Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lessons from The Spaz: Why you shouldn't wait until the last minute to put up your tree

Today's post will be my final installment of Christmastime with the Spaz until after Christmas when I'm sure to update you about how all the craziness went down. So savor it. 

When I discussed this with one of my favorite friends, she said "So are you going to title this post Spaz vs The Tree?"

It would make a great title. But I don't think I can fully capture the fun that was our Christmas tree this year in a Spaz vs type of post so I'll just tell the story.

I'd like to preface this by letting y'all know that I am an expert tree decorator. I'm so darned good at it that my mom and dad commission me to decorate their 9 foot beauty every year. And every year they ooh and aah over it, so I know I'm good.

This year we planned to use the artificial tree we've been storing in the attic since the last time we used it a few years ago. You may remember my ambivalent feelings about it back in 2008 when it last made its appearance.  I warmed up to that tree nicely after we put ornaments and bows all over it and I decided it would do well for us this year.

So last week some time The Man brought the tree down from the attic and it has been sitting in the living room since then. Tonight the kids were all "Mommy, when are we going to put up the tree?" and "How will Santa know where to put our presents if we don't have a tree up?" and "All our friends have Christmas trees up."

So I was like "Quit whining or I'll tell Santa we're Jewish!"

And then we decided to put up the tree.

I opened up the box and discovered, much to the dismay of my little angels, that the tree stand that comes with the tree was missing.  We searched the attic (well I searched the attic... I typically don't let the kids go in the attic. Only when they're bad.) and found nothing. We searched the boxes and boxes of ornaments and other Christmas things. No tree stand.

So I unearthed the tree stand that holds real trees and attempted to prop it up in that.  It promptly fell over.  I wedged a towel in there with it in order to give the artificial tree stump some girth.  It fell over again, though this time not quite as promptly.

So I googled and discovered that Walmart carries replacement tree stands for just this type of predicament.  Goober and I jumped in the van and headed off to our local Walmart, 5 days before Christmas, in the hope of locating a replacement tree stand for our tree.

We parked the van in no mans land outside of the garden center at Walmart. Goober, carrying a fistful of pennies, nickels, and dimes that he called his "spending money", was hoping to score himself a new LEGO minifigure with all his change. He jumped out of the van and dropped about ten coins on the ground.  I took his change and traded him for some quarters I had in the van and he promptly dropped them on the ground, too. After I allowed my child to climb halfway under the van to retrieve all his change, we braved the Walmart parking lot, hand in hand.

Once inside I was mortified to find out that they were sold out of replacement tree stands. Evidently we're not the only people who somehow lose these invaluable parts to the tree. I was about to leave the store in defeat when I spotted in the far corner of the garden center a sign. It said "Christmas Trees - $17!"

And I was all "SWEET!"

So I dragged Goober, whining about his lack of minifigure, over to the real Frasier Firs wrapped up in their blue twine encasings and picked what appeared to be the best one. I tore the tag off that sucker and we went back into the store to locate said minifigure and pay for our new tree.

After we had paid, I grabbed that tree, put it under one arm ala Paul Bunyan, grabbed Goober's hand with my free hand and we made our way to the van. I felt quite "Independent Woman" carrying that tree through the parking lot like an Amazon Lady. Evidently Christmas trees aren't nearly as heavy as The Man has been leading me to believe all these years. I did get some odd stares from other Walmart patrons. But seriously, who were they to judge in their hot pink spandex pants and zebra striped tube tops?

I digress.

With a touch of a button I opened the hatch to the back of the van, threw the tree inside, and away we flew like the down of a thistle.

Upon arriving home, I filled our real tree stand up with water and securely fastened our new tree inside. We freed it from it's twine prison and watched as the tree dropped about half of its needles onto the floor.  As I attempted to fluff the tree out a bit more, even more needles dropped. It was as if it was raining needles in the house. Oh, the joy that is Christmas.

Munchkin and I then went about searching for the tree lights, which we located in a festive red and green plastic bin. They were a tangled mess, but I was feeling triumphant and strong and knew I could handle it.

Until I plugged them in. 

You guessed it.  Nothing.  We checked the bulbs, we made sure they were tight. We twisted, we tried a different outlet.  But it was to no avail.  We had no Christmas lights.

"We can have a tree without lights, Mommy" my sweet little Munchkin said as she looked up at me with her big blue eyes.

"Not for us, sweetheart. We shall have lights!"

So, after I washed the sap off of my hands and brushed the needles out of my hair, we headed off to Walgreens where we found an abundance of lights. (I had actually checked Walmart for lights when we were there thinking this might be an issue, but much like replacement tree stands, Walmart is sorely lacking in Christmas merchandise right now.)

Armed with four brand new boxes of lights, we were back in the van and determined to get our Christmas on. We sang to "Rockin Around The Christmas Tree" and "Jingle Bells" and "O Holy Night" all the way home.

But y'all, by the time we got home and I unwrapped those lights and put them on the tree, my Christmas cheer was depleted.  I looked at our pitiful needle shy tree and I exhaled.  I opened up the three boxes of unbreakable Christmas ornaments and I said to the kids "Go for it, guys."

And that was it for me.