A few days ago I finally put up the Christmas decorations in the office. The Big Boss had been hinting around for a little while that the place was looking distinctly un-cheery, but people kept giving me actual work to do. Finally it came down to either taking inventory of the office supply cabinets or digging the boxes of Christmas stuff out from under the tables in the break room and digging through them. While I may be the Queen of Office Supplies, I’ll do just about anything to avoid taking inventory. So I decorated.
The boxes were mostly full with a dismembered Christmas tree, plus various ornaments of the anonymous, we’re-not-using-these-at-home type, plus a few strings of lights (only two operational). It took about an hour to get everything assembled, and it looked pretty good (if a little Charlie Brown Special-like) when I was finished. But there was something missing. Christmas trees are nice and all, but without a nativity scene it isn’t really Christmas. There was none in the boxes, but I happened to have a spare one at home (it’s always handy to have a mother with a talent for picking up random things at flea markets). When I went home for lunch I brought it back with me, and set it up on the ledge in front of my desk. And that’s when the fun began.
It was all the Shy Engineer’s fault. A normal person, when they saw the nativity scene all set up, with the shepherds to one side, and the three kings to the other, various livestock behind the Holy Family and the shepherds’ sheep clustered in front of the manger with Baby Jesus (either adoring Him or perhaps trying to nom a mouthful of the straw He’s resting on), would have responded like so: “Awwww!” But not the Shy Engineer, no. He looks at the cute, white sheep and sees… a pack of wolves. No really. He considered the scene seriously for a moment, then said, “Is it just me, or do those sheep look kindof like a wolf pack?” I tried to assure him that it was just him, but he wouldn’t let it go. In fact, he developed the theme further as the day went on: “I think it’s the way their legs are shaped that makes them looks like wolves. Maybe they use the same mold to cast both of them.” Me: “They make wolves for nativity sets?” And then he decided that the way some of the sheep were looking up into the air was weird too. I suggested that perhaps the sheep were looking up at angels. The Shy Engineer examined the air above the nativity set carefully for a few moments. Him: “I don’t see them.” Me: “Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there.” Since then he’s still been trying to see the angels. Every time he comes into the office he stops and checks the space above the nativity set, then shakes his head. “I don’t see them.” Stinker.
We haven’t done any decorating at home, except for putting out our Advent Wreath. Both Johnsy and I are devout It Ain’t Christmas ‘Til Christmas Eve types. Plus all the stuff from the basement is still occupying the dining room, so the downstairs is pretty chaotic at the moment. The asbestos people finally came on Monday, and today the furnace guys are banging around the basement pulling out the old furnace to install a new one (it seems that a required part of asbestos abatement is replacing the furnace). I’ll be very glad when they’re done. We’ve had various heating ducts pulled out since Monday, which has made it, um, a tad chilly in the house. My pj’s now include wool sweaters, thick wool socks, and several blankets piled on top of me. What can I say? I like to be warm when I sleep.