Googling “How to get Gorilla Glue off skin” at 11:30 p.m. was not how I imagined spending my evening.

It all started when I decided I was finally going to repair some broken Christmas tree ornaments. After putting the task off for years, I felt compelled at an hour before midnight to break out the superglue and operate on my dismembered decorations.

When I was a kid, my family had a Disney ornament subscription. A new Christmas ornament arrived by mail each month. It was always a treat to see what we’d get: Pluto wearing reindeer ears; Roger Rabbit carrying a sack of toys; Jiminy Cricket sitting in the curve of a candy cane — they were all darling. These treasures immediately found a sweet spot in my heart.

I think that’s why I was hesitant to throw away the ones that had broken. Tinkerbell lost her wings. Donald Duck tangled in Christmas lights was missing a leg, and Pongo from “101 Dalmatians” lost an ear. My figure skating Minnie Mouse was in the worst state. She’d not only lost her legs, but this year when I unboxed her, her head had come off, too.

At the beginning of the season, I told myself this was the year I would finally restore these ornaments to their former glory. I placed the damaged ornaments on my coffee table so that my task would be difficult ignore.

Turns out, I am really good at ignoring things on my coffee table. The bag of mangled treasures sat there for weeks.

But on this evening, when I should have been thinking about turning in for the night, something inside me said I couldn’t put off repairing the ornaments any longer. I took the bag to the kitchen and poured out the fragments of Disney figures.

I started with Tink. Her wings fit into a hole in her back. Donald’s leg also went into place with little trouble. I figured I’d fix Pongo’s ear before I tried to get Minnie back together.

I checked the ear and the space where it had broken off. It wasn’t going to fit as nicely as the first two repair jobs, but it could be done. I dabbed the glue on the side of Pongo’s head and fit the ear into place. I adjusted my fingers to hold it in place with the proper pressure when the dog’s head snapped off and flew across my kitchen — my fingers pressing together in the process.

I let out a shriek and began laughing hysterically. I was surprised, shocked and slightly terrified that Pongo’s smiling face — tongue wagging with joy — was now four feet away from the rest of his body. My efforts to restore Christmas joy was literally becoming “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.

Thankfully, my fingers were not stuck for long. I was able to separate them with little effort, but the glue was caked into the groove of my fingertips. I wasn’t done though. Pongo still needed me. I grabbed his head and glued the ear back on and then glued the head in place.

I should have taken the doggie decapitation as a sign that I should stop, but I was determined to fix Minnie as well. It took a few tries, but I managed. The same could be said for removing the superglue from my fingers. Took a few tries, but I managed to de-glue my digits.

The following morning I checked on the ornaments and everyone was still whole. Satisfied with my work, I took the ornaments to the tree. Tinkerbell, Minnie and Pongo took their places with no problem. But as I hung Donald, the string snapped and he tumbled to the ground. Thankfully, his head stayed on, but his arms and a leg snapped off. The newly glued leg though? Still in place. Happy Holidays, Napa Valley!

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Samie Hartley is the Napa Valley Register online editor. Simple & Sassy runs every other Sunday. She can be reached at shartley@napanews.com.


Online Editor/Calendar Editor

Samie Hartley is the Napa Valley Register online editor. Her column Simple & Sassy runs on alternating Sundays.