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January 24, 2017

As my Facebook follower knows (hi honey!) I FINALLY got the basement cleaned out and organized and boxed up the Halloween decorations. I even went through them all and divide up what is going to our next post (with little to no storage space), what is going to the house in Arkansas, and what just needed to be thrown out. After much internal deliberation (and advice from the hubs) I managed to whittle down my “post-kids, possible last post” Halloween supplies to one plastic tub and a smoke machine (still trying to decide on taking the smoke machine or not). The rest was reduced from several large packing boxes, down to 2 larger plastic tubs and one packing box of supplies. One would think that an empty nester has no need for Halloween decorations, but that person just would not understand my genetics and family dynamic.

Today is the day I tackle the Christmas decorations. Same process as above. What do I take? What do I send to the retirement house? What should be eliminated? It’s never simple for me, the person who spent 30 minutes trying to pick a cheap can opener at Walmart (there was not any good option!).

My biggest problem? Trying to convince myself to get rid of the Christmas tree. Bought in 2002, it was the biggest, most grand, most beautiful fiber optic/pre-lit tree we have ever owned. In the tipsy words of an embassy colleague at our first Christmas party in Ulaanbaatar, “That’s a damned fine tree!” This tree has traveled with us to Oman, Mongolia, Zambia, New Zealand and Belgium. It has been a constant for my family in a world where nothing is constant (even more so than in the life of the sedentary – so no lectures on how nothing is permanent, blah, blah, blah – I learned this lesson in full and harsh ways early and often in my life).

Some time in Zambia, the fiber optics died (think it just couldn’t handle the power spikes and the transformer use). One by one the lighted panels have flickered out, until just one remains. The more intrepid could probably track down the bulb causing the issues. Me? I just string other lights on the tree and it still looks awesome. The thing is, even without all the lights and features working, it’s a great, full tree that you don’t have to work hard to “fluff” out and hide the inner structure. It’s still gorgeous even without all the pre-lit stuff.

I’ve been going back and forth on letting it go. Last conversation with the other half ended with “then, just keep the darn thing!” In a phone conversation yesterday, my oldest had me convinced to just get rid of it, that a new and equally beautiful tree could be bought inexpensively. OK! Finally a decision made – the packing weight diminished. I then told the youngest when she woke up and she burst into tears. Oy vey, back to square one!

Whatever I decide on the tree, it’s now time to get stuck in and get to organizing! Thanks for listening and helping me procrastinate! As for the tree? I guess I could live by the words of the crazy missionary lady in Mongolia, who, as I was weepy selling my dad’s old bookcases said, “It’s alright honey. Everything’s eventually gonna burn up anyway!”

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