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…”
Friday, December 11, 2009
Ah, the holidays.