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Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

Archive for the tag “Christmas tree”

Fear and Loathing in the suburbs Or how pumpkin bread learned to hate me.

Last month, in my enthusiasm for all things Christmas (Bah-humbug.  I put the damn tree up, and within a week it was decorated.  Can I read my book now?) I purchased some canned pumpkin.  For some reason I purchased three cans of pumpkin.  Not only did I purchase three cans of pumpkin, I purchased three of the largest cans of pumpkin you are able to purchase without going to extremes like industrial commercial restaurant supply places, which are usually located in fairly shady areas (it seems to me), probably because overhead is cheaper and if you are storing gallon-sized cans of pumpkin you probably need a lot of space.  Pumpkin is not a high-end market item, so the income from gallon-sized cans of canned pumpkin would probably not cover overhead in a warehouse located near the mall and bookstore.  Also, and more importantly, I prefer to spend less time than more in the car while driving around town, as I think it safe to say I am an excellent driver and, unfortunately, most of those around me on the streets around are not.  Not that I judge.  Anyway, I don’t want to drive 13 miles to a shady warehouse to purchase pumpkin for which I have no use, and in gallon sized cans.  If I’m going to purchase pumpkin for which use I am unsure, I may as well save some gas money, my time, and possible road-rage incidents in which I find myself beating the steering wheel – inevitably hurting my hand in the process – and screaming blasphemies about someone’s parentage, sexual preferences and IQ.

Somehow, between 9 days in Arizona visiting my mom and PR’ing my marathon, about which I shall ruminate in another exciting WordPress missive at some other date, and another 8 days out-of-town with my family, leaving me with 14 days to do all the normal stuff, plus all the Christmas stuff (the slowly decorated tree and half of the Christmas cards mailed), I thought I was going to make something edible which included canned pumpkin.  My thought, being that I am so into the Christmas spirit and all (oh – I did purchase a pine scented candle, too.  If I entered the room with nothing but the tree lights on, and squinted a lot, I could almost believe the tree was a live tree, pine scent wafting about the den) (and by the way, when you say you purchased a live tree and brought it home – and I’m perfectly fine with either of you doing so, I’m not meaning to judge – I just want to be sure you realize that what you purchased was, in fact, a dead tree) (truth-in-advertising not being what’s it’s cracked up to be, and all.  Not that I’m saying either of you are so dumb that you thought your tree was really still alive and not in actuality dead. I’m sure you realize it’s a misnomer.).

Ahhh…where was I?  Yes, pumpkin.  Flush with success over getting the tree decorated in under a week I decided to make pumpkin bread and give it to people.  Digging out the recipe I realized that each loaf of bread took 2/3 C. of pumpkin and each large can of pumpkin proudly contains 5.3 each of two-third cup servings.  This left me with enough pumpkin to bake 15.9 loaves of pumpkin bread.  I don’t care how much you like pumpkin, no one wants 15.9 loaves of bread, and if you do want that many loaves I don’t really care because I do not care to waste my precious remaining 14 days of the month making 15.9 loaves of bread.

It all became moot in the end, anyway, as you will soon see.  Pumpkin bread hates me, hates my household and does not want me to make it any more.  Personally I’m going with it’s a sign from God that I have other, better things to do, like write WordPress posts and play Spider Solitaire which, by the way, if Spider Solitaire suddenly became alive, I’m certain it would be one of those drivers I mentioned earlier.  This has nothing to do with the fact that I lost 7 games in a row.

Stupid damn game.

HOWEVER – back to pumpkin bread.

Feeling quite Martha Stewart-ish, what with the half decorated tree, the pine scented candle, and old Christmas songs pinging out of my iPhone, humming along happily I dumped pumpkin into the bread machine (right — you thought I made it by hand, didn’t you?  HAHAHAHAHAHA) along with sugar and spice and everything nice ♬ OH THE WEATHER OUTSiiiiiiDE IS FRIGHTFUL BUT THE FiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiRE IS SO DELiiiiiiiiiiiiiiTEFUL ♬ ♪ I sang, flour floating about the kitchen, Murphy so excited that he sang along with me although some curmudgeonly people might say he was howling and not with me, but at me, but those people are Scrooge McScrooges.

Some time later the bread machine dinged.  I removed the dough, rolled it out and set it in pans to rise under a towel.  A while later I returned to find the bread quite despondent and flat.  “Bread,” I asked, “what are you so despondent about?  Rise and shine!  This is your time!”  Bread just sat in the pans, flat and small and dead.

Shit.  I bet…yep, dammit. Yeast.  Oopsie…

Into the trash, good-bye sad bread.

Yesterday dawned, dreary, grey, windy and cold.  What can I do to perk this place up, I wondered?  I know!  I still have enough pumpkin for 13.9 more loaves!  Let’s make bread!  LA-LA-LA-LA I sang, awakening again my inner Martha (oddly considering crocheting scarves after making the bread), carefully measuring and adding the required amount of yeast.  The machine whirled and twirled, later producing a light, soft, puffy mound of pumpkin bread which again I carefully rolled out and set in pans to rise.  Checking later revealed fluffy mounds of dough ready to be popped into the oven.  DING the timer rang, and I removed the perfectly shaped, lightly browned loaves of bread perfection, setting them carefully on a towel to rest.

A while later my friend April was preparing to leave and as she passed the dining room on her way to the kitchen door Murphy quite unexpectedly growled and barked loudly.  I figured he was startled and moved to comfort him.

DAMMIT.  HE’S EATING MY BEAUTIFUL PUMPKIN BREAD!  Death by dog!  Half the loaf remained, chewed, gnawed and shredded.  I looked in the kitchen to see the other loaf, set further back on the counter and apparently not quite close enough for him to obtain, bearing teeth marks revealing Murphy’s initial attempt at bread murder.

Two more loaves head to garbage can oblivion.

Pumpkin bread hates me.

 

 

 

Suspicious Minds

Well, Boy and Girl, this is my 200th post.  You’ve both been very faithful supporters.  You repeatedly encouraged me to blog; when I did you were my first two followers, and I thank you.  Everyone else wishes you’d kept your mouths shut and I will not use your real names to protect you, but thank you both, “Hermione” and “Sylvester”.  Somehow 712 people have chosen to follow this nannering, wandering blog, I thank you all also and sincerely apologize for all the lost hours and brain cells.

Things that did not happen yesterday:

1.  The tree is still not decorated although it’s fluffed and has a few shiny things hanging on it.  This time it’s because I can’t decide the best way to keep the cats from declaring it their new home and then redecorating it to suit their tastes, which is all the balls knocked off onto the floor.  I don’t like that look.  It’s…crunchy.  The vacuum doesn’t like it either, apparently and to my regret.

2.  My foot was not miraculously healed.  This made my very devout mother sad.  You’d think after all these years she would give up, but, no.  She’s absolutely convinced that at some point she is going to pray someone out of something.  Who knows?  She very well may have already, because I figure if she did then we would not know because they would have gotten prayed out of it.  My question is, what does God do up there, have a stopwatch and an excel spreadsheet?  “Okay, then, Sally beat Janie by .37 second on the praying for rain/praying for no rain, toughski shitzki, Janie, it’s going to rain on your wedding.  Pray faster next time, and also I will put you in the lose column and you’ll get a 3 second advantage on the next prayer.”

If either of you two faithful followers are still following after reading that blasphemy you should probably at least climb under your desk to continue.

This means that Dr. Awesome v.2 made my mom sad.  I should have pointed this out to him, but I expect he would still not have changed his mind.

In fact, I did sort of point it out.  I told him that he had not read the script correctly; his line was supposed to be, “WOW.  I made a mistake.  Your foot is not broken at all, I’m SO sorry.”

I would have been the bigger person here, too, and I would not have gotten upset.  I would be all magnanimous and wave my hand slightly – “oh it’s nothing, I’m sure it happens.”

But, no.  No healing.  Four more weeks and see him again.  And you know what?  I suspect that he is a very suspicious man.  He doesn’t seem to trust me and I have no idea why.  Rather like Hubs thinking I would not wear the boot.  Cynical, even.

Would this conversation make you suspicious that someone was suspicious about you?

Dr. A v.2:  “See me in four more weeks.  Call me in two weeks.”

Me: “Um, OK, why?”

Dr. A v.2:  “So I can talk you down.”

Me:  (Innocent) “What?  You don’t trust me?”

Dr. A v.2:  “You’re a runner.  I know what you will be thinking two weeks from now when your foot doesn’t hurt so much anymore.  Call me and I’ll talk you down.”

Me:  *Sigh*  *dammit*

They’re cute, odd, but lovable and make good pets.

Merry Christmas!

Mom is downstairs talking to her food.  She has also named it.  It’s name is Turkey Lurkey.  She’s planning to stuff it full, also.  You have to admit this makes no sense.  If the food is not fat enough by the time you plan to eat it, stuffing it at that point is useless.  We have no problem with eating a bird or a squirrel if you can catch one but we know enough, first, not to name something you plan to eat and, second, catch something that’s already fat enough.

Last night she, J and Grandma all were upstairs rapping.  They didn’t sing but they laughed a lot.  We though rappers sang songs but what do we know?  Lacking opposable thumbs we can’t turn on the iPod.  Also, they are not good rappers or wrappers.  You should see how they wrapped the boxes.  It’s pretty ugly, we can’t even see colors and we know it’s ugly.  Look:

wrapping

Now Murphy left and is sitting on the stairs pouting.  He’s upset because one of the twins is downstairs on the couch so he can’t get on the couch.  The other one is asleep in the bedroom with the door closed so he can’t get on that bed.  Grandma went to church with Dad so now he can’t follow Grandma around the house like a lovesick moron.  Grandma went to church with dad so mom could stay home and finishing stuffing Turkey Lurkey and put it in the oven.  Which, that’s also weird.  Have you ever seen a cat cook their food?  It ruins the flavor.  People are weird.  Cute, but weird.

Here’s something else just to prove that this Christmas stuff apparently makes people stranger than usual:  Dad, who is like the Security Police and always makes sure every light is off and every door is locked and everything that should be in its right place – Dad – left on the lights in the den.  Not only that, but he openly allowed some fat man to CRAWL DOWN THE CHIMNEY in the middle of the night.  Yes.  Then he let the fat man play with OUR tree.  The tree we’re NOT allowed to play with, the fat man gets to play with.  What kind of idiocy is that?  PLUS:  he did not let Murphy bark at the fat man.  See?  Odd.  Loveable, but odd.

You know what else?  He did not go to workoutattheY.  Nope.  Crazy.  He didn’t goforarun either.  Mom wentforarun last week.  She was really happy.  But, did she goforarun today?  No!  SEE??

Also, another thing – dad never lets a light bulb stay on a nanosecond longer than absolutely necessary.  It’s like a contest.  Can he get the light bulb turned off before the person is completely out of the room?  We think he has a scoreboard somewhere. And, yet:  he let mom randomly put lights all over the outside of the house – where you can’t even use them to read a book – and leave them on for hours.  Cute, but senseless.

So we’re just hiding up here, playing spider solitaire on the laptop and trying to stay out of the way of a bunch of crazy people.  We love them, they’re cute and they do make good pets, but sometimes you need to just let them run out the energy.  Later they’ll be all tired and in the den looking at the tvset and we’ll make our move then.  Turkey Lurkey may be too skinny and getting cooked in an oven, but we bet there will be some left on the counter.  We can force ourselves to eat some.

Merry Christmas to all you other pet owners, we hope your pets got fatter turkeys and that your Dad didn’t flip out and let a fat man just randomly roam through your den.  But we’re betting you’re all in the same boat as us.

You gotta love them, though.  They’re so cute!

Here, There, Everywhere .. and … RUNNING!

Good morning, Boy and Girl.  I suppose you’ve both been frantic, wondering where I am and why I haven’t written lately.  Well, in addition to the usual – my toy job, the holidays coming up, getting the guest room ready for company 🙂 (mom and T1 and T2 are all coming for Christmas!) I decided this was the perfect time to finally tackle a project that’s been stairing me in the face daily for the past two years.  November, 2010 the hubs and I found nice wood stairs under the baby blue carpet.  There was not much sense in redoing the stairs at that time since the construction guys needed to go up and down them.  I’ve had every intention, every time I went up or downstairs for the past two years, to finally finish them.  It was like a piece of popcorn kernel stuck in my back tooth.

stairs 10.2010

We did get the dining room done, replacing the wheelbarrow with a table and chairs.  While I personally thought the hanging wires added a certain charm, we also had the walls rewired properly.  Hubs kept muttering something about ‘electrocution’ and ‘construction permits’ and ‘she keeps walking through that room with those wires hanging loose’.  You’d think he thinks I’m clumsy or something.

Every time I gave serious thought to redoing the stairs my brain started to sort of spin as I considered getting all that done while three animals tracked paint through the house while I struggled to get the job finished.  Finally I caved and called a painter.  He started talking about sanding and oil-based primer and additives to help the paint dry faster in the cool damp weather and sanding and oil-based paint and sanding some more and some more paint and three days.  I said, “How much and can you start tomorrow?”  Yes, and yes.  Boy am I glad I didn’t try to take it on, they spent about 20 man-hours on the job.  Every morning they would arrive, do their job, tape the stairs off with billowing plastic (cats cowering in the downstairs hallway, haunted by the specter).  We lived downstairs and I had to go outside and around the house to get to the kitchen from Tuesday to Friday.

Don’t they look nice, now?  Chunker is sneaking down…she had to inspect.

stairs 11.2012

So, that’s where I’ve been part of the time.

Also, some of the time I went for a run or four.  YES!!!  I RAN!

The MRI of my hamstring showed:  Nothing.  Surprise.  Not sure where to go from here but I’m not doing anything until after the first of the year and will probably have a neuro check out my hypochondriac back/leg.  It still has the electricity running through, but my butt doesn’t hurt much at all, and the night cramps have (mostly) stopped.  Maybe all the steroids have finally kicked in.  Maybe all the rest and stuff helped.  Maybe I’m just a nutjob.  Maybe my mother is right and Satan is attacking me and all her rebuking has finally scared him off.  Or he doesn’t like billowing plastic, I don’t know.

ANYWAY:  I ran!  Screw it!  It hurts anyway.  Last week I did the Women Run/Walk Memphis intermediate 1 training program: warm up, 40 minutes of 3/3 walk/run and a cool down.  This week I did four miles, with walk breaks at the miles.  I felt it; my muscles had that nice warm hum of soreness the next day.  My leg also had that nice cool hum of cold water streaming through it, sometimes supplanted with little bits of electricity.  I continue to stretch and ice and heat and do voodoo.  The cats don’t like voodoo.  I don’t know if it’s the odd mask with tufts of paint brush hair sticking out, or the screeching.  I, however, am not doing the voodoo for them.  I’m doing it for me.  Also for the neighbor’s irritating dog, Barkahoula the Rowfer with the massive subWOOFer: I do not desire the dog to suffer serious damage but long-term laryngitis would be heavenly.

Then I thought it would be nice to put lights on a few bushes outside.  That took two days.  I got halfway done with the front and ran out of lights.  So I bought some more.  Except the wire was white and it looked like crap on the green holly tree.  So I bought some more lights but I didn’t realize they were that grid kind and when I put them on the tree it looked like a checkerboard.  So I bought some more lights but this time I read the label (seriously, when I grew up right after the dinosaurs all died when the supernova spaceship crashed into Russia, you bought Christmas lights.  There was a box.  It had lights.  You buy them, or you don’t.  One color, one brand, one box.  Go home.  Put the damn lights up.  Get a beer and watch the game.  dammit.)

Then, I had all these strands of lights with white cords.  Well that’s a waste.  I looked at the  front porch.  mmmm.  The porch is … white! So I wrapped the lights around the porch columns.  Except then, I didn’t have quite enough.  So I had to go get a few more.  It looked pretty nice, especially at night when you can’t see all the cords all crisscrossed and that one strand that only lit up half the way, so I staple-gunned the unlit part to the back of the column.  It sticks out a bit, but like I said, in the dark…

THEN I thought, well, I have those stupid grid lights, I should use them.  So I wrapped them around the front tree.  Except the cord didn’t reach the power strip.  So I had to go buy another cord.  Do you know that it’s not real easy to find a two-pronged cord any more?  When I was growing up you had one cord.  It had two prongs.  Plug the little bastard in.  Get a beer.  Watch the game.  DAMMIT.

Also, I made a craft.  I’m not really sure what overcame me.  A couple of weeks ago I saw these little trees with their burlap-wrapped cement base at Kroger for $4.99.  My drug addled brain seemed to think this was an incredible thing.  A little fake Christmas tree, with a burlap wrapped base, for $4.99.  This cannot be anything but a great deal.  I should get…THREE of them.  And I should get a bunch of shiny little ornaments and tie them to every single branch of the tree!!  Yes!  So, I did.  It took me five hours to do one tree (OK, I’m not exactly little Miss Crafty, right?).  The other two are sitting in the corner.  Two years from now I will hire a professional to finish them.  (NO I WON’T!  If hubs ever reads my blog he’ll have a heart attack thinking I really mean I’d pay someone to put ornaments on a 2 foot fake Christmas tree.  He seems to think I also drive down the road throwing bills out the window on the freeway.)  (You might want to drive slowly along the shoulder of I-40, it could pay off.)

Before

christmas

That the top of the little fake tree was twice as tall as it should be and its little branches were all squished up and bunched together just made it, somehow, more loveable.  Just what I always wanted. My own little bunny rabbit. I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him.

Here’s George The Christmas Tree, finished.  He turned out nice, you think?  Worth 5 Hours?  Maybe.

tree

I did also enjoy watching all the “Crashers’ shows on HGTV while decorating George.  It made me feel somehow connected to all those people smashing down walls and installing massive showers and single-handedly lifting granite counters into place, finishing an entire bathroom or kitchen in only about 31 more hours than it took me to tie all those balls on George.

“Tis the Season!  HO HO HO!

Hey.  Anyone out there want to rake some leaves?

We’re all talking monkeys on an organic spaceship.

It’s possible, anyway.  I figure whatever we are, that’s what God (or First Cause, or Creator, or whatever name you use) decided is best so if some monkey in the past began to evolve, and now this is what we are, well, who are we to argue?  We’re not monkeys now, right?  I mean, just look around you at how well we all behave, no screeching unintelligibly because someone stole our banana, no running around aimlessly in circles while scratching our head, no shoving each other out of the tree, no shunning the least because they don’t fit in our tribe.

monkeys organic spaceship

Had the big visit with my new BRDr.FF, Dr. L, yesterday to find out about the MRI.  I don’t want to borrow trouble, but at this point, to tell you the truth, she and I both thought it was going to be the S1 herniated; send me off to the neuro and scoop the damn little thing out.  I was really hoping so.  Easy fix.  Just pull the stinking little SOB out.

You two know how I always do things the easy way.  I’m a rule follower.  I’m a follow-the-packer, just let me sit back here and watch.  Straight line, easy breezy lemon squeezy, no arguing, no questioning WhyHowWhen.

Dr. L reviewed the results of the MRI with us.  A few little things in L1-L-4, but nothing – not a thing – no thing – nothing – that could be the cause.  And the S1?  Absolutely normal.  Finally.  What I’ve dreamed of since I knew the term:  “normal” + “Terri” in the same sentence.  Just when it helps least.

God bless Dr. L flying around on the organic spaceship, she is trying so hard to figure what is going on.  Guess what?  And you will both spit your coffee on the screen so I’m just warning you right now to put the mug down and swallow before you finish reading this sentence:  she said I’m currently one of the most complicated cases she has.  Meanwhile I’m beginning to fear I’m just a hypochondriac or a nutjob.

Hubs probably heard the Hallelujah Chorus repeating in stereo in his head when heard her say that.  COMPLICATED.   It’s official.  Terri makes no sense.  Thank you thank you little baby Jesus in your crib, listening to the cows moo you to sleep, THANK YOU.

She did an ultrasound on my hamstring hoping to see if there were some trigger there, but no luck.  I’ll have another MRI Saturday to look over the entire length of the hamstring and I will freeze to death on Pluto (sorry Pluto.  To me you will always be a planet and if I have to freeze to death I want it to be on you) before I get a copy of that damn thing.  If BRDrFF Dr. L  finds that it shows nothing I’m off to the neuro.  Hopefully the neuro will only look at my back and legs because if he looks inside my head he’ll charge us a finder’s fee.

Saturday was the St. Jude Memphis Marathon weekend.  A friend of mine is injured and couldn’t do the marathon she’d registered for.  She is also a St. Jude Hero, having raised money for the kids.  We kept ending up in the same volunteer spots throughout the day, a lot of it on the field at the two finish lines, watching the runners come in, both of us so happy for them.  But even though  it made me feel like a complete jerk, I was jealous.  No matter how horrid the run, I wanted it.  I wanted to be coming across that finish line, happy, exhausted, hurt, disgusted, anything.  I just wanted to feel that sweat and the hum in my muscles (not the electricity).  To enjoy the sweetness of finally stopping, the first taste of water – even lukewarm – that tastes like nectar.

Now I’m going to admit that I’m an idiot.  Again.  Why Why Why (OMG there’s that word again) do I always end up an idiot?  After the race I did something stupid: I went by the MRI place and got a copy of my report.  I didn’t know I could do that.  So I read it and googled all the terms and stuff, and of course I saw words like andycondializing scuppernongs and blerferating hagis and thought well sh*t my back is totally screwed.  My brain was flying through the universe on an organic spaceship in hyperdrive and it was taking me along.

Hubs is feeling pretty frustrated.   This is not unusual, of course.  But maybe he’s like a couple thousand points higher on the frustrated scale right now.  I’m guessing this based on how red his face gets and the frequency and duration of his tongue biting.  Sunday morning when I woke in the middle of the night I was about as down as I’ve been about all this.  Lying there in bed at 2am trying to go back to sleep all I knew were pictures in my mind of race finishers, the shouts of their families, bispurtilizing discotomies and the little spasms in my leg.  I thought about what I could post to the MRTC FB page in the morning, something about the race, of course, since so many Memphis runners had done it.  And I didn’t want to.  I didn’t want to see all the FB posts and emails and joyjoyjoy about their race or the sorrow of a missed PR or sore quads.  I was turbo charged by the steroid shot(s) and frustrated.

When I could no longer stand it I got up and went to the kitchen.  My Garmin was on the counter in its charger.  And right there, encompassed in a half-charged Garmin, were all the long runs and short runs, tempo runs and speedwork, heartrates and elevation maps of all the runs I haven’t done and as embarrassed as I am to tell you this, I sobbed.  I sobbed and snotted and hiccupped and sniffed while tears ran down my face and neck and cried that I just want to run.

Let me tell you both something right here, especially if one of you is a husband.   Maybe someday your wife, in the morning, sober, after having coffee, takes you by the shoulders and states, “next time I go bat sh*t crazy crying and sobbing, I want you to come to me, ask me what is wrong, try to understand what I’m saying and then try to fix it.”  You should then get that in writing, drive immediately to someone who can notarize it, get it framed and hang it prominently in your house.  That way she will know where to find it to throw at you next time she melts down.

I know – pull up the big girl panties – and I have, it just took me a couple of days.  Apparently I’m a slow responder.

Someone mentioned recently that I have not drawn any pics lately.  I thought this might be particularly helpful for any husbands out there, and so I will close with this.  As always, copies are available for $25 and if you’d like it autographed let me know, prices have gone up, I’m sorry, but what with being the National Posterchild and Spokesperson for the BFOS I’m getting a bit busier and my time is valuable.  Drive the picture over to my house and I’ll autograph it for $37.82.  No tax, we’re a nonprofit.

crazy train

We’re on a Crazy Train

Driving me insane, I’m going off the rails on a crazy train 

The children, apparently, are all off their meds.  Unfortunately I am not, and I refuse to look at the calendar to see if it’s been 11 or 12 weeks since I’ve run.  I don’t have that many fingers and toes.

As I noted on FB the other day, no one – NO ONE – should be filled with steroids four times in one month. Someone could get hurt, and it won’t be me. This could explain why Chunk ran out the kitchen door the other day and hid under the car.  Hubs was at one end of the car fishing for her and I was at the other, with a mop.  Instead of running back in the house through the nearby kitchen door, which was hanging wide open, she darted for freedom on the front porch where she played Cat & Mouse with the two of us, slinking behind the fern and then under the bench, back and forth, as we darted to and fro, grabbing and missing.  We finally captured her; she struggled but we re-inserted her in the house, only to have her shoot out the back door and into the yard – she was close to speed of light, she was across the patio, down two sets of steps, and in the yard before I could turn around – once again, she was captured and re-inserted in the house. She has pulled the lights off the tree, sat in a branch and broke it and meanwhile I’m considering duct taping myself to a chair. Just need to be sure the Keurig will be within reach.

I fixed the broken branch by using long twist ties to buddy tie it to the branch above.  It’s listing to one side but should make it through one last Christmas.  I bought the tree while the traitors were still in high school so it’s given its due.  When all four kids were younger we got real trees for a series of years.  I loved it, but hubs’ eyeballs rolling back in his head every time he entered the room and considered the possibility of the entire house going up in flames from shorted out lights finally wore me down.  He should have been looking at the fireplace and rolling his eyeballs since that’s where the lightning finally struck and the fire ensued.  And it wasn’t even Christmas.

The last time we got a live tree he came close to entering orbit when he had to try to get it in the house.  Granted, it was a bit larger than the door.  It didn’t look quite that fat at the tree lot, really, although the kids no longer really fitting in the van could have been interpreted as a clue.  I just told them it was actually not illegal to drive with three kids in one front (bucket) seat.   I’d already paid for the tree and anyway I think the lady hauling all the kids around the tree lot had quickly been singled out by Tree Lot Dude as a nutjob.  Not that my pride was impacted.  It was some other woman with a bunch of kids whose names she kept mixing up.

After that, feeling sorry for hubs – it had nothing to do with my pride – I decided that was enough and we’d make do with fake, which he could just slide down the stairs from the attic every year in a nice tidy box.  That last year, though, that tree was magnificent.  We named it Mothra.  Mothra The Christmas Tree.  We didn’t realize, when picking it out, that it was too fat to stand alone.  It had a hearty lifestyle before it came to live at our place; apparently it was a choice of becoming a Christmas tree or auditioning for Biggest Loser, which would have been going out on a limb, if you ask me.  I had to use two 4″ nails (one hammered into the window frame and one into the mantel – neither of which I was ever able to remove.  When this family nails something to the wall, it’s freeking NAILED.  Hubs hung an 8×10 picture on the wall in one of the traitor’s rooms and when we moved I had to saw the nail off at the wall and he re-plastered it.  Sucker. Was. Not. coming out.  He’d impaled it in a stud.  The wall was coming down before that nail did.)  We wrapped a thin rope around the trunk and tied the tree to the nails embedded in the wall/mantel.  You mostly couldn’t see the rope.  Especially when the lights were off.

HI!  I’m back!  Had to warm up my 3rd or 4th cup of coffee.  I’ve kinda lost count because it’s now about 6:45am and I’ve been up since 2:30am.  I hope no one counts the empty Kcups in the trash.  I’ve had plenty of time to ruminate about long ago, last year, and last week, and here’s the thing:  I don’t think either the tree or the “kids” are going to undergo any changes, and I really think it’s going to get worse.  I just don’t know.  Maybe the steroids are like a virus and I’ve sneezed some on them?

Last year when Chunk was an even earlier version of Chunklite, since she was still a kitten, I worried she’d try to climb the tree, but she never did.  She did daily strip the damn thing completely bare of ornaments as far as she could reach and batted them all about the den, but she didn’t climb it.  I found ornaments for weeks.  I moved a chair last spring and out rolled one last ornament.   Lonely, lost little ornament with its top missing.  Sad.  This year, one branch down on the first day.  I didn’t even bother putting ornaments on the bottom branches.  Three different Christmases when my kids were learning to pull up, stand, and walk I put the tree in the playpen.  That was uglier than some bottom branches without ornaments.  If we have company I’ll quickly move a few.

Last year Murphy ignored the tree pretty much, at least as well as he ignores anything in the house which he doesn’t want to eat or sleep on.  This past week he spent two days following me like I had a steak glued to my falling off butt but not looking happy about it, cowering behind the nearest piece of furniture he thought he could fit behind (rather like Mothra The Christmas Tree, he had a hugely optimistic opinion of the smallness of his stature, never realizing that an 18″ trash can did not fully conceal him) and while he cowered he shivered and shook, looking hang-dog at me (boy, they nailed that description of a look) (oh, haha – nailed).  I’m not sure, but I think he didn’t like the untree-smelling thing set up in the den.  He didn’t seem to want to enter the den and when he did he dashed quickly to the door begging for freedom.   It could have been the pet repellent I’ve been spraying indiscriminately all over the tree uselessly, as you’ll note in the photo below, where you just might glimpse Mr. Mo settling in for a long winter’s nap as more of the branches dip closer and closer to the carpeting and ornaments slide slowly downward and the tree reeks of chemicals never before combined.  But he’s so damn cute.

Mo in xmas tree

Apparently to Mo and Munker consider pet repellent to be as attractive as I thought my mother’s Chanel No.5 was when, in 7th grade, I wore it to school for weeks trying in vain to entice the attention of Kevin, an “older man” in 8th grade.  Hey, why would I think she’d mind?  She never used it – it just sat there on her dresser, another item to dust.  Or so it seemed to me.  She’d had it for years and it never got much emptier.  Wouldn’t you think she didn’t like it but kept it around so she’d have a purpose in dusting?  Which, by the way, I thought a useless and archaic waste of time probably invented by my grandmother on the farm, which was surely dirtier than living in town, especially since it was actually me that had to dust the bottle, giving me ample evidence of her disdain for the item.  Yeah, right.  Disdain until one day in a freakish accident she somehow discovered the visibly lower level of perfume in the bottle and determined it wasn’t the dog smelling so fine.  Lesson learned:  don’t use mom’s perfume.

Plus, it didn’t seem to work anyway, Kevin fell madly in love with some idiot girl at his stupid church.

Now, this evening, Mo is curled up under the Christmas tree, looking so cute and sweet and pretty, all white and black and soft against the red plaid tree skirt, while he evilly plots his next tree climbing excursion.  Chunker, meanwhile, is sound asleep in my chair and has been pretty much since 3:30am when, after a desperate search throughout the house and realizing she was nowhere to be found, I discovered the little sh*t OUTSIDE on the kitchen deck gazing at me through the window.  She’d been outside all night.  Her longest previous outdoor excursion was the aforementioned visit to the front porch.  AND she has not yet batted one ornament off the tree, which I think is a sick ploy to throw me further off my game.  Murphy lovingly and uncoweringly played all over the den last night and then curled up with the B’ster, who spent the night with us, and this morning I heard the hubster upstairs roaming around at 7am, he overslept by two hours and didn’t run this morning.

We’ve got to get back to normal around here.  I’m the one who’s crazy and they are making me insane.

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