over the next few days.  However, to finish those and start this year's family newsletter, I am doing some very heavy research. 

Actually, my wife said I had to "get this place decorated, please, sometime before the holiday!" 

Along with awaiting the arrival of family for the annual Christmas Tree shots have been fired, to date, but I'm sure I'll have something to write regarding that adventure, I'll be in the depths of the basement and the freezing environs of the outdoor shed searching for all the stuff I put away last year...where I stashed it so I knew I could find it (yeah, right!).

Here's Christmas 2009:

My therapist told me that it would be a good thing, this year, if I could take the time to envelop myself in the spirit of Christmas, relax and enjoy the holiday, and take comfort in the simply pleasant things of the season, giving and sharing as I went along. “Create and enjoy the holiday!”
What first? Decorations! Create the feeling of the season. We had pulled back a bit last year, but I stepped up to the plate and pulled everything out of the basement. All twenty two boxes. I was prepared for the effort. The crawl space we call a basement is rife with spiders and cobwebs, but I revved up for the challenge. 

What I wasn't prepared for were the mice that had taken up residence in the imported Swiss manger. I guess they took comfort in the hay and straw that made up the manger roof, and got some sort of nutrition by eating half of baby Jesus. The three kings appeared less royal, now that their clothes had seemingly been reworked into some sort of nest at the bottom of the box, and I'm guessing that the bed of ceramic dust was once the hopeful and happy shepherds! 

Oh well, not going to let this get me down,. Fortunately as I don't throw many things away, we have six other manger sets...onto the lights. Deep breath. Okay, three deep breaths.
The big box of lights. I opened it to find string upon string, that I am sure I put away one at a time, carefully wrapped individually, and all working when they went to sleep last time they were used, are now an intertwined mess of knots and snarls. Seemingly a Medusa shaped, moving mass of uncooperative lines, they appeared to get more involved with as I tried to free one from the other. 

After about three hours of pulling each string out, and lining them up for inspection, not a one would light. Pulling each bulb out and putting in a new one, with not a one responding, I figured it would be more in the spirit of the season if I gave them to the recycling center and gave more money to our country's retail effort. I only had to take one Lexapro after this, not bad. 

Not giving in to what others might see as a failure, I chalked the lights up to “maintaining the faith” and set off to find our tree, on which I would put all of the treasured ornaments we'd saved for over 25 years. 
No doubt, I've told you of our tree adventures before, but I wasn't going to think once about our “history.” The standing in the rain, the trudging of the hills for hours, or having one tree after another die on us within a week. Not going to dwell on the past. No, we had a plan. 

Outside our house, too close to it in fact, was a fine fir tree that had to come down and we elected to cut this one down to take off the top for our tree. The fact that it was thirty feet tall and we couldn't get a good eye on the top didn't stop us. Saw in hand, I took to the trunk and dropped that baby after twenty or thirty good swiping cuts. 

What I neglected to judge was that the height exceeded the space between the chosen place for it to drop to and the house. As I told my wife, that's why they sell glass for windows in hardware stores. Never mind the fact that I don't know how to put glass into a window, but is is available.  

After my call to my therapist, and one short hour of 'coming down,' I was back in the game.
It wasn't as big a deal getting the tree into the house as my wife might tell you (she can get very strident when branches are banging into furniture and knocking pictures and knick knacks off the wall). 

Within five hours I had that baby standing up (semi-straight) and the brand new lights were setting off against it really fine. I grabbed the three boxes marked ornaments and were surprised how light they were...figured all of this hefting had me putting on some muscle. 

It was only after I opened them that I remembered the crash of '07. Totally not similar to our current economic crashes, these were the two times the tree fell over in 2007 and demolished all of the good ornaments and collectibles we had. 

Another rush of giving came over me and I headed off to the store to give over more cash to buy new memories. They come in six packs, too. I know not to mix alcohol with my meds, so I try to rotate them...pills on the hour, alcohol on the half hour.

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas...not sure if it was the twinkling lights, the reflection off the new plastic ornaments, the swaying of tree branches (I'm sure I screwed that tree tight into the holder), the combination of Maker's Mark and Xanax, or the after effects of rum laden Egg Nog and Anafranil. 

Anyway, I was doing whatever I could to keep my spirits high. I'm sure it was a unseen broken step on the ladder, and not the mixing of Vodka and Halcion, that produced my fall. 

Fortunately, I landed in the tree and it cushioned the blow as we both went over. The miracle? Not a light went out, not an ornament was broken, and even though I was flat on my face in pine needles, my spirits were high.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a really good night. 

And, I can give you the name and number of my therapist if you need it to make your holidays truly memorable...and when you see Santa, please tell him that refills for me would be nice.

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