Friday, January 8, 2010

Drills and War

Awhile back, before the broken limb that has managed to suck up an amazing amount of my free time, before the holidays that managed to suck up an amazing amount of every one's time, and before school started again on Monday where I then managed to suck up an amazing amount of my own time just breathing a sigh of relief and catching up on a whole boat load of what-not - - I mentioned that I had been very crafty and had managed to make my own candy garland this year.

To bring everyone up to date on why I made my own holiday garland. In August, when we moved in to mid-century-pre-renovation-house we packed up the lion's share of our belongings and we sent them to storage. Crazy as it seems, I actually glanced at our three LARGE boxes of Christmas decorations and then summarily dismissed them as "send them to storage." I wonder now if I had blocked out the fact that Christmas would come again? You know - big move requires big thoughts. Big thoughts require that most other thoughts are pushed out in to the abyss of rationality. I mean, why would I need Christmas decorations? It was only August for Pete's Sake! By December (a mere 4 months away), we ought to have the renovation complete by then. Our Christmas things would be with us. Madness. That's all I can chalk it up to. Sheer Madness. By December, we hadn't even finished with the preliminary plans. Madness. I say.

So, December arrived. Still living in aforementioned mid-century-pre-renovation-house. Only now, I must think about decorating for Christmas. And to complicate the issue, we had recently been shown the preliminary budget for ALL the things that we want to do to renovate said house and the only way it's all getting done is if a fed ex plane carrying exceptionally large sums of money happens to open its cargo doors as it flies over our house and parachutes big bags full of brand spanking new $20s right in to our nifty (but in need of renovation) inner courtyard. In other words, I had a teeny-weeny budget. This makes sense seeing as a) we need to save our money to pay for renovations, and 2) technically I already have a crap load of xmas stuff sitting in boxes somewhere in a dark, dark storage unit.

My solution? I headed out to our local Target with $30 in my hand (not dropped from a fed-ex plane). I decided that I should be able to decorate a tree with that amount of money. And you what? I almost did it. Those damn little light strings pushed me over the top. So, I fished another $6 out of my wallet (which is completely untrue since I pay for everything by Amex, but for the sake of artistic license - imagine me fishing a fiver plus scraping the change out of the bottom or my purse while people wait in line behind me sighing and moaning with utter impatience while I separate the dimes from the lint and empty gum wrappers that live at the bottom of my handbag). Here's what I bought:
  • 3 Packets of large sparkly Red Snowflake ($3)
  • 3 Packets of large sparkly White Snowflakes ($3)
  • 5 Packets of small sparkly White Snowflakes ($5)
  • 4 bags of red and white butter-mint candies ($8)
  • 1 bag of Christmas Nugget Candies ($2)
  • 3 100 twinkly light strings ($15)
The result? The Target Red &White Snowflake and Candy Tree 2009:

I bought the butter-mint candies under the woefully mistaken impression that I was going to rush home, bust open my sewing basket, whip out a large darning needle and string those bad Johnie's together like magic while I sat in front of a roaring fire listening to Christmas carols playing softly in the background. I opened the first mint and became immediately aware that unless my darning needle had a sonic hammer attached to it there was no way those puppies were being pierced. I reverted to Plan B and whipped out my handy-dandy Dewalt drill where for the next hour I drilled wee tiny holes in each of the bazillion candies in the 4 bags. So much for the dulcet quiet Christmas songs in the background. ZWEEEEE. ZWEEEE. ZWEEEE. Suffice to say that once those little gems had holes in them, stringing was a breeze (but still no fire. no carols). George the Elder thought the whole thing was pretty gosh darn funny (hence the photo). Of course, George the Younger and Henry both took turns with the drill - but while their initial enthusiasm was admirable, it faded quickly. There were a damn lot of mints!

Here is the finished product:
Once the lights were up and the garland was draped, we hung the sparkly snow flakes and then filled in the gaps with the Christmas nugget hung on ornament hangers. You know the hangers that I am talking about. You buy them in packages of 200. You open the package and they are all tangled together in one smallish twisty metal poky mess. You untangle the ones that you want to use and then throw the rest in the bag that holds the flotsam and jetsam left over from decorating. Next year you buy a whole new package hoping upon hope that they will come up with a better packaging solution by then. Wishful holiday imaginings, eh?

Oh yeah. One more thing. Note the white cutting board in photo of me and the drill. I guess I need to add its replacement in my budget. When you drill holes in to nearly 400 pieces of candy with a tiny little drill bit, the surface of the board gets - well, it gets 400 tiny little holes drilled in to it as well. Didn't take that into consideration in the big picture of Plan B.

In other news, the boys got the newest Call of Duty PC game for Christmas. This game, where you stealthily track each other down and try to kill each other in a fairly realistic background of some war or another, is a big family favorite. That's a lie. I do not play. So, it is a big favorite of all the man-boys in the family. My role is to listen to them play this game. There are great spans of silence (sneaky tracking, hiding and waiting, looking for weapons). These are punctuated by great loud yells, accusatory statements and ferocious pounding of desk tops (indicating either you have been killed, you are about to be killed or you are the one that did the killing). Here are the game faces:

And as a final aside. What were they thinking with the name "Call of Duty?" Is it the name of a game, or the announcement that it's time to take a dump? In our house, believe me, it's now both. Penal Institution and Call of Duty. Are you sensing a theme?

1 comment:

fin said...

I have often looked at photo's (not unsimilar to the one of your BEAUTIFUL christmas tree) and wondered a) who comes up with such an idea and b) who has the time and c) W H Y ?

Now - after such a clear explanation - my questions have all been answered. Thanks!

Miss you :)