Friday, December 21, 2012
Tree stands were apparently sent by the Grinch to steal the spirit of Christmas. Just ask my daddy, aka, Ben Daddy.
Year after year, he struggled to get our freshly-cut tree to stand up straight in its stand with the help of three flimsy screws. Year after year, he failed, and we’d inevitably resort to other measures such as tying the top with string and running it across the room to help it stay in place. God only knows what Martha Stewart would have said.
One particular year – my most memorable Christmas – Dad met his match in a beautiful tree with a crooked trunk. I’m sure my sister and I insisted it was the one and that we had to have it. Perhaps the crooked trunk made it even more lovable in our eyes, but for Dad, tackling that trunk was like Ahab trying to catch Moby Dick. As my son is fond of saying, “This is not going to end well.”
Dad cussed and stomped around and made every attempt to force the tree into its stand, but the tree would have none of it.
Finally, Dad hit his boiling point. In a rage, he grabbed the tree and tossed it into the ditch in the front yard while my sister and I screamed, “Not the tree, Daddy! Are we still going to have Christmas?”
At which point, he answered us by flinging the tree stand like a frisbee over the roof of the house. I’m sure we women gave him the silent treatment, and, frankly, I don’t remember the rest of the story. I assume we got another tree, and I’m pretty sure Santa Claus came, but the memory of that event far overshadowed whatever we got in our stocking.
It’s been many years later, and we still laugh about that Christmas. I think Dad’s a little ashamed, but now that I have to deal with tree stands of my own, I can relate to his hatred of them.
This year, we searched high and low for a tree, which is ironic since my son is a Boy Scout and actually sells them. Sadly, we waited too late and missed our opportunity. After five or six empty lots, we drove our hungry children across town and bought a 6-footer for a whopping $70. Merry Christmas to us.
The only problem is, we couldn’t find our tree stand. We looked high and low through the many boxes of decorations. Still no stand.
Someday, some smart guy will come along and invent a magical new method for keeping trees in place. Until then, we’ll go on making memories – with or without a Christmas tree.
Happy holidays from the Knight family.
Monday, December 3, 2012
I work full-time now, and I’m really, really tired when I get home. Real tired. I know plenty of women work and keep their homes neat and their kids fed, but my energy level allowed me to choose one or the other, and the house doesn’t whine.
I can only say this because my grandmother has passed away, but I’m a lousy housekeeper. My grandmother’s house was so clean that my daughter wrote a report about it back in the third grade, stating she had the “cleanest basement in the whole world” and that was no exaggeration.
Today, my daughter has a house of her own, and she said she tries to think to herself, “Is this clean enough for G.G.?” If not, she cleans some more. It obviously skipped a generation or two.
Back to the maid. I hired her through word of mouth. I mentioned to my hairdresser that I was looking for one, and she in turn yelled “Hey, know anyone who cleans?” to her coworker across the room, who in turn gave me a number. That, my friends, is how news travels.
I called her, and we spoke. You’d think I’d be interviewing her, asking her questions about her qualifications, but instead, I spent most of the phone call ensuring her that we’d tidy up before she came and trying to convince her that we really weren’t that bad. I guess I sounded fairly convincing or either desperate enough that she felt sorry for me because she agreed to stop by and give me an estimate.
“Clean up!” I yelled when I got home from work that day. “I’ve hired a maid, and I don’t want her to know how filthy we are.”
“I don’t want anybody but my mama cleaning my room,” my son protested.
I guess I should have been flattered. Instead, I closed his door and told the maid she didn’t have to go in there.
“I wouldn’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself,” I told her.
She gave her price, and we agreed for her to come the following day. Since I was at work, my husband texted me updates at my insistence. They went something like this.
“Catch her! Tell her to please come back, please. I’ll pay double!” I said, cursing myself for not telling him to offer her a sandwich and something cold to drink.