Living Retired #222- January 8, 2018
WHAT GOES UP, MUST COME DOWN.
Hello? Can anyone please tell me why I am doing this?
It is freezing cold outside. The wind is howling. The snow is up to my wazoo–which is another way of saying, “Dear can we just move to a place that is warm, has no state tax, and has strip plazas with liposuction clinics on every corner: Florida?”
But noooo. I am a middle age man, which means my DNA makes me do stupid things. Right now I am bundled in a heavy parka with a balaclava covering my head that makes me look like a protestor throwing rocks at a G7 summit. But instead, I am standing on a 30′ extension ladder reaching up to the eavestrough to take down the Christmas decorations in the middle of snowmageddon!
Of course the ladder doesn’t reach all the way up to the eavestrough–I do! This is accomplished by standing on the very top rung and then verrryy carefully leaning–make that teetering!–towards the string of Christmas lights. These are the lights that don’t blink. They haven’t since the first year I bought them. But each year I hang them in December, then take them down in January. It’s one of our holiday traditions.
After getting down from the ladder–make that crashing!–I am on my knees. I’m trying to dig out the 17′ of extension cords joined together with frozen duct tape. Icicles hang from my nostrils. The snow is up to my wazoo–which is another way of saying, “Dear, can we just move to a place where there’s a beach with a plane flying overhead with a banner advertising an All-You-Can-Eat Early Bird Buffet: Florida?”
Have you ever tried to grapple with 25′ of frozen polypropylene plastic that every night in December was inflated in the shape of a huge Santa leaning against a chimney; but now lies on the lawn like a big blob of split pea soup in the shape of Topeka Kansas? It’s not pretty.
Now I’m in the garage. My fingers are frostbit. I can’t twist the ropes of plastic ivy around the thingamajig–which is the word guys use to describe sophisticated devices that we don’t have a clue how to use–to store these keepsakes until next Christmas.
Ahh. I’m onto the next tradition when pulling down the Christmas decorations: taking a break to warm up with a bit of scotch. Just a dram; well, okay, two.
Now I am in the basement. Specifically in the area called the crawl space located directly behind the tread mill–which is a marvellous invention women use to hang their sweaters to dry!
The crawl space is where you store your family Christmas heirlooms–Santa hats for dogs, silver icicles that cats eat so they can throw up on your carpet, and those special little silver utensils used for cracking your nuts at Christmas–that also impaled your wife’s big toe when she decides to decorate the Christmas tree after coming home from having her toenails painted and she’s still wearing those silly foam flip-flops!
People also like to store the sleigh-shaped box that holds the greetings cards they receive, lifelike-looking mistletoe, candles with fake wax dripping at the edge, and lead-free, fire-retardant plastic Ivy. There’s also phony fireplace logs which according to the wrapper smell like a fresh pine tree–before your dog squatted beside it!
The first thing to go in our storage area is the Oak Hampton Blue Fir imitation Christmas tree–pre-lit with 650 clear CDA lights. The box says this 7′ tall beauty is ‘easy set up and take down’–in other words: made for men who decorate at Christmas after drinking scotch. Oh, speaking of scotch–there’s nothing wrong with having another sip of scotch. I’ll be right back.
Crawling backwards out from the storage area I fell over the treadmill and damn near hung myself on Jans wet sweaters!
After a wee dram or three I’m back down to the storage area.
We like to recycle the leftover rolls of Christmas wrapping paper. Plus the bows, the tags, the tape, the ribbons, the tissue paper–in lovely silver, gold, grey, black, white, and off-white shades! We’ve got little plastic baggies filled with gift tags conveniently preprinted with To, From, and XOXO.
Next to be stored are boxes and boxes of fragile tree ornaments. We have collected these ornaments throughout our marriage, so they have sentimental value to us–this is why we re-wrap them each year using the same old tattered shreds of torn tissue paper. This supposedly protects them when they are being put away by men who have been drinking scotch.
Those damn hangythings–which is the technical word for the device invented to hang Christmas ornaments on the tree–are like blood-producing, portable chain saws in the hands of men after drinking scotch.