Monday, January 7, 2013

The 1st post of 2013 - but wait . . . it ain't over 'til it's over!

Hopefully, friends, you've noticed I took a bit of time off to celebrate and clean and decorate and celebrate and laugh and wash and dry and celebrate and talk and, well, I think you get the picture.  I left off of my first year in blogland on December 16th.  I guess after that point, all of the wonderfulness and confusion and happiness and mess just got to be too much.

I'm proud, though, that I've conquered a year in blogging.  I started at the first of 2012 and I entered 187 posts.  I realize that's not every day - not even every weekday - but, geez . . . I'm proud!

I've got a lot to say about what I've learned from this blogging thing, what I've heard from you and how the writing of these words has impacted things in my life and in my brain.  I have a lot to tell.

But first, I must fill you in on where I am.  I must let you know, that even though most of you are somewhere neat and tidy and well into your new calendar with a fresh new page and nicely sharpened no. 2 pencil that has already checked off the first six days of January, I am still back at Christmas.  It ain't over 'til it's over, people.  Or maybe, better, it ain't over 'til I say it's over.  Got it?

I want you to know what I've endured this morning.  I want you to suffer with me.  I want you to know that I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday- the last of the twelve days of Christmas, the feast of the Epiphany -
We had a marvelous Sunday at church.  We went to lunch with precious friends.  The Bear and Sadie and I loved a last tromp through a newly discovered park, and all was wonderful.
This is where Bear said, "Mama, this is one of my favorite things ever," which made it worth it that my Christmas tree still twinkled (not being undecorated and carted to the street) at home.

This is where Bear's brand new (most expensive boots I've ever bought) just got for Christmas boots got soaked, but I knew it was okay because I had just heard, "Mama, this is one of my favorite things ever," moments before.

This is where I noticed that he still had on his 'church/school' pants and that they would no longer be 'church/school' pants.

This is where I took a deep breath and knew that I was doing the right thing and that all of the things that were being put on the back burner weren't nearly as important as this.

And, now, we skip to this morning.  I woke up in my house where it's still Christmas and I got out in the cold in a world where it's all over.  I was a bit dismayed.  The kids were happy enough to get back to school; they seemed excited to see their friends and ready for the routine to kick back in.  I was confident that a day of checking things off the list was in order, and I happily drove back home.

I entered the home and suddenly realized that I had approximately 1,170 seconds (that sounds longer than 19 and a half minutes) to get the tree undecorated, de-lighted, plucked from the stand and drug to the street or it would be with us until next Monday (and that's getting close to what some might consider mid-January).

I wasn't scared.  I wasn't dismayed.  I was on it.  I was prepared.  I was dressed (well, I had both a bra and lace up shoes on and the Fly Lady says you can't really tackle any project productively without both).  I walked confidently into the living room, and I took a last look at Christmas 2012.  I pondered a moment and felt a little sad to let it all go.  I've still got stories to tell, I still want to enjoy those moments we were going to sit as a family and peer at one another by the glow from the tiny, twinkling lights.

And then I came to my senses.  I was down to about 987 seconds, and I had no more time to think beautiful, I'd like to teach the world to sing kinds of thoughts.  I had a job to do, and I was set on doing it.  I took the precious decorations down in something akin to a swooping motion, where I began near the top of the tree and gathered ornaments as I ran my hands down.  I smiled, proud of myself and my uncanny ability to maneuver in such a time constraint.  I gently placed the handfulls of multi-colored magic carefully upon the floor and reached up again, stretching to capture as many pieces as I could with each swoop.  I worked with the delicacy of a beautiful bird, who swoops down to the water and then gracefully reaches up again, over and over, with beauty and agility.  It was a marvel.  I was a marvel.  In less than a minute and a half I had the entire tree, stripped of its color, and all that was left were the strings of lights.  I was a super hero right there in my own living room.

I decided that it would be easier and quicker to rid the tree of its lights out in the yard, where I wouldn't deposit any more dried pieces of Christmas tree upon the floor.  I reached and heaved with all of my might to remove the tree from it's stand.  No movement.  'Oh, yes,' I remembered, the Christmas tree man had given me a new stand after he broke the old one with his hammer.  What a nice man he was.  He gave me a great one.  A strong one.  It had a big metal spoke which stuck up into the trunk of our tree and held it sturdy and strong for our entire celebration.  What a nice, nice man.

I'll just carry the whole thing out, I thought.  It will be easier to disassemble this conglomeration on the front lawn.  I still worked with the confidence of a skilled master.  I was on it.  I was woman.  I would prevail.

Moving the shedding tree from its spot in the living room, across the hardwood floor wasn't as easy a task as I had hoped.  The water that filled the reservoir in the stand was sloshing about, and I worked hard to manage across the room without it all spilling out.  My cute little black 'yoga' pants worked loose and began to creep down and I had to stop a few times to retie.  I didn't feel confident enough at this point to be caught with the tree half way out of the house and me with my pants down.  My ego was shrinking.  I was tiring.

I picked it up, put it down.  Picked it up, put it down.  About fifty three times.  I finally made it to the door and heaved it up and over the door jam with a ferocity that sent the remaining water out in a lovely arc that covered at least fifteen feet.  It was a lovely, shiny scene, with water mixed with tree sap mixed with tiny little green pieces of Christmas 2012 and it covered a good bit of the room, the entire doorway and a large part of the front porch.  I persevered.  Somewhere along the heaving and hoing, the Christmas tree skirt had worked itself loose, and now it lay in defeat, a mottled remembrance of what had been.

I closed the door to the scene of destruction that was once the living room.  I would begin anew outside in the frosty air that was Monday morning.  I was still woman - I would still win.  I was down considerably in time until the truck carrying the nice men would be here for the lawn debris.  My clock was ticking.

I let the tree drop down the stairs with all of the force I had left and watched as it bounced violently down down down off of the stoop.  I looked, knowing I would find the tree free of the bondage of that stand - the stand that had moved in my mind from gift of a nice man to green spear of torture.  The tree had tumbled, to be sure, but it was still safely tucked into its stand.  I harkened back to all of the Christmases where the tree won't stay in the stand, all of the times that we had struggled to make the tree and the stand understand that they were to work together.  What was this craziness?  The evil joke of Christmas past, yearning for one last laugh?

I pulled the sappy mess from the top and jiggled and joggled.  I stood on the stand and heaved with all my soul and body and pulled to free the tree.  I turned the tree on it's side and pulled.  I threw it across the front yard.  (It was at this point that I took a moment and actually hoped that Julie and Neil from across the street were watching - this was better than most movies.)  I put the tree on it's side.  I turned it upside down.  At one point, I tugged until I knew at the pit of my gut that I had worked the yoga pants loose again and I was sporting a bit of a plumber's surprise.  I couldn't care - I had a job to do.  I pushed on.

I got a hammer and I beat and beat and beat again.  I cussed the stand.  I talked pretty to the stand.  I pleaded with the stand.  It was a cold, cold morning and now sweat beads covered my forehead.  I came out of my jacket.  I rubbed together my sap-covered hands and brushed them off on my behind, in the way of a mighty lumberjack.  And I went back to the tree and the stand and pulled again.

I turned the stand to the right and I turned the stand to the left.  I sang to it.  The seconds ticked by.  I heard the sound of the big truck with the nice men.  Oh no, I will not lose this battle!  I could hear them.  They moved a few houses down the street and then stopped.  I could hear the talking of the men.  They were nearing.  This battle was almost over.  I would win or I would lose, but the truck was almost here.

I looked up into the heavens and I pulled up the yoga pants and I brushed together my sappy hands and shook the tree and the stand and I sang to them and I prayed for them to part and I pleaded and I shook.  The truck got closer.  The squeak of its brakes were but an acre away.  The end was near.  It was almost over.  I would win and get the tree to the curb in the next ninety seconds or would lose and look at the tree at the end of my drive until Monday, January 14.

I took a last deep breath and I grabbed the hammer.  I pulled the tree/stand combo to me with one hand and I hammered like hell with the other.  The noise of my hammer was so loud, I lost the sounds of the world.  I didn't know what day it was.  I didn't know where I was.  I was hammering.  My life was now about this - this tree and this sharp spoke of doom, and all I wanted in this life was to free them, one from the other.  I hammered.  I hammered.  I hammered and finally, finally the little tree began to ease its way out of its bondage.  Little by little the shards of pine began to work themselves loose and the killer needle of the stand separated from the Christmas tree of 2012.

The truck was three houses away now.  I could see the nice men, carrying other people's yard trash to the truck.  My tree was loose, but it was covered in lights!

I threw the tree down to the ground with the force of a rodeo rider roping a whatever they rope and I searched for the end of the lights.  I grabbed the lights with a harshness I didn't know I had and I began to pull.  I pulled the string of tiny lights and I pulled.  The tree rolled over the lawn, depositing its needles and I pulled and I pulled.  I knew there were four strings full and I pulled and the tree rolled and we worked together to beat the big white truck.

Finally, finally I freed the last light and I tossed the connected strings across the yard.  I reached down with the strength and finesse of the world's strongest man and picked up the tree with enough strength left over to carry a couple of small European cars.  I had this thing!  I was about to win.

I dashed to the curb, to the finish line.  I wielded the tree, turned an extra circle and threw the Christmas of 2012 down.  It was there!  I had been wallowing in the agony of defeat, but I now stood proudly on the gold medal platform and I looked up in time to smile nonchalantly at the nice man.  I eased back from the curb.  I might have crunched a light or two, but it didn't matter anymore.  I was victor.

Sweat dripped slowly down my brow and I wiped it with the rolled up sleeve of my weary arm.  Ahhhhhh.  The nice man smiled an extra smile at me as he effortlessly heaved the tree into the truck, as if to say, "I know your struggles and I know you persevered and won."

I proudly watched the white truck inch off, but I hardly heard the squeaky brakes.  All I heard was Helen Reddy, singing I am Woman, Hear me Roar.

I turned on my heels and looked back at the scene of destruction.  I would spend the next thirty minutes trying to untangle the lights and ready them for next year, but I didn't care.  I had come.  I had seen.  I had conquered.

And now, friends, even though I didn't get to tell you everything (like how good it was when Joseph in the church pageant got tired and put his feet up to rest on the manger and Mary hauled off and slapped him) I guess it's over.  The yard is a mess.  The floor is covered in sap and needles and water.  The ornaments are all over the floor and must be gently picked up and packed away, but it's over.

It was good and now it's over.  I'll join you now in 2013 and I'll look forward to our being together in person or on the blog.  Happy new year to you and to yours and may we all have a peaceful time, relishing in love and laughs - the good stuff.
The battle scene after it was all over.  

This is the stand.  It looks nice, but notice the center.  That's six inches of sharp, pain inducing doom.

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