Friday, December 15, 2006

O Tannenbaum...

We got our tree a few nights ago. I like having a tree up for the
holidays because I feel like it's fairly compatible with my vaguely
pagan belief system: bringing a bit of greenery into the house and
lighting it up seems like a wicked good idea during these dark days.
Also, it smells really good and my daughter likes it.

Because of recent illness and compounded by lack of planning, we
resorted to a parking-lot tree. Wednesday night we stopped by that
place on the corner of Brighton & St. John and picked out our holiday
tree. It was sort of romantic, in an urban way, with the lights
strung up all around us and a damp mist on our faces as we
contemplated the leaning trees and smelled the pine needles under our
feet. At least it was until we saw the prices on the trees and
hurried over to the $20 rack--the cheapest one next to the rack of
mini-trees for people living in tiny apartments.

The $20 rack had two trees on it. One of them was shaped like a
marshmallow on a stick, and the other one was a little taller than I
wanted. K and S lobbied successfully against the marshmallow-shaped
tree, and we hoisted the other one up and lugged it over to the
salesman, who cut the end of the trunk off for us and helped us get it
into the trunk. The whole time he talked to us about how these were
Maine-grown trees, that they were from the western part of the state
and did we know that it takes 8-10 years for each tree to grow? I was
charmed, a little, and glad to finally have our tree.

We got it successfully home and wrestled it up to the third floor.
That's where things started to do wrong.

Did I mention that it was raining outside? Well--a heavy mist,
really, but the tree was soaked and so were we by the time we got it
into its stand. There were pine needles and muddy puddles all over
the floor, and the tree was definitely listing a bit to the right. K
and I readjusted the tree, me lifting it, K trying to get the things
lined up on the stand so that it would work. Both of us swearing a
little, and S in the background doing a little ballerina dance and
humming the Nutcracker.

Once the tree was up I saw that we needed to turn it a little to cover
a bald spot. I turned it. It didn't help. The bald spot was an
internal ring of completely bare branches that went all the way around
the tree. Then I noticed the brown patches.

"This tree is dead," I said. I actually may have yelled, but I'm not sure.

"Of course. It's cut." K said, teeth gritted.

"No, I mean, look." We contemplated the brown branches. What can you
do? Buy a parking-lot tree in the dark, get a half-dead misshapen
parking-lot tree.

"Can we do the lights?" S asked.

I explained that the tree was too wet to put the lights on because of
the rain, and that we'd do it the next day. S cried, mostly because
it was an hour past her bedtime at that point. I may have cried too.

It only has to last two weeks, I figured. We'll water the crap out of
it and see how it goes. The next morning the floor was dusted with
pine needles but the tree had drank almost the whole pan of water. We
decided that the lights will never be left unattended on this thing,
because Christmas fires are never as fun as they seem like they might

Thing seem to be holding steady at this point, but I'm fully expecting
that we'll wake up some morning soon to find only our ornaments and
lights hanging on completely naked branches. Keep your fingers
crossed for us.

And we could use a fire extinguisher, if you're wondering about
holiday presents.


Anonymous said...

You should have taken the tree back to the lot.

Next year, if you want to, you can come up and walk our woods and pick out any tree you want. For nothin'.

Kennedy said...

lets grow one in the appt. for nxt year! Or a fiber optic...yeesssss!


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