Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Traditions

I've noticed that everywhere I go lately, people are talking about their Christmas traditions. Understandable, seeing how it's Christmastime. And people are basically copycats. Since it's the Thing To Do, here's one of my Holiday Traditions. Way back in March of 1990, the new Mrs. Spiffy and I moved into our first apartment. Every move since then has been right around Christmas. In a blizzard. There was the First House, a sturdy little brick number on a hill, which was a handyman special all the way. We bought it in August, but it took until December to get it livable. The folks before us bragged about how they never had trash service in the 3 years they lived there. "This carpet's still good, just needs a little steam cleaning," he told me. They maintained a path from the front door, through the living room, weaving down the hallway to the bedrooms. Everywhere else in the place was stacked to the ceiling with pizza boxes, last year's wrapping paper, eggshells, and other assorted whatnot. We had to ask how many windows were in one bedroom, because we honestly couldn't see across it. One room featured a small mountain of bunny shit. In the middle of the carpeted floor. So, we remodeled the kitchen and bath, recarpeted, scrubbed and painted every square inch before moving in. The aroma of the previous family subsided after the new furnace was installed, and we could finally spend a night there. We set up and decorated the tree before unloading the U-Haul, while the first kidlet slept in the living room. The next move was much simpler, because we were going to a bigger house. It took a few years to collect enough junk to fill it up. That Christmas was one of the easy ones. The only adventure was when the gutter filled up with ice and the entire roof edge ripped free, dropping 2 stories onto the driveway. Amazingly, no snotty neighbor kids were crushed. By far the most memorable move was the one from the Big House to the 2-bedroom apartment. Naturally, it was Christmas Week. And a blizzard was in full force. This wasn't the natural progression we had imagined - you're supposed to move Upward, right? Well, Circumstances intervened and we had to downsize. Substantially. We recruited some muscle from our church youth group, and they were eager and happy to help. We had 2 big Ryder truckloads of crap to move, and our friends were committed to Getting It Done - and fast. They emptied the first load into the driveway, and a few of us went back for the rest. As I pulled into the drive with the 2nd load, I noticed something was missing. Or rather, not missing. Every single item from the first load was still in the drive, and the kids were inside enjoying pizza and some teevee. It continued to snow in earnest while we unloaded the 2nd truck into the drive. Then they left. As has been mentioned, we had a Big Houseful of stuff, and tried to squeeze it all into the space of a phone booth. Too cheap (see: broke) to rent a storage unit, we decided to tarp the stuff in the drive and bring it in as we found room. The next day, we came out to find 2 feet of fresh snow on top of our precious Stuff. Strangely, we don't have many photos from that Christmas. And, most of that Stuff found its way to Goodwill or the dump. The next move brought us into a spacious new house in the pseudo-country, with lots of roof edges and corners to decorate with lights. If ever I felt like it. Tune in next time, I may foist more of my Traditions upon you. Or maybe not, you never know around here.

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