Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Tree Syncope

This time of year can be a frustrating one for doctors and their families. Oh, heck, it can be frustrating for just about anyone, I guess. But I have found an unusual incidence of problems with decorating my house this year. It’s like negative Karma, a decidedly un-Christian experience, has descended upon our household.

Why, for instance, does the garland I draped with little white lights and saved carefully in an airtight container from last year, decide to have only one half of the lights on the garland strand light? Why is that? And have you ever tried to fix one of those “half strands” of extinguished lights? You go over and grab one of the extra little bulbs attached to the string of lights and find the one bulb that isn’t stained with red (those red ones make that God-forsaken blinking). Now, you try to play hide-n-go seek with 75 other bulbs on the strand to find the one that is out in hopes of resuscitating the strand. It ain’t gonna happen. Trust me, I’ve tried. So why do they include those stupid little bulbs, anyway?

My wife suggested the miniscule fuse also attached to the end of another string of lights might fix another strand. Have you ever tried to place the fuse inside the plug? Usually you need a set of forceps and a loop microscope to identify the old fuse and extract it. Damn thing looks like one of the inner ear bones, but I digress. Anyway, you put that fuse in the plug and well, it still doesn’t work. Don’t ask me why. Finally, after saying enough expletives to fill a dictionary, I gave up. I went to Walgreens tonight to just buy some new strands.

And of course, Walgreens is all out of the little white lights. Oh, I could have all red, all blue, all green, or all multicolored, but the little white ones? They’re all out. They’re hanging on everyone else’s trees and bushes.

But three other stops later at other stores, I found a few short white strands, brought them home, and plugged them in and all fared well. One problem conquered.

But another was about to develop.

Last weekend I was on call. I hate call. But it’s a necessary evil.

But my wife hates my call weekend worse than I do, especially this time of year. There’s so much to accomplish that the last thing she needs is her husband off “saving lives” while she saves the family. This weekend was especially difficult, so she decided to act unilaterally and get the Christmas tree without me. She thought she would surprise me.

So when I came home later that evening, there is was, leaning a bit, but adorned with all of the beautiful multicolored lights and special garland. She and my daughter were so proud. They had managed to place it in an old tree stand next to our front window. Very festive, indeed, and a wonderful gift for me to see it up without having to wrestle with that sucker this year! Wonderful!

So the whole family decorated the tree with our heirloom ornaments and remembrances. It was all such a Norman Rockwell painting. Christmas music rang through the air, it was cool outside, the fire was going in the fireplace, and you could here the family decompressing:

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

After we had finished, we each went to our ways, and I decided to sit and check my e-mail. Little did I know our tree had fallen ill.

There was no warning. No time to react. Yep. Fallen ill. It couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t be, but was: Christmas tree syncope right there in our living room. The entire behemoth came crashing down, with 30-40 ornaments smashed to smithereens. Countless others rolling across the floor. Sadly, my son’s special ornament pulverized into little red and silver shards.

My wife and I looked at each other. No words were spoken, but the tacit message I could hear was, “If you say one word after I put up with all this crap today, you better not say a (*$%)( thing.” An hour later we found ourselves positioned, smily-faced at yet another Christmas cocktail party.

Ho, ho, ho.

Well, I’m off to pen one of those rosy, Pollyanna, “My Family is so Perfect,” Christmas letters…



Anonymous said...

So, guess the tree failed the tilt table test?

Cathy said...

HA! If it's any consolation, I think all families experience this at one year or another. 2 years ago I was babysitting at my son's house when their hugh 8ft tree took a nose dive out of its stand.

Oh, I was afraid they would think I had done something to it. I had done nothing and was in the kitchen when it crashed to the floor. Just like you it was all broken and a mess.

My son blamed his wife for not getting it secure in the stand. She gave him one of those looks. He shut up!

But, look at the memory it made for you. Next year, when all is going well, you will be thankful that you aren't having a repeat of last year.

DrWes said...

Postive indeed. It just took a while...

and Cathy-
Thank you. I knew there must be a reason for these moments....

But I still can't get over those damn lights! Can you tell me why they pack 3 of those red-tipped bulbs and only one clear replacement bulb per string of lights? Probably to be sure you buy another strand... *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Two simple solutions to your Christmas tree problems.

1) Next year buy the light sets that are made so that when one light burns out the rest stay lit. This makes it easy to find the burned out bulb or just forget about it. Only one bulb!
2) Buy those cheaper light sets.
They are only a few dollars and good for at least one year, then trash them when the tree comes down. Who needs all that stress and aggravation around the holidays.

Walgreens is wrong. "Life can be that simple". But take to cocktails anyway and call me in the morning. A happy holliday to you and yours.