Just the Basics

Day 236

Normally our family is VERY jolly during December largely demonstrated by the roughly thirteen giant plastic bins full of Christmas ornamentation we own and subsequently haul around from duty station to duty station.

This year, we are only in possession of one bin with our stockings and a couple of boxes of tree ornaments.  I planned for just the basics and a tree.  We’ve never had an artificial tree.  We have always purchased a live, or rather recently live, tree.  So, I was faced with the dilemma of what to do this year.  Based on some deep research and in-depth analysis, meaning I asked a few co-workers.  I determined it would be most in keeping with my Simple Year guidelines if I purchased a live tree with a root ball that we could plant in the yard in January rather than buy a used artificial tree. Yeah, I know it is a bit of a stretch, but let’s roll with it.

Sometimes great ideas don’t fully develop as one might expect.

Here are the highlights

My woes started when I called the nursery to inquire about the live Christmas tree option.  The woman, in a cavalier tone told me, “No problem, we have plenty. Come on down.”    At that point I also asked her about transport because we just have a small SUV.   Again, she assured me, it was “no problem,” they even had people to help me load it.  She almost made me feel bad because I even asked such a stupid question.

I now know live trees are REMARKABLY expensive. I’m pretty sure each additional inch adds about $50 and my little darlings kept begging for the most beautiful, perfectly shaped 9 ft. specimen on the lot with an $800 price tag.  Heated debate ensued and we ended up with a still-very-expensive-4ft-tree.

Live trees, even the smaller ones, also have very large and HEAVY root balls.  In fact, on closer inspection, I determined that not only was I not going to be able to unload it from my car, I couldn’t even wiggle it a few inches across the tree lot.  The nursery was very happy to help for an additional $80 delivery fee.

After the transaction when my credit card was still smoking, I glanced down at the “CARING FOR LIVE POTTED CHRISTMAS TREES” flier.  The first point stated; trees should only stay in your house no more than 7-10 days.   This was on December 1st and the tree was already on the truck headed for our living room.  Apparently, when they get warm for an extended period of time, they bud and then can potentially freeze and die when you take them outside, which was my plan

At this point, I was so far down the rabbit hole, I couldn’t scramble out and just figured we’d enjoy the tree in our living room until spring, or take our chances with Mother Nature.

Before I read the part of the flier about watering the tree by placing ice cubes on top daily, I managed to cascade a large quantity of a dirt and water mixture onto the carpet– several times.  I then tried to dig a trough in the dirt with a serving spoon to hold the water and the result of that was water leaking directly out the side of the pot and a small laceration on my thumb.  After I figured out the ice trick, about four days passed before I realized the dog was actually taking the ice cubes off of the tree and eating them—all.

A few days passed and  I’d had some time to accept my poor tree decision. I decided that the tree was indeed lovely and I did the best I could …rationalize….rationalize….

About that time, I ran into a good friend of mine and started to tell her the tale of her tree.  Approximately a paragraph into my story, she piped up with, “Oh, we went all Griswold and got a giant live one this year and have an artificial one you can borrow.”

At this point, I could no longer concentrate on our conversation because the lament, How in the world did it never occur to me to ask around for a loner tree, was crowding out all other lucid thoughts.  I have no idea what we talked about after that.

In hind sight I didn’t take the most basic approach.