Monday, December 17, 2007
O Christmas Tree...
Roger and I generally divide the holiday decorating. He does outside, I do inside. And this works out quite nicely, usually. This is his busy time of year (what with the end of the semester, final exams, and papers to grade) and I care more about inside decorations than he does. Way more. (He still marvels over the fact that we have specific boxes for Easter decorations and Halloween decorations in the garage.) So typically he gets the outside lights up some weekend after Thanksgiving, and I start bringing out the holiday decorations to suit my indoor theme. (I know -- I got inspired to decorate in "themes" by a) getting tired of putting the same stuff in the same place every year; and b) watching all those HGTV holiday decorating shows ever year, culminating in the White House decoration extravaganza that is impressive and beautiful and ridiculous, all at the same time.)
ANYway. We've had all of the decorations up for weeks now EXCEPT for the Christmas tree. We didn't want to get it up too early, as our good friends are coming from Maine to spend New Year's with us and we wanted the tree to have a least a tinge of green by then. And then there's been the flu and what with one thing and another, the tree isn't up yet.
So, while Caroline and I stayed home in our jammies yesterday, Roger ventured out and brought home a lovely tree. A Noble Fir, our favorite kind, not too wide at the bottom. We were going to get it up last evening, but by then Caroline's fever had returned, I was feeling achey and tired still, and Roger had papers to grade.
When I stumbled downstairs this morning, Roger paused as he was heading out the door (briefcase and coffee mug in hand already) to say "Shall we bring in the tree and set it up in the stand before I go?"
Now, I don't know how easily your trees go up, but around here it's a struggle. Aside from the required moving-of-furniture, it's never an easy or quick task. Inevitably the tree is too wide for the stand, or too narrow...or it requires creative shims to make it stand straight. It's not a 5 minute job.
Is that just me?
I tried not to roll my eyes too obnoxiously and sent him on his way. But later in the morning, after I'd had coffee and dressed and gotten Caroline squared away with gingerale and a holiday movie to watch, I figured I'd at least shove the furniture around and set up the stand and get things ready for the tree.
And once that was in place, I figured I could get Caroline to help me get the tree into the stand, if I lifted the tree and she guided it into the stand's bowl. That's where it went awry.
And you know, that's where things go badly every year. Maybe it IS me.
Yep, sure enough, the tree is quite narrow for the stand, so it wouldn't stand straight or balance and I simply couldn't get it screwed into the stand with any sort of stability. There was the annual muttering-of-swear-words while clutching onto armfuls of pine branches...now, there's a great tradition to hand down to your child at Christmas, eh?
We pulled it out. We attached wood blocks to the trunk to add width. We re-inserted. We wrestled and muttered and snapped at each other and pulled it out again. At one point, I dashed downtown to pick up one of those small cheap tree stands, thinking that it'd suit the narrow trunk of this tree better...but no, all that happened was that the tree screws BENT as the tree slowly tipped over. You guessed it -- more muttered swear words.
I tried and tried, with Caroline gamely helping, for FAR too long. I'm talking spending 3 hours doing this. And finally, I dragged the tree back out to the garage, where it is now sitting in its bucket of water.
Roger and I had been looking at artificial trees, thinking that we may have hit that developmental stage where an artificial tree sounds like a wonderful relief, as opposed to a horrid sacrilege. (That's the developmental stage that come right after getting a car with automatic transmission feels like a good thing, too.) I've even selected the tree I'd want (check out the very realistic trees at http://www.balsamhill.com/ -- I've seen these in person and they're pretty darn remarkable for artificial trees.) But they're pricey. Any of the decently-realistic ones seem to be.
And right now? I'm sitting here with some sap and pine in my hair, my back aching, and my hands stained by tree-sap and tingling with pine-needle pricks, and Caroline has been chastizing me about the words she's heard come out of my mouth this morning.
I figure I'd pay $1000 to never have to do that all again. I think an artificial tree would be a bargain.
I'll rest up and be in a holiday mood tomorrow. Once the halls are decked...