Monday, December 20, 2010

A Little Tree Goes a Long Way

I was pretty bummed at not having a Christmas tree this year.  It is such an iconic piece of the holidays and yet, because of time, money, moving, etc., I just decided this year... no tree.

I accept that not having a tree is a failure on my part to get into the spirit but it still pestered me.  The apartment still isn't quite set up and my feeling was that a tree deserved to be placed in a home where it had a dedicated space, near comfortable seating, where people could enjoy it.  Without a sofa and without time to sit and stare at it I felt a tree would be mistreated and feel uncared for.  (Yes, I was anthropomorphizing the would-be tree... it's part of the Spirit of Christmas.)

But then today, sitting on my desk, I was surprised by a little Christmas tree from one of my dear friends.  Along with this little tree was a note with a quote from A Charlie Brown Christmas.  So this little tree revived the joy I had lost in not having a tree and inspired me to decorate and find more Christmas cheer this holiday season.  So, here's to you little tree.  Let's hope I can keep you green for a good long while.

And now for your viewing pleasure...

Friday, December 17, 2010

How the Christmas Tree Stand Nearly Ruined Christmas

‘Twas two weeks before Christmas when all through the house
My mother was flustered and starting to grouse
“Where the hell is the stand for this dag-nabbit tree?
We had it last year so where could it be?”
The fresh tree had come from the vendor in town
But stood propped in a corner causing the family to frown
The Christmas tree stand had gone missing somewhere
And no stone was unturned in our search for it there
“We’ll have to adapt,” said my mom in a snap
And she started to dig through a closet of crap
“Ah ha!” said she as she pulled out a bin
“This wash basin will do, “ and she drug out the tin.
Now how could a washbasin solve our quandary?
Did we plan to scrub Christmas with dirty laundry?
“Quick, grab the cat litter,” she said stern and quick
“What the hell is it for?” I asked, “What is your trick?”
She lifted the tree toward the bin with one hand,
“We’ll plug the tree in the bin and surround it with sand!”
The logic was simple and couldn’t be truer
But I imagined our problems would not become fewer.
The cats were quite curious as I brought her the bag.
They questioned its travels as cross the carpet it drag.
Mom snipped open the fresh bag of cat litter clay
And poured it around the fresh pine in the tray.
She filled and she filled till up to the brim
Did the sand ‘round the tree then she said, “Now let’s trim!”
The tree seemed unsteady but stayed still in the room
And she started to decorate while I collected the straw bristled broom.
I swept round the base as the tree came to life
And the missing tree stand no longer caused strife.
The tree was quite pretty all twinkling with light
And we sat down to watch it long into the night.
But here the story took a most sour of tone
When our genius new plan would cause all to moan.
For one little kitty had seen our tree glitter
And this new place to crap was made of the litter.
There lie the poo all fresh in its place
And our beautiful tree was now a foul stenchy disgrace.
So the lesson to learn during this time of year
Is to think twice ‘bout your plans before you commit to the cheer
For you may think its genius and be hero today
But the crap underneath is just cause for dismay.
You can sing all the carols, dress all your gifts in the wrap
But there is always that something that on your genius will crap.
  © 2010, W. Thomas Adkins

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Dammit... my basement is haunted

I just recently moved from one pre-war building in Washington Heights to another and have been so busy getting settled into the place that the question of "Is my basement a Hellmouth?" never had a chance to pop into my head.

That's not to say that the basement isn't creepy.  ALL BASEMENTS ARE CREEPY!  There's something about "let's put the rest of this place underground because that seems like a good idea since people like to be in cold, damp, dank places" that just makes them uncomfortable.

This basement is pretty big.  The building has two "towers" so the basement stretches under both with an odd sub-courtyard in the center - unreachable due to the multiple locked doors barring entry to this "yard".  When traveling down the elevator you come out into this thin hall and turn left, duck past the fly strip and make a left at the garbage bins.

Then there's another long hall where you step past (or over) a wooden trap door that can't be much more than 2'x2'... where it leads I don't care to guess.  Wander past this door and hang another left and you end up in ANOTHER hall, narrower this time, which then t-intersects with the laundry "room" - which is mostly a narrow hall to the left of the T where the washing machines sit and then to the right of the T is a square area where the dryers are housed.

I was alone around 9pm a few nights ago, gathering my dry clothes from the machines and preparing to head back through the labyrinth to the elevator and to my apartment.  But as I was folding a pair of corduroys I suddenly got an uncomfortable chill.  There is one window that faces out into the courtyard and it does have a broken pane but a sign has been plugged into the hole... and while there is a slight draft from this window, this chill didn't feel like a gust of wind.  It was more electric.  (Side note: I enjoy watching ghost shows and paranormal investigations on TV so I am aware of the theory that high electromagnetic fields can affect your nerves and the basement is probably chock full of them but...)

The chill was unnerving and I decided to finish folding my clothes upstairs and dumped the rest of the dried pieces into my cart.  But before I could turn to head back through the basement I heard and felt a breathy gasp in my left ear.

Seconds later, though they felt like hours, I had made it to the elevator and was on my way back to my place.  Whatever had happened was brief but taxing and I'm hoping that if there is something or someone down there it was only curious and didn't intend to scare.

But I think I'll be doing laundry with my roommate from now on... or dropping it off at the cleaners on the way to work.