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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Deck the Halls or Not a creature is stirring…ooh…a dead mouse

Well it’s that happiest time of year. When we go all out: Christmas shopping, baking holiday goodies, and decorating everything.

Just yesterday I was at physical therapy. They were hanging blinking lights on the equipment, wreaths on the doors, and warned they’d cover me with tinsel if I didn’t move a little faster.

Luckily, it was about time to head home to do a little decorating of our own. We are in a new—to us—house. Our new home has the same number of bedrooms and baths as the old but is a single story with very tall, cathedral ceilings.

It’s been an interesting project figuring what fits where. You do know, interesting, is the all-purpose word when you don’t want to resort to a curse word.

Some decorations, though perhaps “dated” as the stylists like to say, or even a bit ragged from many years of usage, still carry memories of Christmas past and work just fine, at least in our opinion. But then some other decorations don’t. And there are some total gaps.

For example, we now have a very tall, white brick fireplace that cries out for some type of decoration. We don’t own any decorations large enough for the scale of the fireplace. So, we came up with a plan: buy some new decoration and hang it from the one large nail the previous owners had placed high up on the bricks of the fireplace.

With some perusing online I found and ordered a very large, pre-lit, battery-operated wreath with a timer. Our plan was once we got this sucker up we wouldn’t have to mess with it again until it was time to take it down. A very good plan. Execution was another matter.

The wreath arrived on our doorstep without incident.  My husband dragged out the extension ladder and, together, though not without struggle, we got the batteries in the wreath, a bow attached, and the wreath way up high.

Stepping back, with our heads titled all the way back, we soon realized the wreath was WAY too high for the room. Anyone would get a crick in their neck looking at it. Did I mention I’ve been going to physical therapy for persistent neck, back and shoulder pain? This wreath was not going to help. But maybe moving it wouldn’t either. In any event, the wreath came down.

My husband then fashioned a clever hanger from an ordinary white metal clothes hanger. And the wreath was now at about the right height.

Feeling smug at our accomplishment, though my husband was muttering something about how he hoped the hanger, wreath and all didn’t fall, he then attempted to replace two of the floodlights in the very tall ceiling. He was using a pole gizmo with attachments he’d ordered online and was standing near the top of the extension ladder.

All went well with one light, but the other refused to budge from the socket and instead retreated as if it were a sunken eye of Blue Beard the Pirate. There was no way we could reach the dead bulb now. Well, maybe instead of Christmas decorations we should be using a pirate party theme?

I should mention, in all the “deck the hall’ing” and changing light bulbs, a lamp was broken and wreath debris had somehow gotten everywhere. We were a bit bloodied but not quite ready to give up on decorating. Since we’d have to clean up anyway, and the ladder and the tubs of Christmas decorations were still out we thought we’d at least spread some of the old, pre-lit garland on top of our new, very tall, white bookcases on either side of the chimney. We thought that would be a nice, relatively easy, decorating touch.

After putting batteries in the garland, positioning the ladder, and taking some deep breaths, my husband climbed up on the ladder again as I handed up the garland. He promptly handed the garland back, now covered with dust and cobwebs. And he asked if I could bring him an old, plastic container (about the size of a mouse) and a trash bag. A dead mouse had been sprawled on top of the tall bookcase.

Suffice it to say, we got the lighted garland up eventually and the mouse properly disposed of. The house now is even tidied a bit from the wreck we’d made of it.

And we have to admit our house is starting to look a bit more Christmas-y. But the Christmas tree is still not yet up. In a year of optimism, we had bought a pre-lit, simple, three-part construction Christmas tree that every year creates havoc because it never quite reassembles the way the directions claim and some of the lights refuse to come on.

The tree will be a project for next week. I suppose I should sign up for a double dose of physical therapy.  I just hope the therapists have finished their decorating. We’ve had enough fun for now.