Monday, December 10, 2012

Lettin' My Crazy Show

Twenty-twelve will be known as the year I took down the Christmas tree on the 7th of December.

Don't worry, I didn't Scrooge out. I put it back up again.

I just let my crazy show ... a little.

I have to say, I learned not to ask my husband to string lights on the tree when he is suffering from a major head cold and hasn't slept a full night in a week.

In my defense, the tree had been up for a couple of days, the limbs had fallen down nicely, and we were hosting an impromptu birthday party for my mother before she headed to Florida to visit my brother and his new baby boy (more on that in another post.)

So, while I was running around "like a fart in a frying pan" as my father-in-law likes to say, I asked my dear husband to string the lights, a task he usually approaches with such precision he stresses me out by the time he is done.

Something went a little differently this time. When I glanced into the living room as he was putting on the last strand, I was struck by the fact that some parts of the tree seemed bright and others barely lit.

This from the guy who painted all of our main floor walls himself, taping off the ceiling and corners, and didn't trust me to raise a paintbrush for fear it wouldn't turn out just right.

And I saw the fatigue and anguish in his eyes. The desire to sink into the nearest soft surface and close his eyes.

But he reads me just as well.

"What's wrong?"

Knowing better than to try to misrepresent or finagle the truth, I mentioned the dark spots and went back to my preparations.

When he asked my opinion a bit later, the tree was noticeably brighter, but still not pleasantly uniform. Knowing I'd pressed my luck far enough, I mentioned that maybe if one string was moved up it would be just perfect and left the room.

I spent the week trying hard to love our tree (which the children had joyously decorated on Tuesday evening), though I couldn't help but stare at the dark spots and try to rearrange the the limbs to not seem so overloaded.

Then Friday afternoon I could take it no more. I started trying to rearrange the light strands and found a knotted mess of strand after strand. The more I tried to straighten it out, the worse it got. In my frustration, I started pulling strands off the tree to the floor.

Then came the ornaments.

Eventually the entire tree was devoid of ornaments, and I began trying to untangle the strands of lights.

An hour and many pine needles lately, the tree was bare.

It was a bit like getting knots out of necklaces that have been thrown in the same bag and shaken.

The tree went back together, minus two strands of lights I'm pretty sure were stolen from the "outside lights" box, and the ornaments were evenly space around the tree.


I'm perfectly aware of what my decision says about me.

But damn that tree looks good.