It goes like this at our house.
One. Annual conversation about how tall tree should be even though we have been in the house 10 years and have always put said tree in same spot with same ceiling height. Every. Single. Year.
Two. Eliza and Tim head out the door with rope and straps and all manner of things required to attach a big Fraser Fir to the top of a big SUV.
Three. Dynamic duo returns home flushed and joy-filled with a big Fraser Fir properly attached to the top of the big SUV.
Four. They unbind it.
Five. I hear grunting. And laughing.
Six. In a flurry tree is unloaded and hauled into the living room.
Seven. I am called in to oversee proper tree placement and straightening.
(It is clear these two jokers think they can achieve perfection on their own but have come to the conclusion–misguided as it may be–that I represent an impossible standard and it is better for everyone if I am simply humored.)
Eight. They string the lights.
Nine. I leave them to it as they string the lights.
Ten. I go to the kitchen and leave them to it as they string the lights. All the while I visualize the web of wires that will crisscross that tree horizontally and vertically and diagonally and horizontally again by the time this exercise is complete.
Eleven. They come to the kitchen, delighted. We return to the living room, together. I praise, praise, praise their glorious work.
(I wonder how we will ever manage to place a single ornament lest we hang it from the green light wires.)
Twelve. They smile at each other, then exit the room.
Where are you going? I ask.
Our part’s done, they say.
No! I say. Decorating is the best part! Come back!
They ignore me.
Please? I say.
I’ll make White Russians.
They return but refuse to even lift the lid of ORNAMENT BOX #1 OF 4 until they are each, in fact, holding a White Russian.
Thirteen. Ornament hanging commences.
Fourteen. Dogs Barking Jingle Bells plays in the background.
Fifteen. I itch with every ornament hung.
(I mean. Everyone knows the big, shiny balls go in the big, empty spaces and delicate angels go higher on the tree. Plus those precious birds and the yarn basket and the pretty gourds and the sand-in-the-clear ball Suzann made in 1997 go right in front, where I see them from my desk.)
Sixteen. Twenty minutes in Eliza pronounces That’s enough ornaments.
Seventeen. Tim shakes his head in aggressive agreement.
Eighteen. I open my mouth to scream IT’S A WONDROUS TIME OF YEAR then spot the Little Drummer Boy who is, in fact, hanging from the lights.
Nineteen. Yes, I say. YES. You guys go. I’ll just clean up a bit.
Twenty. They head for the kitchen and the big oven tray of Party Mix.
Twenty-one. I reach for the lid.
ORNAMENT BOX #2 OF 4, here I come.
30 Days of Joy