Big Billy – The great un-decorate

I think there might be gremlins livin’ in our attic or somethin’. Because every year Minnie makes me spend hours helpin’ her take down the decorations after Christmas, puttin’ them right neat in boxes and bags, but somethin’ happens to fling them all over the place before they get dragged down again the next year.

Every year, she even goes as far as labellin’ the boxes, markin’ each one “tree lights” or Big BIlly“garland” or “tree bulbs” or whatever’s in it. Some years, she even writes a little description on the box, like – 3 strings of coloured lights, 1 string of white lights, 1 string of blue lights, or whatever.

Now about three weeks ago when I finally stood on a chair, lifted the attic cover and dropped a bunch of insulation on my face to get at the Christmas decorations, I remember thinkin’ to myself – what in the hell happened here? First of all, there was pretty much a wall of boxes and bags on all four sides of the opening. I started grabbin’ whatever I could and passin’ it down to Little Bill in the upstairs hallway. Just tons and tons of stuff.

And when I finally got enough of it down to actually look around in the attic, I shined my little flashlight in there and I could see there was bags and boxes a-way-the-hell over, a good eight or ten feet from the opening – there’s no way I could have put them in there that deep, I was thinkin’ to myself. In the end, I had to get Little Bill to run downstairs and get the broom and I stretched up as far as I could and hooked the boxes and bags and hauled them down in a big cloud of insulation, strings of loose lights and shattered tree bulbs.

How does this happen? I was complainin’ to Minnie. I know we got more Christmas decorations than every other house on the street combined, but still, who sneaks up there and throws them all over the attic every year?

Little Bill is definitely sneaky enough to do somethin’ like that, I was thinkin’ to myself. I wouldn’t put it past him to get up there on a chair sometime in November, fling everything as far as he could and then laugh his arse off in December when the ol’ man’s standin’ on a chair flailin’ his stubby arms in all directions. But now that he’s a teenager, he’s far too lazy to actually do somethin’ like that.

I don’t understand it, Minnie said. I pack everything right neat, and then you put it in the attic, and the next year it comes down a big mess again.

So this year, I told Minnie after she got all her stuff boxed and labelled and everything else, I was gonna be real careful about what went where up there. All the boxes on one side, I said, and all the bags on the other. We’ll leave room for the tree stand right at the front, I said, because we usually need to get at that first.

So after a whole day of takin’ tacks out of the ceiling and staples out of the window frame and everything off the tree, we had a bunch of the boxes all ready to go in the attic.

After five hours of doin’ anything, I’m ready to cut a few corners. Minnie had the box lids all folded in on each other. Now just stick a piece of tape across each one before you put it up and we’re all set, she said.

But she was still downstairs, packin’ the smaller trinkets and stuff, and me and Little Bill carried the boxes upstairs to put them in the attic. And I figured to hell with it – I’m not gonna get my boots on and go outside to the baby barn to find a tape gun. These flaps are folded pretty sturdy, so they should hold good enough.

So after Little Bill handin’ me box after box, I had a nice little wall, three boxes high, built up around two sides. Then on one side I had about seven garbage bags piled – all full of Christmas tablecloths, Christmas doilies, Christmas oven mitts, and all kinds of other. The fourth side I left empty, just to make sure I had room for the Christmas tree stand.

But the thing is, the boxes and bags kept comin’. Bill would had me one box, then go downstairs and come back with two more. I realized I needed to make more room, so I just took each of the boxes on top and pushed them in behind. And as the boxes kept comin, I just kept doin’ that, until the pile of them was so big I had to get the broom and just push the top ones off the pile the best I could. Of course, some of the boxes mighta broke open a little bit, and a few balls mighta been bouncin’ around loose up there – who’s to say?

By the end of it I was just so covered in insulation and tired of the whole thing, I was just tossin’ bags up wherever there was enough room for them to clear the rafters. If they ever make Christmas garbage bag tossin’ a sport in the Highland Games, look out, buddy.

Little Bill finally handed me the Christmas tree stand and I plunked ‘er next to the opening, on the only clear piece of insulation left in the attic.

I got the cover back in place and climbed off the chair just as Minnie got to the top of the stairs.

There! She said. And it’s all organized and labelled for next year, so it shouldn’t be a mess again.

Everything in its place! I said. Now what’s the best way to get insulation out of your eyes?

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