Tis the Season

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I finally got my tree decorated. I dragged it in, section by section, from the garage; somehow managed to get it upright in the stand without doing bodily harm to myself or physical damage to any of my furniture…and then I just left it there for nearly a week. I would light it every night because I finally got smart enough to buy one of those pre-lit deals and it looked nice at night. During the day it just looked like a naked tree in a lazy person’s house. It’s really a very nice tree considering that I picked it out from a photo online of the several hundred that they offer at Target. Or “Tar-jay” as my kids like to call it. I bought it when I moved to SoCal three years ago. But I very nearly didn’t decorate it this year. I took a poll on Facebook and not one of my friends thought I had to put a thing on it if I didn’t want to.

I haven’t had a very good history with decorating (and, for that matter, un-decorating) trees.

Every year the ex and I would get into an enormous fight about the lights. I would put them away at the end of the season, test them once more as I boxed them up and they all would still be working after being taken off the tree. Then some electrical zombie-spirit-creature would sneak into the storage area sometime over the year and make them not work. Now, why I didn’t check them once again before we strung them on the tree each year, I don’t know. But every year they would just not work the way they did the year before. And we never knew it until it was too late. Finally I got smart and lights got cheaper, so I would just throw the lights out each year and buy new ones the following. The fights stopped and the lights worked, always.

We had a house in New Jersey which had a 28′ ceiling. The ex always had to have a 25′ tree. It would require four men to deliver it in a truck and then bring the thing in and set it up since we couldn’t fit it on top of either of our cars. We had to have an industrial size tree stand that looked like it could support the Space Shuttle prior to a launch. I don’t even think the Rockefeller Center tree had one as big as we had. The getting in of the tree was never an issue, since we tipped handsomely and always had the best workers on the lot deliver it and do the deed. It was the getting it out that was always an enormous problem.

We had wonderful neighbors and Mike was an engineer and a very, very good do-it-yourselfer. He had every tool imagineable…and he had a chain saw. We would borrow it early in January and the ex would amputate the branches of the tree in order to make it small enough to get it back out the door. My house would smell like fresh pine and gasoline fumes for several days after. We also had to borrow Mike’s very tall ladder. One year, in the process of un-decorating it, I did something wrong, lost my balance and instinctively grabbed a branch to right myself, pulling the tree down on top of me. I was stuck. It weighed too much to get it off me, not to mention that the more I tried to get myself free, the more sap oozed out and onto my body and more needles dropped on my hair and in my face. Luckily, my daughter-in-law-the-saint was staying with me at the time and had just run out to do an errand. I was extremely happy that she didn’t stop off to have coffee with anyone because I was there probably twenty minutes before she returned and together we got me out from under it.

The next year we bought a 25′ artificial tree.

So, I wish you a happy week before Christmas, and a tree that looks beautiful both during the day and at night.

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