Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Little Christmas that Tried

My mom and I don't really attack Christmas with the same kind
of fervor so many of our friends seem to possess. At least outwardly.
Based on this Holiday season's unfolding, I'd have to say that both Webbs have some level of pathological devotion to Christmas, and that might partially explain the heavy self-medication.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I pulled into the driveway on Friday, the 22nd, all pumped up to do my duty. Each year, I am responsible for:

1. Fixing myself a grapefruit and vodka
2. Dragging the ancient fake Christmas tree from the attic
3. Putting the white lights on
4. Repeating step 1
5. Putting the silver beaded garlands on
6. Repeating step 1

and then I am both jolly and prepared for my mother to arrive home from
work, when she and I will put on [in sequence] the Mormon Tabernacle
Choir's Christmas cassette, and The Temptations Christmas cassette,
while we clothe the naked tree with Ornaments of the Past.

I dumped my bags in the front room and made for the freezer. No vodka. I
peered into the living room and was confronted by this ugly scene.

The quality of the picture is poor, and that is most likely due to my quivering body. Not unlike a crime scene, the ancient fake tree was propped in the corner with a sheet hastily thrown over it. Upon closer inspection I saw that the sheet read "Feliz Navidad." There was a note by the tree from my mother, explaining that she had tried to assemble the tree and had some trouble with the lights. And the tree stand. She presented me with two choices, either fixing the tree or pushing out the door and setting it on fire. If I chose the latter, then we would go collect pine boughs and red berries as a substitute.

I am very much the opposite of a quitter, and I knew that I could right this wrong. I plugged in the lights, just to see.
I could see where my mom had just bunched the remaining lights into a wad and stuffed them, most likely just prior to the sheet covering. I wondered if that's where all the vodka had gone. But I set to work just the same, struggling against the weight of my old metal Christmas tree in an attempt to secure it in its' stand. The heavy scratchy tree kept falling on me, and I decided from under its mass that I would do a partial disassemblage maneuver to lighten the load.
There are two piles there, a pile of lights and a pile of branches. As I continued to struggle with the top-heavy metal pole, I could feel my strength and will begin to sap. The stand was
insufficient for securing an artificial tree, and I didn't have a drink, and so I just dragged it all back up into the attic and put my coat on to go get some pine boughs.

In my bathroom, the warmest and thus most thought-conducive room, I stood wrapping on my scarf staring face-to-face with our fake ficus tree. Duh. There's a tree. Presents can go under it, lights can go on it, and ornaments, and blah blah blah!

At this point my mom was home and was delighted by my innovation, and had vodka, and so we cranked up the Mormons on our sound system [see below] and decorated the small tree [also below].

We spent the 23rd making cookies and listening to more carols, but with the 24th came a great disturbance. My cats, who had been allowed to explore the basement for a period of months in the fall, had come up with fleas. My mom had resolved the issue-- but not in the basement. When I came up the stairs after putting my laundry in the dryer, I sat at the counter until my mom screamed that I was "COVERED IN FLEAS!"

I was. I ran outside and awkwardly stripped on the porch, leaving my pyjamas in a heap. Normally insects don't bother me, but the sheer volume of the fleas had me psychosomatically itching all day, after two showers. My mother was upset. I was upset. We were infested.

It was approximately noon on Christmas Eve Day and my mother and I had already yelled at each other, I had already cried, and we both weren't quite sure what to do given that even pest control companies must get these important all-encompassing holidays off. So my mother, in all her wisdom, suggested that we go get some pine boughs.

After we abuse some prescription drugs.
I think my mother was trying to determine the chemical composition of Percoset in a semi-empirical manner. In about a half hour we were headed for the gun factory at the end of my street, I with a can of gingerale and mommy with hedge clippers.

Perhaps it was the stress of the earlier hours, perhaps it was my empty stomach, but upon returning to the home with an armful of pine boughs [and red berries, too] I felt both extremely warm and extremely calm-- kind of like a small child in a snow suit being pursued by a hungry wolf through 8 inches of snow. I dumped the boughs in the urn and retreated to my womb-like bathroom still wearing my pine bough-collecting hat and dilated pupils.
I felt kind of sad, sitting there in my bathroom reflecting. Some people were probably preparing a nice dinner, some might be seeing a film, some might be visiting family-- but my mother and I, we were sitting in opposite rooms of the house high on pain medication. This sadness, much like all of my other feelings at the time, was fleeting and quickly faded into a dull put poignant happiness. I was glad to be in my bathroom, high on pain medication. The pest control people would come on Tuesday and I would pay for the cost as a strange and ridiculous Christmas present to my mother.

And then my mother called to me, saying that we should put this magic egg we purchased in the town of Woodstock in a bowl of water and watch the duck hatch. Of course we should, Mom! So we dropped the magic egg in a bowl of water and sat there for 30 minutes before getting bored and playing a game of scrabble. Approximately 36 hours later, the magic egg looked like this:
And today before I packed my bags and drove back to Waltham, the duck's head was completely free of the magic shell.

The pest control people came on Tuesday and while they were spraying the house with the cats safely tucked away in the attic, my mother and I went to the mall and were confronted by many families getting huffy with clothing store cashiers and making returns of ugly horrible clothes they never wanted. Given our demeanors, the average citizen would have never guessed we had been infested with fleas on Christmas-- because they were so bent out of shape regarding some ugly sweatsuit. Or sweater. Or something.

And I swear, our demeanors had nothing to do with additional self-medication. It was the Christmas Spirit. I swear.


MertMengelmier said...

I like the picture of your sister testing the drugs, but how come no pictures of your mom? -Sleazeball

Rebecca said...

Ohh, that sucks. I totally feel your pain. One week until I am out of my flea infested crackhouse.

jenovus said...

This is a reason that cats are no good. They turn a home into a flea-infested crackhouse.