Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's A Start

Could have titled this "How I Spent My Afternoon."  My prior trees were two feet taller, probably five feet across at the base, and heavy enough to require two men to carry.  They came in two pieces in a box as big as a refrigerator.  The two pieces fit together, the branches unfolded and, voila, there stood the tree!  Having pumped myself up with holiday enthusiasm yesterday, I figured I'd ride the crest of that wave and put up the living room tree.  The box for my five-dollar tree was a small rectangle, six inches by three feet.  I could carry the two of them under one arm.  This was going to be a cakewalk.

Opening the box, I first noticed that the trunk was in multiple bare segments that were nestled in bundles of color-coded branches.  Oh, say it isn't so!  Yes, it was so.  Each main branch was tightly furled and must be inserted, one at a time, into the proper colored slot in the trunk and the side branches opened out "in a natural-appearing" manner.  Did I mention this is a six-foot tall tree?  Can we all say you get what you pay for?  Gathering my patience and opening a beer, I settled in to insert and spread, insert and spread...ad infinitum.  With the best of intentions, I'm sure, Pearl hopped in and out of the box, mixing up the color-coded branches so that I had to search through them all instead of picking up one bundle at a time.  I forgot to say that the color coding was in the form of little plastic stickers that were not all that sticky.  Now, is this one without a sticker the same size as that one with the yellow sticker, or could it be one of the reds?  After all, I want a tree that looks "natural."  I finished construction and my second beer about the same time.

Steve's contribution to Christmas decorating was to bring in the tree, set it up (easy-peasy, as I said), and put on the lights.  I did not put on the lights.  I put on the ornaments.  This year I, alone, had to put on the lights.  Oh, come on, how hard could it be?  As I recall, he whipped through that in no time.  Obviously, my memory is failing.  There was still plenty of daylight when I started placing the first box of one hundred-fifty lights.  A word about the lights:  these are new, fancy-dancy lights with a what?, some sort of mini-computer with sixteen functions for different light displays--waves, flickers, dim and then glow, and all combinations thereof.  All I wanted was twinky lights, and I had to keep punching the button to find that old-fashioned display.  The lights would twink and I'd think I had it, but then they'd go wild like a strobe light.  Nooo!  Punch the button again.  Sweating bullets and slurping another beer, I got the first strand installed.  It didn't go quite halfway up the tree, but, what the heck, the branches were shorter the higher up so the second strand should reach all the way to the top, right?   That would be wrong.  Before starting, I had to get the light display on the second strand to sync up with the first.  Punch the button again and again.  I came up short about a foot from the top and had to redistribute the last strand.  It's still a little off, but close enough for hand grenades.  I'll do better when I work up the courage and strength to put up the tree downstairs.  It was full dark by the time I was done and I had to put on my lighted cap (more lights!) to put the kids to bed.  The decorations may or may not go on today.  But ain't it purty?


Kathryn said...

It's VERY purty...and you could be Erma Bombeck telling your story...and now I am indeed questioning my decision to put up my tree...I ain't got no Steve either!! But I AM laughing!!! (We used to have a tree with color-coded branches, but at least the coding was painted on the insertion ends of those furry things...may still have the dang thing in a storage unit where someone else may or may not have stored it or may or may not have sold it in a garage sale many years ago...will find out one of these days!!)

Kathy V said...

am laughing so hard, am spilling my beer