aka One of the Stupidest Things I’ve Ever Done.
Gather ’round, kids…it’s story time!
I realized as we were getting the tree out this year that I’ve never told this story on the blog, so I thought now would be a good time. And since I don’t mind humiliating myself, here goes:
When I was a kid, at some point, my parents switched from a real tree to an artificial tree, and I remember that while I liked decorating the artificial tree better, for the first couple of years I hated that we didn’t have a real tree. I remember that my mom and dad loved the new tree, and how they didn’t have to clean up needles, water it, or just stand back and throw lights at it because it hurts so bad to decorate. I vowed that when I grew up, I’d have a real tree every year.
In college, when I lived in an apartment, we got a real tree both years. And not just a Charlie Brown tree; it was smallish, but a real one! There were four of us girls to take care of it, and disposal consisted of us throwing the tree over the balcony and dragging it to the trash. No big deal.
Matt and I married soon after I graduated, and on our first Christmas we got a real tree.
Our second Christmas, married just over a year, we got another real tree. I loved the process of going out and choosing one, but I didn’t like watering it or cleaning up the needles. And I didn’t like the price. But, I did like having a real tree.
That second year, after we got back to our apartment from our Christmas travels, the tree stayed up longer than I would have liked. It was probably the first week of January, and I decided one night that even though Matt wasn’t home (I think he was playing basketball with some friends in a league that night), I would take down our tree. Our apartment had a sliding-glass door right by where the tree was sitting, so my plan was this:
a) take off decorations
b) lift tree up and carry it out the door
c) let it sit on our fenced-in patio until Matt decided to take it to the trash (mind you, this same patio housed a very, very rotten pumpkin for a very, very long time, so there was a chance the tree was going to be there for a while, but I was OK with that.)
After undecorating the tree, I attempted to lift it. Riiiight. Super heavy. And if you’ll notice from the picture, this wasn’t exactly a tiny tree; it was pretty round (though thankfully, it appears from the pictures that the 1999 was slightly larger, so this could have been worse, I guess). So instead, I thought, well, I’ll just shove it out the door, and then I’ll clean up the needles that have fallen to the floor. A little bit of extra mess, but oh well. The tree will be out of the apartment.
Except, as I shoved the tree out the door it got stuck. Totally, completely, utterly not-going-anywhere stuck. Oh, and water from the tree stand was spilling all over our (rental! apartment!) carpet. Lovely. Oh, and did you know that tree sap settles in that water and when it spills out on your carpet, it makes a sticky mess? Well, now you do.
So now, the tree is stuck half-in, half-out of our sliding door. And I think I forgot to mention that it was FRIGID cold out that night, and was snowing and there were already several inches of snow on the ground, some of which, at this point, is now blowing in my open door.
Stuck in this predicament, I did what any sane new-ish wife (whose husband doesn’t have a cell phone yet so that she can call him crying to come home and fix this stupid problem!) would do: I put on gloves to prevent frostbite and I got the saw out. And then, I sawed the tree in half. Except, lucky for me, that wasn’t enough to get the entire tree out the back door, so I had to saw the portion that was still in my apartment in half AGAIN so that I could get it outside.
You can only imagine the mess this created on the floor of the apartment. Once I thawed my fingers, I got to work cleaning up the needles, soaking up the spilled water, and vacuuming up the sawdust. I am not joking when I say that even though I vacuumed thoroughly many, many times, I was STILL finding needles that August when we moved out of our apartment.
It should come as no surprise that the next fall, we purchased a massive artificial tree. One that is standing behind me now, ready to be decorated this evening by my children. Why we purchased such a massive tree I’ll never know, but it is what it is…