Ah, it’s here…December! We couldn’t have stopped it even if we’d tried, and we couldn’t jump off before we arrived at it either. We are, inevitably, approaching Christmas, Twelve Days, the end of 2013, and all the brouhaha that comes with it…
We escaped getting a Christmas tree on Saturday by barely a hair. I made the mistake of pointing them out to J at the grocery store, and it took quite a bit of negotiating to come home without one, and another valiant bit of masterful bribing to not go back for one on Sunday. Hence, ladies and gentlemen, the presence of what looks like a very inept reproduction of Moses’ burning bush in a corner of J’s TV room, and the Mighty Inflatable Santa Snoopy looming happily in the other.
I am a firm believer in not letting the tree dry out and become a fire hazard for weeks before it’s needed. Because the First Day is coming up on the thirteenth, and that is a Friday, we are getting our tree prematurely…on the 8th. To me that’s an eternity of having a stick with pine needles in the living room. The cats get more adventurous the longer it stands there; it requires daily watering to be done by, guess who???, yours truly. Because of the lack of cooperation the calendar is offering this year (it’s all the calendar’s fault, of course,) I will be saddled with caring for a tree for 18 solid days. I would rather stick to the 14-day rule, but it’s not possible.
I did draw the line, however, at bringing the thing into the house on the last day of November, or the first day of December. I’ve barely caught my breath after eating too much turkey, cranberry sauce, etc., and I’m simply not yet limber enough to deal with any fir of any ilk. CRI-CRI? No. CRI-CRI? No. CRI-CRI? No. To his credit, J didn’t hand-slap, whine, squeal, squeak, holler, raise his voice, bonk his head, stomp his foot, or anything of the sort. He simply said CRI-CRI until I was ready to cancel Christmas altogether. Instead, I took a deep breath and channeled my inner Henry Kissinger. “J, it’s too soon for the WHOLE HOUSE to be in Christmas mode, but your TV room can be Christmas-ified.” (I know that’s not a word, but it just tumbled out that way.)
When we got home, he had lunch as calmly as can be expected when one’s been told that there are crates full of Christmas decorations one can spelunk through. And, after running through the chore list, he simply grabbed the Charlie Brown Christmas tree (a glorified stick with maybe five branches, a wood base and some rather spindly plastic pine needles licensed to be part of the Peanuts merchandise extravaganza,) some lights, and -of course- Santa Snoopy and his cord, and some Christmas-themed Peanuts figurines… Lights, lest we forget, are essential for this particular endeavor so J grabbed a string of lights that looked harmless enough.
Half an hour later, we had set up two corners of the TV room with J’s CRI-CRI stuff. Unless you look very closely, there is absolutely NO WAY you will be able to see the tree under all 300 lights that are attached to the not-quite-harmless string. The tree is engulfed, overwhelmed, camouflaged, drowning in colorful lights, and that’s just how J likes it, thank you. When it’s not plugged in, the corner simply looks like a place where someone was untangling a string of lights and, suddenly and inexplicable, gave up the task with no attempt to make it more orderly.
I’ve bought us a week. That’s all we’re getting. On Sunday morning, I am sure, J will first say COFFEE until we’re all blue in the face, and then we will be escorted to the family van and, with the battle cry of CRI-CRI!!!, we’ll have to get a Christmas tree…rain, snow, shine…that tree will come into the house and my watering days will begin.
I might as well slowly start to let Christmas creep in, and I am…the wreath is on the door, and I’m working on a paper garland that I saw on my Better Homes and Gardens magazine, but that is turning out as more of a Dali version of the original. Or a Picasso. It fits in nicely with the genteel decay style we advocate around here, and it’s more colorful than the one in the magazine because the green card stock paper was on sale, but the white vellum wasn’t.
The other great project this week is altering J’s diet. The doctor does not want to medicate him because, as suspected, he is NOT diabetic, and we’re going to work with the nutritionist instead. The suggestion that we’ve been given is the Mediterranean Diet, and the only difficulty we expect is J’s refusal to eat any vegetable or fruit that is recognizable to him. Yesterday evening Dada and I spent a great deal of time studying cookbooks, trying to find alternatives to disguise what J -on principle- refuses to eat, and making his diet healthier. The appointment with the nutritionist is on the 10th, but we’re not going to sit on our hands until then…what we’ve read about this diet is what we’re putting into effect (in subtle ways) now…tonight there’s fish for dinner, and there will be walnuts on the “crust” of that fish dish. Later in the week, I’m making a creamy sauce for pasta with butternut squash. Since Saturday evening J has been eating home-made banana chips…and he actually announced BANANA when he was midway through his second serving (I only give him ten at a time,) and finished them even though he wasn’t particularly enthused about them. Today I have pear and apple slices in the dehydrator…
So we’re working on it. We’re trying to figure this out with the pyramid we printed out, the cookbooks we have on hand, and what we’ve read up on here and there on the internet. All this while holding back the Christmas surge…
If we’re lucky, we’ll be successful at both.