While the tree soaks outside, Mom drags out her cardboard fireplace. She props it open against the dining room wall. We ask if we can plug in the fireplace lights but she just clucks her tongue. Not yet, she says again. We’ll hear those words a lot today.
This year Mom doesn’t cover the whole wall in rolls of the brick patterned corrugated paper she loves. It’s a pain to get down, she says when Dad asks her why not. I don’t approve of this either, but the fireplace is the important part anyway. It’s much faster, too. We’re that much closer to plugging in the flickering fireplace light.
We hang our stockings on our cardboard mantle and Dad asks if we should get the tree. Celine and I cheer yes yes yes but Mom says that we should eat first. Oh man, what is the matter with this lady? She is totally trying to ruin everything. Maybe I start to cry, but then we are eating so everything is okay. We have saimin and hot dogs because Dad makes lunch while Mom finishes getting her decorations out of the closet. This is honestly the only thing he knows how to cook.