CC and #1 got up early on Sunday, December 11 and drove up a mountain to a place where you can cut your own Christmas tree.
All around the Christmas tree farm are posted signs that read No pets allowed. We have all kinds of wildlife in New Jersey. This is the only place besides a zoo that I’ve ever seen a bear. Not to mention the Jersey Devil (in fact, I’ve never seen one of those in a zoo. Hey, there’s an X-Files episode about that). One might think ahead about these things and know that when going up a mountain to chainsaw down a tree, it may be a good idea to leave your pets at home.
At the Christmas tree farm on top of the mountain, the SUV in front of CC and #1 stops at the caretaker.
Yuppies in SUV: Hey, we have our golden retriever. Is it okay if he comes with us?
Caretaker, rolling his eyes: Keep him on a short leash, look out for animals and don’t let him pee on the trees.
CC stops at the caretaker: So I brought my mountain lion. . .
They came back with a truly perfect Christmas tree and the house smells all good and piney and Christmasy. I bet you thought this was the part where I tell you about how the yuppies with the golden retriever got attacked by bears and carried off by the Jersey Devil. Yeah, that didn’t happen.
We go to work decorating.
#5 (running back from the tree to get another ornament): Hey. Can you get a job decorating Christmas Trees?
Me: You mean me, personally? Or do you mean you?
#5 (runs to tree with ornament): I mean me!
Me: When you’re older.
#5: Awwww. (runs back for another ornament) Hey.
#5: Can you get me a birth certificate that says I’m older so I can get a job decorating Christmas Trees?
Me: Dude. I am not getting you a fake ID so you can get a job decorating Christmas Trees.
#5 (runs to tree, places ornament, runs back for another): Well. When you put it like that, it does sound extremely illegal.
The tree looks fantastic when we’re done. And then, inexplicably, all the white lights go out. Not the colored ones. Just the four strands of white. I have to confess that troubleshooting Christmas lights is not high on my priority list. The reason for this is that I spent the past five Christmases doing exactly that. I kept all the stupid fuses and extra bulbs because I figure, hey, I’m technically an electrician and I should just fix these.
Except that they’re all made in China by little girls who are forced to work on their birthdays and don’t celebrate Christmas anyway and so they have the last laugh by making it, frankly, not that simple. So I don’t troubleshoot lights anymore. I buy new ones.
I was fully prepared to strip all the ornaments and non-working lights and reload the tree with working lights and redecorate it. But I went to four stores and nobody had any lights left. Well, no lights that I would use: seizure-inducing strobing color LED’s, gold lights on a gold cable, three five-foot strands of blue. I should have known the stores here would be cleaned out. This is suburban New Jersey and in my neighborhood, on Thanksgiving Day people replace their giant inflatable yard turkeys with giant inflatable santa-hatted penguins, and then wrap lights around their roofs, bushes, pillars, lamp posts and bomb shelter doors. All lights were gone by the time December 1 rolled around. Ah well.
I’d like to share some pictures with you.
Secaucus Junction, where I catch my train in to work, is a post unto itself. Suffice it to say for now that it is a great representation of corruption in my fair state, and one of the very unimportant results is that it has no electrical outlets. They decorate and can’t light anything up. They are afraid to pick a side in their decorating too, which is odd, because around here pretty much every town center throws up at bare minimum a Christmas tree and a Menorah. In Secaucus they have these:
Donuts? Spare tires?
They’re so. . .
festive green. And red. And unlit. As if somehow by not lighting them, they become non-offensive. Also, they’re fake.
From one extreme to the other, here’s a house in my neighborhood.
Sorry it’s blurry, but there’s a damn lot of blinkity-blink happening here and I was trying not to look like a stalker standing on the street taking pictures. Though really, they’re asking for it.
Here’s the poor tastefully decorated house next to it:
I think you need a closer look.
If you need me, I’ll be in the bathroom, bleaching my eyeballs. Merry Christmas.