Thursday, August 4, 2005

Seriously...The perfect tree.

It was the Christmas of 1997. Heidi and I were anxiously awaiting the weekend so we could go get our Christmas tree. We were so very excited and had rearranged our whole house to fit it in the perfect spot for all to see.

We were given a tree stand by my company and we decided that we should take the ring with to make sure the trunk would fit it. We jumped in my car to head off on our adventure of finding the perfect tree. We drove only a few short feet and got out at Home Depot.

We were able to get a very close parking spot so that we wouldn't have to lug a tree forever, especially since we are girls and we are supposed to be weak, and we didn't want to show up any of the men there.

We emerged out of the car to head into our destination. We went to the section where the trees were the cheapest. We didn't look at how the trees looked, we just wanted to make sure that the trunk would fit. We found one that looked perfect, or at least we thought so, it was still bundled up.

We picked it up and started to head out when a gentleman asked if we wanted the trunk cut. We did and had actually mentioned it to him right before he asked. He takes the tree and cuts the bottom off so that it will stay fresh for us in our tree stand. At that point he asked it we wanted some of the branches trimmed off and so we asked him to please do that as well. Once the branches were cut off he asked us if we wanted to keep them. The two of us have never had so many questions asked of us about a Christmas tree. We just stared at each other until he broke the silence with, "Ladies, could you help me out here?" We finally determined that we would like to burn them in the fireplace to get Christmas in the air.

At this point, I decided to grab the tree and lug it to the front to pay for it. Once we get to the front, wouldn't you know it, only one lane was open. Why is it that stores have multiple lanes when they like to have them ALL closed but one?

I stand in line with this giant tree on my shoulders waiting for the slowest cashier ever, to finish with her customer.

Another cashier decides, at this point, to open another lane. Rather than announce that she was open and could help, she went to the man right in front of me to tell him she could assist him if he was ready to check out. The man was holding BATTERIES and was next in line for the cashier that was soon to be finished right where we were. I am sure glad he was able to get that heavy load out of his hands. I know that he was feeling pretty exhausted holding them for so long. We decided to wait for the slow cashier and hold our very light load on our shoulders.

We did finally make it to a cashier in which she looks at us and says, "Wow, you carried that all the way up here?" At that time I had every possible response running through my head. Things like, "no, it walked up here, but needed to rest on my shoulder for a bit", to, "I kind of had to as none of the men in this place offered their assistance and we needed a tree." I decided to go with a nicer response of, "Yes, we really wanted this tree and had to get it here somehow." To this she replied with, "you must be strong." Keep in mind that the whole time this is going on I am still holding the tree.

Once out of the line and having spent several dollars more than we intended, I get to the car and I can't find Heidi. I turn to look for her and hit her in the head with the tip of the tree, that is what happens when you have a huge obstacle in your way, your view becomes very blocked. After I made sure she was still conscious, I finally get the tree on top of the car and tied on for a quick ride.

While we were out, we decided we may as well stop at Walmart to get an Angel tree topper and some stocking for the fireplace. Heidi decided to wait in the car while I went in QUICKLY for the supplies. I got what I needed in a matter of 15 minutes and wandered to the checkout. I once again encountered the joy of many lanes being present but only one being open. It took about 45 minutes to get through the line. When I got back to the car, Heidi had turned into a popsicle. Now I would need to defrost her before we could tend to the tree.

We finally made it back to the apartment, 2 hours later, and got the tree up 3 flights of stairs. Once the tree was in the apartment, we cut the lines loose so that the tree could relax. We went to put the tree into the stand and found out that when the man helped us out by cutting off the base of the trunk he also helped us right out of the possibility of being able to use our tree base. Upon finding this out, Heidi proceeded to go out of the apartment and back to Walmart for a new base. In the meantime, I stood in the apartment holding the tree and praying that it would not be another 45 minutes as the tree was starting to relax and was starting to poke at me where trees shouldn't poke.

She apparently doesn't experience one lane with long lines as she was back in just moments and she had a base that looked like it would work well for us. She put the base on the floor, and since I have become pretty attached to the tree, I decided to place it into the stand. We were very fortunate for the hole was definitely large enough for the tree. However, we had a new problem. The whole was big enough, but the hole was VERY deep. Because it was so deep, the tree would not sit on the bottom as the branches kept it suspended. Since I really didn't want to hold the tree for the whole holiday season, we had to do something.

Keep in mind, we were two women that had not begun to acquire all the tools that we would like to have on hand, so of course we had no hack saw. Our choices were to go back to Walmart or to try the ginsu knives, which they say can cut through a can. We decided to try the later as we were tired of Walmart and wanted the task complete. We began cutting away at the branches. After an hour, we had cut away a total of 10 branches before the tree would fit in the base.

We now had the tree in the base and decided to position it where we wanted it. As we position it, the tree falls out. At this point, we realize that we didn't tighten the base to the tree, a bit late as it has already fallen, fortunately landing on nothing. We get the tree tightened and realize that the tree is not quite right. We cannot move it as easily this time because we had filled the base FULL of water. We had to work very carefully to get it in the perfect spot.

We finally got it where we wanted it and got the tree decorated. It was in fact a very beautiful tree and we were very pleased with it. We kind of had to be. We had never taken 5 hours to put a tree in a base, and a total of 8 hours to acquire the perfect tree and hoped we would never have to again.

We did end up with the perfect tree and enjoyed the smell of Christmas in our apartment and the memories and laughter made over trying to get a tree in a stand.

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