Friday, December 11, 2009

Magic

Ah, the holidays.

The crisp smell of pine in the air… the temperature a balmy 23 degrees...wind at 17mph...making the REALFEEL temp a pathetic 12 degrees...probably the coldest day of the year...as we begin the annual trek for the perfect specimen of a Christmas tree.


It must be that perfect shape: a triangle…but not too much of a triangle. Not too fat...not too thin. An "elongated triangle" is what I usually tell the guy assisting us in the Christmas tree lot.

“Not too tall,” I lament…as we walk through the white-light-lit archway that leads to what is surely one of the largest inventories of Christmas trees in the northeast.

“Wait,” says the guy…stopping short and turning to face us, causing a domino-effect of crashing bodies as each of us smashes into the person ahead, as we’re looking everywhere but where we're walking...distracted by the vast array of lights, wreaths, nutcrackers and the assorted, strategically-placed maniacal-looking light-up elf.

Christmas Tree Guy: “What kind of tree are we looking at?”

Me: “Uh. Wait. I know this one….PINE! No…wait…BALSAMIC!”

Taylor: “Nah, that's not right.... LOCAL! Wait... CANADIAN! They're all CANADIAN trees!”

CTG: “No, no, no! I mean…what kind of tree do you wish to purchase? Frasier or Balsam?”

K: “Oh. Which is the more fragrant one?”

CTG: “The Frasier.”

K: “Then, the other one. Not that I don’t enjoy the fragrance, mind you…it’s quite lovely, really. I just prefer the look of the other one….”

CTG: “I’m not offended. Whatever. This way.”

We walk…and walk…..and walk. Past the fragrant ones….past the tall ones…past the droopy ones, past the tipped-over ones. Finally, per my explicit instructions, we reach the section with the Balsam trees in the range of six to seven feet in height. There are about two hundred of them….all neatly lined up and leaning against both the 5’ tall fence and each other.

The boys are eyeing them suspiciously…and I can tell they’re thinking that if you pull one of these babies out, they’re all going down…and there’s the ghost of a smile on their lips as I know they’re visualizing this chaotic scene.

K: “Hmmmm. Maybe…..that one?”

Christmas Tree Guy pulls out the selected tree, stomps it the prerequisite two times and then waits patiently…as I stand with one hand over my mouth, the other on one hip, eyes slightly squinted...waiting for my internal IV to chime in. In the ensuing quiet, I wait…listening…and then I hear him.

Clinton Kelly: “Tell him to turn it around. It’s got a bare spot on the right.”

I smile….and vocalize the spin-request. CTG spins...then raises one eyebrow in silent query.

Clinton: “Nope. Not the one…too lopsided. We can't take the first one we see...he's still gotta work it.”

So, we move on. The next one was too top-heavy…the one after that was missing a good third of its needles on one side…as Connor murmurs, "What happened to that one? It looks so...wrong."


The next one was looking pretty good.

Clinton: “Tell him to stomp it a few more times and spin it twice. Then tell him we’ll take it.”

From here, it goes into that machine that wraps it up with the same material that Ira uses to keep my Cloudy bottles from knocking together on the trip home. This always makes me feel thirsty.

Then the guy carries it to my car and upon seeing my trunk, he states “It’ll never fit in there.”

Me: “It’ll fit.”

Clinton: “It always fits. They always say it won’t fit but we somehow make it fit. It’ll fit.”

Me: “I know this…do you think I don’t know this? It’s my freakin’ car.”

Clinton: “We need the bungee cord from last year. Have you used it since last Christmas? Do you remember where you put it? We need a designated spot for that freakin' cord. You do realize this…

Me: “Okay, you’re stressing me out. Go wait in the car…I’ve got it from here.”

After several serious shoves and about twelve feet of twine, it is determined that the tree is more inside the trunk than outside the trunk and we’re golden once again.

Of course, every year we claim “It’s gonna the best tree ever…”


Jenny said...

Oooh! Christmas tree hunting is the best/worst tradition. It's fun to look for and look at, but there's this whole lugging/transporting/sawing/standing/situating part that I really could just do without.

Hope we get to see pics of The Best Tree Ever. :)

Jen said...

I managed to pick out the tree on my own this year and just have the tree guys strap it to the top of the Volvo. Nothing lopsided on this one this year. Love the visual with the two thumps of the tree on the ground by the salesman. So true. Great post!

Tina said...

A lovely ritual! But you won't like my latest story...

Kimberly said...

Back when we used to get a real tree every year, I remember that the tree always looked smaller outside. But once we got it into the apartment, it was huge! I was always like "what? it didn't look that big out in the field!" (local tree farm - cut down your own type). Aaah, fun times. Now we open the box of the prelit tree, assemble it, and voila! Hmmm, it might be time to go back to getting a real tree.

Kathryn - I love how you can make even the most mundane of tasks entertaining. Thanks for another great post!

serendipitous said...

This is great. We usually cut down our own tree every year... but, with the new puppy we decided it was less of a hassle to get a ..gasp!.. fake one. It's nice and all but it's not the same!

Mattenylou said...

Thanks for taking us along to get your tree. I could picture myself right there with you! Nice...

WannabeVirginia W. said...

Ohh the christmas tree smell in the home. brings warmth and cozy feeling. Getting ours this weekend.

Gingerella said...

Whenever I hear about people going to pick out their [real] tree, I my mind always jumps to National Lampoon's Christms Vacation when Chevy Chase leads the family into the wilderness to cut down the perfect tree. ;)

Gavin said...

Hm...I have to say that I've never been christmas tree hunting but it does sound amusing to say the least. With you around at any rate. (;

Dreamfarm Girl said...

Balsamic -- hee hee! The older I get the more I make these kinds of mistakes. Also, was fun to remember the tree-buying ritual, so dead-on. We decorate the same Norfolk pine each year.

Wendy Blum said...

Last time I had a real christmas tree was when I lived at home with my parents. It was nice to have that aroma of pine, but if I got too close to the tree I'd itch seriously! Learned to look and not touch real fast, LOL. Now that we've adopted a new cat into our home, and have a very touchy feely 4 year old as well, we aren't putting up a real tree or a large tree this year. And we are waiting til christmas eve. Even if it's only a small tree to decorate, I'd like it to stay up so we can enjoy it for christmas ;) Hope you will take pics of your perfect tree to share with us in blog world. Love to see it!

Heather said...

I've never gotten a real tree, but you make the process sound like an adventure!

Kathryn said...

Jenny: I agree...I have a love/hate relationship with the hunt-for-the-perfect-tree. OF COURSE you'll see photos! How could I not??

Jen: It sounds like a perfect tree! Sometimes, it's better to get it on your own...not so many opinions...ya know?

Tina: Uh-oh. I'm not liking the sound of this! I'll be right over.

Kathryn said...

Kimberly: Thank you! I know what you mean about the tree seeming bigger once inside...so true! I'm on the fence every year re: real versus fake. I think I'll switch when I can find room to store it!

serendipitous: Yeah, but there are definite advantages, especially with a puppy! I don't blame you one bit...just be careful with the sentimental ornaments!

Mattenylou: You're welcome! I'm glad you could join us and help pick out *just the right one*...

Kathryn said...

WannabeVirginiaW.: Yay! I went into the garage (where it's sitting in a bucket of water till we dig out the stand and re-arrange the living room) and was surprised there's no smell. Maybe once we "unwrap" her...

Gingererella: Sweet! I'd completely forgotten about that scene. I hope they're planning on playing that "classic" Christmas special when I can see it!

Gavin: HA! I'll bet you and I have somewhat different views on what makes a tree "perfect". I'm sensing you may prefer one with a bit of a dark side??

Kathryn said...

Dreamfarm Girl: You do? Does this mean it's an "indoor" tree? Or, do you decorate a tree on your front lawn instead? I'm guessing it's the former...how could you put presents under the latter?

Wendy Blum: Oh, you know I'll take photos...definitely! I don't blame you one bit for sticking with the artificial...with a kitty and a young'un it's just not worth it! I can remember having to tie fishing line to our tree a few times...definitely NOT worth it!

Heather: Uh-huh. Da boys say that I make too much of an adventure out of things! (I don't...right??)

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Man, you can make even the simplest thing involve, well, YOU!
(Don't worry, we all love that about you.) :)

Kathryn said...

Oddyoddyo13: Aw...are you SURE? I'm really not THAT self-involved...I don't think...

jh said...

If it wasn't for the smell I'd never buy one. Taylor's totally right. Why don't they have American trees in upstate NY? Especially local ones at that? I never understood that. Glad you got your tree.

dailyseeking said...

We need pictures when you're finished decorating!

Fierce said...

oh Kathryn, do forgive me for going awol for so long... I have missed... Clinton... Anyway I am simultaneously writing a post/ apology to all the people who have checked and wondered where the heck I've been!
I see you enjoyed tree hunting, I'm not going tree hunting, I honestly doubt that a whole tree is going to fit in my bedroom! But CTG must have been ready to clobber you with all the spinning around and stomping and whatnot...
xoxo
:)

ValleyWriter said...

What is this fancy wrapping machine you speak of? You mean there's some way to prevent having to shop vac my car for the next 3 months?!? ARGH! I knew I was missing something trekking out to get a tree on my own! Next time - I'm taking you. Or at least Clinton ;-)

Ron said...

Me: “Uh. Wait. I know this one….PINE! No…wait…BALSAMIC!

Bwhahahahahaahahahaha!

OMG...YOU KILL ME WOMAN!!!!

I only wish I could have been there with you, Taylor, and Clinton; picking out your tree. I SO love doing that.

My studio apartment is so small that I can't even fit a real tree in my living space. So, what I have is a teeny-tiny baby fake tree that I decorate with teeny-tiny ornaments and then burn a PINE candle, so it smells like a real one!

HA!

Anyway, it sounds like you had a blast picking out your tree this year.

Please take a picture and show us the final result!!!

Have a great evening, my NY friend!

xo

Chrissy said...

Hi Sweetie,

Miss you!

Tree shopping. How fun! We always had fake trees growing up so that's what I've always done.

Lauren said...

Hey! It's snowing on your blog! AH! I can't escape it! lol I'm a winter-lover. Your post reminds me of the episode of Friends where Phoebe gets all the crappy trees because they're sad and no one wants them. Our tree has always been a fake one. Considering that the cat used to eat it and now sleeps under it, I think it's for the best. Besides, me and my mom are quite sensitive to strong fragrances. Oh well...

Collette said...

I love it! Yes, you really do have to make them work for it. What's the fun if you just grab the first one? LOL! Glad you once again have the best tree ever! (((HUGS)))

The Kid In The Front Row said...

I think someone needs to provide a tree delivery/decorate service, in fact--- hmm, I'm on it, business idea!

WannabeVirginia W. said...

Ohhh we went to get our tree yesterday. I will write about it on my blog. It smells so good in my home.

I cut and pasted the link and it says "page not found" very bizarre huh?

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Aw, i felt like I was walking thru the lot with you. And laughing the whole while!
Yeah, we want pix.

Gropius said...

We decided to get a real tree again this year. And since there was so much to do, we didn't make much haste in choosing one. But we did have the ceremonial argument about perfection, bald spots, weirdness on the top, etc. It's a good tree but extra sappy. This could mean certain death for a few choice ornaments.

Wendy Blum said...

Um, once again I am stumped. I tried cutting and pasting into my browser but it said page couldn't be found. Obviously, once more, I've done something wrong. When you get time, a little help? Are you amazed yet that I can even log onto my computer? LOL Thank you.

JD at I Do Things said...

HAHAHAHA!

"Balsamic."

Yeah, that's the kind of tree I want. Mix with olive oil and sprinkle with feta and pine nuts.

Kathryn said...

jh: I agree about the smell...although eerily enough, this year's tree seems to have no smell whatsoever. How weird is that??

dailyseeking: You got it, sweetie! You KNOW I'll share!

Fierce: HA! I'm glad you're back, sweetie! And CTG has to *work it* to *earn it*...that's the way the game is played! So, you've missed....Clinton, huh??

ValleyWriter: HA! Nope...I still get just as many needles in my trunk...this just keeps the thing closed...like an umbrella...for the ride home. Yikes...I forgot all about my trunk, dammit!!

Kathryn said...

RON! Oh, Ron...your little tree sounds just...perfect! With little teeny ornaments, you say? (I'll show you mine if you show me yours!) Love the idea of a pine candle...I may need that...I do believe my tree has NO SMELL! Maybe you have to pay extra for that?!? xoxox

Chrissy! I miss you, too! There's definite advantages to the fake tree route...when Connor gets a little older and no-one'll come with me to buy it, I'm switching.

Lauren: HA! You saw my SNOW! I decided I could stomach it if it's only flurries! I loved that episode of Friends...like a Charlie Brown Christmas...but funny!

Collette: Thank you! Yes, it's a tradition that you have to go through several trees (at least)...even if it means you go back to the first one! ((Hugs back))

Kathryn said...

The Kid In The Front Row: Woah...what an excellent idea! Although, the kids usually enjoy the whole decorating part...but I'm LOVING the delivery part! Get right on that!

WannabeVirginiaW: I'll have to fix the link. Does yours have a smell? Maybe my allergies are acting up...I can't smell this tree...at all!!

Maureen@IslandRoar: HA! Photos are coming! I wish you HAD been there with me...I cud've used the "girl" company!

Gropius: Extra sappy, eh?? Isn't that a GOOD thing? You're supposed to bend the branches and they shouldn't snap, right? Ya know what gets sap off your hands? Mayo. I'm not kidding!!

Kathryn said...

Wendy Blum: Not YOU....it's ME! I'll get it to you, sweetie....no worries.

JD at I Do Things: Yummy tree! I guess I was kinda hungry at the time!

Picture Imperfect said...

*snort*

BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA....

*breathe*

AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!

OMG... a BALSAMIC tree....

*snort*

Hooooo....

You have outdone yourself. I seriously blew pepsi out my nose when I read that. LOL! (FYI: you owe me a new keyboard. lol)

~:C:~ said...

Jeaaaaalous. In fact, I'm pine-green with envy right now. Because my tree is a foot tall and threatening to shed its emaciated plastic needles. Oh, and did I mention that in my efforts to make it smell like a Christmas tree (a.k.a. putting a pine-scented candle behind it), I almost set it on fire? Um... yeah. Ooops.

Post a Comment

Fabulous Insights by Fabulous Readers