Christmas · Musings

O Christmas Tree

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Next life, I want to come back as a pampered, much-loved, well-fed neutered male cat.  (I included the neutered part in there because he has no stress, no strong passions that drive him crazy, no need to pee on walls.  I don’t want to come back as an ANNOYING pampered, much-loved, well-fed male cat, after all.  And why male?  Because males generally get to lounge around like this (see above) while females, even pampered, much-loved, well-fed, INDOOR females, are nearly always on alert, ready to hunt or pounce.  I just want to lounge around next time out. 

I know – but what about the “O Christmas Tree” post title?  What’s that got to do with the cats?

So far, it has nothing to do with the cats.  We put up our tree last night – no, correction, we decorated it.  The tree was put up on Sunday but there were too many obligations so we couldn’t decorate until last night.

That’s okay, though.  It gave me a chance to spend yesterday driving myself crazy and making an enormous mess around here before cleaning up, dealing with various kid-related issues after school, making dinner, and creating a new mess that I’ll just have to deal with at some point today.

Yes, I’m rambling.  It’s that kind of morning.

Our tree is beautiful this year. 

I’m sure we say that every year, but this year, it really, really is.  Bill picked out a Franklin Fir (I think that’s the name) instead of whatever it is we usually get, and the structure of the branches has given us a lot of nooks, inside which we can hang larger ornaments or heavier ones…or ornaments that are particularly special and deserve a special spot.

Of course, so many of the ornaments are special, and we don’t have enough nooks for all of them, so most just hang from regular branches and

Oh, this is shaping up to be such a lame post.

I’m trying to be full of holiday cheer, but honestly, my cheer tank has a leak.  I keep trying to patch it up, but it springs a new leak.  It’s become a river this morning, and I’m trying to just get through the day by the minute, rather than think too much about the entire day.

No, no sudden tragedies.  Just a rather rough time financially the past half a year or so.  Like plenty of other people, I suspect.  And so of course it’s within this six months that we get surprised with things like a bit of stolen bank card number and password theft…huge car repair bill…every appliance (it seems) deciding to stop working.  Honestly, it’s like they’re union and I’m evil management and the appliances are, one by one, staging a blue flu or something along those lines. 

Our dryer just called in sick the other day.  We kind of need the dryer, though I got all determined and survivorish yesterday and hung some clothes out on the line and hung the next load near the fireplace (yes, there was a fire) to dry.  The ones outside dried nicely; the ones by the fire, not so much.  But to be fair, the ones outside were thinner fabric and the ones inside were socks and thicker things.  And yes, here I am making excuses for our clothes’ dampness, or our fireplace’s failure to produce dryer-like heat. 

So this morning I put one of my husband’s tee shirts in the oven – there were a few little damp spots left – as the oven preheated (I only planned to leave the shirt in there a short time), smoke or steam or vapors from hell poured out of the vent.  Amazingly the fire/smoke alarms didn’t go off.

More importantly, the tee shirt was completely dry!

See?  I’m doing all I can to grab at the bright side of things.

I’m so far behind in my cookie baking this year.  I won’t get nearly as many done as in years past, and that’s going to have to be okay, even though it’s bothering me and my cookie-baking-superwoman ego.  Fortunately I did a bunch of canning over the summer and so people will still get creative homemade food of SOME kind this year.  And there’s the sausages, too.  We’ll give some of those away (if you’re family, pretend you didn’t see that part.), and that will be a cool, new and different thing.

I plan to start cookie baking tonight, so I can at least get some shipped out to far-flung family members by the end of the week.  They still might not arrive by Christmas, but this year I can’t do my occasional last-minute-third-mortgage-payment-second-day-air shipping.  I’m sorry.  But I bet the cookies will still taste good on December 26th.

Christmas cards?  Um…nope. 

What is it with me and Christmas?  I know when it is – it’s not like is hides behind a doorway and I walk along, unsuspecting, every December, and suddenly it jumps out with a shriek and gives me a mild cardiac arrest.  It’s always the same date.  I have the same things to do.  I know all this.

But I put things off.  And it’s not a new thing.  I have always been like this.  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s never bothered me this much before, either.

I’m blue.

That’s what it’s boiling down to.  I am tired of a lot of things, and frustrated, and sad, and blue.  I do my best to focus on my husband and my kids – the GOOD things in my life – the BEST things in my life.  And that works, until I’m awake at four in the morning and alone with my thoughts and worries and fears and so sick of the stupid practicalities of life.

But then I get up and get going on the day, and Bill and the kids get up (okay, the don’t just get up, I wake them up.  And wake them up again.  And sometimes again.  See?  They need me, otherwise they’d just sleep constantly.) and much of the bad stuff gets buried beneath the daily routines and schedules and meals and stuff like that.

But it’s just getting to me.  Stupid dryer.  Stupid icemaker.  Stupid camera.  Just fix yourselves, so I don’t have to pay someone else to.  Fix yourselves, so my daily routines and schedules and meals and stuff like that don’t have to hide as much other stuff.

Well, actually, I think I know what’s wrong with the dryer – I’m pretty sure it’s the belt, because the drum won’t turn (big clue) and other than that it’s fine – the heat works, and the whole thing sounds “normal” – except for the not spinning part.  My sister has replaced the belt on her dryer and said it’s easy enough, so I am going to (tonight or tomorrow morning) pull the dryer out and see if I can do this myself.  Then all I’ll have to pay for is the belt itself, and not anyone’s hourly wage.  (My sister is so DIY that my husband has made her name a verb – “Just Meredith that thing…”)

And I’m anticipating that WHEN (not IF, but WHEN) I fix that dryer, I will feel a surge of HA! – a surge of feel-good-about-myself, and that will go a long way toward improving the dark colors in my head.

But back to the tree (because I have to make the kids’ lunches soon and I should probably wrap this up before it becomes too long and you fall asleep before you get to the end).

Our tree is beautiful.  We’ve got the tiny white lights that DON’T BLINK, and a huge assortment of ornaments…little handmade things from both Bill’s and my childhoods…ornaments we’ve inherited…ornaments from our first Christmases together when, as Julia suggested last night, we were “just people,”…ornaments that mark our kids’ arrivals and years at daycare and then school…so many memories dangling from that tree, it’s like a photo album that we only take out for a few weeks every winter.

I get that bittersweet feeling every year.  Missing people, missing times past.  I don’t like it, this missing feeling.  I know I should do as I tell other people, other blue-at-Christmas people, and think of the good things, be happy those gone were in my life for however long or short a period of time we had.  I should focus on the living, on creating happy new memories, on enjoying being together with the family and friends who are here.  And I will.  I always do.

And January will come, and I will be glad, because January doesn’t jump out at me and shriek.  It just says a quiet hello in the falling of snow and twittering of juncos and sparrows outside the kitchen window as they peck at the seed I’ve tossed onto the deck rail.

Here’s our tree. 

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My camera agreed to take this picture but immediately started coughing and sneezing and complained of a fever after I pressed the shutter button.

I’d call it a slacker, but it’s served me faithfully for many years now.  I think it just needs a good cleaning and a tune-up or an oil change or whatever they do with digital cameras.  So I’ll bring it in for servicing soon and hope that there’s nothing majorly wrong with it.  And if I need to, I’ll just use one of the kids’ cameras. 

Okay, gotta go make lunches and do something creative and girly to Julia’s wild mane. 

I’ll be back later (or at least that’s the plan) with the next installment of our most recent sausage-making adventure.  This time I’ll even have a recipe for you!

Until then…thanks for listening.

6 thoughts on “O Christmas Tree

  1. {{{{Hugs}}} Jayne!

    I’m struggling with a touch of the blues this year, too.

    I hope your spirits improve and that fixing the belt on the dryer provides an adequate stopper for your cheer tank. 😉

  2. HOo boy! I’m in yer boat. The tree is up, the lights are on, but no ornaments. Just haven’t been able to do it. No good reason.
    Christmas cards? Nope. Calendars? Nope. Cooking? Not a bit. Presents? Not yet.
    I’d help with your dryer if I could. I’m sure you’ll ace it, though. I don’t have a dryer either, right now. We just bought a foreclosure, and the dryer is missing. Laundry hanging inside is not as romantic as laundry hanging outside in the sun, is it?

  3. :hugs as well:
    I always have that “held back” feeling with… well… anything!
    As I always say: Real Life Sucks Sometimes…
    Mortgage, house bills/erpairs, grocery, and to top it off: gifts?!
    December is a rough month. The last quarter is a greedy quarter.
    Don’t worry, I am with you, I shall wait for the fleeting of spring for my excited spaz-out sessions when I start to see plants erupting from the frozen soil.
    What did you end up doing with Julia’s hair? Hee hee.

  4. If you come to our house your would not know it is Christmas. Not a single decoration up. No tree, no lights, nope not a single thing. Hubby is remodeling our kitchen (still) and I have a stove in the living room, cabinets in the foyer and dining room with countertops on them, and lugs in the living room and dining room with all the stuff from our old cabinets.

    I work in retail, Michaels, and I’m ready for Christmas to be over. I am the framing shop department manager and I’m stressing at all the framing that is to be done before Christmas. I’m even working 6 days this week to try to have it all done in time.

    Did I mention, I’m ready for Christmas to be over. Oh and no Christmas shopping done. Well a couple of small things for people that I have seen and picked up.

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