Bob and Cathie came to my house on Saturday to dump a bag of Christmas decorations on me. Cathie knows that if she doesn't engage in this annual ritual, very little to no Christmas decorating will happen in my home. And Cathie considers such a thing a violation of all Ten Commandments, an undermining of the rule of law, and disrespectful to the Constitution and Magna Carta.


Failing to approach the Christmas season with enough cheer to power a small country is as serious a sin as murder in Cathie's eyes. If Cathie was God, at The Great and Terrible Day of the Coming of the Cathie, the only thing she would consider in separating the wicked from the righteous would be whether the person's holiday decorations were put out early enough during each of the last five years. I'm pretty certain that she could be attacked by terrorists during dinner time and not have any hard feelings about it as long as she was aware that the terrorists had a nice Nativity set in their living room.

She marched into my home carrying so many black garbage bags full of various Christmas decorations that it made me wonder if her vehicle somehow violates the laws of physics in the Mary Poppins bag kind of way.

Cathie and I don't have the same style. We decorate differently. At least, that's how I describe it. According to her, my taste is "wrong" and hers is "obviously correct."

Cathie pulled out a number of items and told me where she thought I ought to put them before informing me, "son, I know this isn't really your style. But if you try really hard, it can become your style!"

She went on and on for a while about how my life would be much easier if I just found a way to be more exactly like her, when suddenly I heard her completely change topics and say

Cathie: I just really dread going to bed at night.

Eli: Huh? Why? Nightmares?

Cathie: No. It's just so boring.

Eli: Oh, you mean getting ready for bed? You hate getting ready for bed?

Cathie: No. That part is ok. I hate being in bed. You just lie there. It is so boring.

Eli: Are you having sleeping problems? Is that why it's boring?

Cathie: Not really. The sleeping is the boring part. Every night I get into bed and I just think "why do we do this every day? THIS IS SO BORING!"

Eli: I've . . . never heard a grown up talk like this.

Cathie: Seriously though! We spend a third of our lives just doing nothing! Why has everyone accepted that this is ok?! Think of all the things we could be doing!

Eli: Ok, but surely when you wake up in the morning sometimes you want to just stay in bed for a while a relax, right?


Eli: You never want to just be in bed doing nothing? Not even in the morning when you're still feeling groggy?

Cathie: No way. Every morning the first thought that comes to my mind when I wake up is, "thank heavens that's over because it was SO boring!"

Eli: I'm speechless. What would rather being doing?

Cathie: ANYTHING. Sewing, cooking, singing. I would rather clean!

Eli: You are a very weird person.

Cathie: Maybe. But a very weird person WITH IMPECCABLE TASTE.

My home now looks like the North Pole.

~It Just Gets Stranger