"Greetings and Hallucinations!! Not
your standard seasons greetings I admit, but coming into work this morning
I either saw a very skinny bull along side of the road or a reindeer. Mind
you I was a little distracted by all the lights blazing from the front
of homes at 6 A.M. It seems to me that the 2nd of December may be a wee
bit early to be putting megawatts of lights out on the gutters and eaves.
I have even seen and heard of the occasional Xmas tree being set up already.
To me, the Xmas season does not start on the 25th of November and end promptly
at midnight of Dec 25th. I think the commercialism has got too tight a
hold on us all. Stores start Xmas sales in September and get us all hyped
up for the season, to the extent that we lose sight of the real reason
for Christmas. I'm not doing the "Bah Humbug" routine, its just that if
we do it as it was meant, it would mean a whole lot more.
We plan our Xmas to start on the 20th, when we put up a live tree. Now you have to appreciate what this entails, especially when you have 3 cats and are using real tinsel, not that plastic stuff. Real tinsel, if you don't know, is actually made of very tiny pieces of metal. The most common, lead, helps itself to hang straight by its weight. Unfortunately this means buying a strong tree, which means a large tree, which means you must have a high living room or den. I have none of these, so consequently, our tree tends to look a bit pudgy. This takes time, enhances the mood and gets us really into the Xmas spirit. In my case, the Xmas "spirits" (Vodka being one of them).
Right after this, the cooking, decorating, last minute Xmas cards and phone calls start. The Advantages you may ask? Everything gets put onto one bill so you see right away what Xmas cost!
A couple of weeks ago, my wife got a little caught up in the pre-Xmas hype and had a table set up in town for this Churches' Annual Xmas Bazaar. She made some Tree Ornaments, Advent Calendars and other such stuff, all for a good price to the consumer, but as I witnessed, people were buying the dumbest, over-priced, most useless, kitsch items, most of which had nothing to do with Christmas. I did almost pick up a good table-saw there!
My wife and I really don't know what to give each other because, as usual, as soon as we buy something, we can't wait and give each other the presents. We had to cash our savings bond in to pay for car repairs (present #6 for the mechanics), and she decided to buy me this nice table-saw for Xmas. Where do you hide a table-saw in the house? Of course, we had plans to re-do the living room and dining room, and we had some wood to cut, so might-as-well break it out and use it. Well, I bought her a nifty attachment for the vacuum cleaner, but I gave it to her right away because I was dying to try it out.
We had to replace the baseboards, and much to my chagrin, the table-saw didn't make miter cuts very efficiently and I didn't want to bother my neighbour to borrow his miter-saw.(I suspect he was still under sedation). My box miter and my knuckles didn't get along very well, so we took some more of the bond money and bought a miter-saw. At the same time, we picked up about 2 million dollars worth of paint to do the rooms. I won't even go into how I got the baseboards home in the car from the city! I think I may have also driven salesman to drink because of my antics with windows, doors, whacking the wife more than once (with the boards - purely unintentional), and general use of the more colourful language available to the peeved people of this planet.
I finished the kitchen ...Finally, and we had our eyes drawn to the living room walls. First thing to do was move all the stuff out of the Schrank into the dining room, move all the furniture away from the walls and cover absolutely everything with plastic. Of course, the cats loved this. We sealed off the living room from the dining room with a large plastic sheet, but Mutt,(the big-boned cat), did not take long to figure out how to get through. The other two cats followed, as cats are wont. Think of a snowplough being followed by an Olds and a Jetta.
You know those air return vents that bring air from the house to the furnace? One of the least thought of areas in the house! Tine had just settled into the couch downstairs when she heard a loud WONK coming from above her head. Upon entering the dining room, Caesar (the Himalayan Jetta) came screaming through the plastic in 2nd gear from the living room. Upon further investigation, she found the Olds (Yeti) clambering out of the air return vent. He used to be a white cat! I shudder to think of what could have happened if the furnace kicked on during his tour of the inner walls. The next day, while the wife was up on the ladder, the two were at it again, playing ring-around-the-rosey around the furniture, having a riot barrelling about on the plastic sheets. Of course, the full paint tray on the floor was no deterrence......
The colour we chose to paint the walls at first seemed to be a kind of green-yellow-beige-phlegm colour, and actually looked like the latter upon opening the can of paint. So much, that the wife balked, and hurriedly opened up the others to confirm her fears. Yup! Time to put on the blinders while painting. Of course the wife, being an artist and other stuff, knew all about colour-coordination, hanging samples on the walls for a week in different locations at different times of the day and, lighting. So she knew that if this was the colour she chose (oops sorry, WE chose), it had to be right - once it dried. She is also using a technique known as "Sponging". As I had no money left, I knew I was safe from becoming sponged!
I was just getting to like small town life, but I do miss the Continental gist and savvy. Small town Alberta really has a lot to offer. Just don't go to the store and ask for a Sea Sponge. As most of the locals grew up here, and not Vancouver, a "cow-paddy with lots of tiny holes" was the closest I could get to describing this sponge. A drugstore had some, (Sea Sponges, that is..),but they were for make-up, about the size of a thumb-nail, and would take a year to sponge one wall with paint.
This weekend, I get to use the miter-saw to my hearts content and my neighbours discontent. Maybe I will build him a present. Wooden earplugs? With Hinges so he can talk? I think a decanter would be more in line.
Hopefully, we will have all said and done before Christmas so as to impress our neighbours and friends. We will be doing our traditional thing at home this year, including the sleigh-ride on Xmas-Eve, the Glühwine-guzzling-to-get-rid-of-the-horse-manure taste, and Midnight Mass. If the cats let the tree live, we will then sit in front of the fireplace, open up our presents and balance our cheque-book.
May you all have a Merry Christmas and live it to its spirit. I will (...have a double.)