I got earlier this week and discovered a large box (large) that the husband had drug from the front porch into the entry way. The UPS guy must love me this time of year. I felt like Ralphie and his Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring. Or maybe the old man and his major award. It had arrived! The Krinner Tree Genie XXL had arrived!
The husband and I rarely argue. Seldom fight. However, there tends to be an annual spat surrounding the Christmas tree. Wrestling the tree into the stand, to be exact.
You see, we have high ceilings in our living room. In fact, when we looked at this house and I immediately imagined where the tree would go I knew it was “the house”.
I like a tall tree. A full tree. A Griswold family tree (little full…lotta sap). Finding the perfect tree involves a trip to the local tree farm where we spot around in our rubber boots until I find “the perfect tree”. It takes me much longer than it does the husband. Many a tree is rejected before “the one” is identified. And for some reason “the one” always seems to be located in the far recesses of the tree farm, possibly on the other side of that swampy area in the back corner.
After the tree is cut, lugged back to the truck and secured (which often takes far longer than I think it should. I mean, the tree farm is only ten minutes from home. What are the chances of the tree flying out on that short drive? If left to my own devices I’d probably just chuck it in the back and take my chances) we head merrily home. Both suspecting what is to come.
Once home the tree must come directly into the house, wet or dry, as the ceiling in the garage is not tall enough to accommodate a nine footer in a bucket of water.
Tree comes in, goes in stand….done.
Oh, if it was only that easy.
We bought an industrial type tree stand a number of years ago. It was supposed to make our lives easy. It has not. About three years ago we discovered that the metal spike in the middle of the base (you know, the one that’s supposed to drive itself into the base of the tree) had gotten bent into a metal nub. I can pretty much identify the year it happened. The year of the old growth. That was a big tree. Much bigger than I anticipated.
The problem with the bent nubbin is obvious. Instead of a spike sinking into the trunk, the trunk has to be balance perfectly on the nubbin or the tree won’t stand. Not won’t stand straight. Simply won’t stand. Because 9 foot trees tend to be a little…hefty.
The weird thing is that though we’ve spent the last few years sweating and muttering and sniping at each other while immersed in the holiday joy of raising the tree it hasn’t occurred to us to buy a new tree stand. Or it occurs to us in the midst of the experience, which isn’t particularly helpful.
Until this year. Last week the husband was away on business and one evening, while I filled my Amazon shopping cart with gifts, I had an epiphany: maybe we should buy a new tree stand! Excitedly, I searched the halls of Amazon and, within minutes, found the Krinner Tree Genie XXL. XXL!!!
The product description had this to say: “Krinner’s Christmas Tree Genie XXL makes your tree set up a joy without the traditional Christmas hassle. It will let you set up a 12 foot tree (3.6 meter) in just seconds. Just place your tree in the open stand, hold it straight and pump the foot pedal until the claws have firm contact to the trunk. Lock the foot pedal and you are done.” I was dazzled.
The text conversation between the husband and I went like this:
Me: Good morning! I found a new heavy duty tree stand to replace the one we have that is proving challenging with the bent nub in the middle of the bottom. Really good reviews, but like all good tree stands it’s expensive ($100). Should I order it?
Him: good morning. Yes, order the tree stand.
Me: Are visions of last year dancing through your head?
Him: The other option is to get a smaller tree.
Me: Sorry…already ordered the tree stand.
So, with great anticipation, we headed to the tree farm yesterday. I was itchin’ to give the new tree stand an appropriate test drive. We turned onto the appropriate road and….a large sign announced they were closed. “See you next year!” it proclaimed. In disbelief we drove down the road to the entrance to the farm. Closed. Gate locked.
Closed??!!!! But, my 9 (or 10) foot Christmas tree was standing somewhere behind that gate, just waiting for me to find it!
Devastated, but unwilling to return home without a tree, we regrouped…and headed down into the Nisqually Valley to Schilter Farm. We were definitely going to have to spend more than our normal $25 for any size tree, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
We pulled into the parking lot, eyeing the “Snack Shack”. We stepped up to the entrance and explained to the helpful employee that it was our first time at their tree farm, that Ames was closed (she said she had discovered that herself when she had gone to get a tree the week before. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? Apparently there’s no loyalty among tree farm employees). She provided us with instructions…grab a saw, go down this road, hook a left, all the trees are that direction. Cut your tree, pull it out onto the nearest path, where a guy with a tractor and a trailer will come pick it up and will give you a tag identifying your tree. When you get back near the Snack Shack your tree will be shaken (to remove loose needles), then wrapped (if you would like) and loaded into the back of your truck.
Wuh-huh? Magnificent! We headed out to the trees, chattering excitedly. Maybe we’d be willing to pay more for a tree for service like this! It’s the “citified” tree farm! No slogging through swamps, dragging trees for great distances…and they shake and wrap it for you??!!! I believe I heard angels singing.
We started looking around. The trees were beautiful. They obviously shape them (shape them!!!) and the rows were wide and free of grasses and the occasional blackberry vine that threatened to trip the unwary. But….Houston, we have a problem. The size! My eyes traveled across row after row after row of tree…and I could see them all because most of them were less than 6 feet tall. My heart gripped. Where are the ridiculously giant trees?
We traveled the entire farm. Up one row, down another. Small, beautifully shaped after small, beautifully shaped tree marched before us.
We finally found a small section of Grand Fir (which I do love) that averaged around 7 feet (if I’m lucky). At that point, it was starting to rain steadily and it was obvious that we just weren’t going to find the size that we wanted. So, we cut a 7 footer…and enjoyed the service that followed.
We arrived home and, I have to admit, that tree went up in that stand slicker than snot. It worked like a charm. Though it wasn’t much of a test. We stood back and silently evaluated the tree, which fits comfortably into one side of our two large front windows. The living room seemed so large without branches reaching out for multiple feet in every direction. I’m not sure who said it first, but someone said, “Looks kinda small.” The other agreed.
Oh, it’s a beautiful tree. A beautiful baby tree that, now decorated, shines brightly. And, yet, I find myself slightly embarrassed by its size. Compelled to explain to people as they come through the door that we didn’t mean to bring home such a small tree.
But, you know what? There’s always next year. And my Krinner and I will be ready for it!