Friday, January 15, 2016

On Defenestration

Last year after Christmas 2014, I decided that Christmas 2015 would be the year that we would get a live Christmas tree.

I still stand by my statement that I will not be getting a tree from a tree farm. That's way too much effort. Even driving across town to Whole Foods was going to be too much. Instead, one Saturday morning, we borrowed my dad's pick-up truck and went to the absolute closest lot and got a tree. Just borrowing the truck was an ordeal that required a three-way vehicle switch between my mom, my dad, and us.

But I wanted AJ to have the experience of smelling her very own tree indoors. And our fake tree was so awful that we threw it away last year and I didn't want to pay full price for a new fake tree, for some reason.

Ben figured out how to work Dad's 17-year-old truck (with only 300,000 miles!) - it's kind of tricky. On the way to the tree lot, we stopped at the thrift store, where we located a fantastic vintage tree stand, better than the one I had discarded years ago because we were "never going to have a live tree again."

Then, we got our tree. Our options were limited at this lot: all trees were Fraser Firs. We picked one that looked OK and met our height requirement: short. In the bay window area in the front of our house, there's an overhang that's only 6.5 feet, as opposed to our 8 foot ceilings in the entire rest of the house. But that's fine - it's where the tree goes. When we were looking at the house to buy it in 2003, I said, "That is where the tree goes." I have been uncertain about placement of everything else in the house except that.

We had some beautiful new LED lights we bought on sale after Christmas last year in anticipation of this new venture, so we were all set. We hung the lights and decorated the tree, laying the beautiful burgundy and gold tree skirt. All was calm, all was bright. I remembered to water the tree most days until the 24th.

Then, we were tired. We got sick. We didn't want Christmas to end. I knew I wouldn't be turning the lights on the tree again after the 25th, so I decided watering the tree was no longer a priority. The LED lights burn so much cooler than old-fashioned lights, but I still couldn't shake that our tree, dry and lit, may be a fire hazard. So we sat with the dark tree until last weekend, when Ben was finally well enough to get the boxes down from the attic and we could tackle un-decorating the house.

In advance, thinking about the dry needles about to drop all over my house was not exciting. To make me feel better, I remembered it's much easier to sweep them off the laminate than it is to vacuum them out of the carpet. I pictured having to sweep the front steps, too, and it was pretty cold outside. I told Ben he could take it and throw it off the porch, to keep from having to drag it all the way down the hill. After all, this was the first, and probably only time that we'd have a live tree (we kept the stand, "just in case").

While AJ and I were industriously removing the ornaments, he wondered aloud, "Why don't we just throw it out the window instead?" Our wonderful (relatively new) windows are wide and open big. He eyeballed it, and decided that yes, this would be the easiest and most memorable solution. In a couple of seconds, before I could even get the camera, the window was open and the tree was gone.

The hardest part was digging it out of the flower bed, but after that, it rolled pretty easily down the yard to the street. The city claims to recycle old Christmas trees the first couple of weeks of January. If they come pick it up in the next few days, we'll be golden. There was no way I was borrowing the truck again to haul it to a tree recycling place - this we'd have to sacrifice for convenience.

So there's another Christmas memory for Anna June: the year her dad threw the tree out the window. 

We bought a new, artificial tree from Walmart for $9.00 after Christmas. If it turns out to be terrible, maybe we'll toss that one out the window next year.


Annie Gallitz said...

A $9.00 tree??? Even on clearance,What kind of tree do you get for $9.00 ?? I guess we'll all have to wait a whole year to see! I have ALWAYS LOVED the smell of real pine trees. I have always felt really sad , too, every year when I see all of the unsold pines, cut down for no reason. BEAUTIFUL TREES- A veritable huge forest of them.!! However,, iF I DID celebrate this Holiday, I would NEVER have an artificial tree. NEVER . And, there are tricks to removing a tree w/out getting needles everywhere... like, using a sheet. I DID enjoy Shenandoah's "out the closest window" technique, tho.( brilliant ! )

Laura Gallitz said...

I have no idea how the $9.00 tree will look - we kept it in the box and will find out next year.

I am sure that the unsold Christmas trees get recycled. Lots of fishermen use them in lakes, as well.

I didn't want to use a sheet - more laundry. Sap is really sticky and gets all over your hands when you're setting up the tree. One of us has a big problem with this. :) The transportation/coordination/expense are all bigger issues than needles, though, especially now that we have carpet.

Annie Gallitz said...

Also : Thank you for the improvement that this blog caused in my vocabulary. I had to look up " defenestration " !

Laura Gallitz said...

Great! We actually use it pretty regularly for people who never throw things out windows. It is interesting which words we like and which ones we don't.