Thursday, December 2, 2010

O Doug the Tree

Christmas tree stand, Christmas tree stand, wherefore art thou Christmas tree stand?

The wind chill has been in the single digits lately, so that meant tonight was the PERFECT night to go pick our Christmas tree. Too bad it wasn't snowing. Or freezing rain. That would've made it even better.

I took a year off the great tree hunt last year and sent my boys, mostly because I didn't want to deal with Baby Godzilla while we did it. For the crap I took tonight, I may take next year off too.

Picking a Christmas tree is a big deal. At least, it always was to my mom. Everything about Christmas was a huge ritual, to be followed, shared and very rarely improved upon, year after year. We would pace the lot at the local farmer's market, eyeing trees for size, shape, fullness and star placement ease. She never made any decision easily, even one that seemed as trivial as a Christmas tree. We would remember a few front runners, make a final lap and settle on the best one. It was almost always a mutual decision, except for the year I chose the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. But that's a story for another time. The family still laughs about that one.

I had no such support tonight. Hubby rolled his eyes when one of the guys working pointed out where the cheaper trees were.

"Oh she won't go for those," he said.

I'm sorry, I'm the one who's putting most of the ornaments on and my hands are not giant calluses like SOME people. I like the softer needles. Mom's fav was always Frasier Fir. Pretty sure that's what we got this year, but in my haste to pick a tree and stop the ribbing, I didn't get the tree's name. It could be Frasier or Douglas. So let's call him Doug. Doug the Christmas tree.

Nathaniel was busy making boot print circles in the snow around the trees on stands and Leah was yelling at him, utterly convinced he had to be doing something wrong. Hubby was trying to keep one eye on them and one eye on me, so he could stand up whatever tree I was sizing up to get the full effect.

As I started the second lap (only the second!), one of the workers asked if we needed help.

"Oh no, she's got one picked out but she's got to check the others to be sure," Hubby said.

The guy just kinda looked at me.

"Picking a Christmas tree is a big deal!" I said in retort.

"Oh I know," the guy said. But there was no smile, no knowing look. I wasn't convinced. They were mocking me. I can sense these things. Reporter's instinct, ya know.

He did try to point out a few other trees once Hubby said how tall we needed the tree to be. But my feathers had been ruffled enough, so I sent Hubby back to Doug and took the kids to the car.

The plan was to get home and for me to get the kids ready for bed while Hubby got the tree stuff out of the attic and put Doug into his stand in the garage. Then the kids could see Doug come in and go right up to bed.

Good plan, right?

Except for the fact that last year in a fit of anger at our 5-year-old cheap-o tree stand, Hubby threw said tree stand away. AND FORGOT ABOUT IT. When I told Nathaniel, he almost started crying.

"You mean the garbage truck came and just took it?"

Uh, well, the truck took it because Daddy WANTED it to, but uh...

Yeah. So we all piled back into the car, took Doug out and left him in the garage and headed off to Walmart 30 minutes before bedtime. To make another quality investment in a $7 tree stand. And window clings, detangler, instant coffee, Mt. Dew and Diet Dr. Pepper.

So we put the kids to bed as soon as we got home and told them Doug the tree would be waiting for them in the morning. Doug is now settled into his new stand, complete with Hubby's funnel and tubing system that eliminates the need to crawl under the tree with a cup of water or watering can that we don't have that would inevitably leak. Did I mention I married an engineer? You'd think he'd remember things like the darn tree stand.

I guess if I'm not careful he'll make me get the tree alone next year. Which might not be a bad idea...

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