My hands smell like a pine tree! We just bought, carried upstairs (via freight elevator), and decorated our 6-foot tree with white and red lights, and gold and red ornaments. Also, little Gregory (a felt gingerbread man I bought at the fabric store) almost made it to the top of the tree this year, but was usurped by a cheap, glittery, plastic gold star we use every year, which really tops the whole thing off nicely. We figured out how to punch a whole in it and wind some twine through it and thereby affix it to the top of the tree so we didn’t have to hot-glue it this year. Yep. Classy shit.
Diminutive Roommate’s cat, Calico, is fweaking out, as usual. It’s an annual ritual: the tree comes up, she investigates, goes medieval on the white twine that was used to tie it down to the roof of the car, then tears around the house when we hiss at her for attacking the lights. It’s quite a little show.
The first year we lived at the old place (2008), it seemed like everyone was out of town with family: all my friends, both my roommates, even Sister I think. I was pretty alone at home, and a few days before Xmas, I decided to spruce the place up, and bought myself a tree. It was pretty tiny, only three or four feet high. I threw it on top of the Pontiac, grabbed a stand to put it on, bought some seriously discounted lights at the local grocery store, and went home. The guys at the lot gave me one giant nail with which to secure said tree to the wooden pieces of the stand, plus a plastic bowl for water. It’s a pretty simple formula:
And yet somehow I was so excited about putting the tree up that I forgot about the bowl, and nailed the ever-loving shit out of those boards onto the bottom of the tree. I stood it up and immediately realized my problem: I had fucked it all up. And I could not for the life of me get the nail out of the boards or the tree stump. I had done a world class job of securing them together, and it was going to take some creativity and muscle to separate them.
First I tried using the other side of the hammer. No dice. I tried standing on the wooden stand and pulling. Painful and fruitless. I realized I would have to apply all the force I could muster against something with more resistance than my body was capable of.
I came up with a brilliant, obnoxious plan.
The rear door to the building was made of metal, and opened up on an alley. I decided to place just the portion of the tree with the stand on it outside the door, then close the door just enough so that when I YANKED on the tree, the stand would be forced off. It seemed like a simple, if absurd plan. I was pretty sure it was going to work. What I didn’t count on was the noise, and the number of times I would have to repeat this amazing strategy to get that fucking stand off my goddamn tree.
It must have been 2am by the time I started hurling the stand against the door and its frame. The alley provided for some horrifyingly efficient acoustics. I pitied anyone who lived within fifty yards. After the first ten or so swings, I really got the hang of it, and threw my whole body into it. A few minutes in, I took a break to laugh hysterically at the sweaty absurdity of my situation, then got back to work.
Eventually I succeeded, and none of my neighbors complained about the racket I had made (maybe because they were CRAZY). I affixed the stand properly, decorated the tree sparsely, and placed it in an empty corner where it sat, looking warm, yet lonely, which described that Xmas perfectly.