Our bout with the flu certainly did slow things down around here. I found that a poster I first noticed years ago was true again. It said, “Work fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”
We eventually reached the point where we could keep up with current chores, but just could not get back to things we should have done a week ago, like taking down Christmas decorations and storing them away for another year.
When our children were young we agreed we would not put the decorations up until after our one daughter’s birthday Dec. 9. The kids thought it was to allow a birthday atmosphere for her big day. Actually it was to preserve my sanity.
Back then un-decorating took place when we were tired of looking at the Christmas lights, or we had time, or it was mid January. In more recent years Bill and I usually decided there was no need to do big time decorating a few days before someone showed up to decorate for us.
However, no one seemed to show up to undecorate, and last year I had planned to have contracts for decorators to sign this year guaranteeing they would undecorate at an appropriate time. Then one evening two of the teen granddaughters were here, and I got caught up in the moment and forgot the contracts.
As usual we thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas lights and all. Then right after the holiday we got the flu and while everybody offered to run errands for whatever we needed, nobody was eager to spend enough time with our flu germs to take down and store away the decorations. We surely couldn’t blame them.
For a while I tried to think of ways to disguise the Christmas stuff in the off-season so we could just leave it up all year round. One thought was putting appropriate seasonal flowers on the tree and in the garland. But I finally realized that could develop into more work than just un-decorating.
So, over the the past week, whenever I went to the basement I would grab a wreath or some garland and take it down with me and put it away. I don’t go to the basement all that often, but I figured by June it would all be stored away again.
Then last Sunday the youngest grandson stayed with us while his family went to Mass. He noticed we still had a lot of candy canes on the Christmas tree. I agreed, even though I thought the little candy canes looked more like boomerangs this year.
I asked if he wanted to take them off and divide them up for his cousins. He spent some happy time sorting and dividing them.
By the time his family came by to pick him up, I was beginning to think it would be nice to have some help undercoating now. “After all,” I explained, “everybody goes out to eat after church, and if we waited an hour or so it wouldn’t be so crowded, and in less than an hour, if we all worked together, everything could be down and stored away.
His mother took pity on me and agreed we should all do that. I gulped, realizing all the order I had restored to the decoration department last year was about to be destroyed. All of those willing hands stacking whatever wherever it fit could be disastrous. But, me trying to do it as a one-woman show over the next few months would be worse.
Then, sudden inspiration! If I stationed myself in the basement receiving incoming decorations, I could put them where they belonged.
The younger boys were perfectly willing to run down the steps to make deliveries to me and resurrect forgotten toys stored in the basement to take back upstairs to occupy their time until they made another delivery. The others worked together to un-decorate.
About an hour later the house was back to the after-Christmas bland look that will require something new to spice it up a bit, and we were on our way out to eat.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. This column shared through the AIM Media Midwest group of newspapers.