Hubby is sitting in his comfortable chair, playing solitaire on his iPad and watching the Sports Channel out of the corner of his eye.
I’ve just put together the Up-side-down tree - my fifth tree. I spent the afternoon wrapping gifts to give to extended family and friends. After two months of shopping, I have finally found the perfect gift for everyone. I don’t believe in gift cards, it’s too easy.
Sweat is dripping off my brow, turning my hair into a mass of unruly curls. I am wearing yoga pants and I haven’t been to yoga in weeks.
As hubby rocks back and forth in his chair my mind is racing like a derailed train...Did I forget anyone? I still have to go to the liquor store. I don’t have any scotch tape. Did I put the towels in the dryer? Will we have roast or chicken for supper tomorrow night? Is homework done? Should I buy a turkey this week or wait till mid-December because the grocery store was out of stock a week before Christmas last year?
I can’t breathe. I feel like someone is pushing my head under water and I am going down for the last time. I feel a pain in my chest and the sweat is stinging my eyes. Hubby is quietly playing solitary “Can you get me a bottle of water?” he asks.
Imagine the scene in the movie Carrie where they pour the bucket of blood over her head igniting the devil in her to come forth and wreak havoc on the town. That’s what I looked like. He looks up at me “I’ll get it myself” he whimpered.
“Why do you do this to yourself? Every year you stress yourself out over Christmas” he complained.
In my head I am holding my brass Nutcracker which both hands swinging it like a baseball bat, bludgeoning him to death, while I am laughing, and laughing and laughing. I know I have to be convicted by a jury of my peers, which will be twelve women drove to the brink of madness by Christmas stress.
Men just don’t feel the stress of Christmas like women do.
Men buy for one person, their significant other.
Women have to buy gifts for in-laws, the out-laws, the music teacher, the dance instructor, the mailman, nephews, nieces, sisters, brothers, not to mention their own children and husbands!
They take the same budget that pays the mortgage, the utility bills and the groceries, then stretches it even farther to accommodate the two months of Christmas.
What is it about Christmas that makes women crazy? Why does this holiday make us want to turn our houses into showplaces that would rival the City of Paris at night? Set out tables that Martha Stewart would stand up and applaud. Bake cakes and cookies when we don’t bake them at any other time during the year!
Red cherries, green cherries, do they taste the same? They do to me, but apparently there are women who can taste the difference. God forbid you make a cherry cake with green cherries because the grocery store is sold out of the red ones. NO ONE WILL EAT IT!!!
I notice hubby is no longer rocking. He is staring at me with his mouth open like a deer in the headlights. He doesn’t know if I am going to pounce or wait till he is asleep and then strike.
I noticed I have not inhaled in about five minutes. I’ve just been staring at him with my eyes as big as saucers. Standing in front of my up-side-down tree holding a pair of glittery balls in my hand. A bead of sweat falls from the tip of my nose. I finally suck air into my lungs. It sounds like I’ve come up for my last breath.
“Did you put the towels in the dryer?” I ask him. “Doing it now” he answers as he jumps to his feet. He carefully keeps his back to the wall and a safe three foot radius between us as he walks toward the basement.
I look back at the up-side-down tree and see my reflection in the big silver bulb. Carrie on prom night. Funny how I can combine Halloween and Christmas so easily. Martha Stewart would be proud. I continue to trim my tree laughing on the inside because I know hubby will sleep with one eye open while I dream of sugar plums dancing in my head.
Ah, sugar plums. Is that a thing? How do you make sugar plums? I must remember to Google that. They might make a nice centerpiece. Is the cat in? Is the door locked? Is the stove off? Is Christmas over?