“I don’t think I could handle not having a tree!” I told my friend, Sandy. She was telling me a story about the time she went to Spain and could not find a Christmas ornament anywhere. As it turned out, the locals focused mostly on the Nativity during the holidays. Trees just weren’t their thing.
“Even in college,” I went on, “I bought a cheap little Christmas tree for my dorm room, a few lights and ornaments. I can do without just about everything else, but Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a tree!”
Little did I know that The Universe had decided to take me up on the challenge. It started with two wood planks in front of the sink that were pulling up off of the floor. After consulting with a crawlspace investigator, we got the startling news—water. The pictures he supplied from under the house showed a massive water spot that just about covered our kitchen’s subfloor. The source? After much pulling and tugging and twisting of metal, my husband, Jimmy, yanked the dishwasher out of its cozy nest and found a puddle. That wonderful invention of ease and convenience had been silently, secretly destroying our home.
The next couple of days included contractors sent by our insurance company, torn up floorboards, packed up kitchen, and the constant hum of large industrial fans and a dehumidifier. Plastic sheeting now covers every entrance to our kitchen, trying to contain the moisture and nasty smell of mildew.
The children, of course, are thrilled! Although we are fortunate enough to have the space to convert our dining room into a mini-kitchen, and our sitting room into a dining area, the smell is just too much sometimes. So most days I allow the girls (3 and 6 years old) to lunch in the room above the garage—their playroom—on the little tea table that’s just their size with their favorite cartoons on the TV. Simply kid heaven!
Jimmy and I are less-than-thrilled with the situation. With the kitchen quarantined like a polio victim in a bubble, we have had to “take the long way around” when attempting to go from one area of the house to another. It makes me feel a bit like I’m living in old-time Colonial Williamsburg.
For instance, our simple breakfast of oatmeal burns more than a few calories in the morning. First, take out the bowls (easy, since they are still housed in the kitchen’s upper cabinets). Then we need the spoons and measuring cup, so out to the cellar we go (in this case, the converted dining room, which requires going out into the living room, through the sitting room, and around to the dining room, then back again). Must have water, so we’ll take the bucket (my big, glass measuring cup) out to the well (through the living room, into the half-bath) to draw some water from the pump (the sink faucet) and then back to the kitchen. Thank the good Lord for microwaves, though, or we’d have to put a spit in the fireplace and truly be doing it Colonial Style!
As you can imagine, having the heart of your home ripped out has really put a damper on the Christmas festivities. If we attempt cookie baking, it’ll have to be at a friend’s house. I still draped the staircase banister in garland, despite having an ugly sheet of plastic covering the doorway just a couple yards away. As a last ditch effort, I insisted on putting the Christmas tablecloth on our dining room table, before covering it with the silverware drawer, toaster, cutting board, and other daily necessities from our defunct kitchen. After this first, slow week of work, I informed Hubby that he could put the Christmas China (accrued for me over the years by my wonderful mother-in-law and gracing our table every holiday season) back up in the attic.
And then there was the issue of the tree. Normally, we place it in the living room. But almost the entirety of our downstairs is floored with engineered, interlocking wood planks. We knew the odds were high that the living room flooring would have to be replaced—at the very least, the exact spot where we put our Christmas tree. And the last thing we would want to have to move is a lighted, decorated, tinseled tree.
“I don’t know if we can get one this year,” Jimmy said gloomily. “Where would we put it?”
“In the playroom!” came my brilliant reply, the light bulb easily visible above my head. “We’ll just move the couch and put it in the corner!”
Yes, the girls are having an amazing holiday this year. They lunch on their little tea table, watching their favorite Christmas cartoons on their little TV, basking in the glow of a full sized, fully decorated, twinkling tinseled Christmas tree.
This could be the best Christmas ever!
Jennifer Tackett-Hilton is a Virginia Beach transplant (originally from Iowa) and Old Dominion University graduate who swore she'd never date a Navy man.... but never said she wouldn't marry one! Jennifer and her Prince Charming have two adorable (and precocious!) princesses, ages 2 and 5, and one furry pooch, Eddie.
In the (precious little) spare time she has, she enjoys crafting, shopping for new craft supplies, and writing on her blogs, EverAfterLand.com and JenEverAfter.com. You can find her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/everafterland and follow her on http://twitter.com/jeneverafter and http://pinterest.com/jeneverafter.