‘On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me……………………..’
Stop singing. I begin with an apology. And shout out to all those Crimble songsters in the blogosphere who prefer your annual sing-along neat, pure and minimalist. Nothing in Casa Carmichael is that way – no ends, buts or peut etres and for that I can do nothing but say ‘sorry’.
It has dawned on yours truly that the longer I procrastinate in tapping this post the less I need write. But I have dallied long enough and there are now fewer than two fistfuls of days until the big one. So, on with the show.
Eight: On the eighth day before Christmas the paucity of merry christmas/happy new year cards gracing the Carmichael shelves cannot be ignored. If we remove the local curry house’s salutation along with a festively decorated offering from one of the local primary schools that has used on- tap child labour to deliver a missive announcing their Key Stage Two results to the hood, we have eight. Eight matches the days until we eat turkey and cranberry sauce but, in card stakes, is not very many is it?
I blame myself. About a decade ago I lost my address book. It had been a wedding present, was leather bound and contained much information. I know it would be worth money were I famous. But I’m not and its leaving passed with but a whimper. Before it left it fell to pieces, slowly but with menace. The M’s stopped receiving Carmichael cards first, followed the next year by the V’s. Being a solo, the V’s hardly counted but before December of the following year my address book was no more.
The guilt I felt at being unable to send cards that year was huge. The next, I’ll admit to a twinge and now I don’t even think about it. Is that terrible? Or is it a good thing?
There was a hiatus of four or five years when cards still poured in to us – perfect but slowly, oh so slowly my deleterious behaviour has been noted and now in 2014 we have a paltry eight cards on the 19th of December. It’s almost embarrassing to put them up. But I am made of sterner stuff. I have spread them wide and thin. Those who faithfully wish us well deserve to be honoured. Thank you and merry christmas to all.
Seven: episodes of Missing to watch, all backed up on my Sky Planner. My task (and yes, I have chosen to accept it) is to finish them by Christmas Day. For two reasons. Firstly, it’s a worthy thing to do and I can hide away whilst doing it. Secondly we are cancelling our Sky contract (finally Mr C is getting his way – call it an early present) and installing Virgin. All current recording will vanish.
Six: we are for Christmas this year which means I have enough matching plates, champagne glasses, wine glasses, themed napkins (linen), and a table large enough to seat us all without taking turns. The Carmichaels are not so good at taking turns so this is a good thing. I am excited not to have the hired table and chairs in my living room ’till mid-January this time round. Another good thing.
Five: presents to buy. Things are going extraordinarily well. It’s worrying. I think I am in control of present acquisition. Many are even wrapped. Of course, Mr Carmichael has not got out of park yet. That is always a moment to marvel at. If history repeats the hurricane that is my husband’s pressy purchasing begins on Christmas Eve – after lunch, just as the sun goes down.
“What would you like for Christmas?” he asks from his cell phone, as he stands in a shopping mall, at gone 4.30pm.
Perhaps this year will be different. I’ll let you know.
Four: desserts to try. This year we are going off piste and will not be enjoying Daughter #1’s white chocolate cheesecake. Although delicious we want a change and she wants to cook the brussel sprouts instead. Nor will we not be enjoying my SIL’s triffle on steroids. H…… understands. And is consigned to christmas crackers and all things cheese. It’s for the best and therefore a good thing. You can trust me on that one.
Three/Two: strings of christmas tree lights/two trees. ‘Why three? Why two?’ you ask and it is a most reasonable question. This is why.
As good as puppy Lyle is on his perambulations he is not a good boy within Casa Carmichael’s four walls. His adult teeth like to chew. They like to chew glasses, cases for glasses, pens, biros, magazines, mail, money (yes, money!), newspapers, sticks, concrete, toys and socks. Extrapolating from this heady compilation, we can assume that trees, decorations and presents might also be delicious to a ten month old Cockapoo.
My suggestion was that we got a small tree this year to sit atop a table (see above) that he could admire from afar. That suggestion did not go down well. One thing Carmichael pere and enfants adore is tradition. There was a fight. I said I was doing the small tree anyway. So I buy a small box of lights. I test the lights. They work. I put them on the tree. The rest (re another tree), I said, was up to them. Ha!
Days later and with a guilty heart, I chose and purchased a second tree. I have to admit it’s a stunner.
Please, it you have a moment read what happens in CC, when tree picking goes wrong. Here it is, you have my permission to feel smug (Me, Thee or the Tree).
Oh, and there, within that post are lights numero 1 – hmmm. Note to self, ring trading standards when a moment frees up. But wait, I’m jumping ahead of myself.
“This year, “I tell Daughter #2, “you can do the lights as well as the decorations.”
“I don’t want to do the lights,” she replies.
“Nor do I,” I retort. “In fact I don’t even want the tree.” Bah humbug.
There is a stalemate and we agree to do the lights together once she rises from her bed. I have lunch while I wait.
“Test the lights,” I tell her. “We don’t want to waste hours only to find they don’t work.”
“They work,” she shouts and we spend the next good while getting scratched but doing a good job, light-wise.
That done, I retire, excited to get on with my day. Her scream halts me on the stairs. “The lights don’t work,” she cries.
I turn to see the top third of the tree lit, the bottom two thirds shrouded in blackness. I get very cross. She gets crosser. Mr Carmichael joins in with the crossing. It’s all very noisy. I leave the house. It’s the most positive thing I can contribute to the moment.
Mr C buys another box of lights. We now have 50 spare christmas bulbs. Is that a good thing? Hmmm.
2014 – the year of three sets of lights and two trees. Lyle is in heaven. He is not in the living room unless accompanied.
One: It’s Lyle’s first Christmas. What a good thing that is.