The weather was so nice today, especially for January. Because it was so clement outside and the fact that is it also Twelfth Night, I decided it was the perfect time for me to take down the minimal decorations that I had put up for Christmas. I tackled the outdoor decorations first.
I don't know if one would call it an elaborate process when I put up the lights, but I am anal enough to make sure that stray wires can't be seen and all plug connectors are placed in freezer baggies, which I then duct tape the hell out of. Gotta make sure that moisture can't get in there.
This method of mine during the installation of lights at the beginning of Christmas means that I have a bit of a task ahead of me to remove those same said lights at the end of the season. I am, however, very prepared for the task. It's called "laser-cut kitchen scissors". This item can cut through most anything — pizza crust, herbs, plastic wrap, fingers, and as I discovered today — wire.
As I stood on the ladder looking at the plug in one hand and the rest of the string of icicle lights still hanging on the house, I paused for just a moment before I burst out in laughter. Goal #5 for 2008: Choose Your Attitude
I think almost everyone knows that Christmas is THE holiday for me. I also believe that almost everyone knows that I try my darnedest to make sure Christmas is next to perfect. By the time I am finished emptying out the 15 or so boxes of Christmas decorations, practically every square inch of the house will be decked in holiday splendor. I will then follow that up with dinner parties, baking cookies, wrapping presents, singing Christmas carols, and anything else I can possibly do to make the "spirits bright."
Then came 2007.
Because it was a warm day on Thanksgiving, I decided I was going to start off Christmas just a bit early and put my outside light up. I had just bought some brand new LED icicle lights and I couldn't wait to decorate. As I opened up the bag to pull out the lights, my enthusiasm quickly fled as I realized I had bought two different kinds of LED lights (one style was all blue, and the other style was blue and white). To make matters worse, I didn't have enough of any one style to go the entire length of the house. I was heartbroken.
Keith tried to be helpful and offered to go back to the store and exchange the wrong colored lights. I immediately told him that I didn't want him doing that and that I would wait until the weekend to put up the icicle lights. (Keith and I feel the same way about stores being open on Thanksgiving and we try our best not to patronize them on that day.) Needless to say, I was just a little upset.
That one little incident had set the tone for my whole holiday season. Work had become extremely busy as my company decided to roll out a product three weeks early (Health Savings Accounts or HSAs), which meant I had to train people and give presentations to other companies and generally do things other than my normal job (I am an IRA specialist and at this point I needed to get all of the accounts ready for end of year reporting). On top of that, I had joined the company Holiday Chorus and we were rehearsing at least two times a week (a weeknight and Saturdays) to prepare for the concert being held on December 18th and 20th. Add in the fact that I had also volunteered to shop, prepare, and cook the Yule feast for the SCA group in Auburn on the 15th of December. If that wasn't enough, I was also running the annual Secret Santa for work, caught a cold twice that month, spent the entire week before Christmas going into work at 7am (an hour and a half before my normal shift), had not bought any presents for anyone, and had no time to decorate. (I don't need to go in the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fiasco.)
Needless to say, my whole month sucked and I was just not in the mood to celebrate anything.
It was two days after Christmas when it hit me. I had just spent a whole month miserable, hurt, and angry during a holiday season that celebrates joy and light. What was up with that? (Now this is where everything gets a little nebulous and I apologize for that. If you've read the my prior entries, you'll understand. I told you all this stuff was interconnected.)
Regardless of what curveballs The 'Verse throws at you, you always have a choice in how you're going to react to it. I had chosen to be miserable for Christmas. I could've been cheerful for the holidays — all I had to do was decide to be happy and it would've made all the difference — but instead I had decided on unhappy.
Looking back on it now, it seems so silly to choose to be miserable. Life's too short for that. There's too many amazing and beautiful things out there to experience! And I'm going to stop myself before I start babbling about people and puppies and kittens and sunshine and — you get my drift.
So going back to my story where I was looking at the plug for my new LED icicle lights in one hand, the pair of scissors in my other hand, and the string of lights still hanging from the gutter. Yes, I began laughing. It was a joyous moment!
There is a zen story (and I'm giving you the really abridged version) about a man that was enjoying and admiring a glass cup. He said, "I can enjoy the cup now because in my mind it is already broken." I had been thinking about that story all day and suddenly The 'Verse decided I should experience it. What a wonderful feeling!
Could I have been miserable and pissed off and angry at myself for destroying the lights? Certainly, but where would that have gotten me? Isn't it better to laugh? In either case, the lights are still damaged, but by laughing I'm not putting myself down or feeling miserable. I'm feeling great!
And now I come to the end of my story, which took place a few hours later. Keith came home from church and I showed him what had happened. He thinks the lights can be repaired so that they'll be like new. Then, as I was packing away the Christmas decorations, I discovered two more boxes of the same icicle lights. I had actually bought more lights than I had really needed and instead of returning them to the story, I just packed them away. I had totally forgotten that I had done that! (Out of sight, out of mind.) So I got my second laugh of the day!
I believe I am hitting five for five or six for six in the late nights. Oh well. There's nothing to do about it — except laugh!