After having WJ home virtually the entire last week due to school closures and delays, as much as I love him I was really dreading the weekend. There were things I wanted to get done and things I wanted to do just for me. Having him under foot I knew "my" stuff would just have to wait. So, yesterday morning I laid out the game plan for the day. Probably the list was too long to begin with but he was eager to get going and help.
We started by vacuuming and dusting the downstairs - partly just because it desperately needed it, and partly in preparation for putting up The Christmas Tree (TCT). Every year TCT is set-up in the same spot. (Yes, we have an artificial tree! And before you start cringing too much, it's not that I don't like live trees. They're expensive. And make a mess. And ours is a beautiful artificial tree. Plus, this year I was given a little bottle of evergreen scented oil I can put on the tree and get the same great smell as a live tree without all the hassle.) Anyway, I digress. TCT always stands in the corner of the living room by the stairwell. Except for this year.
Figuring out how to rearrange the living room to accommodate TCT was quite a challenge. We moved the coffee table. Moved the throw rug under the coffee table. Moved the copper kettle that sits where the tree normally stands. All the while vacuuming every square inch of open floor space. Finally it was time to move the love seat. We pushed and pulled and turned and pushed some more until it sat (rather awkwardly) in the corner. (I should note that our living room furniture is BIG. By big I mean comfortable. We actually use our living room instead of having it sit, empty and sterile, waiting for special holidays or guests. Our living room is lived in.) I wasn't convinced that the big love seat didn't dominate and dwarf the corner it was perched in but decided to leave it alone and start working on the tree. Until I had a brainstorm.
Back in my married days ex-MIL started buying me pieces of one of those lighted Christmas villages. In all I am the owner of five buildings - a church, a bakery, a lodge, a winery and a toy shoppe - as well as a handful of trees, people and fencing. I realized - after moving the love seat to have TCT standing in front of the bay window - I now had window sills I could use for the Christmas village. WJ had never seen the village. Well, he'd seen it when he was 2. That being the last time I'd pulled it out. When I started setting it up his face lit up. It was the same happy face complete with the "oohs" and "aahs" I'd heard when browsing the Christmas village aisles at Michael's year after year. It made my heart light.
With living room rearranged and cleaned better than it'd been in months, and the Christmas village in place on the window sills, it was finally time to set up TCT. It's amazing how quickly it goes up with the help of a second pair of hands. Fully assembled it filled the vacancy the love seat had left and balanced out the living room. It was a good decision. Now it was time for the most boring and tedious task of all - stringing the lights. Ugh! If there's anything I hate about Christmas decorating it's stringing the tree with lights. I hate it so much that the past two years I've contemplated buying one of those prelit artificial trees. To make things even more complicated, WJ wanted to have colored lights on the tree. (I know, I know. Again, before you start judging or bashing me... I. Like. White. Lights. I don't really know why that is, but I've used only white lights in decorating for Christmas for so many years that when he said he wanted colored ones my brain took a dump.) Did we even have any colored lights packed in one of the half dozen Rubbermaid totes that stored our overabundance of Christmas decorations year after year? To my dismay we did, and they worked. Then another brainstorm.
I could mix the colored and white lights making both of us happy. WTH was I thinking? (I never said my brainstorms were all good. Ugh!) So I began stringing not one, but two separate strings of lights at the same time going around and around and around our 7' tree. Two and a half hours later (with very little assistance at this point from WJ since "stringing the lights is so boring Mom") TCT wore somewhere close to 1000 lights.
At this point my back and knees were aching, I needed a shower, and I needed another extension cord. After cleaning up we jumped in the car and headed up to Rite Aid, grabbed what we needed, and proceeded home to put the ornaments on TCT. Or so I thought. Apparently WJ had decided he was "done helping" and wanted to go play with one of the neighbor kids. Off he trekked across the street while I stood at the end of the garage watching him - and smoking. Then I heard it. I barely audible hissing sound. I walked around the garage trying to discern just where the sound was coming from. Nothing. WJ came home with a pouty face and "he's gone with his dad" sigh, so I told him to go back in the house and I'd be in in a minute. Then I heard it again! It was that same hissing sound a car makes after you've been running the air conditioner on a hot day and the car is turned off. On the 35 degree day we were having we certainly weren't running the A/C, so what in the hell was hissing. Now, standing next to the back driver's side my brain registered where the hissing was coming from. The tire. Sure enough there was a nail lodged in the tread.
Quick as a flash I ran in the house hollering "put on your shoes... put on your coat... we have to get to the tire store before the tire goes completely flat." Making a mad dash to Discount Tire we were told we'd have an hour and a half wait. With only two stores within walked distance we headed off to shop. Then (I know it's shocking at this point) I had another brainstorm. It was my saving grace. Starbucks.
Located just inside the grocery store is a full Starbucks. Heat. Comfortable chairs. Good eats. And the grande non-fate latte I so desperately needed. That's where we passed our time. Just the two of us yakking about football and Christmas and anything else that popped into our heads. We laughed. And we bonded. At one point WJ was so deep in thought I couldn't help snapping a couple of pictures with my phone. Unfortunately you will not be seeing those pictures since I don't have the right connector to attach them to my computer for downloading. I have them - on my phone - where I can look at them to remind me of our special time together.
The time passed quickly and we headed back to check on the car. After waiting a short time in the lobby one of the workers brought the car around and called my name. "You're good to go" he said. When I asked how much I owed for the repair, to my great surprise I was told "nothing at all." Wow! How great was that?
A full day behind us we headed home. I couldn't help thinking about all the simple pleasures that seemed to just happen throughout the day. A helpful son. The sparkle in his eyes. The compromise of mixing both colored and white lights making both of us happy. The special bonding and conversation over a latte, pumpkin loaf and a glass of water. The free tire fix.
Not all life's simplicities are simple, but I'm enjoying the one's I can.