The downside of up

So I was taking down my Christmas lights today, freezing my fingers and toes and asking myself WHY on Earth I felt compelled to put them up in the first place.

Oh they were pretty, outdoors only because my cats like to light up the insides of their cheeks. In the back yard, I wrapped white lights around an umbrella trellis and then draped them along our pathway lights to brighten up the walk from the back door to the garage. Then on the side of the house, we have an archway with a lovely green climbing vine – which in the winter is nothing more than a massive twig puzzle. There I twined more white lights up one side, down the other, then up and over again. Visible from the side living room window, it was a delight to see for a few weeks.

Out front, the steps leading up to my front door, as well as the front porch, are lined with scrolling wrought iron. Lovely curves and turns were draped with colored lights, down along the base, then up the fancy scroll work, down the bannister, back up the bannister, up and over the doorway, twisting and twining along the other side of the iron work to light up the path to my door.

It was lovely. And all of them were on the same timer that turns on the light at our gate every dusk, shutting it off at dawn. I never had to go outside to plug them in or flip a switch. And at night, from inside the house, the glow of colored lights was delightful.

But that was then.

Christmas is over, and while I usually leave them up for New Year’s Eve, I have to go back to work on Wednesday and wouldn’t get outside to take them down until next Saturday, and that’s just too long. It’s a little tacky to have lights up for a holiday that’s passed, especially a week gone by.

So today I froze, swore, shivered and asked myself the same question I ask every year: Why did I do this? Snaking the lights through the twigs of the arch was pretty – but now my frozen fingers are having trouble getting those twisting little bastards out of the twigs, which are themselves twining around my hair as if holding me up out of support and assistance. Then there’s the wrought iron. It’s pretty to have the lights twisting in and out of the scroll work – but it’s hell to get them back OUT again! No longer fresh out of the box, the lights aren’t bunched up and easy to manipulate.

And you can forget carefully wrapping these puppies up again, making sure nothing gets tangled together. I’m so sick of the whole mess by the time they come down, we just jam them into big garbage bags for storage and toss them into the garage on a shelf. I figure by next December, I’ll be in a happy holiday-anticipating mood and won’t mind sitting down for an hour untangling the buggers.

It’s time to put 2007 away. Time to get 2008 prepped and ready to go. I’ve got the Penman Shipwreck to look forward to, a new novel Ether I’m excited to start, two competitors I have to beat and loads and loads of writerly discussion to engage in with my fellow writerly persons.

And what the hell, let’s call this the year I get an agent! Sure, I called last year the year I get an agent, but that didn’t work – so nevermind 2007. Let’s focus on 2008, shall we? If my urologist was right, I should be due for another kidney stone in 2008, so let’s balance that out with an agent, a 3-book deal, and a great publisher who pays me loads in advance money. Oh, and while I’m putting in my wants, I’d like those contracts to earn out and put me in the royalty club 😀

Okie dokie?

So forget resolutions, forget diets you’ll abandon in February and excercise routines that will last three weeks. Forget end-of-holiday depressions and cookie-guilt. Tell me – what is 2008 going to bring for you?

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10 thoughts on “The downside of up

  1. I’m shooting for no pain in my hips, finishing my novel, and not wanting to pull my hair out every five seconds.

    Oh, and bringing in a little bit of money freelancing.

  2. I want Zach to get a job, I want to get my writing habits back on track properly, read a little more…and I would very much like some tea. I’m easy. 😀

    And embarrassed, because it’s COLD and I am not going out for a little bit to take the Christmas lights off my porch, damn it.

  3. A week? Only a week and you’re all ready to cast the holiday away? I leave everything up until at LEAST the Epiphany. We still plug in our tree and let it light the room. It saddens me that you are so quick to throw Christmas back into the box like that.

    For me, a week is not too long. A month maybe. Those people who still have their lights strung on their house come springtime, definately. But a week? Not hardly.

    Sorry, did you have another point? I got hung up on that.

  4. It’s something my parents instilled years ago – besides, I don’t know what Epiphany is. I know what AN Epiphany is, but . . .

    I spend the entire month enjoying the lights and anticipation, but when it’s over, and when January 1st comes along, I want it all gone and cleaned up so I can start the new year and look forward to what a new year can bring.

  5. Certainly, I know what the Epiphany is, and we used to leave our lights going until then. This is the first year we haven’t, and mostly because we have very few Christmas ornamentals (just some lights on the porch railing; no tree, no nativity set, nothing else. Sigh) it was no big deal that we stopped turning them on.

  6. THE Epiphany from which the writing epiphany comes from is when the Three Wise Men arrived to view the baby Jesus, generally acknowledged to be the 6th of January.

    I guess I’m the odd one, I spend all that time preparing for THE EVENT and then suddenly it arrives and its gone, and that saddens me because I love this season so. So in that regard I try to extend it long after the event, too.

  7. You’re not the odd one. I saw Valentine’s Stuff at the local “dem der Wal Mart, hyuck,” and was grumpy because I want Christmas season for a few more weeks, darn it.

  8. I feel a little sad when I open the last present, not because it’s the end of the loot, but it’s the end of the promise, the mystique of the unopened present. That’s what makes 2008 so enticing. It’s just there waiting to be unwrapped.

    What do I hope to find inside? An agent. More short story sales. A novel sale. And another year with my family intact.

    I used to leave stuff up until Epiphany, but now I have a kiddo with a Jan 5th B-day. My due date was actually the 6th and we still call him the Epiphany Baby. So now I rip down all the Christmas stuff to put space between it and his special day.

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