Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Perfect Tree

Well, we made it through Thanksgiving. Nothing beats eating all day and laying around watching college football! Alex loves the eating part more than the football, but he humors us. When we went to clean up, the pumpkin pie was gone. No one is sure how much had been in there when he started, but we do know he finished it!

One of our family traditions is to go get the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, so on Black Friday when everyone else is out shopping, we head to the tree farms. Yes, farms, plural. No Charlie Brown tree for us. We know where every tree farm within a 250 mile radius is, and we are not afraid to hit them all if necessary.

We will walk each acre of the tree farm to look for the perfect tree. Alex's favorites are always those 20 feet tall trees that have never been trimmed. You know, the ones that probably weren't even planted, that just ended up there. He wants that tree bad! I of course want the tallest, widest tree that my tiny living room can withstand. Big Sis wants the perfectly trimmed tree, she likes them tall, too. Twin sis sort of varies year to year, guess it depends on her mood. Then, there's Dad... He wants the cheapest, closest to the car, no matter what it looks like tree.

Can you imagine that combination of people in a tree farm? In the middle of acres and acres of trees? I'm sure the people in the rest of the place always get a good chuckle at our expense.

Anyhow, this year, probably the weirdest thing in the history of tree hunting happened. We pulled into the gravel drive of the Christmas tree farm that is located closest to our house. Seemed like the logical place to start, even though we haven't had great success there in the past. We opened the car door and all bailed out...

There it was! THE tree! I liked it. Nice size, nice shape. Big Sis was the first to spot it as we were parking, she chose it. Alex still wanted the giant crazy thing, but this was his second favorite, so it would do. Twin Sis loved it, too. Dad was thrilled! Five feet from the car, ten minutes at the tree farm, nobody arguing or crying over the wrong choice of tree. OK, saws away...

We threw it in the back of the truck and headed home. Easy, breezy... Right ?!?

It's funny how perfect the tree looked standing there at that farm all by itself, and how different it looked in my doorway. It took Dad, Big Sis and me, to get it to stand up. Then we had to call Grandpa to come help us get in the house.

It was waaayyy too wide for the doorway. We tried to take the door off the hinges, we tried squishing the branches in with bungee cords. Finally, it took Dad pulling the tree, with all his might, in the door, and Big Sis and I outside, squishing and pushing with everything we had to get it into the door. All the while Twin Sis trying to give directions, but getting yelled out to get out of the way, and Alex sitting in the chair as far away from the ummmm.. chaos as possible.

My neighbors had to be dying laughing. And the verbal exchanges between us were hysterical. It kind of reminded me of labor. Did I mention that we had to move the furniture out of two rooms just to maneuver the tree in. Oh man, what a mess! We finally made it, though. Backaches, lots of whining and arguing but the tree fit beautifully in the corner of the living room.

Now, we were too tired to decorate it. We were too tired for anything! Dad is still ranting about this being our last live tree. HAH, keep thinking that, dear! We all developed a tree decorating strategy. (We are pretty rigid about a few things at our house!) Dad and I will put the lights up Saturday afternoon, after a BIG football game. Then on Sunday, the kids will all put their ornaments on. Another perfect plan.

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, we all watched our football game, and after our big win, Dad and I put the lights on. I do have to laugh, it is a very big tree. With the lights on, the tree looks almost perfect. We just need the ornaments, but both girls have plans, so Alex gets movie night with Mom and Dad. Ornaments on Sunday.

We aren't really morning people, so the decorating is an after lunch affair. Since Big Sis is going back to school tonight, we actually had a nice big home cooked Sunday lunch. While Alex was finishing up his plate, the rest of us started taking care of some of the dishes. I was sitting with him at the table, and I don't remember the sound as much as I do the look on his face, but THE tree took a tumble.

It did make a nice thud, but Alex's eyes were the size of saucers. He was the only one looking in the living room, and I guess, that thing just came crashing down. I remember thinking to myself that I've seen this on those funniest video shows, but really ??...

Dad, Big Sis and I spent about 4 hours trying to get that tree to stand back up. I bet it weighed 300 pounds. We even went and bought the super size tree stand. It's not really a super size tree, just a little pudgy! We finally, and I am not happy about this, had to bring in a saw and cut parts off! The tree is now standing in the corner of the living room, no longer perfectly trimmed. It looks more like it was angrily attacked. But, I know, eventually, it will look perfect.

Even if it doesn't, we did learn several valuable lessons.
1) When buying Christmas trees, it is good to know the width of your door.
2) A tape measure would be useful at a Christmas tree farm.
3) Shoving huge things through little spaces scares kids. (and is painful and maddening for adults)
4) Nothing good comes from sawing indoors.
5) Kids are terrified of falling trees! (and adults become angry)
and most importantly...
6) If it is that easy to find, it is not nearly as good as it looks!

Now, the firsts for our family this weekend...
1) For the first time ever, we all agreed on the same Christmas tree. Should have been a sign, huh?
2) For the first time ever, Alex is scared to death of our Christmas tree! Actually, I think we are all living in a bit of fear.

The most amazing thing of all though, is how perfect that tree looked standing there all alone. It isn't any less perfect just because it fell over in the middle of my living room! It's still the same tree. It just became a little flustered when I removed it from it's normal environment. Let's face it, a tree really isn't in its element in my living room! Hmmm...

Sounds a bit like Alex. Perfect, OK that's an exaggeration, in his environment. It's not until he's hit with those unfamiliar elements that he starts, let's say, falling over in the middle of the living room.

As far as the tree goes, it's gonna take a little convincing, or a present, but Alex will think it's perfect again, too!


the other lion said...

Well written. And funny.

Back when my parents still cut down fresh trees, we had a Charlie Browner. It was quite sad.

Jessica Nunemaker said...

Ha! Just a reminder...when that happens, even when you bring the tree home, you should saw off 1/4" so the sap will start flowing and the tree will drink!

Learned that thanks to the tree farm owners I talked to for my post last week. ;)

Two years ago we had one tree fall about 3 times before we got it to stay up. Lost a couple of my fave ornaments that year too...Got a heavy duty tree stand last year and no more problems! *whew*

...from SITs.

Umma said...

Oh my, I'm glad I'm not the only one with Christmas tree difficulties, lol. We have a massive tree stand that adds and extra foot to the height of our tree but I don't think I'll ever manage to tip it over.

Monkey isn't afraid of the biting Christmas tree thankfully...he likes to tell us to touch it so he can hear us say "Ouch!!" His sense of humor is a bit on the sadistic side :-)