Monday, December 28, 2015

This isn't one of those trees where all the needles falls off, is it?

Have you ever noticed how wistful people get during the holidays? It probably has something to do with the ornaments that see those happy memories during the wee morning hours with children and great arguments over toy assemblage in the late hours of the night.

Maybe it is the magic of transforming a tree into a magical winter wonderland. Something that we can only do a finite amount of times in our life and can only happen but once a year. Pulling out Grandma's Christmas china that she carefully packed away and used for this one meal a year- Christmas dinner; maybe that’s where the sappiness comes into play.

Like I said, have you noticed how wistful people get? And how they write about their memories of Christmases past?

This is not one of those blogs.

I have mentioned on several occasions that I am cheap. Pathetically and painfully cheap. Cheap-cheap.

Did you know that you can buy Christmas trees from Costco? Hand to God, you can. 10 pounds of boiled peanuts, $3 wheels of Brie cheese, 17 oversized-off-colored outdoor Christmas ornaments and a 77 inch flat screen television are not the only things that can be purchased at the warehouse mecca.

For $29.99 you too can buy your Christmas tree. You can get that beast in your house and be the first one on the block to have your lights flashing for Santa and the neighbors to see.

Yeah.... if you follow me on Instagram, you know where this is going.

I have spent $119.96 + tax on Costco trees in the past two years. Four trees in total and I am here to tell you: one in four. You can expect the odds to be one in four that you are going to have a good tree.  And those other three? Yeah, about those. Let's talk about those... because the pretty tree is not nearly as interesting to talk about.

Back up 13 months and I make this startling discovery of the $29.99 Christmas tree. We buy two and I scoff at those who spend extra money for actually taking their time and picking out their tree. Us? We ring up our seven pounds of Gouda, an ink-jet printer, three azaleas, 4 pounds of butter and 2 Christmas trees before heading out to the big-rig parked in the parking lot. Standing in line, I watch the drill. When it is your turn, you hand Ewald your receipt-- that's his name-- Ewald, but I like to refer to him as the Czar of Trees. You hand the Czar of Trees your receipt, he calls a number out in Russian or Dutch or something, and from the angels above a tree flutters to your feet. OK, that's not exactly what happens. The Czar of Trees calls a number out super fast, which... coincidentally, coincides with the number of trees you are purchasing.

The Czar nods his approval, sizes you up and then calls TWO! for those two trees to come out of the abyss that is the trailer part of the 18 wheeler. "Dah," he says. The minions chuck two trees from the blackness to the light and there they are: our Christmas trees wrapped tightly so as not to expose them to the prying eyes who think that when you are paying $29.99 for a Christmas tree that you actually get to pick out your tree.

Our turn with the Czar has passed. It is up to Husband to load these on the family sleigh and get them to through our door.

And that he does. Like Clark W. Griswold, he does.

Bless him.

Tree #1: It's going in our den. Like a groom removing the bride's veil, we mounted the tree in the stand (you liked that, didn't you?) and unwrapped the beacon of Christmas and Foundation for the festivities:

Breathtaking.

Tree #2: After the first tree, we knew that those fools who actually spent money on their tree to do something silly like {scoff} pick it out were wasting their hard earned money. Quickly, we stick tree #2 in the window at the front of the house and whip off the plastic. There was a branch that didn't get trimmed in the process. It was a big branch, probably three feet in length hanging off the side. It flapped down and landed on Husband's head. A second branch escaped a haircut on the other side.

The tree had arms.

We aren't talking like scissors were needed to get it back-- no no no... we had to get hedge clippers and do a lot of pruning.  How much? I made a wreath out of it. Like I said, cheap.

At this point, our odds are 50/50. While not great odds- not terrible, either.

Where do we go this year? Oh yeah, back to Ewald, the Czar of Trees. I blame Husband. If I had gone and paid my homage to the Czar, we might have been bumped up on the tree quality. Husband did not know these things. A box of $24.97 golf balls, two loaves of bread, some Dora art supplies, and two trees later, Husband is standing in line with his receipt, playing on his iPhone texting me to see if Ewald worked the big-rig this year.

Tree #3 and #4: Two trees are in the back of his truck. We get home and the rain comes down.

Literally, I am not kidding, Husband said, "Thank goodness it is raining; it should keep the trees alive a little longer..."

fateful......... last.......... words.

Y'all... these trees came through the door dead.

Between Ralphie's mother at the tree farm, "This isn't one of those trees where all the neeeeeeeedles falls off, is it?" and Clark W. Griswold discovering the amount of sap that a tree can produce-- that's where our trees came from this year.

The trees went up, we poured water in the stand and the needles came down. In all fairness, needle dropping is common and expected in the first few days of the transformation from mere tree to the most important of Christmas symbols. But this wasn't just a handful of needles dropping and getting vacuumed... noooooo, this was something so much more perfect. So much better. These trees, when touched, made a crescendo of rain on a tin roof. Needles starting at the top and working their way to the bottom, gathering needles and noise as they hit the floor. Lucky for us, we have three kids who have no interest in that greenish tree covered with lights and breakable things.

Indeed.

As the days stretched into a week and into a second, Tree #3 and Tree #4 started to look a little, ahem, sparse. I added more ornaments.

It got to be an X-ray tree, where one could see directly through it. I started putting Christmas cards in the bald spots. Every card we received went in the tree- with each placement, more needles falling. More barren spots to be seen, rather seen through. The sap stopped sapping, relinquishing what few needles were left stuck in the sap to the floor.

We vacuumed daily. More needles would fall. The fire hazard had to go.

Maybe next year, I will find 156 needles in our Christmas boxes and I will be nostalgic for my old friend, Ewald- the Czar of Trees and wonder how he is. Or, more likely, I will find three twigs and 14,955 needles under the rugs, in the boxes, and in my hair and I will curse the Czar and the homage to wet his beak. We'll spend the money next year. Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know.


Lesson Learned. But, in case I forget....



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