Before Christmas comes


It may seem too early to be writing a Christmas story, but there’s lots to do before the big guy comes down the chimney … or guests arrive. The Wife gave me her list of things to do, and yes, she’d checked it twice, so I was ready to get busy on all the home improvement items. But it always seems like the more items I mark off a list the more get added. Here’s what I mean.

First on my list was to de-clutter. That means throwing out all of the junk I’ve brought into the house during the last year. Anyone who knows me knows this is no small task. Guess that’s why everyone I called was too busy to help.

Unfortunately, after spending the better part of three days de-cluttering, I realized something that wasn’t on my list … the carpets really needed to be cleaned. The choices were clear: go and rent a machine, lug the heavy thing up the steps, put in hours of back-breaking labor cleaning the carpets, or simply write a check and have someone else do it. Facing yet another shoulder surgery in three weeks, guess which one I did?

With check written and carpets cleaned, my attention was now drawn to the walls. They needed to be painted. Painting was one of the items on The Wife’s list, and I was happy to do it. Except I didn’t have any paint. Not having any paint called for a trip to the giant hardware store with the orange roof. To say it was a productive trip would be an understatement.

Not only did I come back with twenty gallons of light gray paint, I got a Santa in a giant snow globe for the roof! It was exactly what The Wife wanted … the light gray paint, not the Santa and giant snow globe.

After calling the same friends to help me paint that were too busy to help with the de-cluttering, I realized something. I need to get more friends. Again, everyone was too busy. Seems they were all watching the Georgia Bulldogs beat up on my Auburn Tigers.

De-cluttering completed, carpets cleaned, and all painting done, it was finally time. I ventured down into the damp, dark basement and fought off the ever-increasing hoard of spider crickets to retrieve the Christmas decorations. I discovered two things.

First, I really needed to buy some brighter basement bulbs. (Ah! A story for next week!) And second, I needed to buy some new Christmas lights. Seems I have those that when one light goes out, they all go out. So it was back to the hardware store. Besides, The Wife said I needed to return the giant snow globe Santa.

Good thing, too, because I called all my friends and no one was going to help me get it up onto the roof.

Once back home, we decorated the house, hung stockings above the fireplace with care, and started to bake cookies. I know it’s still three weeks before Santa comes climbing down the chimney, but I’ve discovered something.

It’s much easier to get your friends with a pickup truck to come over and help you cut down and transport your huge Christmas tree when you promise them all the freshly baked Christmas cookies they can eat.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]