Decorating With Murphy

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So this last weekend, we finally got up the muster and crawled to the rafters to pull out the holiday decorating gear, including the faux, 2,000-pound, pre-strung Christmas tree.  In theory, this lovely tree is supposed to save time and energy thanks to the tiny lights all nicely in place as soon as one is able to vertically connect the A, B, C and D sections correctly.

Emphasis on “in theory.”  More on that in a moment.

All went swimmingly as the neatly packed, red-topped plastic storage bins made their way down and I was pretty impressed by how organized it all seemed, until I began to count how many boxes there were.  Wow, I didn’t remember there being this many last year.

But unless a little elf crawled up and removed the bins packed with my childhood, hand-made, paper mache reindeers and cookie ornaments with their toes long chewed off by attic vermin, then yes, indeedy – there was a lot of stuff for us to unpack.

Now mind you, the paper mache junk doesn’t get put out, but I’ve kept it for posterity, and each year when it all goes back up to the rafters I think I should take a picture and give them the heave-ho. But since I’m feeling a little sentimental again this year, that’s probably not going to happen.

With everything down to the garage floor, the first order of business was to go through the boxes and purge any and all excess decorations (with the exception of the aforementioned paper mache).

“We did that last year!” I protested.

And we had, but there was still so much stuff!

So I began to open the bins, and that’s when the fun started.  I realized that a good portion of the goodies inside were things I bought at the 75-percent-off sales after last year’s holidays were over.

Woohoo!

We had uncovered a supply of holiday paper plates, napkins and cups sufficient to last the next three years of boat parade parties, enough wrapping paper to swathe 5,000 gifts, and I saved money on it all to boot.  What can be wrong with that?

Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and this seems to be especially true when it comes to holiday decorating.  Yet I always approach the season with optimism, and this year was no different.  We typically divide and conquer, which makes things more tolerable.  My hubby puts up the tree, wreaths, outdoor and boat lights and I do all the detailed decorating and fine tuning.

As things get under way and the tree emerges from its gigantic green duffle bag, I have learned to clear out of the room and put on some jolly Christmas music in order to drown out the grunts, heavy sighs and occasional four-letter words that are an inevitable part of the process.

This year, the four sections of the big tree came together nicely, but as we plugged it in, you guessed it; half of the lights were out.  Uh oh, I thought, better bust out the really cheery CD of Burl Ives singing “Holly Jolly Christmas” because I could see a storm brewing on my beloved’s brow.   After about an hour of tweaking, twisting, huffing, puffing, demanding and beseeching the tree to cooperate, we finally decided to just put a few strands of the old fashioned little lights on to fill the void and call it a day.

This worked out fine until I started to hang the decorations.  As I adjusted one of the light strings to make way for a bulb, off they went.  Confounded, for a moment I forgot about the bulb precariously balancing on my palm, which of course flipped like a trapeze artist out of my hand with a crash to the floor.

“Everything OK?” called my husband with a slightly amused tone (I could just hear him thinking “Ha! Payback time for the hassle of having to put the #@%&!  tree together!”).  As I made my way down the ladder, I joked that my Christmas cheer was fast becoming an oxymoron.

After an attitude adjustment and quick trip to the kitchen to start lunch, I grabbed another box of ornaments and made my way back up to the rebellious string of lights to negotiate a deal. (Naturally the non-working string had to be on the top portion of the tree.)

As I jiggled it, tugged on it, talked to it, prayed to heaven above to get them to cooperate, finally the Christmas spirit delivered and the lights popped back on.  Relieved to see them all lit, I daintily made my way around the strand so as not to anger the Christmas tree light phantom again.  I am happy to report, I finished up without further ado, and they are still working.

Yet, so entirely distracted was I by all the hullabaloo that I failed to remember our lunch in the oven, which had burned to a crisp.

Oh well, I guess that’s why they call it Murphy’s Law.

Lynn Selich resides in Newport Beach.  She can be reached at [email protected]

 

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