Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Decoration Blues

Halloween is about to throw up on my house. And in it. The note from my wife has been on my desk for a week – get Halloween tubs down. Great, there goes nine hours of my life.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Halloween season is upon us. I have long been lamenting the fact that Halloween has somehow grown from a one-night event where your single goal is to gather as many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as possible, into the most singularly drawn-out “holiday” we have.

The Christmas “season” is probably technically a little longer, but it shares the first half of its spotlight with Thanksgiving. Halloween gets the entire month of October all to itself, and now inexplicably, the last week in September, it seems. I actually saw cobwebbed bushes and jack-o’-lantern lights up on some of the houses in my neighborhood before the calendar flipped to October this year.

I have to give my wife a little credit. At least she waited until September 30th at midnight to put the note on my desk. You may have noticed that ‘tubs’ is plural in the note. Yes, we’re talking multiple full-size Rubbermaid storage tubs crammed full of ceramic pumpkins, ghosts that hang from the Tree of Death out front, wooden signs that say ‘Boo,’ four-foot-tall witches, jack-o’-lantern toilet seat covers, and enough other crap to fully decorate the inside of a Costco if we needed to.

I’m not going to say that my wife is decoration crazy, mostly because I like sleeping in my own bed, but I’ve lost count of how many holiday tubs we have in our garage. We have tubs for Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Flag Day, Columbus Day, Arbor Day, National Aviation Day, King Kamehameha Day, Black Friday, Leif Erikson Day, National Library Workers’ Day, and even some of the lesser known holidays. All I know is we have a three-car garage, and we have just enough room to park the boys’ bicycles inside as long as we stack them.

So in a little while, I’m going to move the bikes out into the driveway with the cars, find the ladder somewhere amid all those tubs, make my way over to the Halloween section on aisle twenty-four, and begin moving tubs into the house. My wife will then begin a decorating routine that looks a lot like what might happen if the Tasmanian Devil got loose in a craft store. When every square inch of the inside and outside of our home is positively spooky, I’ll move the tubs back out to aisle twenty-four until it’s time to replace them with the Thanksgiving tubs from aisle nine.

It could be worse, though. I met a guy the other night at Son Number Three’s baseball game who was hobbling out of his truck on crutches. He had one of those big black fabric-and-Velcro braces on his foot, and he looked to be in a fair amount of pain. When I asked how he was doing, he replied sullenly, “I’ve had better weeks.”

“I can see that,” I said. “What did you do to your foot?”

His face became even more dejected as he recounted his tale of holiday woe.

“I cracked my heel...
stepping off a ladder wrong...
putting up Halloween lights...
for my ex.”

Ouch, bro. Ouch.

But, hey, keep your head up, man. You’ve got to look on the bright side in this life. At least you didn’t break your leg, and you’ve got the makings of a pretty decent country song there. You already have the pickup truck, the ex-wife, and the unfortunate injury. Add in a new girlfriend, a dog, and a beer, and you might end up making some money off this little mishap.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find that ladder and make my way over to aisle twenty-four. If you need me, I’ll either be somewhere in the tub maze, or at the ER writing a country song.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2016 Marc Schmatjen

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