I am hereby tendering my resignation, effective immediately. I wish you all the best luck in finding someone who will actually get your stupid giant Christmas tree decorated in time for the 2017 holiday season. You may have to pay a higher salary, hiring this late, so I appreciate the predicament I am leaving you in but for my own mental health I must take leave immediately. It has been an honor horror working here.

I stayed up until 2 a.m. this morning taking the rest of the mini-lights off the tree. I am tired of my great room looking like a warehouse with bins everywhere and a ladder and small hand tools and bits of wire. It’s like Santa’s workshop up in here and I am done with it. I do not handle clutter well, and am willing to forgo sleep to get the mess cleaned up. So I sacrificed and got the tree de-lighted, leaving me anything but delighted, and then I vacuumed and put some stuff away and went to bed.

Today, I thought I’d throw some strands of lights on it so it doesn’t look quite so bare until we can decorate it this weekend. M helpfully brought in a bin and two buckets from his stash, giving me C7 and C9 strands to choose from. I chose C9. Go big or go home, right? WRONG.

I pulled out a strand and started screwing bulbs in. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Yes, the man stores his light strands empty of bulbs. That’s what the buckets he brought in hold: bulbs. I screwed bulbs into one strand, in the order he designated because my control freak husband doesn’t want red and orange together as they are too much alike and his control freak wife doesn’t want to use the white ones at all because they are too bright and outshine the colors, so they must be red – green – orange – blue and in no other order ever. I populated the entire strand and when I went to plug it in to test it saw that the little door on the plug that hides the fuses was open. And the pocket that holds the fuses was empty. Mother &%#@#($, son of a ^&#@$. I don’t know shit about fuses, so I unscrewed all the bulbs and screwed them back into a new strand, after checking that the first bulb worked, of course, because I am a smart cookie who learns from her mistakes. Sometimes. Then I replaced the dead ones and unplugged so I could start wrapping the tree.

Why did I unplug, you ask? Because it turns out that traditional C9 bulbs burn like Satan’s own fury. Those suckers get hot, immediately. No big deal, except that it’s virtually impossible to see how the stupid things look on the tree when they’re not lit. I just started poking them all over the place, frustrated as hell. That’s when I lost my grip on part of the strand – from the top of the ladder because did I mention that this mother effing tree is nine feet tall? – and dropped it and shattered a blue bulb all over the floor. Right where I need to step to get off the mother effing ladder. Got that cleaned up and then it was time to enter Zoe’s practice time into my laptop, which meant I had to scrub my hands to get rid of the dirt that now coated them, because the strands were used outside for years and are disgusting. Disgusting.

I gave up. Took Zoe to her piano lesson, and when she asked, “Mom? Are you okay?” I went on a five-minute tirade about how this Christmas tree is bullshit. Then we cranked “Party Rock Anthem” and did some car dancing and I felt much better. I worried about using the lights because of the heat, thinking, “We won’t be able to leave them on when we’re not home. I’ll be too anxious about burning the house down. Shit.” so I made an executive decision. After dropping Zoe off at her lesson, I drove straight to Target to buy LED lights with plastic covers. Clean. Unbreakable. Cool. Bright. Easy.

I immediately felt better, even though I knew it meant a discussion with M. After we got home, I started placing the first strand of LEDs on the tree. They look fantastic. I got the bottom quarter wrapped, and Zoe and I decided that these would work just fine. Then we Facetimed with M and after a while I forgot about hiding the tree from him (my goal was to get the entire thing lit and then give him the choice of taking it all off if he didn’t like it, knowing full well he wouldn’t, which is the same tactic I used when I started painting colors on the white walls of our old house after he insisted on no colors and then left on a business trip) and he caught a glimpse of it in the background and then the interrogation started (Where did you get them? How much did they cost? How many bulbs are on a strand?). And the whining about how he wants the traditional C9s. We argued over the probability of the C9s causing a thermal event with the tree. It was one of our finer moments.

So the tree is one-quarter lit and there’s a bulb cover missing on the new strand and I know I should take it all off and return it to Target but I’m just so tired of dealing with this project that I’m considering just poking that one in the back and forgetting about it, until M notices (because he always notices) and we have a discussion about it. I think I’ll spend the rest of the night in bed, in the other part of the house that doesn’t contain bins and hand tools and various holiday lighting fixtures and is actually calm and free from clutter. Avoidance is a wonderful coping mechanism.


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