What You’d Expect

No one is going to be surprised to hear that I am waaaaay behind in my holiday preparations.

So, yeah. It’s the usual.

Other than piling up boxes inside the front door that have been delivered by the FedEx guy – whose kids I am singlehandedly putting through college – I haven’t done much.

Ever Patient Spouse decorated the exterior of Fancy Pants Ranch with lights and animatronic penguins playing football (Don’t ask. Ok, ask. Every year he sets up an elaborate scene with a flock of penguins getting into some holiday shenanigans and this year they are decked out like rival football teams. There’s even a lighted goal post. This is what happens when you’re married to a mechanical engineer).

He also put up the tree last weekend (A record early for us! But history suggests that it’ll still be up in February or until it spontaneously combusts, whichever comes first. Last year’s tree made it out of the house by mid-January but was in our back yard until July).

Spouse did the lights on the tree but MGM and Trixie put on the ornaments. Now, if I had my way, we’d just have lights, zero ornaments, and no kitschy decor littered throughout the house, save perhaps an abtract, vaguely Christmas-y sculpture or some other piece of art.

But since I don’t, we have wall-to-wall items that include three different musical animated creatures (Snoopy, Mickey Mouse, and a snowman), all of which are extremely loud, get played non-stop and are annoying in different ways. Snowman is particularly irritating since he inflates and then deflates as he “melts,” and he’s been played so many times that the tinny recording of some “Frosty the Snowman” rip-off song is completely distorted and just sounds creepy. It haunts me, people.

When I was a kid, my grandmother gave me an ornament every year for Christmas, and since I grew up in the late 70s and 80s, there is an abundance of Muppets, Holly Hobbies, and Spuds Mackenzies. Instead of putting something simple and more elegant on the tree, the kids are drawn to my childhood ornaments like moths to a flame. And there is zero distribution of said ornaments. They’ve all been jammed onto two low branches that are now so heavily weighed down that there’s an ornament crush dragging to the floor.

Here’s a mid-decorating snap:

photo (3)

Seven ornaments on one branch!

What you don’t see here is the elaborate train set that Mr. Mechanical Engineer also built exclusively for the children. I emphasized that last part because by “children,” I just mean him.

The train project started two years ago. It was initially billed as a tasteful circle around the tree with a small holiday train.

Currently it occupies all available floor space in our front room (the furniture is temporarily shoved elsewhere), and there are multiple trains, multiple tracks, complicated switching mechanisms, village scenes, cows, etc. And I was just informed last night that the children desperately needed several new trains purchased from Ebay, lest those deprived waifs suffer even more. Yep, they’re a regular pair of Tiny Tims.

At least those new trains will keep the FedEx guy in business.

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