Battle of the Lights

Apparently it’s not just about how I like the lights nestled into the tree.

After I put the lights on, I set them to slow fade on/slow fade off.  Not sure why I love that particular setting, but it’s very restful for me.  YA informed me that just plain lights on is better.  When I came down the next morning, the settings (on all three strands) were set to on.  No fading.  I set them back to fade.

Later that morning, I put on al the ornaments, including the crochet snowflakes and my favorite – the red wood bead strands.  I love them lopped on.  When YA came down, she informed me that they are “crooked” and proceeded to straighten them.  After she went back upstairs, I put them back the way I like them.

I bet you can tell where this is going.  Yep, a passive-aggressive battle over how the tree is decorated.  It’s been five days and it looks likes she has given up on the snowflakes and red bead garlands.  However when I came down this morning, the lights were changed to full on.  I might have given in on the flakes and garlands, but I’m not sure I can give in on the light settings.  Sigh.

Have you ever given in on something for the greater good?

60 thoughts on “Battle of the Lights”

  1. I think the time when daughter was about 10 and I agreed that we could get a third cat even though our other two cats were more than enough work is a perfect example of this.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. …or when you agree to get a pet, or another pet, knowing that regardless of the promises the child makes, ultimately you will be the one doing most of the maintenance.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. The time will come, sooner rather than later, when YA will have her own household and you’ll each be able to arrange your respective trees any way you like. In the meantime, you have to decide who will be the bigger person.

    Personally, I’m with YA regarding twinkling/fading lights. They are distracting at best and subliminally irritating, in my opinion. Are lights that don’t twinkle or fade irritating to you?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There was this in the discussion with her already – that someday she’d have her own house and tree and she could do whatever she wanted with it. I grew up with a tree that I didn’t like. My mother was a huge fan in the early years of flocking and for most of my childhood, tinsel. I hated tinsel, I always did. And Nonny was very particular about how the tinsel went on the tree, so it was very easy to get out of that job. So part of me feels like I had to live with trees I didn’t like growing up and if YA doesn’t love the way this tree is decorated, it’s just the passing of the torch. However, she is much more of an adult than I was when I left home and I do try in some areas to leave room for autonomy. I have actually considered this morning whether maybe I could do one day on one day off.

      As to the lights, None of the settings actually annoy me. I just prefer the gentle fade in and fade out.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. When I was in my cube years (office with cubicles), disagreements frequently came up about the best way to accomplish something. I was pretty good at stating my position and arguing forcefully for it, and then just throwing in the towel when met with resistance. Because ultimately I didn’t care as deeply about it as the other person, and I choose harmony whenever possible.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think this is common, Linda. Disputes would be much worse if everyone were equally motivated to win. Usually, one party puts a higher value on consensus than victory, choosing (as you charmingly put it) “harmony.”

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I assume God’s plan is for young people to form marriages before settling into habits so that they can begin making compromises on issues of decorations. Young people can usually compromise. The compromises usually produce new habits that become shared customs, and that reduces conflict.

    But it doesn’t always work that way. My family had a Christmas tree dispute that would not be resolved. My erstwife strongly advocated for Douglas fir trees. I argued with equal passion for Scotch pines. I might have lost that battle, as I lost so many others, were it not for the fact our daughter unequivocally sided with her dad. Outvoted two-to-three, my erstwife decided we would alternate: one year Doug fir, next year Scotch pine. And that worked. Mostly!

    One of the most bizarre and poorly understood areas of knowledge is the whole matter of how couples resolve conflicts. I can’t claim expertise here, but I’ve seen enough to know that couples that might look sane and balanced on the outside can deal with conflicts in crazy, elaborate ways that would seem mad to outsiders.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Update: For a year and a half I have been a resident in a senior apartment complex, a slightly glorified nursing home, if you will. We’ve been hiding from the virus since March, with rules that change almost weekly. We were doing pretty well until uncontrolled community spread of the virus hit us about a week ago. Four health care workers tested positive last week, bringing the total to seven. Four residents were just found to be positive, too. We are reverting to severe lockdown status. No deaths so far.

    About a week ago I woke to find myself in the grip of terribly painful (but non life-threatening) muscular distress. Starting yesterday afternoon, life has been less awful, and I have visions of being close to normal (as sad as that is!) in a day or two.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes. And I’m not positive for COVID.

        I sympathize with administrators here. To protect us, they have health aides who come around daily to test our temps and blood oxygen levels. But the aides live in the community where the virus is raging, and they are now falling left and right. We’ve long known the likeliest path to getting the virus is via the aides. Quite a dilemma.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Rise and shine Baboons,

    Isn’t the either/or nature of the dilemma a false one? Why not just leave things as they are, and toggle back and forth between what you both like? Or am I missing something?

    I tend to do better when I don’t have to live with other people’s choices that I don’t like; so often, I don’t take one for the team. For example, Lou and I do not share a personal checking account, like many couples do. He wants everything balanced to the penny and I don’t really care now that it is all online anyway, so it was obvious that a joint account would not work for us. We did establish a house expenses joint account (after we had been married 17 years and we thought it might work out) which he keeps tidy the way he likes it.

    We are starting to pack up the kitchen in preparation for the remodeling project, so we are sorting stuff today. We keep the CDs in the kitchen, so those are next up for culling, packing and sorting. This is turning into a downsizing project.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Some of it starts now, but it won’t be completed til Spring and Summer when we return from AZ. It appears some furniture will no longer be needed, so we will sell it or donate it when we return. I have a bin ready to go to Good Will after today though. I cannot believe the CDs that accumulated over the years.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. BiR, you can’t even really buy an iPod anymore. There is one, but it’s the size of your phone. You may as well just get a phone then.
          Daughter still has an iPod she used often. For that matter, she has a portable CD player she uses a lot. I am continually putting her music CDs on the computer and then later moving her music onto her iPad, phone, or iPod. That has been what’s forced me to upgrade the computers operating systems sooner than I normally would. I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with all that.
          So if you get to that point, go find that college kid, buy them a pizza and have at it.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. The thing is, you don’t have to have an opinion about everything. I don’t have an opinion about the best kind of Christmas tree or how it should be decorated. I don’t have an opinion about what colors the walls should be the next time we paint. There are a limited number of things I care enough about to have an opinion. If Robin has a preference about those things, she prevails by default. It’s not even a compromise.

    Sometimes I think that having uncompromising standards or expectations about things is more about the need for control than it is about having discriminating taste.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. For many many years we always had a white pine. I love white pine the best. But when Nimue was small and still in her tree-climbing stage, we switched to short needles, thinking that that might deter her a little bit. It didn’t but we stuck with the short needles. When we went to get the tree this year I let YA have her choice and she chose short needles. I will concede that it’s a lot easier to see everything on a short needle tree.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I rarely disagree with you, but this will be a time I do. We are all shaped by our experiences. Having preferences for how we celebrate major events is hardly a case of uncompromising attempts to control. I rarely feel the need to control anything, which is good since so little of my life has gone the way I would have preferred. But to live fully is to have expectations and preferences about some things. I don’t see that as an illegitimate effort to control events. It seems more like caring.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. i’m kind of the opposite
      i have opinions about everything but when we get into heated discussions i frequently discover the reason we are doing something a particular is because i said i had an opinion that was the way to do it . today i have the opposite opinion
      my favorite example is the drinking glass up or down in the cupboard
      we do it one way and i bitched and was told we are doing it that way because i felt soooo strongly about it
      i really do mean it at the moment

      Liked by 1 person

        1. No when we’re having a discussion I voice my sincere opinion and at times that opinion comes out in a strong voice it’s not meant to throw my way around but it evidently is said with a loud enough voice that it comes across that way even though the voice fluctuates with the wind and goes in one direction one week in another direction another week this is OK with things like glasses in the kitchen cupboards but there are instances where I get into serious trouble also


  8. We decorated the Christmas tree this morning. No arguments or power struggles at all. Husband always puts on the lights since he is taller and does a much better job than I can do.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Often. So many times, especially lately, something on FB will be wrong, or just plain dumb, and I start a reply…. and then I think, “don’t get involved”. I don’t need the aggravation.
    You Gotta know when to pick your battles.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Husband and I often don’t agree on things. We both have strong opinions about lots of stuff. We have more than once compromised on the color a wall should be painted, and neither of us have been happy with the results. When we painted our porch, years ago now, we decided the damn thing wasn’t going to be painted until we could settle on a color we both liked. To our surprise, the color we ended up with was an intense, warm yellow. As he painted the walls we both questioned the wisdom of that choice, it seemed too bold. It took a little getting used to, but after about a month, we both loved it, and we still do. Same thing with our front door. Once again we settled on a bold purple (on the outside), and it’s still a pleasure to look at.

    Oftentimes the compromises we reach are dictated by money. I’m a lot more apt to spring for the higher priced item that we both like than settling for the ho-hum alternative that might save us some dollars. I think he’s finally realizing that saving two or three hundred dollars isn’t worth the aggravation of living with a poor substitute for what we really want.

    While I can’t speak for other households, I know that a lot of the compromises that are made in ours do, in fact, relate to control issues. I’m pretty laid back about most stuff, but I’ve discovered that if I don’t occasionally mark a boundary that I’m not willing to let him cross, he pretty much takes over.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Sometimes at the theaters, there are big discussions over things and it may not go the way I would prefer. And often i let it go with the understanding this really isn’t a big deal; in six months will it matter? In 2 years will it matter?
    But if it’s something that i DO think matters, then yes; I need to keep fighting that.
    But once the horse is dead, get off.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. OT Sunday YouTube channels. YouTube is a messy, infuriating but often fascinating medium. You often can’t trust it, and yet it is a window on the world that can show you much.

    Performers like Townes Van Zandt often elude the recognition they deserve because they perform in weird little venues. Here is Townes singing for friends in a bar in Austin, delivering an emotional version of Pancho and Lefty in 1975.

    But, wait, there’s more!

    It is so cheap and easy to make a YouTube video that people can use it as a way of recording stuff that would otherwise be lost. Here is a country artist and storyteller telling the craziest story he ever heard about Townes. True? Who knows?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. wow
      thanks steve
      that’s the townes i met without knowing who he was in 1974 . he was pretty unremarkable as a singer and a guitar player i enjoyed but the story of poncho and lefty as a tune you sing as one you wrote recently was kind of hard to latch onto drinking cognac and coffee in the banff springs hotel he sang two or three others and the next night he played a couple tunes again . then a year or so later i heard them on the radio and wondered who that guy was who said he wrote these songs and one day it clicked
      he was a songwriter who just happened to be sitting in the bar that night and he was a nice guy who was just like you and me. i guess sitting down with a guy is sitting down with a guy even when or maybe especially when he’s townes van zandt

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Townes van Zandt’s talent is indisputable, but his life’s trajectory is a sad story. Guy Clark and his wife were among his best friends, and their home was a place where he often crashed when things had spun out of control. Townes van Zandt was bipolar, and addiction to alcohol didn’t help matters. Steve Earle was another close buddy, in fact, Steve named his son Justin Townes Earle after him. Sadly, Justin passed away this summer sometime, and it was just revealed a few days ago that an autopsy has concluded that he died from an accidental drug overdose.

        Don’t know if you’re familiar with the singer Blaze Foley, the one reputed to have hawked Townes guitar in the video above, but he’s another interesting character. He managed to have an even more obscure career than Townes (who actually was and is quite well respected among fellow musicians), but he does have a couple of recordings that are still available. I have seen Townes perform live, but I never did see Blaze.


  13. When we were married, my family had had the tradition of celebrating, with traditional food and the exchange of gifts on Christmas Eve. Robin’s family in Northfield had the tradition of celebrating on Christmas Day, with a big breakfast and the exchange of gifts. What that meant for us was that we would be at my parent’s home on Christmas Eve, then get up early to drive down for her family’s celebration. Sometimes we were driving in the dark through snowstorms to maintain that tradition. Especially in the earliest years of our marriage, many of these traditions were relics from before our time—on my side from much earlier Scandinavian practices. This continued throughout our girls’ childhood and teen years.

    While those were special and memorable times, the expectation that we would participate and our sense of obligation to meet those expectations and “uphold tradition” meant that, as our own nuclear family, we never had the opportunity to create our own traditions, ones with special meaning for us.

    Inevitably, those inherited traditions fragmented. Parents and their generation passed away, Robin’s siblings scattered and had families of their own and now those families have begotten other families and merged other families’ traditions. So, change happens no matter how much you resist it.

    Robin and I have our own little rituals, but we’ve consciously tried to make space for our daughters and their families to create their own meaningful traditions, free from any expectation on our part that clings to Christmases past. We treasure our time together, of course, but keep it flexible to allow for new traditions, ones they can embrace or modify in years to come within their nuclear family while their kids are young.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. This is exactly the situation I have faced over the years. You are very smart not to have passed this particular situation on. We have taken the same strategy of allowing our kids to develop their own traditions. My mother always wanted to go to her parents, which eliminated the chance for us to ever have our own enjoyable traditions—I have never enjoyed Christmas much at all. I has just been rife with tensions or long Christmas drives through blizzards.

      Lou’s mother was particularly difficult to cope with regarding this topic, insisting that the family meet only on Christmas Day, only at her house, and that twenty-some people stay only at her house (with one bathroom). It was impossible and insensitive. We finally just quit, having no way to satisfy her expectations. Then she would cry and beg. As a result, I love staying home at Christmas, seeing friends, and playing games with them without gifts or expectations.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Similar here – early on we would do Christmas Day with Husband’s family, where all the fun cousins were. Then we’d head down to Iowa for my folks’, but we’d celebrate it a day later. Although I thought this was going just fine, my dad let me know once that it wasn’t the same.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. This is a much better way to say what I was trying to say earlier about giving YA more autonomy over the holidays. Thanks Bill.


  14. Mine was a Christmas Eve family. Husband’s was a Christmas day family. I attribute that to my family being more recent immigrants from Germany than his were. We settled on Christmas Eve, and our children follow that as well. I also started a St. Nicholas Day tradition, and both children still put out their shoes on the night of December 5. We always lived too far from our families to visit very often, so we did things the way it worked for us.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. OT – I’ve returned from my Sunday visit with Philip. Much to my surprise, he has a 7′ tall beautiful, fresh green fir Christmas tree squeezed into the corner where his TV used to be. The TV is now double parked in front of one of his bookcases, adjacent to the left side of the foot end of his hospital bed. I take my hat off for him and his determination to have a tree. I have to marvel at his persistence to somehow orchestrate what he wants. Tomorrow I’ll have to go through my Christmas stuff in the basement, he needs and additional string of lights or two. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  16. it’s hard vs to compromise. my life has always allowed for serious separation from myself and others on a day to day basis . i had a captive audience when my kids were little. i teach and pass on the meaningful stuff of life and then hope you can plug into into life’s equations as you go forward
    all my kids are really good at it and all of them think they have figured it out well enough. in the interest of the student becoming the teacher each is happy to point out often that they can now teach me in much the same ways i taught them. in order for this to happen i need to be ok with considering learning a new way. i must have been a good teacher because they are

    Liked by 2 people

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