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ABOUT ME

About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Getting dumped at Christmas sucks

Chuck and I put up our Christmas tree this weekend. It’s a fake tree and for as much as I hate its synthetic, shiny branches it was ridiculously easy to drag up from the basement—pre-lit—and plop in front of the window. Add a few pine scented candles and voila, our redneck neighbors won’t be none the wiser.

So there I was: glass of wine in one hand; hairy psycho Santa in the other. I stuck him on a branch and stood back to inspect his placement.



Then, the questions started. Is the ornament next to one that complements its colors? Is it the appropriate weight for the branch? Is the size of the ornament relative to its position on the tree? Should the ornament be grouped with ornaments similar in theme? Is the ornament facing in the right direction?

OMG.

I don’t enjoy the mental check list, but it’s ingrained. My mother took tree decorating very, very, very seriously. She had four siblings and, as she tells it, never got to put the ornaments where she wanted. Which is why when I was a child, after I had put up an ornament, she would sneak over to the tree when I wasn’t looking and move it. While Alvin and Simon duked it out on the record player, my parents duked it out treeside.

My father [to my mother]: “Why did you move that snowman?”

My mother: “It looked horrible there.”

My father: “Let her decorate the tree.”

My mother: “It’s my tree, too.”

My father: “It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

My mother: “It was on the wrong branch, facing in the wrong direction. Next to a gingerbread house!”

My father would move it back. My mother would yell. My father would go outside to his tool shed. My mother would slam the bedroom door.

Finally, I could decorate the tree in peace and quiet.

My parents finally divorced in 1983. That same year, my mother married a man who got her two Christmas trees, which she decorated all by herself. The downstairs tree had a pink and red theme; the upstairs, white. Meanwhile, at my father’s house, my father threatened to ignite the tree as my three-year-old brother and I bickered over ornament and light placement.

Kidding. Kind of. Poor pops.

Anyway, I couldn’t help but think of all this Saturday night as I stood there with my ornaments. I thought about how Chuck and I might actually make it as a couple because he could give a shit about what branches I hang the ornaments on.

I thought about my brother Ted and how he called off his engagement today (I didn't even get a chance to find #22 on ebay). On the phone he asked me if I wanted any ornaments. His now former fiancee had brought a tree back to their apartment and its chances of being decorated were pretty slim.

I thought about the boxes of ornaments that sit in my father’s basement and if, because he doesn’t get a tree anymore, he thinks about someday giving them to me?

I thought about my mother’s two enormous trees and how she wants to give me all of her ornaments someday. All of them.

Then I thought about Chuck’s mom and how she loves fluffy, tacky ornaments and how she likes to give us ornaments every year—sometimes stockingfuls at a time.

It hit me: Someday I’m going to be smushed in an avalanche of fucking ornaments. Choked by Santa hair. Hobbled by sleighs. Hiney-poked by this bad boy:



The question is, will Chuck still be there to save me?

29 comments:

SLColman said...

Oh no!! Poor girl :(

So funny though about getting buried in an avalanche of ornaments!!

Grand Pooba said...

Haha! Do you think you could actually die from drowning in ornaments?

I just went and bought all new ornaments yesterday. My tree in previous years was all hand me down ornaments from my dad, mom and inlaws. Ugh, I was so sick of my modge podge tree. (is that how you spell modge podge? Weird)

HoodChick said...

Wow, that is one pissed off looking Santa!

Frogs in my formula said...

That was a rhetorical question at the end, Chuck!

Keely said...

Of course he will be, he's a fucking Viking.

Also, you could send some of those MY way. My mother will not give me one. single. one. of our traditional Christmas tree decorations (I actually stole one, one year). And I'm too cheap to buy proper ones and I guess I don't look like the kind of person who would appreciate that as a present? Anyway, all I have is crappy plastic ones.

So yeah, hook a girl up.

Mad Woman said...

I'm with Chuck...I couldn't care less about where they all go. I just let the kids decorate.

This post was funny cos it reminded me of my house growing up.

SugarBritches said...

Chuck will still be there. Buried under an avalanche of ornaments but still there.

Sara said...

I think you are lucky to be the go-to gal for Christmas tree inheritances. We will toss you a life vest. Just do the "Santa belly" and float on your back.

kyooty said...

I totally love this story! sorry about the SIL snaffoo!

Leanne said...

Yes, Chuck will be there...but maybe, tell your whole family you've decided to become Jewish or something - that'll mess with the whole ornament dumping plan.

Amanda said...

I had one of those mothers too...

So this year I'm letting my kids decorate the tree with hair from the bathtub drain, tin foil, and used surgical gloves. My tree will be AWESOME.

mo.stoneskin said...

You've got to be careful if you have a glass of wine in one hand and a Santa in the other.

If I were you I'd keep the phone handy with the emergency number pre-dialed just in case you drink the wrong one.

rachel... said...

I think I'm your mom. I swear my husband and I had these arguments word-for-word several years in a row. We did end up getting two trees, one for him and the kids with their *multicolored* lights (shudder) and my beautiful, perfect one. That lasted only a couple years, though, as more of children attended pre-school and our tree(s) have become giant displays for anything felt, clay, glittered, or made of macaroni.

Working Mommy said...

I am a huge fan of having a lot of lights/ornaments. The man finds it annoying that I have to add an additional 500 lights to our pre-lit tree :) At least you'll have a lot of options - and you're guaranteed to not have the same looking tree year after year~

~WM

Joan M. Cannon said...

God Bless you and chuck and junior! :) Merry Christmas!

The Mother said...

Luckily, we here in Houston don't have those nasty winters, and so aren't required to bring a dead tree into our living rooms to protect the tree spirits.

Even if it is synthetic.

No ornaments, either. Although I do have a closet full of Halloween paraphernalia that frequently threatens to squish me.

blognut said...

Yep. Chuck will be there.

You better warn him what he has to look forward to when the ornament avalanche hits.

judemiller1 said...

As I sit and look at my tree, I have to get up and move ornaments that are just right. My mother also had a perfect tree, but my Daddy could care less...about the ornament placement, the tree and Christmas.

Brandy said...

that snowman ornmanent freaks me out!

just think you could decorate a tree for EVERY room. how fun.

♥Georgie♥ said...

your blog is one of my absolute FAVS! I am one who actually thinks the tree looks best without ornaments, just lil white lights...ahhh... and I am happy to report i let my children decorate it any ol' way they like...

Buggys said...

I'm thinking Chuck will still be there. I also have gone down that sinful path of the metal and plastic "fake" tree! I got sick of the mess and stepping on prickly dead pine needles. i used to have 2 trees; one with colored lights and macaroni decorations and the other my perfect gold and white tree. This year I allowed Buggy girl to decorate any way she chose. Talk about a hot mess, very lovingly done though. I'll post pics tomorrow.

Jeanne said...

This is the downside of your ornament-placement fetish: you can't even dump the decorating on Chuck to save yourself work.

As for the upcoming ornament onslaught: eBay.

Mama Badger said...

Are any of your Mom's ornaments from your childhood? In not, that screams donation to me. Some poor family that doesn't know the joy of a pink and red tree can be "blessed".

I'd ask your Dad if he'll share the ornaments. Sounds like those are the ones you really want.

If all else fails, uhm, there are worse ways to die? Ok, maybe not.

Otter Thomas said...

At the rate we are gathering ornaments I may be in danger too. Great post.

Pricilla said...

Better before they got married, though....

It's always hard to break up.

Julie@Momspective said...

We prevent any dumping issues by ignoring every holiday together :)

Mrsbear said...

I'm actually sad for the now ex-fiance. Throwing a festive holiday on the wound is worse than salt.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Gotta love Christmas and all its glorious festiveness. Not.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

And that Santa freaked me out.