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The Hapless Househusband Tries Decorating the House for Christmas...
Leave The Leaves Outside...
Like most guys, I go through occasional Scandinavian minimalist phases. This usually occurs when the house is in imminent danger of becoming fully engulfed in stuff. Open an IKEA catalog and look at the pictures. Not of the rooms (they add too much stuff) but of the furniture pieces. Simple, functional, uncluttered, they say, “relax” to my soul, take a load off, set a spell…
The simplicity mirrors the simplicity of my gender:
1) You need a comfortable place to park your butt.
2) An uninterrupted view of a big TV.
3) A place to leave the remote, so it won’t get lost.
4) Easy access to beverages and food.
(If you’ve ever wondered why guys spend so much time in the bathroom, the simple answer could be that you can’t move the furniture around. If Lazy-Boy ever developed a toilet seat where your legs didn’t go to sleep, we’d only come out for food.)
The aforementioned guy nirvana is rarely attained for two simple reasons. One, we dump stuff all over the place for the tidy-fairies to handle, and two, most of us live in houses with women. (Confusing women with the tidy-fairies is a giant mistake, trust me on this!)
And women like to decorate. I’m not talking painting and wallpapering and putting up drapes type of decorating. This is the decorating that is done on top of that decorating. Decorating for the holidays, or seasons, or whatever gets in the way of simply leaving the place alone.
Now, I live in Southern California, which is fairly devoid of seasonal extremes. She-Who-Is-Adored loves the seasons, so many moons ago, she planted ten or twelve liquid amber trees in our yard. These pretty trees have beautiful green shoots in the spring, lush green leaves in the summer, and turn yellow and red in the fall. Then the leaves actually fall, and we have a set of oversized twigs for a couple of months. With most of the trees around us being evergreens, the liquid amber is the star of the fall, acting all deciduous and back east-y.
I mention this because I spend an incredible amount of time collecting, mulching and generally fighting with the several tons of leaves these beauties produce. Hate is a strong word, but our relationship is certainly not healthy.
You can imagine my joy as, when the leaves are threatening to suffocate the house from the outside, She brings out silk versions to decorate the inside of our abode, which she paid actual money for, and puts in little baggies and stores under the stairs for eleven months of the year. Sure, they are pretty and all that, but honestly, you want leaves? Look outside.
And before you think this is a nice piece of bringing the outside in, you try coming inside with real leaves on your person. Those leaves are bad and stain the carpet in a quite spectacular manner. No, the outside definitely has to stay outside. (I get it, now that I’m responsible for keeping both zones in good shape.)
Now, lest you think me unreasonable and a complainer, She, has not succumbed to the excesses of Loony Tunes land, and silk leaves aside, adds just enough touches to make things festive. Christmas, which lives in boxes for most of the time, is mostly red and green touches, and twinkley white lights. I truly feel for my brothers who are married to the group I shall call “The Collectors.”
They start with one little snow covered Dickens village piece, and in a few years, Christmas becomes an urban planning nightmare. Sheets of cotton wool draped over every surface, village life, in all its ceramic glory, on every surface and in every nook and cranny. Loosing the cat becomes an imminent possibility, loosing your couch a probability, and loosing the remote a certainty. The Collectors vie with each other to get on local TV as the neighborhood nutcase. On the magic day, a young thing and her camera crew visit your humble abode. They struggle mightily to not laugh openly at their “subject,” but seem unable to remove sarcasm from their lips completely.
The lady in question, blissfully unaware that she is just the filler between the weather report and the sports guy, gushes about her pieces like they are small children. If you look closely at the “Collector Lady” footage, there in the background you might spot the husband. He will be sitting on the couch looking alternately sheepish and mortified, covered in fake snow looking for the remote in the coffee table village, an offshoot of the main village, this one with a fifties theme.
Some collectors amass santas, others angels, and the truly out of control, have santas, angels, and some young Elvises, interspersed with their multiple villages. Now, I know how much space our more reasonable holiday collection takes up when stored. How on Earth do the collectors do it?
To be fair, I’ve noticed they often have an RV outside their, usually modest, home. Is that where they store themselves in the off-season? No wonder self-storage sites are springing up all over the place.
On a completely random side note, what must be going through the minds of the workers in China as they produce this stuff? I’m pretty sure that Santa and Dickensian villages are not part of the culture. How do they think we use these things, and, maybe more importantly, when? I mean, for the village to be in the store for December, it probably needs shipped in mid-summer, so manufacturing of the seasonal stuff is something like six weeks out of whack. Thus, around Valentine's Day must be when Halloween production is in full swing.
Anyway, the purpose of this particular hub was to take a respite from the Christmas-ing up of the house. I removed the strands of red and yellow silk leaves and carefully bagged them to be ready for next year, switched out the formal china for the Spode Christmas Tree set, and assembled the pre lit wonder pine. This fake behemoth takes up half the living room, necessitating the removal of most of the furniture, that somehow has to be shoehorned into our three-car (car, in the garage, don’t make me laugh), garage. ( A whole other hub right there…)
I’m so over wrestling with real trees, and not a moment too soon, now that I have won vacuuming detail for the foreseeable future.
Do we have spring decorations? Have to check, but probably…
Dear Hub Reader
If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,
Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,
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