It’s still early. The kids are still asleep in their beds waiting for their alarms to trigger that instant Christmas morning jump-out-of-bed reflex. The soft, warm lights of the Christmas tree are glowing across the living room. I have the TV tuned to the virtual fireplace which, I suppose, is keeping me virtually warm.
Under the tree, the presents are snugly tucked in. The bright colors and shiny bows are just waiting to be ripped into.
But as I sit here waiting for everyone to wake, I’m looking most forward to what awaits my artist wife under the tree.
Twas the week before Christmas on the Canadian prairie, As we sat in our living room in a mood most merry. My artist wife sitting in her blue easy chair, Knowing I was still hung up on her unicorn hair.
Our daughter was nestled all snug in her bed, While dreams of Kandinsky danced in her head. And our son lay asleep on his pillow, his mouth curled in a smirk, Dreaming about Griffey, Jeter, and Ripken, definitely not artwork.
When down in our basement there arose such a clatter, I jumped off our couch to see what was the matter. Away to the stairs I flew like a flash, Down through the basement landing, a very mad dash.
For as long as I can remember, I have loved Christmas lights. Many people do. But, my relationship with Christmas lights borders on obsession. Our light display sits at 8,000 lights, having grown from its initial 700 lights 12 years ago.
It takes me over 25 hours to put up our Christmas light display, not including all of the prep and test time I put in over the spring and summer months to develop new concepts and ideas for the display.
This year, with less than one week before I was planning to hit the “on” switch, it was her art background that pushed my final project over its remaining hurdle.
It was time. My artist wife’s annual Christmas tree decorating tradition was about to be unleashed.
She was sitting in her blue easy chair in the corner working on her latest digital piece on her iPad. Through our 10-foot picture window, the sun was setting behind the house across the street and quickly drawing the light out of our living room. Our virtual fireplace was aglow on our television screen providing us with its light and warming our hearts while the furnace continued to warm our bodies. The 15 cm of snow from the week before still carpeted our front lawn. It was late November. It was winter. It was dreary.
The day you move into a new home is exciting. Unending opportunities abound. The blank canvas is empty, waiting for you to fill it with furniture, decor, and memories.
In our case, we had some minor renovations to complete on that sunny, prairie-sky day in 2009.
First on the list: Creating an art studio space for my wife. Thanks to support from my father, we moved a 10-foot section of wall in our basement to accommodate a space that takes up roughly a quarter of the entire footprint of our lower level.
The sun was setting as I flew down the A1 in northern France in my grey cactus.
I had left work in The Netherlands two and a half hours earlier that Friday several years ago. In that time, I had driven across Belgium in my rented Citroën Cactus, apparently a popular model of car in Europe.
Despite the prickly car model, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Ghent were all in my rearview mirror. I continued to cruise down the highway in my little hatchback with the same glorious song repeating itself every 3 minutes and 48 seconds.
My wife is driven nuts when I listen to the same song repeatedly for hours, but I make no apologies because it helps me focus. Plus, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with hearing an enjoyable song 42 times on the same drive. Right?