The New Year has been here for two weeks, and my house is a disaster area. The decorations are still up, I haven’t had time to take the two duplicate gifts back — let alone shop the sales. And it’s all because this year we decided to leave town right after Christmas to go to the Independence Bowl.
For those of you who didn’t read last week’s column, it was a miserable trip. Not only was I feeling puny, I somehow managed to flood the entire coach (my husband has decided it’s my fault because I was the last one to use the toilet.) Then, to top it off, we lost the football game. Had we played someone with class it wouldn’t have been so bad, but we played the pigs from Arkansas. Their fans outnumbered us three to one, and I must say they were a rowdy group.
There must not be much going in that state because the fans not only dressed in the school’s colors of red and white, their pick-up trucks and vans were festooned with flags and balloons. And many of these die-hard fans even walked around sporting pig snouts on their faces.
Although we had great seats on the 45-yard line, we were surrounded by the enemy. The woman in front of me was all ablaze in red and white from head to toe, complete with sports socks with a big hog embroidered on each foot. And Arkansas’ fans were rude. When the razorbacks scored the first three points (it’s called a field goal), the woman stood up, turned around and said “Na na ny na na.”
I wanted to hit her! Suddenly I was back in high school, and every time the Tigers made a first down I’d jump up and cheer as loud as I could muster. When we scored the first touchdown I went a little crazy screaming and thrusting my fists in the air. (I showed them.) Then the game turned bad and not much later it got ugly.
I had to sit there and listen to their taunts when our team made some pretty stupid — and at times — humiliating mistakes. They danced and pranced until I didn’t think I could take another minute. Finally, with only three minutes left in the game, we sulked out of the stadium, but not without the pig fans waving and blowing us kisses.
We should have cut our losses and headed home New Year’s Day, but we decided to stay and have a look around Shreveport, maybe do some shopping and go out for a nice meal. BIG MISTAKE! Apparently the folks in Shreveport didn’t realize that they had about 20,000 visitors, because everything in the city was closed. Even the tourist information center was locked up tight.
We drove through the downtown area, and it was ghostly quiet. We drove to Line St. where we were told there were dozens of boutique-type shops, and they were all closed. Finally we went to a casino — if for no other reason than to see if there were any live bodies. Yup! There they were — hundreds of frowning people crowding into the smoke-filled rooms waiting to lose their money.
I played blackjack for a while — until one of the other players saw that I was wearing black and gold. That’s all I brought for this trip.
“Are you from Missoureee?” he queried.
“That I am,” I replied, wanting to tell him it is “Missoura.”
“Well, we sure whupped your butts,” he gloated. And then he let out a
I cashed in my chips and left.
We ate at the RV that night. It seems that none of the restaurants, save fast food, was open in northern Louisiana.
The trip home was uneventful, thank goodness, but as we pulled into the driveway my depression began. I knew that when I opened the door, the ghost of Christmas past would confront me. I was hoping that by some miracle — like maybe my kids — all of the Christmas mess would be gone and my house would be back to normal.
No such luck.
Sitting on the island in the kitchen was a mound of mail and a week’s worth of newspapers. I began sorting. Sadly, there were no holiday cards wishing me a merry and happy life. The envelopes I leafed through were mostly bills listing all of the items I had purchased that now had to be paid. Then I came upon my tax assessment sheet for 2004. My mood darkened. I imagined the county assessor gleefully stuffing the mailbox with thousands of assessments on the first day of the New Year.
I spent the weekend washing dozens of loads of clothes, picking up piles and making new ones. But I didn’t touch the decorations. Frankly, I didn’t know where to start. On Monday I went back to work. And each night I’m too pooped to begin the task of taking down all of the red and green. My husband has started talking about downsizing. Maybe now’s the time to sell the house.
If you have a comment or know of a professional decoration taker-downer, please
e-mail me at email@example.com