Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Small Miracle

Ms Robyn's posting about the drama of setting up the Christmas Tree prompted this posting. It seems that there is something highly combustible between pine trees and men at this time of year. Even the "Grumpy Old Women" (ABC last night) commented on it. I think men look at an innocent pine tree and immediately assume that it is an enemy to be mutilated and subdued into a barely recognizeable version of its original splendour at the time of purchase.

For years I would drive to the markets and purchase the perfect tree, which would be carefully encased in a plastic tube and placed in the car, maybe even wrapped in a blanket. On arrival home, the tree would be gently lifted out into the carport - and then World War Three would erupt.

Holes would be drilled through the bottom of the trunk ("not that drill, the one on the bench. Why isn't it there? Who used it last?") to absorb more water. The once-perfect tree would then be trimmed, making it considerably less than perfect. A bucket had to be filled with half-bricks ("not those bricks, they're too big.") then placed in the loungeroom. Tree was then placed in the bucket and sand poured into the bucket to fill every nook and cranny ("don't pour sand everywhere. Hold it straight, can't you?") Tree and bucket were then rotated to give the best view. After several rotations, and no-one was happy, the best side of a rapidly deteriorating tree was chosen for the front, and what seemed like several klms of string was attached to the tree to tie it to the nearby curtain rod ("pull the string tighter on this side. Now it's leaning too far to the left. Here let me do it!")

Then ... silence, as the man of the house has had enough of Christmas trees, pine needles, heat and the flies that came in when the door was open, and taken himself off to do who knows what.

At last ... now we can do the job properly ourselves, and even enjoy it.

But this year was different!!! Firstly, we weren't going to have a tree at all, but on the spur of the moment bought a 2metre tall artificial tree. It came in a cardboard box, not too big and strong enough to store said tree for the rest of the year. Sara, just returned from Amsterdam, came over to set up the tree - then pack it all back into the box as part of the stand was missing. Back to the hardware store, exchange for another tree, insist on opening box before leaving store to check everything is there, and back home. Tree looked quite good when set up and all the branches were teased out.

Then, with a flash of inspiration, I asked Richard if he would like to decorate the tree? He agreed .. I think he actually had fun .. he asked me if I would like to help him? My mind wandered back over several Christmas Tree debacles and I suddenly found ironing, vacuuming and washing dishes much more enticing. However, Richard perservered, carefully attaching balls, lights, tinsel (sorry, Tanya, I know how much you loathe tinsel) and other ornaments to the tree.

I think he did a pretty good job, too.
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16 comments:

Peggy said...

he did a pretty good job with the tree! I did laugh a little reading about the other years though... thanks for sharing!

Takoma Gardener said...

Great post. And I agree. Let there be peace, no matter what the damn tree ends up looking like!

Jude said...

What did you think of the Grumpy Old Women last night? Most of them come across as just so awful that they make me wince.

Alice said...

Jude - it's strange, but I barely raised a smile - same as when I watched the series. I thought the first episode of the series was really funny and was so disappointed with the rest. I found Grumpy Old Men far more entertaining. With the Women, it all seemed so contrived, but with the Men, they just seemed to be saying exactly what they thought. I don't think I'd have liked to spend Christmas with any of last night's Women.

Kali said...

Your tree looks very swish ~ Richard has done a marvellous job and I am sure you are glad you kept right away...LOL

Calidore said...

Yay for Richard. What a good job he did. Like you I would prefer to be washing dishes, ironing etc when the decorations are put on - there is always a major bun fight here - Soooo stressful. But the kids enjoy it which is all that matters I guess. I enjoyed Grumpy Old Women, but not as much as Grumpy Old Men. Still scared me though that I could relate to so much of what they (both sexes) said.

Connie and Rob said...

Your tree looks great!

My husband loves to decorate the tree. This is the first year in a long while that I actually helped. We had fun but I could tell he liked doing things his own way. Next year he can have the tree back and I will watch "Christmas Vacation".

Connie

Rachel said...

Very lovely!!

judypatooote said...

Richard did a great job....
I can relate to the real Christmas tree story. We always had to have real ones when hubby was alive.... short, fat, long needle ones....with the kids being taller that the tree... and it has been a tradition that I decorate to Christmas Vacation...

Anonymous said...

SUSAN - not anonymous! Something is not working on the comments thingy.

I remember all the years of real trees, the great smell of pine, cutting down the right tree, but I just love my artificial tree that came with lights already attached, just pull it out of the box every year, no mess.

Good job, Richard!

ms*robyn said...

oh ! I haven't seen the grumpy old women yet - I taped it as we had to go out to yet another school presentation.
Alice, you tree story is exactly the same as mine year in year out * I love the *soulmate* I really do but sometimes ...grrrrrrrrrr * I actually dread the tree buying chapter now & for the first time in years, I even thought about getting a fake one.

SueeeuS said...

I love this story. Men! We have an artificial tree as well. Yours turned out quite nice. Well done. :)

Val said...

Re Grumpy old women program: yes, it was contrived, and I couldn't believe that people let themselves get caught up in such a frenzy. I just kept thinking: it serves them right to suffer so much.

Today's post on my blog shows how I have solved the Christmas tree dilemma...

Alice said...

Val - thank you for your comments. I don't seem to be able to access your blog - is there a particular knack to it, or ....?

Wendy A said...

We bought a fake one this year. We couldn't find a good real one here in Tassie. I miss the smell of the real trees. Yours looks beautiful. Enjoy it and the wonderful smell despite the hassel.

Alice said...

Wendy - this tree is fake, all hassle free, but alas, also smell free. Hope you enjoy yours too.