Thursday, December 30


Thank God that Holidays are over. OK, there is still one more day, but it  really doesn't count because most people don't leave the couch all day. Frankly, that is my ideal way to start a new year. Lazy. Even though I enjoyed the actual Christmas part of the holiday, I'm totally over it now. I'm ready to put up the decorations, get the new basketball goal out of my living room (thanks, Dad) and most of all, get rid of the goddamn tree.

When we went to pick out the tree, we had Tanner with us and it was like, 12 degrees, so we didn't take a lot of time to peruse their fine selection. I really wanted a Balsam Fir, but we wound up getting some other kind that resembles the Balsam, but cheaper. I did it against my better judgment because we bought the same kind last year by mistake, and pretty soon discovered why it was cheap. It's a pokey tree. Meaning that every time I touched the thing I got stabbed by its needles and then enjoyed 10 minutes of residual stinging. It was like a tree made entirely out of stinging nettles. Fun, fun, fun.

I began to think that over the course of a year, my mind must have erased the pain that the tree had previously inflicted. Like a tattoo or childbirth, your mind just blocks it out so that hopefully you'll be dumb enough to do it again (hello two kids and three tattoos). Sure enough, as soon as we got the thing home and tried to put it in the tree stand, I was already feeling hundreds of pine needles penetrating my skin. While I was under the tree getting poor man's acupunture, Mark was using his work gloves, which I didn't even know he had, to position the tree. Looking at it in the stand, I began to cringe as I thought about how painful it was going to be to hang ornaments.

The next day I borrowed Mark's gloves to string the lights on and damned if those needled didn't poke through leather work gloves, which I didn't even know he had. By the time Piper was ready to hang ornaments, I was bracing for an hour of impromptu crying about "tree owwies." Oddly enough I was the only one that was crying about it. Eventually I just started shoving ornaments into the tree to prevent myself the pain of having to actuall hang them from a branch.

Against the primal instict to avoid pain, I again crawled under the tree to water it, because no matter my age, that's somehow my job. The good news was that because the tree had a natural defense system, no one really bothered it. Tanner rolled too close and got a sharp prick in the face and decided to roll to somewhere safer, like the fireplace. Piper knelt down near it and took a needle to the kneecap, only relieving the pain with a Hello Kitty Band-Aid. They are apparently made of magic and are something that the medical community should really look into. Even I avoided my OCD Christmas tradition of re-positioning ornaments because I knew that I was asking for trouble.

Suddenly the tree went from bad to worse, which I didn't think was possible. Mysteriously all the water was gone and the thing was drying out - fast. I put more water in it, and the next day it was dry again. This went on for a few more days until one night I looked over and saw a weird stain on the tree skirt. I investigated further only to discover that the spot was a gigantic drool slick left by the dog. The friggin' dog had been drinking tree water. At least it explained the recent increase in his trips outside and the dog poop all over the patio. I really thought that the tree stand doubling as a water bowl ended when Mitchell died last year, but I'm now getting the impression that it was a team effort.

When I examined the wet tree skirt with the gigantic snail trail of  drool, I realized that there was absolutley no water in the tree stand and there hadn't been in days. I quickly filled it up but noticed that the tree was no longer taking nourishment. It was if he'd given up, which became apparent as it dried out more and more. At this point I am actually very hesitant to turn on the lights for fear I am lighting a powder keg. I really don't want to be one of those women standing in the driveway being intervied by the local news station in my pajamas.

Side note: this is where I mention that in the event of a fire, flood or tornado there is one item that I will not leave my house without. My bra. I may have crazy bed head and no shoes, but you can bet your bottom dollar in the event of a natural disaster I will have the support I need. My friend had a fire in her apartment a few years ago, and ignored my advice. Although she forgot the bra, she did rescue the cats, so I guess it's alright. It's just a good thing that there were no news crews around.

Over the course of this last week the branches have become brittle and the needles are more dangerous than ever. It's hard to imagine, but our tree has become a lethal weapon, Gibson style. Minus the anti-semetic slurs and domestic abuse. The good news is that we get to take this thing down day after tomorrow and Mark and I are already trying to come up with a game plan on how to get it out of the house without sending everyone to the hospital. I think that it's going to involve us wearing every piece of winter outwear that we have to wrangle this thing out onto the curb. I feel bad for the garbage guys and think that I should really leave them a warning note or something. "Caution! Tree may cause sharp pain, eye bleeding and increase your desire to gamble."

So, even though we gave up on trying to keep the tree alive, apparently it still has water in the stand, which I found out today when I went home for lunch and caught the dog drinking out of it. Again.