I am halfway through the first day of the new year and my assessment so far is a solid “so far, so good”. It has been a good combination of being productive and of recovering from being productive.
I started the day with only one goal in mind, which was to get all of the Christmas decorations into bins and up into the attic. I started by going out into the front yard to take down all of the lights. Of course, this is the one day in the past month that Mother Nature decided she would rain. It was a mixed blessing kind of rain; it wasn’t the good soaking rain we need in order to fill up the lakes, but it wasn’t raining hard enough to keep me from getting outside to take down the Christmas lights. It was just a sort of halfhearted drizzle that wet everything down and made playing with electricity that much more challenging. (Not to worry: I unplugged everything first.) Whilst wrapping up the strings of lights, I noticed that a bunny or a squirrel had chewed completely through one of the strings of lights, thus rendering it useless for future use. I surmised, because of the absence of a slightly smoking bunny or squirrel with a dazed look on its face, that they had done their chewing while the lights were off. It was their lucky day, I guess. I hope they bought a lottery ticket later that day!
Having gotten all the lights down and inside (and set aside to dry), I set about the gargantuan task of taking down the Christmas tree. This is a new tree, bought a few weeks ago to replace its predecessor: an aged one that had most of the pre-strung lights burned out on it and which shed thousands of tiny little green faux needles every time it was touched in any way. The new tree is a 9 foot tall faux fir, pre-lit with a million tiny white lights and a thousand miles of byzantine wiring with countless power plugs and sockets. It is also pre-flocked with a substance which I now believe is asbestos or some other hazardous waste. While it may be completely benign, I was going to take no chances and so wore a dust mask while dismantling the beast because touching it in any way created little “poofs” of fine, white dust. Better safe than sorry. Plus I got to feel like a surgeon as I dismantled the tree while wearing a mask. A tree surgeon, I suppose.
I soon had the tree broken into its four constituent sub-assemblies, each one of which was large and unwieldy in its own right. I wrestled these four mini-beasts into two large Christmas tree bags (one of which is pictured in my 2012 entry elsewhere in this blog). I threw myself onto each bag and wrestled with it like it was an uncooperative boar in a side-show rodeo until I could get the bags zipped up. I sure hope these are industrial-strength zippers because the tree was definitely putting up a fight and was chaffing against being stuffed into such a confined space (which I can empathize with since I have an office job).
Now the fun could really begin.
I had to push, shove, heave, and lift these uncooperative beasts upstairs, then into my office, and then up into the little doorway (which is about 2 feet off of the ground) that leads to the attic. But I finally managed to wrangle them into the attic, though my heart rate was somewhat higher than it should be. If my body came equipped with a tachometer, the needle would definitely have been up in the red zone. I was also sweating like a racehorse, which is not the sort of annoyance one thinks they will have to put up with in the dead of winter. But, of course, when one lives in Texas, one learns to deal with such unseasonable indignities. (It is a little known medical fact that one of the symptoms of heatstroke is adopting the use of the formal generic pronoun “one” in place of the more traditional first person pronouns like “me” and “I”. The more you know …)
In addition to pushing the Christmas tree up into the attic again this year like Sisyphus pushing his rock uphill, I also managed to get the ten or so large bins of Christmas decorations up into the attic. So, this blog is now where it was almost exactly five years ago. And now I can settle back and enjoy the new year.
And , as I look around the humble abode, now denuded of its Christmas decorations, it strikes me as odd. It’s as if Christmas never happened. But it lives on in my heart … and as a fine white powder that has settled onto all of the furniture in the living room.