Maybe it was a bad omen. On the day we planned to get our Christmas tree, Tony dug the tree stand out of the shed and found that a critter had eaten through the bottom and built himself a nest in it. Thankfully, the nest was unocuppied. But this meant we needed a new stand.
Target, typically a one-stop-shop for anything and everything, was all out. So Tony found a tree stand at a local drugstore. When he brought it home I thought he had mistakenly gotten a stand for one of those table-top trees. It was tiny. But the box said that it could hold a tree up to 7 feet tall with a 4 inch wide trunk. Um. I guess we'll see!
We all bundled up and headed down the street to pick out our tree. We looked around for all of 5 seconds, and Tony picked one up for inspection. Sure, looks fine. No major deformities, holes, or rogue branches. A symmetrical, healthy looking tree in our price range.
But wait, we can't just get the first one we see! Let's look around a little. After all, it's freezing out and we have a baby with us. We can totally take our time.
We look at a few more. Too skinny. Too fat. Broken branches. Crooked. Then we forget which one was the first one we looked at. We are lost in a sea of trees. They all look the same. I am overwhelmed and over it. Tony picks out another one and I say, "Fine, that one's fine. Pay the man and pack it up!"
This is why Tony does the grocery shopping. I'd go all Supermarket Sweep in the store, throw anything in the cart and get the heck out of there. I'm easily flustered when it comes to making decisions.
As the tree is wrapped up and strapped to the top of our car, I notice it's a little on the small side. I justify that it only appears dwarfed because it's on top of our big SUV. But the car ride home was silent, as I mentally convinced myself that it was the ugliest, homeliest looking tree I've ever seen. I tell Tony of my reservations and he responds in calm, reasonable ways like, "It will look beautiful when we get it all decorated," and "It's just a tree."
And I respond in true lunatic fashion.
"It's not just a tree! It's Desmond's first Christmas tree ever! This is the focal point of our home for the next month! My happiness during the holiday season relies on the beauty of this tree! Just a tree?! As soon as we get home we're throwing it in the fire pit. Then we're going out to buy a new one. Just a tree."
"Okay," Tony says. "The fire will smell nice."
We both knew we were not going to do that. We would just deal with it and make it work. But sometimes I have to vocalize my irrational, over-the-top reactions to things. Usually in a high-pitched tone with my arms waving. Then Tony says "Okay" and we go about our lives. Love and marriage, like a horse and carriage.
I continue making snide remarks about the tree as Tony lugs it up the stairs. Aren't I swell?
He gets it into the living room, sticks it in the stand, holds it up for me and I start cracking up. It's very short. Hilariously short. There's a big hole in the side. The tiny stand makes it look even smaller and unstable. I took photos but they don't do it justice. You'd all think I was being a snob because it doesn't look half as bad in pictures. So you have to take my word. The tree was ridiculous. But at that point it's funny to me. We will make this tree work.
Tony, god love him, decided that he would build a platform for the tree to sit on. I try to tell him not to bother, it's no big deal. See? I can be uncrazy sometimes. He says it will take him no time at all. I think he thought of it as a fun project.
"Four minutes. Time me."
The platform was perfect. It gave the tree an added 5 inches in height. We put the skirt on top of it and you can't even tell it's there. And it serves an additional purpose of raising the tree up above the baseboard heat, so we'll save this to use for years to come.
That was a nice positive among many little mishaps along the way.
Then we put the lights on. Tony bought new LED lights this year. Our old ones were getting pretty dim. When he plugged in the new lights I noticed a slight blue tinge to them. Blue lights? Oh god, my Nana would be mortified. They're also super bright. So I remove one strand, separate them a little bit, and move them in more toward the trunk. Better. But the blue is still there... oh, the blue.
Here's a crappy cell phone photo that I sent to my sister with the text: "look! we're protestant now!"
No offense to any protestants out there...
We haven't gotten around to fully decorating it yet. I'm hoping that will solve all the problems, make it look fuller, taller, and less... blue. I promise to post pictures of the final product. And to not take it all so seriously.
It is just a tree. And it's going to be beautiful.