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My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
Unbelievable. It’s Thanksgiving 2019, I just packed up all of my Halloween decor what seems to be just last week, and tonight I’m digging totes out from under the stairs that contain way too much accumulated Christmas decor.  The seasons are passing me by way too quickly.  I’m desperately searching for a way to change up how I’m living my life in order for time to at least seem to me that it’s slowing down; way down.  My younger brother Randy and I just had this conversation last week.  He told how birthdays have never really seemed much more than the day after yesterday but; he’s been thinking a lot about turning sixty and this has caused him to pause.  I assured him that I know exactly how he feels.  I’m having all the same emotions now that he fears may haunt him in the near future. 

Our children are teenagers now and soon to strike out on their own.  We (and Doug) had our children at an age when most of our classmates were becoming grandparents.  So instead of being say 45-50 and entering a new stage in our lives, we’re sixty and a bit panicked about how many good years we have left and how do we spend them.  Unlike most of our classmates who had a ten to fifteen year buffer to think this all out; it’s on us right now to figure it out. Well, not so much Randy because he’s not there yet but I’ve been here for two years and don’t like it much. I thought I was all alone struggling with this whole turning sixty-thing but evidently not. 

So tonight Christmas 2019 is approaching and it’s time, tonight, for me to spend the next four hours unpacking and setting out my inventory of Christmas “stuff” that I’ve accumulated since moving into this home in 1992.  I live my years from November to November.  I gauge how quickly each year has passed from November to November because the first of October I do the Halloween decor with a little fall decor and after November 31, transition right from Halloween to completely fall/harvest and now, tonight, the fall goes away completely for Christmas.  The rest of the months throughout the year I do nothing inside my home.  I have my January through September decor that never changes.  Nope, don’t do Easter.  I haven’t ever been able to get my mind around rabbits that walk on two legs carrying chicken eggs around that either hatch or turn into chocolate. 

Well about tonight.  I have some advice for anyone considering buying a Christmas tree that has already been strung with lights.  My mom gave me one new in the box that she had gotten from QVC four years ago.  For the first three years I thought this was the best thing to hit the market since bread could be bought pre sliced. Last year I had a change of thought.  This tree is in three sections.  You plug one section into the other and when all assembled, one plug at the bottom of the tree and kazaam, instant fully lit tree.  That is unless one strand doesn’t come on. Then another, then another, until finally just a few lights were lit in the center section.  So I ran out and bought my own lights and strung them right over the dead ones just to get by for last Christmas. 

Why didn’t I just take the other lights off you ask? Because they are tied in tight and I mean real tight. So when I took the tree down last year I took the time, two hours, to cut all of the lights out of the center section.  When I put the tree up tonight; dead lights in the bottom section.  Not all but enough that something had to be done.  I spent four and a half hours, until 3:00 a.m., cutting all the lights out of the bottom section and the top section.  I have blisters on the palms of both hands from the wire cutters.  Why didn’t I just pitch the tree and get another…without pre wire lights?  Because this tree is fully assembled and it is really a “real tree” look alike.  It’s a beautiful tree when fully decorated.  The branches fold up and its stores away easily.  

So instead of being all done tonight I’ll spend all of tomorrow finishing up the inside of my house.  My advice; no pre wired or pre lit Christmas tree purchase regardless of how much you spend on any pre tree. This same week I discovered another don’t buy in my home.  In 2007 I bought a 68” LG smart television.  A fantastic television it’s been until….  I signed up for the Verizon Disney plus app. If you have a smart TV you can connect the app via your password to your smart TV.  This particular LG television came with this high tech “Magic Remote” LG calls it.  What this means is no controls on your TV, all is controlled with the remote.  This means in order to scroll through the different menus you must use the remote.  Well my remote will not allow me to open the menus I need to in order to enter my password to get the Disney app transferred to my TV.  I Google searched my dilemma and discovered I wasn’t alone with my “Magic Remote” piece of crap.  It turns out it’s not the remote.  So I called LG to see if they could help me. Well sir, if you can find a service center in your area that works on LG televisions there is a circuit board that will need to be replaced and blah, blah, blah. My advice; do not buy a television that doesn’t have buttons on the television itself that allow you to do everything the remote control will do.  Besides these two episodes of bad luck; all else went well.  

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