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Macho Madness Bah Humbug? Not Me!
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I'm not a Christmassy kind of guy.

While I enjoy getting together with family for the holidays, as well as the gift giving, I'm not one to get excited about all the assorted hype that come with Christmas.

Of course, Christmas was great when my kids were children; the excitement and wonder of the day was always reflected in their eyes, making for great memories.

But as they grew older and entered adulthood, I found my enthusiasm waning.

My wife, Donnelle, still has plenty of holiday spirit; in fact, I always felt she had enough for the both of us. And it's not like I was a grinch; I just couldn't get excited about the chores of putting together our Christmas tree or stringing decorative lights outside. (Yes, allergies amongst family members forced us to give up real trees years ago.)

It usually fell to Donnelle to put up the tree and hang ornaments, and she would often sing along with one of her favorite Christmas albums while she worked. I would sit back, and in the spirit of husbands everywhere, offer constructive criticism.

That, of course, always goes over well.

Last year we drove to Spokane to enjoy the holidays with our daughter, Rachel, and our son-in-law, Danny, as well as our new granddaughter. While it was nice seeing them, the best part of it for me was avoiding having to remove all the Christmas decorations out of the shed, where they are stored.

This year, when Donnelle asked me to bring all the decorations out of storage, I reacted with my usual lack of enthusiasm.

Well, maybe it was a little worse than that.

You know how married couples always seem to do that one thing that tends to irritate their spouse to no end? (And by 'married couples' I mean 'husband' and by 'spouse' I mean 'wife'). I have a propensity to raise my upper lip in a scowl and make a noise, rather like "Uhhh," as I sigh heavily.

One might think my reaction is based on a dislike of Christmas, but that's not really accurate. The main reason I hate to bring out all the Christmas decorations is because it disturbs the harmony of my shed.

I love my shed.

My shed is organized to the point that it is, well, awesome. It might take hours for me to arrange it, but eventually I'm able to get everything in its place. Boxes snuggled against each other, bold ink on cardboard telling me their contents; a rocking chair covered with cloth in the corner, waiting for the birth of our second grandchild; and various other odds and ends gathered over almost 30 years of marriage.

If Donnelle points out an item of furniture she wants moved to the shed, or if she, in organizing a bedroom, comes up with a few boxes to add, it seems I am always able to fit the items in without having to permanently remove anything else.

I think it's a magic shed, the way I can keep adding to its contents.

But this takes a lot of work, and a lot of organizing. I need to remove just about everything, find a place for the new items, and put everything back together. Objects seldom go back in their original spot, especially if I'm in a hurry.

Sometimes, like happened two years ago when we last had our Christmas stuff out, some items ended up in the rear of the shed, behind some camping gear and a couple mattresses.

But Donnelle knows how to motivate me, and she did so by pointing out the lights and ornaments would be fun with our granddaughter, Maddie, getting to the point where she is just beginning to display awe and wonder at the world.

She also got my attention when she pointed out this would be our son Kevin's last visit home at Christmas while he is in college. He already has a job with a large corporation in Southern California lined up once he graduates, and we have no idea if he will be able to come home for any length of time next Christmas.

To really make sure I was on board, Donnelle reminded me Rachel enjoys Christmas as much as she does.

And I really needed to keep Donnelle happy, especially after the lip scowl thing.

After removing most of the boxes we needed to decorate, I sat back trying to figure how I was going to get to a box behind the mattress and camping gear. Donnelle, looking it over, pointed out I could simply slide it along a shelf to an open area and remove it.

"It won't fit," I told her, secure in my shed expertise.

As she is wont to do, she simply went over, dragged it along the shelf, and carried it out.

I guess it did fit.

We now have everything up and ready, and are just waiting for everyone to arrive. And I'm hardly giving a thought to eventually having to put everything away once the holidays are over and everyone has left.

But seriously, what's the downside of Christmas in July? ...

Craig Macho is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.