A lot of odds and ends are swirling in my thoughts in these initial days of the new year, including some thoughts about Christmas trees.
Ours is already down. Actually, it came down on New Year's Day with no love lost and less effort than when it went up, considering I had to string the lights on it twice because of a malfunction I have yet to really pinpoint.
I think as the decorator I probably qualified as the malfunction.
There, I said it.
Suffice it to say that our tree experience this year did not endear us to the tradition, not that we're complete grinches or anything in the Kiaski household. It's just that some tree years are better than others.
Somehow I have become in charge of the tree by no official action on my part, and the decorating has become a family spectator sport. They watch me do it and offer plenty of "encouragement." Not enough lights over here. A little sparse on the ornaments there.
Through the course of the holiday, there was reminiscing about how, back in the day, parents assumed the role of Christmas Eve tree decorators done after the children would go to bed so they would not only wake up to discover presents left behind by Santa, but there also would be this tree with all the trimmings that wasn't there before.
Gee. How's that for Christmas Day deadline pressure? Nothing stressful about that, right?
Better Half did casually mention that maybe we should return to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree that was his tradition in his pre-Janice days - a pathetic little tree with some sad strands of tinsel that was perched atop the television set.
I took the suggestion to heart, considering Charlie Brown trees are actually quite easy to find. I made it one of Better Half's gifts, which he liked so much he assembled and decorated it in all of 2 seconds and made it a kitchen table centerpiece.
By the time this column runs, our round two of Christmas 2011 will be coming to a close as family from North Carolina prepares to head south, but not before we've enjoyed this new Christmas tree.
One more post-Christmas tree thought.
I have a newspaper interview appointment later this week at a home in East Springfield. The interview arranger apologized-warned me that a Christmas tree would likely still be up.
No problem, I assured, sharing what I have made no secret of in past columns.
It's my mother's tradition to leave hers up until St. Patrick's Day. No kidding.
Now that's what you call time to appreciate the decorating effort.
Besides, when we finally do take it down, spring is a mere three days away.
If Better Half liked the Charlie Brown Christmas tree I got for him, I certainly liked the pajamas he got for me.
The nightshirt has a cartoon horse on it and two words below it - "Pasture Bedtime."
In my I'm-sleepy world, it's always past my bedtime, he says.
Speaking of sleep, I don't always get peaceful slumber, courtesy of a husband who is a restless snoozer with some of the most b-o-r-i-n-g dreams that he remembers in great detail unfortunately for me.
Anyway, the other night I awaken because I realize my right index finger kind of hurts, the reason being a sound-asleep Better Half is pinching it.
I said it loudly enough to sort of awaken him and get a lame explanation that he was trying to keep a rattlesnake from biting.
This is my life
Happy New Year.
(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)