Christmas and The Art of Healthy Communication…

Friday all I wanted was for Devoted Spouse to bring the Christmas tree upstairs from the basement so I could decorate.  Being a pre-lit tree, all he had to do was lug it upstairs, put the various parts together, plug it in, and his job was done.

Devoted Spouse dug through all the stuff under the staircase, found the tree box and pulled it out.  He opened it up and to our surprise it was empty.  Empty.  Where was our 7 1/2 foot relatively new pre-lit Christmas tree?

Had you been here, you would have seen a gigantic light bulb light up over both our heads as we remembered last Christmas.  Devoted Spouse was disassembling the tree and had pieces on the floor around him.   Quietly lurking behind him, EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer plopped down and gnawed her way through a branch, wiring and all.  The tree was put in the trash.

Jump back to Friday and we have a tree dilemma.  There is an old emergency back-up tree in the basement but it has no lights on it.  I stamped my precious little feet and threw a tantrum because I wanted a nice new tall pre-lit tree.  Unfortunately we were running out of time Friday morning — we had a luncheon we had to attend and so decided we would go tree shopping after lunch.  While at lunch one of our friends said, “You should go to KMart; that’s where we got our tree and it’s great!”  Off to KMart we went.  We bought a nice new tall pre-lit tree.  We were happy.

Devoted Spouse got the tree inside the house, out of the box and spent the next 2 hours or so attempting to get the tree to light.  Oh, he got the tree assembled with no problem, but there was that one pesky section where part of the lights simply would not work.  He fussed, he fumed, he said some things under his breath.  All the while I, too, fuss, fume, say things under my breath and demand he take the tree apart and return it to the store.  “No, no, I can fix this, I know I can.”  I hate it when he says that.  Now, he’s usually right; he can fix it.  But where electrical things are concerned, I”m a bit of a wuss — if it isn’t working the way it is supposed to, I don’t want him to “fix” it, I want to return it to the store.  Period.

Back to KMart we go, with the tree that doesn’t work.  Refund in hand, we go off in search of a new tree, preferably NOT from KMart.  Guess what?  It is the 4th of December and there is not a nice new tall pre-lit tree to be found anywhere in this town.  We went to store after store and I got angrier and more frustrated and he had to listen to my constant complaining and finally we decided to simply use the old emergency back-up tree.  What about lights?

Devoted Spouse maintained we had lights from when we used to use this tree.  I said, “I don’t think so; I believe we gave them to Goodwill.”  He hunted; I hunted, and I was right, we had given the original lights away.  But, I did come across two old boxes of clear mini lights and figured we could start with those.  In the meantime, again we were short on time; we had an open house to attend, so the tree would have to wait for Saturday.

Saturday morning Devoted Spouse hauls the old emergency back-up tree upstairs and together we got it assembled.  Now for the lights.  We took them out of their boxes and he proceeded to put them on the tree.  I said, “We’re going to need more lights.'”  He said, “Nah, two strings will be plenty.”  I said, “I don’t think so.”  He mumbled something under his breath.  I left the room.  He put the first string on.  Pretty.  He began attaching the second string to the first string and when he plugged it in, only half of the string lit.  I came in and between the two of us we tested each unlit bulb and could not get the rest of the string to light.  I said, “Crap, I”ll go buy more lights.”  He said, “Just buy one set.”

Saturday afternoon, back to the store I go.  Did I get one box?  No, I bought two boxes, because I just knew that two sets of lights were not going to be enough — we needed at least three.  Into the house I march with two boxes of new lights.  Devoted Spouse opens one box, takes out the lights, and begins to plug them into the remaining set of lights already on the tree.  The plugs don’t match.  Well crap on a crutch.  The first string of lights has to be taken off the tree so the new two strings can be put in its place.  Devoted Spouse takes the old lights off, drops them on the floor decides he has had enough for one day and heads for the eggnog.  I agree.  We decide to wait until after church on Sunday to put the new lights on the tree.

Sunday we go to church and we are both in a happy, calm mood.  We come home and Devoted Spouse immediately begins stringing the two new sets of lights onto the tree.  It is looking very pretty.  I’m sitting in my comfy chair in the living room supervising from a distance when this small voice says, “We need about three more feet of lights.”   “I’m sorry, dear, what was that?”, I remarked in my snarky tone.  “We need more lights,” he said a little louder.  Well now – what had I said previously about using only two strings of lights???!!!  I knew we needed more but would anyone listen to me??!!  I started to jump up to do the finger-in-the-face I-told-you-so dance when I remembered Sunday’s message at church on Healthy Communications and I did something rarely seen in this house…I shut my mouth.  I went over to Devoted Spouse and in my kindest, most loving voice said, “Honey I’ll go to the store and buy another box and be right back.”  And that’s exactly what I did.

Three days.  Numerous visits to various stores.  One missing tree, one defective tree, one old emergency back-up tree. Two old sets of lights that didn’t work.  Two sets that did.  One additional set for good measure.

Now for the decorating…And so this is Christmas…


10 thoughts on “Christmas and The Art of Healthy Communication…

  1. Lovely! I had to rush to the shop for more lights when ours stopped working – don’t you just love it when a plan comes together!
    After numerous attempts, yes I do. But I’m exhausted and the tree isn’t decorated yet! But we have lights!! LOL

  2. OH….picture please!
    Not until it’s decorated – it just has lights on it – I’ll probably get it done Mon or Tues and then I’ll put a pic on blog or FB or Twitter it or something.

  3. Sounds like the Christmas Spirit was going strong there!

    You’ll be happy to know we managed to chop ours down today without any blood being spilt. Lovely 9ft White Pine, which is sitting in the garage acclimatising before we bring it indoors to decorate. And there is no way I’m going to be satisfied with any less than 4-500 lights on it – much to The First Husband’s disgust, I might add. As far as I’m concerned, we can never have too many lights!
    Sounds like the trees we had when we lived in Belgium – we lived in an old chateau with 12 foot ceilings and thus needed a very tall very real tree – oh it was heavenly! We decorated it in the German fashion, with real candlesticks on the tips of the branches. No we didn’t actually light them, much to the dismay and disappointment of our German friends. I didn’t need to be the one burning down the chateau! What I miss most when using an artificial tree is the lovely aroma of the fresh pine – ahhhhh – Christmas! Hugs!

  4. We have lights up inside and outside in lieu of a tree and when Hubby got home Friday night he noticed that a string was out outside. After 2 hours trying to fix the string and freezing his chestnuts off he decided to place a different string up.

    Lights are really pretty but they are also a total pain in the bawhookee!
    Amen, Sistah! ROFL

  5. It’s funny how these things end up causing so much stress. I got my pre-lit tree at Big Lots and there were no arguments. We always argue over lights that don’t work.
    I may just stay with the old emergency back up tree for awhile – it looks rather pretty and I’m sure it will be nice when completely decorated. Devoted Spouse had no trouble once we got three strands of lights that all worked correctly – he did a lovely job and there was no more fussing on either side! I don’t know why we let the stress get the better of us – this should be a joyful time, not a time of arguing. I’m gonna work on that! Hugs!

  6. I’m so glad we don’t do a tree any longer. DH couldn’t possibly handle putting one up and I have no desire to haul all the crap down from the attic to spend hours decorating one by myself for no one to see other than the very few people who stop by. Then there’s the de-decorating, taking down all the decorations, packing the stuff up, and hauling it all back to the attic. No, not worth the work, aggravation, or the work, the moving of furniture to place the danged thing, the replacing of the furniture afterwards…did I mention the work involved?
    One year while I was doing my undergrad work and working full time, I put a lovely large nutcracker on the dining room, put some pine boughs around him and a couple of Christmas ornaments, and that was our decorating for the year! Some years I’m in the mood, and some years not. It is alot of work but it gets me in the spirit so I will continue to make the effort as long as possible. We don’t decorate outside the house – now that’s entirely too much trouble and you just watch your electric meter spin! LOL

  7. Now that is why you should have joined me in this boycotting of Christmas gifts and decorations this year. Well actually I haven’t decorated for about 5 or 6 years.

    So far this boycotting thing is working great. I told all the grandkids that we are boycotting Christmas gifts this year and no one is getting any. At first it was shock and now I kinda think they are getting into it. They are thinking their grandma is cool to be boycotting anything. Plus they get things from me all year round anyway, so they will not really suffer much. They just call us up and tell us what they need and if we have any work they can do to earn it and we always have work for them to do and then they get what they earned. Great way for them to spoil us and for us to spoil them.

    Yup, I am so liking this boycotting thing. Even my mom says I can boycott her gift, but being that we are not sure how many we have left with her, and I bought her gifts quite a while ago, before the boycott started, I think she will be the one exception to the boycott rule. I just bought her a few simple useful things and so that is good too. May we be blessed with a few more boycotted Christmas’s with her. Next year she will get boycotted too.

    So just join with me in the boycott and life will be less stressful during the holidays.

    God bless.

    PS….sorry EmmaLou destroyed your other tree. She is just too fast.
    I’m not quite ready to totally boycott Christmas. I do enjoy decorating, just not to the extent I used to. Decorating gets us in the spirit and we don’t really have family to spend time with and few friends come over – so it’s just us and putting up the tree and wrapping presents makes us feel like the children we are inside. It’s also fun to wrap up goodies for EmmaLou – she has so much fun ripping all the paper and joining in the fun. So I will continue Christmas celebrations – I just need to remind myself sometimes what the season is truly about and that it shouldn’t be stressful – it should be joyful! Hugs and blessings to you my dear friend!

  8. I love Christmas lights, you simply cannot have enough of them. I usually buy a new set each year, why do last years never work. Actually I managed to electrocute myself with last years set.

    What’s this rumour I have heard about you having a new camera? your photo’s have quite inspired me to dig out some of mine. I don’t wish to assume but I have posted some pictures of my home town and would dearly love your opinion of them.

    All my best wishes to you, your family and EmmaLou

    I like lights, too – but ouch please be careful!!! Yes I got an early Christmas gift (good sale) on my new Nikon – it’s alot of fun but I have no clue what half the settings mean – still studying! I shall pop over right now and look at your pics! Happy Holidays!

  9. Mine is still only half lit. Three days & the darn thing isn’t lit yet! Bah-humbug!
    I am completely lit — wait, I mean my tree is completely lit. It is about 3/4 decorated — I have too much on the upper branches and not enough on the lower so I have to do some rearranging – grrr – then finish up. It’s simply too much work for an all-at-once session so I’m breaking it into fits and spurts – it may be done by Tues or Wed. Depends on how much eggnog I consume and how many candycanes EmmaLou steals. ROFL

  10. Completely lit…yeah, now I could do that!

    Cronie, thanks for popping over to my blog and adding to my hit list (hehehe) I can almost taste that dinner. Yep, I don’t get out much.
    I’ll be popping back over as soon as judiciously possible. heh heh heh I’m just sittin here with not much to do at the moment – I can click on links with the best of ’em. (bad blogger, bad)

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