Misshapen

You can pick us right out if you go by our house these days: in a neighborhood where every other house is billowing with lights by December 5th, ours looks like Boo Radley’s .

It’s not that we don’t want to dress the old girl up for Christmas. It’s just so much work.

Putting candles in every window with their flimsy bases taped to the sills? We actually did that all through the 80s and 90s? Now I need a nap just thinking about it.

The one thing we can seem to manage is a tree on the porch.

A tree on the porch as well as in the living room has been our custom since a family member came home to see the live tree I bought one year, immediately undressed it and dragged it out the front door, then went out and bought a whole new tree and began again with the lights and ornaments. (The rest of that story is here.)

Some years we’ve had TWO trees on the porch, the littler fake one and then also the real one, because Old Dave and I can’t seem to get around to dragging that live one in.

Last year it waited 10 whole days out there before we finally got around to it.

I think I have said that I’m generally the one buying the tree, as everyone seems to assume when you work from home you  ‘have the time’. I think it was Christmas of ’08 when I decided I just could NOT  haul one more tree off the top of my car and onto that porch.  

Plus I had seen these nice fresh balsam trees advertised in a catalog. “Your tree will be SO fresh!” the copy read and I was SO gullible! I pressed “Add to Cart” and entered my credit card number.  

Two weeks later here it came, delivered by the men in brown, landing thwump! on our porch in its plastic hairnet.

A week passed. Eight Days. Nine. Ten. I couldn’t get Old Dave to tackle the two-man job of bringing it in. He was reading, I was reading. Then there were all those naps.

Finally on Day 11, we peeled back its plastic netting and beheld what we had: a thin green Q-tip that stayed a Q-tip the whole time it was up, and upon which it was just about impossible to hang an ornament.

The kids came home on the 24th and shook their  heads.

I can smile as I think about it now though. Because Q-Tips are cute, right? And a tree with its arms up as if in desperate supplication? That’s funny too.

Plus I just looked up the history of  Q-Tips, invented by one Leo Gerstenzang who first dubbed them ‘Baby Gays’ and I have to say, that made me feel better all by itself. We’re all good at some things, less good at others. When it came to product-naming, Leo could use some help, his friends doubtless said behind his back. When it comes to the Christmas tree project, the Marottas could use help too. No shame there. And admit it: isn’t Charlie Brown secretly your favorite Peanuts character?


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