the battle of the bulbs

November 16, 2007 at 9:32 pm Leave a comment

two years ago i broke a solemn vow i’d made to myself and bought a fake christmas tree. i used the excuse that our tree had to be tall and extremely skiny to fit in the only place it could conceivably go in my new house. it would be too hard to find a real tree that would work. so i did it. it was prelite, the perfect shape and size. it almost looked real and aided by an evergreen scented glade plug in it almost convinced even me. i was sure i had made the best purchase of my life.

last year was a little less perfect. fake tree or real. prelit or light strands to untangle. those silly little bulbs never cooperate. a few replacement bulbs, a little shaking and a lot of cursing and i eventually had light. well on most of the tree. but i masked the dark with an extra strand and strategically placed ornaments. i had my tree.

yesterday, anticipating trouble i decided to get a jump on things and start the battle of the bulbs early this year. as expected, once plugged, i was greeted with very little light. but i was prepared this time. i had the neccesary tools. a bulb tester, plenty of replacement bulbs and a very large bottle of pinot grigio. strand one was time consuming but successful. strand two a little less eager to cooperate. half lit. half not. for no good reason. strand three a challenge i opted to skip over and strand four bent at the plug so the fuses wouldn’t connect.  i twisted. i pulled. i sipped. i untangled. i tested. i gulped. and finally i had an epiphany.

the lights need to go. buy new ones like everyone does. a simple solution. or so i thought. prelit. prestrung. hooked on in ways i never dreamed. branch by branch i pried off little clips. followed wires up, down and around. an hour later only two strands lay on the floor by my feet. the rest entangled in that synthetic tree. i could hear them laughing at me. crushing the first inklings of christmas spirit that had crept in over the last few days. 

suddenly, like a christmas elf possessed, i ran for the kitchen and grabbed the scissors. i’ve never found such pleasure in destroying something. wire after wire fell victim to my temporary holiday insanity. it felt so damn good. until i realized that every cut i made still wouldn’t get the lights off. the hooks. stupid little plastic horse shoe shaped hooks had my branches hostage and wouldn’t let go. beaten. crushed. i sat in the middle of my living floor, drinking expensive wine stright from the bottle trying to remind myself that i love christmas.

today, sitting in my office with a slight hangover headache, i realized what i had to do. i’d be willing to bet mine is the first tree the garbage men haul away this year. it’s sitting at the edge of my driveway as i type. in a couple weeks, i’ll take my daughter and go pick the perfect real tree. it will likely be too fat and too short and chances are the dog will try to eat it. but it will be perfect.

our tree.

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beginnings spiders web

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