I'm about to start revisions for my book, so I may be scarce for the next few week. It's exciting to be entering the "home stretch." and I really appreciate your prayers and support!
Before I disappear, however, I have a few things to share with you.
First, Bear is dead. Margaret's sweet hamster that Auntie Liz bought her a few days after the accident has died. We had a quick burial in the back yard, and shed some serious tears. Bear was a very dear pet who let me carry him around, baby talk to him, and never once nipped at us.
Second, I need to tell you about our Christmas tree fun. So, you know how we've always had a Kids' Tree and a Grown-up Tree? I know Kristen Howerton got flack on Twitter last week for wanting to put up a separate Kids' Tree, because she didn't want to cover her main tree with all of the dough and paper plate ornaments from her four kids. Well, I say "More power to you, Sister!" We've been doing that for years and the kids have always loved it! I'm pretty sure having two (or three or four!) trees does not mean you love your kids any less.
You see, our family attended an Advent craft workshop for 9 years straight. Each kid came home with 10-12 ornaments per year. That's a lot of glitter and macaroni, people. There was no way my mom's gold balls and silver bows were going to fit on one tree with all of that homemade goodness. Thus, the two trees.
The kids felt special, plus it helped me seem much more laid back than I was when Tim's mom sent us 2 identical Hallmark Mark McGuire baseball player ornaments one year. Instead of hiding them on the lower inner reaches of the regular tree, I got to exclaim, "Wouldn't these be so festive on the Kids' Tree!?" without looking like too much of a jerk. Over the years, the contents of the trees got more intermingled as we put more of the kids' projects on the main tree, such as the paper ornaments they made with the names of Jesus on them.
Anyway, in the old house, the Kids' Tree was a large artificial tree that stood in the upstairs stairwell right outside Jack and Margaret's rooms. I liked how its lights sparkled through the window as we pulled into the driveway. In the new house, there's no such spot, so the Kids' Tree is now front and center in the living room, and you see it right when you walk in the door.
But that still left the matter of the "real" tree. After a colossal Thanksgiving road trip, that started out with my feeling hopeful and positive and ended up screaming sadness and LACK into my heart, we made it home to a dead hamster and the task of purchasing and putting up the real tree. Tim got it in the stand for me. He debated cutting off a few lower branches to make a more solid fit, but then decided against it. I said nothing.
I waited for him to do the lights, which is his usual job. I prefer to be the one who says, "Dude, you need more lights in that bare spot" than the one actually doing it. Tim, however, wasn't feeling well, and decided to watch football instead. I was aggravated but decided to turn over a holiday new leaf.
Instead of reminding him that he had spent 3 hours working on his sister's tree on Saturday, and helping my brother with various home projects during the 6 days of male bonding time they had sans families before Thanksgiving, I kept my annoyed mouth shut. Killing him with kindness wasn't an option, so I just opted not to kill him.
I waited until the family went to bed and did all the lights myself. Then, I started to decorate. One thing led to another until the tree was almost finished after about 3 hours.
Except then it began to lean at an odd angle. It was not secure in the stand. I lovingly woke up Tim and inquired as to whether he might be willing to come downstairs and straighten the tree with me, lest it fall crashing down in the night. He demurred and resumed sleeping.
It didn't fall, yet I was forced to look at the Leaning Tower of Tree-sa all day yesterday.
Last night Tim was ready to deal with it. Which is good, because if I had to look it one more day, wondering when my heirloom ornaments were going to break, I think I'd have to turn my new leaf right back to the other side.
He lifted the fully decorated tree out of the stand, while I chopped off the offending branch. It was not an easy process. There were no I told you so's, no sounds at all really, just the tinkling of ornaments hitting the floor. After the tree was secure, I stood back and congratulated myself for not being a nag. All was well, even if the tree looked a little worse for the wear. The tree had survived, and so had our marriage.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spied Tim crouching near the base of the fully decorated and lit tree with a long pair of hedge clippers. One of the branches did not look quite right to him. It protruded farther than was acceptable to his newfound Christmas decorating sensibilities. So he opened those suckers up and chopped off the branch along with a strand of lights-- and the entire tree went dark.
I still did not say a word, but climbed into bed with the tv remote and a large bag of M&M's.
Today I took the lights off and hung new ones, which was of course super-easy to do on a fully decorated tree.
The tree now looks fine, thank goodness, and my tongue is sore from biting it for the past 3 days.
All is well.
But could someone kindly inform my husband that "trimming the tree" does not mean what he thinks it means?