Deck the halls and lose your power …
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
“Making Christmas, Making Christmas!” Husband-Head sang out loud the other weekend as he strung colored Christmas lights all around the house, wrapped up the cedar poles like candy canes and twined garland around the balusters.
Then, of course, there were the inflatable Santa and Frosty the Snowman that had to be plugged in and strategically placed in the yard.
“There!” Husband-Head said when he was done. “I think it looks good.”
“I think our electric bill is going to look pretty good as well,” I said wryly.
Then we went inside to decorate the house and the tree.
“The Christmas box, the Christmas box!” Husband-Head chortled, clearly getting into the holiday mood.
It’s always a challenge to see if we can remember where we got the ornaments or who they were from. But it’s getting harder and harder to remember as the years go by. …
“This is my favorite – this goes front and center,” Husband-Head said firmly as he placed an Irish version of Santa Clause wearing a green vest, green beret and white knickers with shamrocks all over them. He was holding three mugs of beer in each hand. Drunk Santa was followed quickly by a Green Bay Packers ornament and a miniature football.
“Anything made from a shell is from your mother in South Carolina,” Husband-Head said knowingly as he inspected an oyster that was painted like a Santa Head.
“This one isn’t a shell, but I’m sure my mom gave it to us,” I said, holding up a little fishing boat with ‘Rice Shrimp Co.’ painted on the side like Forrest Gump’s boat.
“Shrimp are gross – they should only be used for bait,” Husband-Head reiterated for the millionth time. “And they definitely don’t belong on a Christmas tree. … Hey what’s up with all the painted little wooden eggs?”
Then Husband-Head found another ornament he liked. It was a moose head with a hat and “Paul” inscribed on the bottom. He intentionally put it in a prominent place.
Of course when I found the snowman head sitting atop a little bell with “Heidi” painted on it, I put it in an equally prominent place.
Then we found two ornaments of each of our yellow Labs – Weber and Wyatt, that someone had made for us and stitched their names on them.
“How come the cat doesn’t have an ornament with her name?” Husband-Head demanded to know. “That’s bogus.”
And then he thought for a moment.
“Why can’t we can’t decorate the tree with just all beer cans?” he said, referring to his extensive collection in his playhouse.
By the end of the weekend, the house was all decked out, and Husband-Head skipped merrily off to work very early on Monday morning, but not before standing in the dark, looking at the lights, obviously pleased with his handiwork.
I sat down at the computer myself with lots of work ahead of me. Or so I thought.
At 8:30 a.m., the lights flickered once or twice, then everything went off.
I waited for a while, but when it still didn’t come back on, I called Husband-Head at work on the cell phone.
“Santa and Frosty are deflated and lying face down in the snow,” I informed him. I could tell Husband-Head was more concerned about his decorations than my plight.
“What am I supposed to do?” I moaned. “I can’t work, I can’t listen to holiday music, I can’t watch TV. I can’t cook. I can’t go in the hot tub, I can’t work out in the basement. …” Husband-Head just laughed and told me to hang tight and find something else to do.
“If you were Amish you wouldn’t have electricity – do what they do,” he suggested. “Go sew something or make bread and cook it over the woodstove while singing Christmas carols. Light an oil lantern and pretend you live like they did on Little House on the Prairie.”
The only good thing was that this was happening during the day. I took stock of what I had – a gas fire, a gas oven, water and light.
So I did what any enterprising woman would do without electricity – I did my nails, conditioned my hair, polished my silverware, cleaned out the coat closet and went for a walk.
But the power was STILL out. And now I was starting to freak out about the food in my refrigerator and freezers.
Finally, three hours later, the lights flickered back on. It was apparently the result of a construction crew that had hit a power line. I called Husband-Head at work to let him know.
“Santa and Frosty are back in business,” I informed him.
“Good,” he said. “Now you can quit whining. And think of all the money we saved. …”
Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her website to read more columns or purchase her book collection “Skully Says Shut It!”
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