It's not about the house.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Strung Out

We got off track for a couple days because the Charlie Brown Christmas special was on and we had to do this...

(Oh, and here's a hint you'll thank me for: if you ever go to Dunkin' Donuts drive-through for a sweet and greasy snack, it's okay to order a 25-count box of Dunkin' Munchkins. Even if you have no intention of sharing. Go to town. But don't tell the drive-through lady she can choose what kinds you get. Cuz if you do, then you'll get mostly these:

Bleah. Johnny and I agreed to let them go stale, put strings through them, and hang 'em on the tree, but instead Johnny fed them to his squirrel.)

We're back on track now. With the tree, I mean. We're not off to that good a start, however, because see?

That's the same bag of popcorn we've used every Christmas for the past -- oh, I don't know, how long have we had the AssVac? Going on five years? But this is the first time it came down from the attic with a nibble-hole in it. Or two.

Hm. That sounds like something I will worry about later!

Now, on to the real job. It's Johnny's real job to make the popcorn. He uses the air-blower. And also, apparently, hair of the dog.

We use the air-blower so that 1. there won't be any oil on it, which would go rancid on the tree because we're not allowed to take it down till King's Day, by which point it smells really, really bad; and 2. there won't be any oil on it, so you won't be tempted to eat it all before you string it, which is not such a problem when you're using corn so old even the attic mice won't eat it, but it's a good tip to remember, anyway. (The hair of the dog isn't strictly necessary, unless you don't want to be picking puke out of your popcorn.)

The rest of the rules are pretty simple:

1. Make strands long enough to go alllll the way around the tree. No loose ends meeting in the middle. They'll only droop by King's Day and start dropping dingleberries all over the floor.

2. String 'em straight. Diagonals are stupid. And don't be afraid to let 'em sag a bit between the branches. But not much.

3. Three strands minimum -- minimum -- and that's only if you have a weenie tree. And space 'em evenly. How hard is that? Use a ruler if you must, for heaven's sake.

4. The pattern here is five and one. Not one and one. Not however-many you feel like and then one. Not three and two. For god's sake, man. Never two.

You see? Five. And one.

(Yeah, that's the rogue heart ornament the cats kicked around the house all year and Johnny stuck on the tree before we barely had it up. I told him he was doing it in the wrong order, and I took it off, but he just picked it up and stuck it right back on. Almost in the same place, too. Don't worry. I'll make it work. I'll just keep taking it off again until it's time.)

Now, okay, there's one concession: If you string the popcorn and cranberries five-and-one, and then a few of the corns fall off en route to tree, that is acceptable. It is annoying. It will bother you all season. But you don't have to rip it off and start again. If you put the one cranberry on, however, and realize that you counted wrong and there are just four popcorns, you do have to take the berry off and fix it. You just do.

Otherwise, how will your tree ever look like this?

I would like you all to please take notice of the rotating pile o' crap on that green wing chair. If I'm not mistaken, it has not yet been the same conglomeration twice. Let's keep an eye on it from here on, shall we?


Anonymous said...

I would never have the patience to string those but they do look great. I don't even know what cupboard my tree is in (it is fake) but doubt I will bother putting it up. Luckily there's still a huge santa sleigh and reindeer of the balcony from last christmas. OK, from Christmas about 4 years ago, but whatever.

beardonaut said...

Popcorn on Christmas trees isn't a big thing here. I don't think it's a thing at all. But it definitely should be.

And I agree with 12ontheinside. I wouldn't have the patience either. Our tree is a two foot palm tree, that gets a bit of tinsel and six tiny blue ornaments. We also have a Santa my mom and I made when I was like two. I then proceeded to chew it's face off (again, when I was two) so it has it's little hat pulled down to cover the horrible, horrible wounds.

I just realized that might be a Christmas blog entry, right there. So expect a recap of that story, in more detail, in a few weeks.

Tara said...

Ah yes, the popcorn. For a few years I was a tour guide at an old Victorian mansion/museum. Every Christmas we'd make strings of microwave popcorn to hang on the trees. Every year we'd beg the boss to let us air pop it. Every year she'd show up with 20 bags of microwave popcorn. (Ye olde Victorian microwave popcorne?) Mmmmmm...stringing month old, greasy THAT says "Christmas"!

Jenni said...

In the pic of Johnny making popcorn, the tiger stripes in the wood grain on the trim are beautiful.

ege said...

12 -- Put it up! Now! And then leave it up for four years!

Beardo -- Write it! Now! And also: do you really have Swedish chimes in Sweden? The kind with the little angels ringing the bell?

Tara -- YUCK.

Jenni -- Ha! Thanks, but um... there is no trim on that door. The trim came off when we gutted the kitchen and never got replaced. What you're looking at is just the edge of the old fake wood panelling that's still up in the dining room. But now at least you've given me a new way to look at it!

beardonaut said...

I will, as soon as I find the damn thing. The Santa, that is.

And that's sort of like "Swedish fish", which is candy which is just called "candy fish" here. So we probably have it, but called something different.