Well, it was a verrrry productive weekend here at Casa WestEnders, I tell ya. There was cleaning! Some errand...ing! And even a bit of Christmas tree decorating! As for the first two, the less said about those, the better. I can sum up thusly: busy little worker bees (okay, okay--not so much on the "little") buzzed around the house, vacuuming and wiping and...whatnot. This was not without its drama, mind you. Specifically, when asked to make their beds with the clean sheets I had just provided them, they responded with the following--Derek: "I'd rather...remove my spleen...with a spoon!" Riley: I'd rather...run a lemon zester...over my stomach!" (First of all, does that not seem like an exorbitant amount of nonsense for a relatively simple request? But more importantly, how in the HECK does Riley even know what a lemon zester IS? I promise you that such an item does not exist in this house...therefore I have no choice but to blame the Cooking Channel.) Anyway, then I was forced to drag the wayward sons (...to Kansas! No, just kidding...sorry...) to Bed Bath & Beyond briefly...and we all survived the experience...but barely. (Don't ask me what's going on with the alliteration. Sometimes these things just happen. Aaaannnd we're moving on...)
Finally we got around to the piece de resistance. (Which I'm quite certain must be French for "Defiant peasants....enlisted to deck the freakin' halls". Perhaps it's a loose translation...) Every year the artificial tree comes out of its box to be lovingly assembled and adorned with twinkling lights by the able team of minions--um "male family members". For example, here's an adorable bit of nostalgia from way back when....the boys were charmingly mischievous munchkins:
I know you must be thinking: "Wow, things must be soooo much easier, now! They can actually help unsnarl the (inevitably) tangled strings! They can be trusted to handle the delicate ornaments! They know how to place things in an aesthetically pleasing and balanced arrangement--not too crowded or too sparse, with the most cherished keepsakes front and center!" (Hahahahaha! Whew, I'm joking about that last part.. NO ONE can actually meet those criteria...to my complete satisfaction, that is. I just allow them to stick things where they wish...then go back and...fix stuff...when the "official family tree time" is done. At this point, everyone knows this...teases me about it...and it's all in good fun.)
So, here's how my assistants looked, just prior to being called into action, THIS year:
Yep, those are some...raring-to-go young men, aren't they? Shortly after taking this...pre-festivity shot...I retired ("fled") upstairs to allow the Y-Chromosome Contingent to tackle their task. I figured it was in my best interest to get as far away from the fray as possible--this proved a wise choice, as the next things I heard were mysterious thumps...alarming cackles...and Husband calling up to me in exasperation, "Dear! The elves are defective!" Ay yi yi.
Then, when I did rally my courage to venture down and check on their progress, I found Riley hiding in the large Rubbermaid container that houses the tree parts in the offseason. He popped his head out for a moment (like some sort of, I don't know, hyperactive prairie dog, or something) to instruct me, "Shh! Don't tell Dad I'm in here; I want to jump out and surprise him!" (Oh, suuuuure, honey. You mean, exactly like you've done EVERY YEAR since you could crawl into that thing? Who's gonna see that coming?) After he'd proudly performed his "trick", and Husband shook his head with a long-suffering sigh, Riley gleefully concluded, "That never gets old!" (Um...we beg to differ...but--short of squashing his somewhat admirable...youthful exuberance...what can you do?)
But...there was a final...punctuation mark...to the whole fa-la-la-ing session. The older son, who should absolutely know better, but was clearly suffering an unfortunate episode of Teenage Boy Brain...picked up one of the cheap, generic "fill in the blank spots" glitter-covered plastic balls from Target, made some crack to the effect of "Here's what I think about decorating"...and hurled it in the direction of the tree. The next sound was one of shattering glass, as the sparkly projectile connected with--you guessed it--an irreplaceable memento from one of our vacations. (Niagara Falls, in case you were wondering.) So you see, sometimes they're NOT actually as...well-behaved...as when they were small, sweet tots. (Or...I might just be looking back through those proverbial rose-colored glasses...or whatever....)
Nevertheless, the job got finished, and the results (after just a smidge of tinkering, I swear, just a tiny amount!) were genuinely lovely, if I do say so myself:
Now the only thing that's left to do is...wait, it'll come to me...oh, yeah: snarf holiday cookies and chug hot chocolate! Yesssss!!!!
The happiest of seasons, indeed...