A Murphy Kind of Christmas

This weekend I had planned to put up my Christmas tree and put out all of the holiday decorations. It seems a little early, but next weekend Megan won’t be home, and the weekend after that would be too late, so this weekend it was.  I got up yesterday morning determined that the halls would be decked by nightfall.  I picked up Megan from her overnighter at her grandparent’s, stopped at the grocery store, then went home to get to work.

I got out my stepladder and managed to carefully wedge it into my tiny laundry room in between the water heater and the litter box so that I could get the box containing my 4 foot pre-lit Christmas tree down from the shelf.  Only one pulled muscle later, I set the box on the coffee table in the living room. Next, I moved laundry baskets, luggage, and other assorted items out of the way so that I could get to the boxes in the back of my bedroom closet containing the rest of my holiday cheer: tree skirt, battery-operated candles for the windows, salt and pepper shakers shaped like ornaments, stockings, and lights, lights, lights.

All the essentials on hand, I headed back into the living room to begin Phase I: Tree Assembly. It’s a pretty small tree, so the plan was to put it on top of the credenza in the dining room, right in front of the window. I opened up the box and got to work. I carefully extracted the top half of the tree from the box and set it aside. Next came the bottom half, then the…..base? Wait. Where was the base for the tree?? It wasn’t in the box. I picked the top half of the tree back up and checked to see if it was wedged amongst the branches. No dice. Same with the bottom half. Uh oh, what did I do with the tree stand?

I calmly walked back into my bedroom, confident that the tree stand was in one of the boxes with the other holiday decorations. I opened the first box and began the search. Not there. Nor was it in the other box. I tried to think about where else it could possibly be. Only one other possiblity that came to mind. Right before I moved last December, I had donated a bunch of stuff to the Salvation Army, among them a much bigger artificial tree than the 4 foot one I’d kept. Quite possibly the missing stand had been in the box with that other tree, now gone forever. “Ok, no big deal”, I thought, “I’ll just go buy a new stand.”

Easier said than done, apparently.

We had plans that evening to go drive through the Symphony of Lights at Merriweather Post with a friend and her family, then stop for ice cream. On our way home, we decided to stop at Target and pick up a tree stand. I got cough drops and a nifty little wrapping paper cutter, but no tree stand. The only ones they had were for ‘real’ trees, not artificial. We went from there to Home Depot, but got there about 7 minutes after the store had closed, so were forced to return home standless.

Today we resumed our quest by going back to Home Depot. They too, only had stands for ‘real’ trees. From there we went to Walmart, where, aha, success! They had a stand specifically made for artificial trees. We snatched it up, stood in line for about half an hour, paid for our stand, and drove home. I rushed up the stairs, eager to get back to decorating. I opened the package, assembled the ‘easy to assemble’ tree stand, and prepared to insert my tree, only to find that the base of the tree was TOO WIDE FOR THE STAND. It wouldn’t fit into the opening. GREAT.

What now, you ask? Well, next I did the only thing that anyone would do in my situation. I called my mommy. After such suggestions as “take a hammer to the base of your tree and *make* it fit” and “stick it in a bucket of sand (like I have those just lying around the house!)”, she finally told me to just throw the tree away and go buy a new one. While this seemed incredibly wasteful to me somehow – I mean, the tree was perfectly fine, except for the fact that the bottom half seemed to be strung with twice as many lights as the top. It seemed wrong to just throw it away and start over. But…you gotta do what you gotta do, I guess.

I shoved the tree back into the box and out we went again. I left the tree next to the dumpster after telling it goodbye and wish it much luck in its new home (to which my daughter informed me, “it’s a tree, not a pet!).  For the third time in 2 days we went BACK to Home Depot, this time to check out their assortment of artificial trees. They had a tree that was about 4 1/2 feet tall, prelit with white lights for not too bad a price…on display, anyway. Of course this means they had none in stock. Ok, next plan. We went outside to check out their selection of live trees. Sure, I’d still need to buy a stand, but everyone seemed to carry them for LIVE trees, so that wouldn’t be a problem. All of the live trees were either 7-8 feet tall, or 2 foot Charlie Brown trees. Not going to work. ONWARD!

Next we went to Target. They also had a prelit 4 1/2 foot tree on display, but like Home Depot, they didn’t have them in stock either! From there it was once again to Walmart (too bad I forgot to bring the stand with me to return). They had a cute tree! It was 6 feet tall, but really didn’t seem that big. It was frosted slightly to look like it had been snowed on recently, and it had fiber optics that made it glow randomly in different colors. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the fiber optics, but I really liked the tree otherwise, so figured if all else failed we could still string it with regular lights. The tag said to look for tree “V”. We went to the tremendous pile of boxes and began looking for one marked with a V. As luck would have it, they seemed to have every letter of the alphabet represented in that pile EXCEPT V. Once again, we were denied. As a last resort, we found another stand. It was still meant for live trees, but it looked a lot like the stand I lost, so I thought maybe it would work. We bought the stand, stopped by the dumpster on our way home to pick up our tree, and hauled everything up the stairs.

My heart in my throat, I assembled the new stand, stuck the tree base in, and began tightening the screws. Once they were in as far as they would go, I cautiously let go of the tree…and promptly watched it fall sideways in the stand and hit the floor. AHHHHH!!!!!

I give up.

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