DECK THE HALLS
3 December 2002
Remember last year? (of course you don't, but I do.) Last year was a very difficult
Christmas for me, for some reason. I didn't do a thing in preparation until the 24th, then
I had my yearly nervous breakdown. Walt went and got a tree at some point--maybe the 23rd?
22nd? (Poor guy--seems that the only lot in town that still had trees was the Boy Scout
lot and he knew better than to buy from them, since I rant and rave about it every year,
so he drove all the way to the next town to find a tree!)
If it hadn't been for the kids, we'd still be waiting to get decorations up. The tree
was decorated Christmas morning, just slightly before the family arrived. The dusting--all
of those glass shelves, book shelves, etc., never got done. The only reason the dining
room table got cleared was that we needed it for dinner. I just absolutely could not
muster up any energy, interest, or enthusiasm for doing anything. I never did get
Christmas cards sent.
It was the continuing holiday depression that comes with loss. When you lose people you
love, when your life doesn't turn out the way you planned, when you think your holiday
should be one way and it's turning out to be quite different, there it's just so hard to
get interested in doing anything.
Christmas went off fine, of course. Thanks to the kids, the tree got decorated. Thanks
to dim lights, the thick layer of dust wasn't as noticeable as it might have been. And
thanks to a family that knows I'm the world's worst housekeeper, nobody said anything. I
spent most of the day in the kitchen, so I wasn't around to look at and feel guilty for
all the piles of junk that I never got cleared away. I made it through Christmas, somehow.
I even sorta kinda enjoyed it, once it was underway.
So here we are, only 22 days before Christmas. Maybe it was that Thanksgiving was so
very different. I didn't sit at Tahoe looking around at the empty places at the table. I
didn't start my holiday season in tears because the people I wanted to be with weren't
Maybe it was being home alone on the Thanksgiving weekend. Maybe it was because I was
caught up on transcription and was tired of playing Free Cell.
Who knows why, but at some point during the morning yesterday, I had this little
feeling that if I were to start now, I might actually be able to avoid my yearly
nervous breakdown. I went into the living room and looked at the disaster. The dining room
table heaped with stuff, the layer of dust on the etageres so thick I could plant seeds in
it and have a nice growth of something in time for Christmas. The credenza hidden by
stacks of books, papers, bowls.
I got a bag and started tossing things. I managed to get the dining room table cleaned
off and it looked so good, I thought maybe I'd start dusting the etageres. This is a job
which usually takes about 45 minutes, since the shelves are covered with little souvenirs,
all of which are dust catchers. In the past it's been an exhausting job which included
hauling my bulk up onto chairs and balancing precariously while cleaning the upper shelves
and the stuff on them. And at the end of the whole procedure, I was bone weary and
Well, my word what a difference 80 lbs makes. The cleaning time was reduced. I bounced
up and down off of chairs with ease. And when I finished, I felt just fine--neither
exhausted, nor bone sore. In fact, I felt so good, I went on to clean another bookcase,
and then to work at finding the kitchen counter. (It's blue--I remember it now!)
In all I worked about 3 hours--which is about 3 hours more housework of this type than
I have done in the past 2 years. I even....gasp...threw away stuff (ok--not a lot,
When I called it a day, I realized that if I give 2-3 hours a day to "cleaning
up" between now and December 25 (especially between now and December 10, when Dr. G
gets back from vacation), I can totally avoid the nervous breakdown. Heck, we could even
put up a tree by next weekend. I'm ready.
I guess life is finally looking better. I'm feeling more hopeful. It feels like the
coming year will be a good one, not a depressing one. Maybe I'm coming back to life again.
It's a wonderful feeling.
I'm getting into the holiday spirit. Whoda thunk??