Well, our tree is up.
And. I. Hate. It.
Our Christmas tree looks completely ghetto. I want to throw open my beautiful French windows and throw this Christmas tree out of it. I hate everything about it. I hate the size…too short. I hate the shape…looks like it has a bad haircut. I hate the decorations…cheap balls. And most of all, I hate the tinsel. I’m going to now blame…Paris. I want to go home to Santa Barbara, get in my car, drive to my storage and get out all of my beautiful Christmas decorations, stop by Target and pick up some regular fucking Christmas lights, go to a regular fucking tree lot and buy a gigantic tree, grab some greenery and a wreath, ship it all back to Paris and then maybe, just maybe I won’t spend what is most likely my last Christmas in sheer agony looking at my ghetto tree.
Let’s see, where do I start? Let’s start with the actual tree. My husband, daughter and I decided that last Sunday we would go to pick out our tree. Just that started a mini fight. We argued over the exact distance to the tree lot. I accidentally said that we would need to go to Chatelet to get the tree but I meant to say Les Halles. It’s the differential distance of about a mile. That is a lot when you are walking, with a wheelchair in cold weather. Gracie was wearing Converse sneakers with no socks. She was freezing. Moron. On the way to the tree lot, David thought we should take a shortcut. We ran into a barricade so David decided just to move the barricade. Two seconds later, a lovely/not so lovely feminine/not so feminine police officer lady told David not to move the barricade. This of course, sends my husband into a French fit. He starts screaming at the police officer in French something to the effect of “What else do you want me to do. My fucking wife is in a wheelchair, you fucking moron.” Gracie was in shock and stood there with her mouth open. I started screaming at David that he needs to shut up because you have to respect police ladies and if he were in America it would be Ferguson all over again.
We managed to get to the Christmas tree lot without being arrested. I wanted to go to this particular Christmas tree lot because it supports a charity that helps the handicap of Paris. We start to argue about the size of the tree. Gracie and I of course want a gigantic tree because we are American and that’s how we roll. David is French, weird, and doesn’t want to spend money on something “that we are only going to have for 25 days.” Gracie and I start to roll our eyes and secretly plot to steal his cashmere sweaters when we get home to punish him. We finally come to an agreement that we will get their tallest tree because I am the boss of this house and if I don’t get my way… I will cancel Christmas. So, David reluctantly starts to pay for our Christmas tree and starts to tell the gentleman of the tree lot our address for delivery. Two seconds later, I can hear David raising his voice something to the effect of “This is a handicap tree lot and you don’t deliver? What do you want us to do? Strap the Christmas tree to my wife’s wheelchair, you fucking moron.” So no tree.
David is tapped out at this point and already hates Christmas and it’s the first week of December. I decide that I will just order a tree on the Internet and have it delivered. I ordered it from the same place that I order butter, lightbulbs and maxi pads. That was my first mistake. My grocery store tree arrives and I almost started crying. I thought, “Maybe I can salvage this shit tree with pretty decorations.” I ordered gold balls, red balls, beaded garland, little birds and that gold tinsel… the tinsel…the bane of my existence. There is a reason why I have never used tinsel, that my mother has never used tinsel and that my grandmother has never used tinsel…it’s because it’s horrible. After my caregiver spent three hours putting the tinsel up strand by strand…he showed me a picture and I almost started crying again. But let me back up. Let’s back up to the light situation. I spent four days looking on the Internet, going to shop after shop trying to find non-LED Christmas lights. Apparently, this does not exist in Paris. How can this be happening? Gone are the days of regular lights on a green strand? This can’t be. When did the world switch to LED? I remember that I have some regular lights left over from last year that I’m just going to have to make work. I only have six strands. I test all of them. They all work. Thank you, God. So up on the tree they go. They look okay and then suddenly the top strand of lights starts twinkling. We cannot get it to stop twinkling. None of the other lights are twinkling. Then, the middle strand goes out. I am now in the midst of Christmas hell. So I decide to just turn the tree around so you don’t see the big empty spot of no lights. Oh, by the way, French people can invent molecular gastronomy but cannot manage to produce Christmas tree lights that connect end-to-end. Can you imagine! There’s nothing I can do about the twinkly lights on top. Choose your battles. We get the whole tree decorated and nothing is making this tree look better. Nothing.
I have yet to find a wreath larger than a nickel in Paris. My cat ate the tinsel and then started choking on the tinsel while she was sitting on my bed. I started screaming for David to come get the cat but as usual he ignores me for a few seconds. During those first few seconds of being ignored, the cat started to barf all over David's side of the bed. That’s a little something called poetic justice. David finally grabbed the cat and the cat then proceeded to barf mid air and all over the floor. And then David walked through the barf. Can this Christmas get any worse? Yes, it can…
Next up… The Garland Fiasco. Last Christmas, I spent one week cruising around Paris in a wheelchair looking for garland. I learned the hard way that you have to order garland from a florist. It is not readily available at any tree lot. And, it’s super expensive. And, they sell it in meters, not feet. Two weekends ago I went to the same florist that I had ordered it from last year and reordered enough for two fireplaces…to be delivered Monday, December 1. Monday rolls around and no delivery. Tuesday, Wednesday…no delivery. I’m starting to have a Christmas panic attack. I called the shop and not surprisingly, no one spoke English. I handed the phone over to my French kinesiologist, Paul, so he could tell them what I wanted. Oh, did I not mention that I did all of this while I was in the middle of my kinesiology session? Well I did. I told Paul that I wanted “Christmas garland for the fireplace.” Sounds like a simple request right? Nope, not in France. Paul kept asking me, “What is a fireplace.” I said that it was a “chimney” which is only a few letters off from “chiminée” in French. You would think he could deduce. Nope. We had at least a two minute discussion about the word chimney. Finally he figured it out and told them that I needed “Guirland Noël pour la chiminée.” They asked how many meters did I need? Oh my God, I barely understand the regular standard system let alone the metric system. I asked my Filipino caregiver to get a tape measure and to measure the fireplace. She did not know what a fireplace was either. I almost imploded. Finally, after I explained to her what that big thing in the living room was that produces fires, she gave me the measurements…in centimeters! I had to search the Internet to convert centimeters to meters… Yes, all the while I was still having my kinesiology session. Finally I realized I needed 4.5 meters for the living room fireplace. I decided to not decorate the dining room fireplace because my heart is not strong enough for this kind of stress. I finally wised up and just texted my husband the phone number to the florist telling him to order 4.5 meters of garland. He has a college degree so I figured he could manage the task. Three hours later my husband walks through the front door and I asked him where my garland was. He said, “What garland?” He said he never got my text. This time I did start to cry. Finally, three phone calls and three hours later my garland arrives. €16 per meter. That’s €72. That’s $89.11! For Garland. For one measly fireplace. The garland was more expensive than the tree. The good news is that it’s gorgeous. The bad news is that it’s so gorgeous it’s making my tree look even worse.
So here we have gorgeous garland and the ugliest tree on earth. I decide to separate the two. I had my caregiver move the tree to the other side of the living room so it’s not next to its supermodel garland sister. It doesn’t work. Now, half of my living room looks gorgeous and the other half looks like a New York Puerto Rican parade. My husband and I start to fight about the garland. I want to drape it but my husband refused to wire it into the wall like a normal person. He said something about “our deposit.” I might have called him retarded. My husband and I just start laughing. My caregiver stands there dumbfounded.
So, that’s where we are at today. I hope I can salvage this Christmas somehow but I think it’s going to involve a Christmas tree being thrown over third-floor balcony into the streets of Paris. I’m going to go to sleep and say my prayers to the Christmas gods that someone miraculously shows up from Bergdorf Goodman's with a perfectly decorated tree from their Christmas windows. That is the only thing that will salvage this Christmas. :-)
So, how are your trees coming along? So far so good from what I have seen. I love all of the entries so far for the Christmas contest. Everyone is so clever. Keep ‘em coming.
*Something you don’t know about me? Stop reading now if you get grossed out easily. Fair warning. After last night’s tree disaster, I woke up this morning coughing. This is not good for someone who does not have the strength to cough. Disgustingly, I have been a little sick with a chest cold so now all of this mucus has collected in my lungs. I cannot cough. So, I start to choke. I start to choke so bad and so seriously that I started crying, begging God for it to stop, screamed for my husband to call the paramedics. When I opened my mouth, my throat is so blocked with phlegm that absolutely not one drop of air is coming in. My only salvation is my breathing machine that is shoved up by nose. The paramedics arrived and proceed to try to stick a skinny tube all the way down my throat to suck out the phelgm. We try and try and try and I am gasping for air and choking on the tube that is down my throat. This goes on for about an hour. I am hooked up to all sorts of machines. The paramedics are standing by, the doctor is here, the respiratory therapist is here and some other people are here staring at my boobs because my shirt is wide open with heart monitors all over it. Not embarrassing at all. And yes, this still crosses my mind while I am choking to death. I decide to just start praying. All I could do was think of Grace. I told David that I loved him and proceeded with my coming to Jesus moment. I have never prayed so hard and so real in my entire life. I asked God just to stop my choking and take me. I could feel myself about to pass out. Nothing that the doctors were doing was working so I finally told David to get the cough assist machine. A cough assist machine violently forces you to cough. It is extremely painful, very scary and does not allow you to breathe well. After three attempts, suddenly the machine sucks out a disgusting blob of phlegm. I can breathe! Tears started rolling out of my eyes and I could feel all the people in the room were so relieved and they were so happy that I think a couple of them clapped. Fast forward one hour later, the phlegm is back. So now, I have spent the entire day stressed out, coughing, gagging and praying. On top of all of this, my panic attacks are at the highest level. It is currently 5 PM and I think it has finally subsided because here I am doing my blog. It is distracting me from my situation today. But here’s the good news, I am sitting in the living room keeping myself distracted looking at my garland and my ugly tree and I have decided that I am grateful that I have this ugly tree to look at. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it today. But here I am, looking at my ugly twinkly, tinselled-out ghetto Christmas tree… And. I. Love. It.