What happens when a Wasp and a Jew prep for Hanukkah and Christmas all in one day? Last week Husband and I were scheduled to take latkes into Son’s first grade classroom for a Hanukkah party. Then we planned to put up the Christmas tree. At least that was the plan….
Two Alarm Bells Ringing
First, came the latke making. Husband loves to make latkes each year for Hanukkah. Me, not so much. While I love eating Husband’s latkes - crispy, fried concoctions of potato, sweet potato and beets; I hate the oil frying, smoky, stinky mess they make. But, given the tradition, I suck it up each year and open windows to the freezing cold then spray Febreze all over the house. It takes days to get rid of the grease smell that manages to seep into hidden surfaces and release a little eau de McDonalds just long enough to remind me why I’m glad we only make these once a year.
The mishap can occur when you neglect to open the windows before cooking the latkes thus allowing the smoke from the hot grease to billow up towards the… smoke alarms. It didn’t take long for the first screech to sound. Next, the alarm system fire alarm went off. Big deal. As the sirens screeched and pounded, Husband and I yelled at each other to… do something! It’s amazing how you can lose your head in the midst of heavy grease smoke and unbearable sound.
Dog, who had recently (finally!) been neutered, barked excitedly from inside his big plastic cone collar. He can’t get excited and jump or run or pop the stitches! I grabbed the dog and the phone in case the alarm company called and took him outside. Wait, the alarm code! I went back inside and punched in our code on the alarm system. Silence. The alarm company called, I gave them the code, Husband opened more windows and made the rest of the latkes. They were delicious. The kids loved them but more so the chocolate coins they won playing dreidel.
One Tall Tree Falling
After a successful celebration in Son’s class, we went to get our Christmas tree. That night, after decorating the tree in what was our smoothest effort yet, after eight years of marriage, Husband I commented on the lack of stress. Yes, I had opted not to micromanage his hanging of the lights; no, I didn’t obsess about the hole that needed to be turned towards the wall; yes, I let the kids pile all their ornaments in one spot.
After the kids were in bed, Husband took a call and I decided to push the tree against the wall so I could swag the crimson velvet tree skirt around its base. I crawled underneath and gave it a little nudge. WHOOSH! The entire tree fell on top of me. Note to readers: It doesn’t hurt to have an eight foot tree fall on you. Not one bit.
“Help!” I announced to Husband.
He found me underneath the tree and quickly pulled it upright. We cleaned up the broken bulbs and the puddle of water and secured it again. But we didn’t tie it to the wall.
Shortly after 4. a.m. Husband turned on the light.
“I think the tree fell again,” he muttered. “I need your help.”
I stood there, pre-tooth brushing, pre-coffee, pre-everything; holding that damn tree up for half an hour while Husband searched for twine or rope, an eye hook, and drill. We tried and tried, with stress this time(see pre-coffee comment), to get it to stand up as straight and lovely as it originally stood. But the trunk had been cut at an angle and not only was it not a secure tree in the base, it was a tilted tree. Finally, secured with rope, it was good enough.
We climbed back into bed with cups of coffee, looked at each other, and laughed. Another day in our Episcopalian Jewish household. Husband puts up Christmas trees. I put up with frying latkes. The kids love both. And that’s what matters.