Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Practice Christmas

On Saturday, we had a practice Christmas dinner. I try to practice whatever I’m about to do whenever possible. I walked through my route around campus the day before my freshman classes started. I had a wedding rehearsal, and thank goodness for that. This particular dry run was motivated by the fact that I am paranoid about trying new recipes with company, and even more so when that company includes a mother who cooks everything from scratch and a grandmother who has high expectations of a Christmas celebration that has the gall to located somewhere other than her house. Oh, boy.

Together, JG and I made an approximately two-person-sized version of Christmas dinner and I was pleasantly surprised that we did it with very little slamming into each other or usurping kitchen equipment that the other wanted. We ended up very full of yummy London broil, garlic mashed potatoes, and green beans with pancetta. Half of my satisfaction was derived from simply reporting to my mother that my practice run went well, so ha! Let’s hear it for no disasters!

Oh, wait. There was a disaster, but not with the food. Saturday also included the ritual of Cutting Down the Tree and I don’t think it can be Christmas without an amusing tree story. This one balances out the wild success of the dinner dry run, I’m afraid.

Around mid-morning, JG and I went to a local Christmas tree farm to find The One with the trusty bow saw in hand. JG got it for his birthday last year for this express purpose. At least we weren’t the weirdos wearing Santa hats or the psychos with the chainsaw.

We eventually found the tree, and after JG posed for the mandatory picture of him brandishing the saw at it, he cut it down and we made our way to the parking lot. I was carrying the little end of the tree in the back of the operation, so I couldn’t see where I was going at all. Suddenly, in front of Mr. Santa Hat and Son, I felt my ankle give way in a little hollow in the ground, and I thought, “Oh, no! The tree! Who cares about the tree?! Am I falling in mud here?” And down I went. Fortunately, the tree and I made it home in one piece, and JG proceeded to put it in the stand with very little trouble. We gloried in our good fortune and proceeded to lace it up with lights and ornaments galore.

Just before heading to bed, we heard a soft whooshing sound. JG and I turned to watch the tree crash down and hear that faint burble of the tree stand pouring itself onto the carpet. I stood paralyzed while JG ran over and yelled, “Grab the presents!” I rescued the boxes wrapped solely for the purpose of having something under the tree once we got it decorated and we began the sad process of recovering the tree. Ornaments were scattered around the living room – amazingly, none broke in the fall – the tree had to be re-positioned in its stand, and we tried to soak up the big water spot on the floor. After spending however many hours putting the whole thing together, it was very demoralizing to start over, especially since we had no idea what made the tree fall down after six hours of successful standing. I only just recovered and finished redecorating the tree tonight and I think it looks pretty good. It’s a little crooked, but it hasn’t fallen down in three days, so I think we’ll take what we can get at this point.

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