Friday, December 12, 2008

Our family tree has root rot

Last weekend my sister came up. Since we are doing Christmas at my house this year we decided it would be fun for the kids to all pick out and decorate the Christmas tree together. To add to adventure we decided to cut our own tree down. It doesn’t save much money, but it’s definitely more fun.

The plan was for Carrie & me to go and cut the tree down, which would have been exciting all by itself, with the 2 of us cutting down a tree. Which prompted Missy to beg “PLEASE blog about it”.

Well it turns out that the cutting of the tree was uneventful. Not worthy of its own blog. My dad ended up going. We went to a tree farm near Olympia. It had a petting zoo, a tractor to take us to the different areas of the trees and to help us haul our trees back. Santa was there. David was feeling very awkward about sitting on Santa’s lap….maybe he’s getting too old for it? That would make me sad. Luke was terrified and wanted nothing to do with it. He took off running as soon as Carrie let him go.
At the petting zoo
David with Santa
Wagon Ride to the trees
Luke with Papa....just cuz I love this picture

We rode the tractor to the Noble area and wandered around for a little while. I was feeling very picky and found something wrong with every tree. There was one in particular that I was strongly considering. But I wanted to keep looking. We marked it so we would recognize it when we came back and went to another area. I was looking at some other trees, but when I saw people near the tree I originally wanted and that made my decision. Apparently I just needed to THINK somebody might take my tree. So we hauled a$$ back to the tree. DIBS!

Since dad was there, we didn’t have to cut the tree down ourselves. Although my dad would have liked us to volunteer, and would have gladly stepped aside, my reverse psychology skills are beyond comprehension.

“Dad, I don’t know about you being down on your knees sawing a tree, I’m a little worried…..are you going to be able to get back up?!’
*evil grin*

There were quite a few choice words coming out from under that tree…..think “A Christmas Story” and you will get the general idea.
Old man, under a tree
Brett helping Papa
David Helping Papa

Apparently my “perfect tree” had the WIDEST trunk ever known to man. It was quite the chore. Carrie & I were only responsible for holding the tree once dad got half way through sawing it. We failed….. Miserably…. and the tree fell. Oddly it didn’t fall away from the cut, it fell backwards. Onto dad. I wasn’t quick enough with my camera, but I am sure you can imagine it.

That was the most exciting part of the day….

We took the tree back on the tractor. I went inside to pay for it. Dad took the tree to get in line to have it shaken and bundled. As they were unloading it off the tractor, the guy said “Oh. This one must have been by the road huh?” “Uh….yeah…..” “Yeah, I can tell” I should have known that would be a bad omen, but I’m a stupid girl.

I went in to pay and find some twine to tie the tree down while they shook my tree. My dad said it was like something out of a Charlie Brown cartoon. Once they put it on the shaker a cloud of dust arose and was so big, people around started coughing. They shook it twice to get all the dust out and the boy scouts who volunteer at this farm were beating it with sticks.

Well! At least they got all the dirt out!

So we take the tree home. I put it in a bucket of water (still bound) so it is ready for us when we get ready to put it up in the morning.

Carrie & I took the kids to Zoolights. Note to self: Next year, go on a weeknight. It was worse than Disneyland. I have never feared that my child (and nephews) could be swept away in a mass of people before. We walked around with a death grip on the kids. I was literally afraid.

The next morning we got up, got dressed. I brought the tree in. Dad had stopped by, so he helped us get it in the stand, but he HATES stringing lights, so he left immediately after it was in the stand. Not that I blame him. Too early for reverse psychology.

We cut the twine bundled around the tree and let the branches fall. It was perfect…..leaning a little, but perfect.

I put in the Alabama Christmas CD (Thistle Hair anyone?) and start stringing lights. When Adam gets up, I pass the responsibility on to him. While I am stringing the lights, I have to stop and wash my hands every few minutes because of the dirt on this tree. It’s disheartening but not a deal breaker……

The lights get strung. But somewhere in the process everything gets screwed up. We started with the female end at the top of the tree and somehow we ended up with a female end at the bottom of the tree. How is that EVEN possible? We also encountered a problem that wasn’t a problem last year…..2 of the strands plug into each other, but will not plug into the other strands…..WTF? Aren’t they all universal?

By this time we had been working on this tree for almost 2 hours.

Carrie & I went to 2 stores to try to find more blue lights since this tree is bigger than previous years and the reject light strings weren’t playing well with others. Kmart apparently had a sale (blue light special?), so the only blue lights we could find were 35 light strands. We figured 3 or so of those equaled 1 regular strand and its better than nothing. So we got them. Except, afterwards we discovered that these ones didn’t plug into ANYTHING! It was just a strand of lights that was all on its own….*sigh* I am starting to resent Christmas.

I send Adam to Home Depot to get an adaptor. After the sales people finished whipping him with vertical blinds for daring to ask for a plug adaptor with 2 male ends…..something about not “electrically safe” or some crap……someone suggests getting a green extension cord, hook it into the middle of the tree, where the male end now lives and running it down the trunk to the wall. EUREKA! Of course, they don’t carry green extension cords, so Adam gets black. Whatever works. I also have him pick up a rake cuz ours sucks and we haven’t raked the leaves up yet, our neighbors are starting to talk.

He gets back, finishes stringing the lights and something else is wrong. Shocked? Me either.

The lights which have a craziest path ever known to man in order to get the plug end from the middle of the tree to the bottom; now refuse to plug into the wall. Why? Who knows, everything worked last year….no idea how 2 light strings changed their configuration and how the wall outlet now seems to be European.

We need an adaptor. Thankfully, we have one of those in the house…..have we had this problem before? Nah.

Adam fits the adaptor to the new extension cord and tries to plus it into the wall….At this point I am outside visiting while my neighbor fixes my trampoline for the 3rd time….Adam comes out, asks to borrow his pliers…..He takes them and walks inside saying “Um, I really don’t want to die today” I have NO idea what he did to the lights/extension cord/adaptor. All I know is the tree was lit when I got inside. Of course I cant figure out how to turn them on, Adam has to do that every night, but no harm- no foul.

This is turning into the longest blog known to man……my apologies……

So the tree is lit!!! YAY!!!

Um…what’s WRONG with it? Why does it look dead? We DID just cut this down right?

After the lights are on you can totally see that the entire thing is covered in dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. The tree is brown and doesn’t even smell like a tree. It smells like dirt.

We call a meeting of the Christmas tree crisis committee (me, my brother & sister) and debate our options. We can take the tree outside fully lit (finally) and hose it off and hope we don’t electrocute ourselves. Or we can de-light the entire tree and take it outside and hose it off. Or we can leave it as is and call it a Charlie BROWN Christmas…..Taking it outside lit was my vote…..but it was already in the stand, in water….Carrie didn’t feel like shocking her kids who were planning on hanging the ornaments, she voted to de-light the thing and re-string them. Adam voted for none of the above, we spent about 4 hours lighting this damn tree.

None of the proposal presented to the committee involved using the newly purchased rake (still packaged) to whack the tree repeatedly until our entire house was covered in dirt.

Adam taking our his frustrations on innocent foliage

What you get when you "beat your tree" -DUST


After about 2 hours of cleaning, you can ALMOST walk barefoot in my house again.


  1. Ok so i can honestly say that im totally bummed that i missed the tree outing...on the flip side my heart nearly jumped out of my chest at the thought of you guys having to beat the dirt out of the tree...IN THE HOUSE! Now i know what they mean when they say things happen for a reason and thats why i moved out...the christmas tree gods new that this would eventually happen and that my ocd stricken soul would not be able to maintain. I love you guys! :)

  2. Hey Danyal- Can we borrow a vaccum, ours seems to be um....on "vacation"?

  3. AAAaaawwww... Christmas at the Conlons! I love the pics! 'Specially the one of Dad and Bret. And Addy beating the tree...could be therapeutic. We should make a book of our families' Christmas mishaps... could be a seller! :)