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  • Writer's pictureAndy Ross

Tree No Go

A game plan had been made before Thanksgiving. The idea was to get most of the non-tree-related Christmas decorations up before the day of the feast. Storage tubs of decorations were brought forth and then placed in a holding pattern in the guest room since we had no one coming to stay with us. But, as well know, make a plan, and sometimes life will find a way of throwing everything into chaos.

The tree was to go up the Friday after Thanksgiving with trimming in the evening. The tree went up just fine, only it was leaning to one side a little. It’s a pre-lit tree, which is what is in vogue these days. However, if you don’t line up the center rod that connects the three sections the lightning won’t work properly. Even when it does, the lights that the tree came with felt a little lacking last year, so we got additional strands of lights to augment those.

After getting the tree lined up correctly, and double-checking all the contact points for power inside the tree were set right, I plugged the tree in and turned it on. It was a whole lot of nothing. Just the lights on the bottom third came on and the rest of them were off. At least we had bought new lights last year, so I got all those on the tree, then added another tangled, mangled, knotted strand from the deep back of a storage box to make up for what wasn’t working.

I do not know how, but I do know that one of the hard truths of life is that no matter how hard you try how much you neatly and carefully put away the Christmas tree lights, they will become a tangled mess by next December. I don’t know if it’s the Summer heat that penetrates the garage during their long rest that makes the wires co-mingle, but something makes them ball up to where you spend a lot of time swearing and trying to work them out into a cohesive line again.

Lights de-tangled, frustrations growing, I wrapped the lights around the tree and plugged them into the outlet. They glowed beautifully, the tree was lovely, and ornaments began to hang. When we finished I stood back to admire the tree. It looked perfect. I was exhausted at that point as I had spent three days in my kitchen cooking and trying to decorate this and that and the other. I turned off the tree, brushed my teeth, and went to bed.

The following morning, after a very deep sleep, I woke up and left my bed to get a cup of coffee. Coffee in hand I went over to the tree and turned it on. It was a grey, overcast morning, so the tree looked beautiful against the darker skies outside. I was happy that I was going to be able to enjoy a quiet, restful Saturday. No decorating to do, no baking or cooking to worry about, just rest.

That is when the lights on the top two-thirds of the tree went out. My jaw dropped, literally dropped, like a moment in a movie. I was annoyed and confused. I set my coffee down and began to fiddle with the tree. I looked for where the strands were connected and reset the connections. Nothing. I turned the tree off and checked the fuse at the plug, it was fine. I was confused as to why lights that were brand new last season had just given up the ghost.

This led to one conclusion which really set my teeth on edge. I would have to go get new lights, then remove all the ornaments on the upper two-thirds of the tree and start all over again. Gone was my restful Saturday. Gone was my day of finally having a break from the madness of Turkey Day. Off I went to shower and get ready, then off I went to the store.

The store was almost out of Christmas lights as of course they were. They had the multi-color ones, but I needed warm white to match the rest of my tree. I was impatient and didn’t want to wait for an online order, I needed them now so I could be done with the tree and maybe rest before I had to start shopping for all my family and friends.

I got lights, I got them on the tree, they worked, and then I spent another hour getting all those ornaments back on the tree. I was tired, I was almost 4:30 by the time I had finished with everything. I ordered a pizza and collapsed into a recliner. I was grumpy, over Christmas decor, and hoping it’s not a prescient of how the holiday season is going to go. So far we are holding but with some trepidation as the big day approaches. See you next week.


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