Thursday, December 1, 2011


Sunday afternoon, amidst all my other errands and running around, I stopped at the storage unit and brought home the Christmas tree and a bunch of other boxes.

When I got home, I started plugging in the tree sections, to make sure they worked before I went to the effort of assembling them.

Good thing, too. Because they didn't. Well, the middle section worked okay. But neither the bottom nor the top sections lit up at all.

There were a number of paths I could have taken from there. My dad, for instance, once actually went over the entirety of a pre-lit tree, testing each and every one of over 600 bulbs, looking for the one(s) that had caused the tree to go out. Yike. My time -- and my fingertips -- are more valuable than that.

Another possible route would have been to just get some light strands and string them on the tree where the built-in lights were dead, ignoring the dead bulbs and hoping the ornaments covered them up. I'd actually done this a couple of years earlier, when one section of the tree went dead. It worked okay, mostly, as long as I kept that section turned toward the corner where it wouldn't be in high profile. But I didn't want to do that for two thirds of the entire tree -- for one thing, I get pre-lit trees for a reason, and that reason is that I hate stringing lights. For another, there would be no way to turn the section with all the dead bulbs toward the corner, and covering ornaments or not, it would've looked pretty skeezy.

So I went with the third option, which was to toss the whole thing out and plan a trip to the store for a new tree. We went looking at Target on Sunday evening, before Matt's birthday dinner, and we picked out a tree we liked -- but there was no way we were going to fit the box in the car with all four of us. I love our Priuses (Prii?) and they have a lot more trunk space than it looks like from the outside... but not that much.

I said something to Matt about possibly picking it up on my way home from work Monday, but then he wanted to do some comparison shopping elsewhere. (Why, when we'd have been ready to get the tree from Target on Sunday if not for the space issue, I'm not sure. Is it possible to have buyer's remorse before you've bought something?)

So on Tuesday, after I'd done my writing, I went over to Wal-Mart. That took a bit longer than it should have; the two trees that were roughly analogous in size and shape to the one we'd picked at Target were both -- of course -- sold out. I thought about going back to Target, but there had only been one tree left of the sort we'd picked out. The chances that it was still there were... slim. So I spent some time waffling over my remaining choices at Wal-Mart.

The box did not fit in the trunk of my car, as expected. It only barely fit in the back seat, stretched across both kids' seats -- closing the car door nudged the box pretty firmly.

But I got it home, and even managed to get it out of the box, light-tested, assembled, and fluffed before Matt and Penny got home. Penny helped me put one round of ornaments on it, and then when Alex came home later, we all put on the remaining ornaments together.

So now we have a lit, decorated tree. Christmas is a go.


Gris said...

I admit, the idea of being able to put the Christmas tree away in a box simultaneously intrigues and horrifies me. I don't think I could do it-- I'm too used to live trees. (And I like stringing lights... there's something kinda fey about having those pretty, glowing lights sliding through my hands....)

I know! They need to make balsam-scented ornaments for people with fake trees! :D

(Oh, and on a side note, Alex is getting so BIG!)

Liz said...

I actually do not particularly care for the pine/balsam smell, particularly indoors. I could see that if you grew up with live (well, cut) trees, you'd come to associate it with Christmas and the attendant happy memories. But I grew up on artificial trees, and my Christmas trigger smell is cinnamon and cloves, not greenery.

(And yes. Yes, he is.)