Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Very Special Christmas

Very special as in very retarded. That was how my wife characterized my outdoor display after I spent all afternoon freezing my ass off on a rickety step ladder. Just trying to please her. She's since tried to take it back, changing it to "design challenged". But once the R word is given, it cannot be taken back. Last year was my Blue Period. All blue, all the time. That didn't go over too well, so this year I tried to mix it up with a little color. I left the blue perimeter lights up. That was a lot of stapling so I doubt if they are ever coming down. The rules for outdoor ornaments: they have to be cheap, on sale and with instructions written in Chinese. Christmas is no time for retail. I think I outdid myself this year. Check out the display above in all its glory. Pretty sweet.

To be truthful, my wife is not very high maintenance. She drives a 10 year old car (OK, 11 years old) and we live in a 100 year old house stuffed with a mishmash of, uh, period furniture and within spitting distance of a major rail line. She puts up with my 5 year remodeling projects and my Dr. Seuss construction techniques. She doesn't spend a lot on clothes, or her hair, or pedicures or any of that stuff. Her only vices, besides Starbucks and making fun of me, are high end electronics. Makes it easy to buy for her every year. Right now in her purse are an iphone, kindle, digital camera and GPS locator. She carries around more hardware than the Space Shuttle. So life as a married man is pretty easy for me except for this particular time of the year when she turns into the Christmas Queen and I am her incompetent subject. I just can't get anything right.

For five years now she has been bugging me to get an artificial tree. I've always been a natural tree kind of guy, I like the way it smells (at least until the dog pees on it) and I like the fact that it keeps the tree farmers in business and encourages more open space. Maybe pesticide and herbicide soaked, but open nonetheless. We had an artificial tree when I was a kid and as my dad was an OCD engineer, the tree had to be erected practically needle by needle in a precisely defined and methodical way. A real pain in the ass Christmas tradition. I swore I would never do this to my family. I lied. She finally wore me down this year. I'm too old and tired to put up the good fight. Why she tasked me with this purchase and sent me out solo, I'll never know. She has only herself to blame. So at Ollie's Bargain Outlet I found a 9' kinda real looking tree with, yes, fiber optics! Not only that, the base is an MP3 player. I set it up, loaded the MP3 player with the Carpenter's Christmas Album (yes, I know, it makes me want to purge, too - but she loves it) and surprised her when she came home from work.
Why does she keep looking at me like that?


  1. Mark: The boy's and I just finished lining the driveway and sidewalk (literally about 2 hours ago) guessed it...all blue XMAS lights. It looks like a goddamn space shuttle runway! We love it! The wife and daughter weren't thrilled. And last year and the year before, the house was outlined guessed it...all blue XMAS lights. The testosterone in this house likes blue and that's the way it is and always will be. We did consider getting up on that twenty foot ladder again this year (the staples are still there), but Hitchcock's Vertigo came to mind. In my advanced years, I can't recover from a fall like that so the runway idea was a natural. Keep up the good fight. I think those lights of yours look great! She is my sister and I love her, but, alas she's still a girl.

  2. A blue runway? Awesome. I believe I've been out-tarded but I got a little something brewing that will take back the crown.