Most years I don’t get our lights up ‘til our youngest child arrives home from whatever faraway place has beckoned him that year and I’ll admit it: that practice makes me nervous.
One year I just couldn’t wait and got taken in by a catalogue ad for trees that are supposedly harvested only hours before shipping and what a mistake THAT was. When the thing arrived it looked like a giant Q-Tip - and kept on looking that way even a whole week after I’d liberated it from its plastic mesh hairnet.
“W-h-a-a-t?” our son exclaimed when he got home on December 23rd and saw it all decorated in our living room. He’s burdened by what I can only call your ‘artist’s eye’ : your crooked trees, your trees half bald on one side are a torture for him to look upon.
Gently, swiftly he took off every ornament and string of lights, dragged the poor tree out back and drove straight to the nearest nursery for a realer version, shaggy and flouncy and still smelling of the piney woods.
But preparing for the holidays is just part of what I have to face come December. For me there’s also the glove problem.
Every fall, I buy two pairs of black winter gloves that are sort of nylony and hug the hand so nicely. Then, not two weeks into the cold weather, I lose the one for the right hand.
Always the one for the right hand. Never the one for the left.
I don’t know how it happens but at last count I had on the shelf in the front hall closet exactly seven identical black gloves, all for the left hand. And because they have these nice little gripping ‘pads’ on the palm surface, you can’t just flip them. You’d walk around looking like somebody took each arm off, switched it and hung it from the opposite shoulder.
It’s a problem for a person like me, who can’t leave the house from November to April without gloves on. Last winter I bought five pairs, just to keep that right hand warm.
And finally in December I face the issue of storing the car, since, where we live, they fine you in winter for parking in the street.
We do have a driveway, though it’s narrow. We also have a garage built circa 1915 when a car wasn’t much bigger than a sewing machine.
But somehow this garage gets filled during the warmer months, this year with items from a deceased uncle’s house, boxes of our own mismatched china from Dallas and Dynasty days, and a broken old Nordic Track.
You have to empty a garage enough to get one of your two cars inside but where do you begin? Especially when you really loved the uncle and can’t part with his furniture? Especially when you’re the kind of person who remembers so very many of the thousands of meals eaten off that china?
Every day I go out there looking to see what I can pry from the pile and discard.
It’s painful. Worst case I’ll find that cast-out Q-tip of a Christmas tree. But best case, who knows? I just might come upon seven right gloves.