Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebration Failure Part 2

Here is today's instalment, and a link to part 1 in case you missed it.
One thing I have noticed about grand scale disasters is they tend to start out small, in a sneaky sort of way that leaves you, a total innocent, thinking that things will turn around any moment, that the current small crisis will soon be resolved and peace on earth and good will towards men will once again prevail. Looking back, I realize that my first clue should have been when Kellen hung up the outdoor Christmas lights. 
Being taller than not just me, but everyone else in our family, he seemed the obvious choice for the task. I had to go do some jobs in town and figured he didn’t need my supervision; after all, he was twenty four years old (I can hear all you moms of twenty-something guys laughing in the background). When I returned it was so nice to see the lights on our house as I approached from down the street. In hindsight I really wish I had just stopped right there and enjoyed that Kodak moment a while longer, because as soon as I turned into our driveway it vanished. Poof. 
I sat looking at the lights in front of our house, complete with two bulky, hideous extension cords hanging down the front in a Christmas display better suited to Home Depot’s electrical department than a family residence. It reminded me of one of those pictures where, depending on how you look at it, you see one of two different objects. Once you start looking at it a certain way you see just the one object and it becomes hard to “switch” and see the other. Well, it didn’t take long for my brain to only see extension cords. Thick, orange and ugly- the prominent feature of our festive display. I trudged in with the groceries while visions of extension cords danced in my head, but in a parenting moment I have to say I am proud of I chose to say nothing. Well, at least not to Kellen. 
Over the course of the next week I started to develop a mild case of extension cord anxiety. My brain simply could not register lights, only cords- thick, orange monstrosities hanging down the front of our house. It looked like we were decorating for the wrong holiday, and the way they would eerily blow in the wind did nothing to dispel that impression. 
Then late one afternoon, in what I would later come to realize was the single moment of Christmas cheer for 2008, I drove home and saw lights. Not cords, not a potential movie set for a horror film, just pretty lights twinkling against the snow on the roof. Apparently I had made the obvious, but wrong, choice for designated light hanger. My amputee son David, a whopping nine inches shorter than his older brother, and minus both hands and part of an arm, had come to my rescue. The lights were restrung with extension cords neatly tucked at the side of the house. To this day I have no idea how he managed it.

Christmas 1986
Karsten and Kellen
Christmas 1987
Karsten and Kellen
Stay tuned for part 3.... 


  1. It's like those movies where you want to say, "No, don't turn the corner!" I'm just waiting for the hammer to drop....

  2. Is there something I need to know about modern-day twenty-something guys? I’m worried now. And for some reason I heard the music from “Jaws” in my head as I read this post.

    Wow, 60 t-shirts! Does he treat them as collectibles (not to be worn) or does he wear them?

  3. My son had the same style of hair as your younger boy in '86. Except red. So pretty! and so cute with those chubby cheeks.

    That sort of cut doesn't last past grade one though...