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Little Spouse On The Prairie: Snowballing Part II

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Remember how we discussed the snowballing strategy for tackling debt and long lists of projects?  Despite my initial difficulty with the first sewing task, presumably the smallest job on this list during winter break, I was determined to make this January one of the most productive ever.

The second chore I wished to accomplish during my time off was putting away the holiday decorations.  This normally would NOT be considered a quick chore, but this year, we hadn’t put up outdoor décor, because, several months ago, my husband had removed the hail-damaged siding in anticipation of putting up new.  I didn’t feel that house wrap advertising the local lumber yard made for the most festive backdrop to lights, garlands, and bows, so I told Joel not to bother with the Christmas lights this year.

I was careful not to make too many guilt-inducing comments about the unfinished siding, since the weather had been rather snowy of late, and it would have been difficult for Joel to work on a ladder in blizzard conditions.

I politely kept my remarks limited to things like, “If only we could have put the siding on back in July when you first took the old off!  Then we could put up lights and save on our energy bills all winter,” and “Gee, I know how much you wanted to get through all five seasons of The Rifleman before the New Year, but it sure would have been nice to have that siding up.  Oh well.  What are ya gonna do?  Six of one, half a dozen of the other. At least you got one thing checked off.”

Since those comments had been ignored, the only thing we needed to remove from outdoors was a rather sad looking wreath from the front door.  If I didn’t know how Joel’s mind works, I would wonder whether, back in July, he didn’t plot this whole scheme ahead of time. If Joel were a more devious sort, he might have thought, ‘If I don’t get the new siding up, Valerie won’t make me hang holiday lights in five months, which will mean I don’t have to take them down in seven months.’

Now that Christmas had come and gone, though, I myself was glad I only had a few decorative items to take down.  This would give me a chance to carefully organize all of the beautiful ornaments, unlike my usual procedure of only carefully organizing five or six items before thinking, “The heck with this,” and tossing everything unceremoniously into a couple of plastic tubs.

The only advantage to that method of un-decorating was that the tubs usually sat in the living room until mid-February, by which time all but a few of the Christmas things we had forgotten about had usually been chucked into them.  Hey, at least forgotten Christmas decorations don’t explode in giant stink bombs like forgotten Easter eggs do!

I bought compartmented boxes and got to work. I decided that one box would hold red ornaments, another pink, and another gold, and so-on.  I took off all of the red ornaments first and was quite satisfied to note that there was exactly the same number of red ornaments as there were little spaces.  That kind of regularity gives me goose bumps!

Then I moved on to pink.  I had a bit of a jolt when I discovered that I had enough pink ornaments for one and a half storage boxes, but I was able to deal with the incongruence by noting that there were only enough gold ornaments for half a box, so it all worked out okay.  With only the multicolored ornaments left and one more box to fill, the tree was deconstructing nicely. 

It was then that I noticed a red ornament had been nestled in some branches toward the back.  I had already put the box of red ornaments up in the storage cupboard, and besides, there wasn’t a spot for that errant bulb.  It was unsettling, to say the least.

I considered dropping the red ornament to see if it would break, restoring my state of equilibrium, but thought better of it, and threw the remaining decorations into a couple of plastic tubs, which I left in the living room to deal with later

Host of Little Spouse on the Prairie, a regional comedy feature that airs Sundays at 8:35 a.m. during Weekend Edition.