Wednesday, December 24, 2003

To Everything There Is A Season

I rarely stray from dog topics here in the Taj MuttHall. But tonight is the night to wander afield.

Earlier, I was slaving away in Santa's Workshop in the attic, wrapping gifts galore for the tremendous gathering of Clan O'Levy tomorrow, when it suddenly occurred to me that I was enjoying myself and indulging apallingly in the spirit of Christmas. It has been a long time.

My ex moved out in May of 2000, then I sold the house (wiith the half-acre agility yard) from which I said I'd never move again. For Christmas of 2000, I was living in the Horrid Rental, rain coming through the roof at every opportunity. I was on disability and could barely function with spinal problems. And it was the first time in 21 years that I hadn't had my significant other around--Needless to say, depression had taken hold in a deep and nasty way. I did set up a half-sized tree at the last minute with only a couple dozen decorations.

In December of 2001, I had just moved into my new home. Boxes occupied every corner of the house and garage. I was trying to do everything myself without reinjuring my back. Every shopping trip reminded me that I had no significant other for whom to shop. I felt more alone than almost any other time in my life. I strung one string of lights on the outside of the house. I did not get a tree.

In December of 2002, Remington was dying of cancer. He was in and out of the veterinary hospital. My bills for operations and treatment were huge. Just before Christmas, x-rays seemed to show remarkable improvement, but on Christmas eve he began internal hemmorhaging again and I spent Christmas day on and off the phone to the vet hospital. I was too stressed and distracted by Remington's fatal illness to enjoy things, and bearing the burden made me realize even more how alone I was. Furthermore, my divorce was final the week before Christmas. I put up about 10 strings of exterior lights. I got a tree but it took me about 3 weeks to gather the enthusiasm to decorate, and even then I put up only perhaps one box of ornaments and then quit.

This year I've shopped with pleasure, put up a couple of dozen strings of exterior lights, set up a lovely tree and decorated it fully, decorated random stuff around the house, wrapped gifts so that I'm not up til midnight Xmas eve--and have discovered that I've almost rekindled my old enthusiasm for the whole holiday season.

It's been a long three and a half years.

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