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all content 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Suburban Island

Tree-Posterous
Sunday, Dec. 29, 2002, 12:50 a.m.

Question: Why Do I Write Up Lists and Schedules at Christmas Time?

What I Learned: Write All Lists and Schedules in Pencil. Immediately Toss in Trash.

On the 22nd of December my tightly constructed holiday schedule went sadly awry. First, my DSL kicked out. No DSL meant no easy access to Diaryland. I began to feel a bit twitchy inside like when I run out of diet coke or my cell phone dies during rush hour and the only things on the radio are long commercial breaks and political commentators.

Complicating the situation was the school break for the holidays. Do you know how long a teenage can leave an away message up on a computer during Winter Vacation? Well, if you have a teenage in the house, I am sure you know the answer and it's not a pretty one. Let's put it this way - no adult in the household has a reasonable chance of getting in some serious online access during Winter Vacation without breaching away-message protocol.

Normally game for any challenge, I might have been willing to give it a shot. Who knows, I might have had a chance. Even teenagers go to bed sometimes. However, I was perched on the brink of Christmas and did not have the energy to jockey for computer time. I was too preoccupied with pulling together the many tinsel threads that make up the holiday without tangling things up too much. As it was only large sweet coffees with whip and six packs of diet coke were fueling my engine.

By 2 that morning as the fiber optic tree fell over on my youngest for a fourth and final time, I was beginning to see that putting the ho ho ho in our holiday was going to require some real effort on my part this year. Ornament boxes had been ransacked for lightweight items and most of our ornaments did not fit the bill. The big Charlie Brown lights we liked to stick on the tree along with an assortment of smaller lights were abandoned.

That twinkly 7-foot fake Christmas tree we had so happily welcomed into our home just a short time before was now shedding ornaments from its flimsy branches like some dried out pines dropped needles onto a newly vacuumed floor. The fake Christmas tree was a fraud. It looked pretty and happy to participate in our very merry Christmas but all it really did was lean sideways a bit and glimmer in a rather careless way.

We should have gotten a clue we were in for trouble when the store gave us a second stand (provided by the manufacturer) to keep the tree more stable but the heart is alway hopeful, especially during the holidays.

Looking around at the litter of ornament boxes, strands of lights, and scattered Lionel trains which had fallen victim to this green electric excuse for a tree, I gave a final sigh, pulled my kid out from under the thing a final time, and turned out the light.

Upstairs we talked of pines and firs and slept with the imagined smell of crisp needles and fresh sap wafting through our dreams. We might have lost this first round but we had kept the big white box and we knew the location of every Christmas tree lot in the vicinity. Insurrection was in our hearts and time was running out for a suprise change of course.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, you'll rue the day you fell on me!

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