Getting old is not for wimps
So I figured this was the weekend I would put up all the Christmas ornaments and trees (we have two — one in the library, and one in the kitchen because we can’t see the library tree from the living room). This required me to finish dusting everything in the library, wash both front windows, then bring in the HUGE tree box from the garage and the two tubs of decorations.
One eensy issue — about two weeks ago I somehow managed to strain the muscles in my right mid-back wrapping around to the front. No problem with standing and walking, but if I have to control any sudden front-to-back movement (like if I have to brake suddenly in the car) it spasms. It also spasms when I lift stuff or stretch forward or down. This is problematic when you are lifting large things like tree boxes and tubs full of Christmas decorations.
So there I was, moving all of this crap into the library and swearing under my breath, with that weird side muscle throbbing, and decide I’ll put up the stockings first. We have seven, one for Ramón and myself and one for each of the cats, and I had decided to use a tip I’d read online to get two stocking clips for a mantel and suspend a cafe curtain rod in it, then make little S hooks out of wire and hang the stockings from those.
Except that I hadn’t bought any of that yet. So off to Target I go, wincing at all the stops, and find stocking clips. Four for $20. Fuck THAT noise. Go over to take a look at cafe rods, get a nickel plated one, come back to the Christmas section to see if there’s anything I can jigger for mantel clips, when I find a set of two clips that have cute little chalkboards attached marked down to $8. At this point my back/side muscles are making themselves known, so I bite the bullet and get them. Come home, put everything up, and it looks great. Yay. I finish distributing the rest of the standing ornaments, then pull the ladder out of the closet to put up the garland over the door (which involves lifting and stretching). Also nice, although by now I’m in a certain amount of pain.
Then I dig out the window lights for the front windows. Unsurprisingly both 8-year-old strings are dead (protip — always plug in your lights to test them before putting them up). Back to Target I go, wincing even harder at the stops, and pick up some lights and some peppermint bark Ghirardelli squares (shut up, I earned them). On the walk back to the car the offended muscles go into one massive spasm and announce that I’m done for the night. Not being an idiot, I agree with them, go home, pop two Flexeril and proceed to sleep the sleep of the dead.
Woke up this morning with only a hint of an ache, and proceeded to put up the new window lights while Ramón shuffles around the place coughing his lungs up (there’s a reason why I’m doing all of this myself — he has a sinus infection, is on antibiotics, and feels like hammered shit so I told him to go sit down and rest). Putting up the window lights requires me to use clear push pins between the wires to hold them in the window frame, and to get on a small step ladder so that I can pin along the top of the frame and the decorative half-round glass at the top of the window. First window, the light string is five inches short of reaching the extension cord. Swearing, I pull it down and repin it around the window, taking care to stretch out all the kinks in the wire and keep it as straight as possible. I keep this in mind when I pin the lights around the second window and have no problem reaching the extension cord this time.
Both windows are now illuminated and look great. Meanwhile the tree is still in the box, and the cats are having a marvelous time climbing in and out of it. This, BTW, is a 7′ tree that is a royal pain in the ass to put together, and will require more stretching and bending just to get it upright. My strained muscles are currently saying, “You have maybe another hour out of us, then you will sit your ass down and watch Westworld, do you understand?”
So, yeah, if anyone wants to know why I’m not enthusiastic about putting holiday decorations up every year, now you know.