Monday, January 5, 2009

Packing Up For the New Year

Finally, the first post of 2009. Once again the Real World has held things up here. We went to Sioux City to pick up my daughter after her week-long stay with her mother. It was a milestone of sorts; the last time we'll be making that trip based on the school calendar. Come graduation on May the whole situation changes, although exactly how has yet to be determined. The daughter has only the vaguest idea what she wants to do; at the moment she and her best friend plan to get an apartment and jobs and take some classes at the "university center" here. We'll see what happens. I just want to get her pointed in a reasonable direction in life, and go from there.

On the way back Saturday we finished up the holidays with a family get-together at my Dad's home in Centerville. It was the usual raucous time with the kids amassing considerable swag. The drive back that evening started OK, then turned nightmarish; northbound on highway 81 visibility deteriorated to the point that my wife watched for the white line on the edge of the road while I worried about the center line. Our speed varied between 10-40 mph for over an hour. I-90 westbound was better but still had enough bursts of zero visibility that we stopped for the night in Mitchell. We had no need to be back that night and I was just tired of it. The drive Sunday was clear and uneventful.

We officially ended the holiday season that afternoon with the dismantling of the tree. James Lileks did the same thing.

We stripped the tree, which is always done with an inverse amount of personal attention as you give to the initial festooning. There aren’t any songs you can play while you strip the tree. There aren’t any traditions. You don’t think of the stories behind each ornament. It all goes in the box and you know it’ll seem like just the other day when you pull them out again. The tree goes out today; I’ll prop it up, trunk in the boulevard glacier, so it can pretend it’s a real tree again for the next four days. It will fall over. I’ll put it back up. “Weekend at Bernie’s” for evergreens.

We have a plastic tree, so it was dismembered, put into a giant container with the decorations and carried out to the shed. I agree with James about the general sentiment; you just try not to break anything, while marvelling at how the various strings of lights and garland were somehow applied in such an intricate weave. It does provide a good stopping point for the season and the year,though. Onward into 2009; next major stop, the daughter's graduation.

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