Really, There is a Reason for my Madness

It has come to my attention that many of you think I am a total freak for starting the Christmas decorating already. First of all, I feel the need to point out that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK and there are only about 40 days until Christmas. It's not that early. However, I will be the first to admit that I'm starting to get a little edgy about the issue, because I am at least a week behind in my holiday festivity decorating activities. So maybe I am in a bit of a hurry.

But! There is a reason. Actually, there is a history of reasons. Long, long ago, in a land far, far away (well, OK, in Akron), there were two little kittens and a very sad little Christmas tree. It was the cheapest of cheap trees and was decorated with homemade paper garland because back in those days, there were many college bills to pay and Ramen Noodles were the meal du jour. Those two little kittens were in love with that cheap, ugly tree. They climbed it, they pulled things off of it, they spent their every waking moment playing with it. Within a week, the previously sad and ugly tree was even more sad and ugly because those little buttholes destroyed it.

The following year, I decided to take the wise advice of a fellow cat keeper. She recommended setting up the less sad and ugly replacement tree first without lights or ornaments. Once the kittens seemed to have gotten over the joy of having the great indoors in the living room, then add the pretty blinking lights. And once they were done staring longingly at those, then introduce the shiny ornaments. The idea was to make it a little interesting at a time instead of the all at once HOLY SMOKES WOULD YOU LOOK AT ALL THE SHINY AND BRIGHT GOODNESS! PARTY IN THE CHRISTMAS TREE!

It worked. The cats didn't rip the tree down that year (BTW, I now know that this strategy works with dogs and kids, too!). So I made it a habit in the years that followed to slowly set up the tree. Doing so requires that you start the process perhaps a few weeks earlier than you otherwise would. If you don't, you run the risk of not getting to decorate it until 10 minutes before you are going to take it down.

As the years went by, I began to fill the time between tree phases with bright shiny outdoor lights. Then more bright shiny outdoor lights. Then even more bright shiny outdoor lights. Before I knew it, I was putting out dozens of strands of lights. And I wanted more. But to accomplish that task, you need time. Since work has a tendency to interfere with my fun time, I had to squeeze in the decorating in the evenings and weekends. And I had to back up my start date just a little bit farther.

Then began the tradition of visiting my husband's family for Thanksgiving. That tradition, while wonderful, puts a severe damper in my Christmas decorating timeline. I want to turn those happy little lights on the second we return, and in order to do that, I must start before we leave. And given the fact that my Christmas Kingdom is teetering on the edge of being featured in the next Griswold's movie, we're talking the beginning of November.

So, if my world were a perfect world, I would have started with the decorating on November 1st. I promise I don't start turning the outdoor stuff on until after Thanksgiving. As for the indoor stuff? Well, my big tree in the living room holds enough lights to both heat the entire house and provide enough light to read by, so I do start turning it on as soon as it's all set up. Usually that would be done by now, so I am running late. And I've had to read by the light of a lamp because of it.

Especially for Jen, here's some upside-down Christmas trees. There are also some that come with a bracket so that you can attach the base to your ceiling, but of course I couldn't find any photos. This place sells them (or at least they did when we lived near there).


Random and Stuff

- If you were feeling guilty about that bag of miniature Snickers with Almonds that you ate right before Halloween, you can stop now. I opened a new bag yesterday and learned that there are only 14 bars in a bag. If you translate that to full-size candy bars, that's only like 3 or maybe 4. You aren't nearly as big of a pig as you thought you were.

- The deer are trying to attack my car. I'M ON TO YOU DEER--Stop hanging out at the side of the road and trying to time your jog across for the moment when I'm going to come passing through. I refuse to help you with your suicide mission. Just leave me and my car alone, thank you very much.

- If you give a Toddler one of her favorite vegetables (mini corn) and it's been doused in some sort of fiery Chinese sauce, she will eat a piece, scream bloody murder, eat another piece, scream bloody murder again, then eat yet another piece and scream bloody murder yet again. You should know that she can't resist the miniature corn goodness, even if she knows it's going to hurt her mouth. Not nice, Daddy!

- If your fantasy football team is struggling and you need a little pick-me-up, just schedule yourself to play me next week. I have an amazing ability to motivate oponents into having their best game of the season.

- Is it just me or is it physically impossible for the Steelers and Penguins to play well at the same time? Penguins in last place = Steelers SuperBowl victory. Steelers go 8-8 = Penguins in the playoffs.

- If I give Alexis a cup of blueberry applesauce and Daddy is not home, she will eat every bite without dropping so much as a speck. If Daddy is home, then she will somehow manage to spread the applesauce love all over her face, shirt, arms, table, chair, and walls.


My Snowman, My Hero

Houston, we have a problem. It seems I am not the only one in this house that likes bright lights and shiny balls (Note to you snickering over there: get your mind out of the gutter). Alexis is has really taken a liking to all the Christmas crap that has started to invade our home. And I mean really taken a liking to it. To the point that she is expending all of her energy trying to touch every single thing. If I try to wind a string of lights through some tree branches, she's on the other side pulling them back out and seeing if they make a good necklace. If I put an ornament on a tree, she pulls it off so she can see if it will bounce. If I start digging in a box, she shoves me out of the way so she can dig for her own treasure.

Most of my Christmas decorations are of the breakable variety. This has never been a problem, despite the fact that we have way too many cats and dogs. Ten plus years of cats climbing and sleeping in my Christmas tree has taught me how to attach ornaments just right. Years with dogs has taught me that if a round, shiny object is within reach, it's eligible for a game of fetch so it's best not to decorate the bottom few feet. But I wasn't counting on Alexis making it a challenge to just get the items on the tree in the first place. My only saving grace is that she has fallen in love with the fiber optic snowman. I'm currently negotiating his fee for lulling her into a rainbow-lights induced trance for a few hours.