Sunday, December 18, 2005

O, Christmas Traction

Here in Southern California, it's very difficult to carry on traditional, snowy Christmas doings. The kids have to make do with a ton or two of snow trucked in for the holidays. It's just not the same making snowballs in shorts. (I mean wearing shorts whilst tossing snowballs, not putting them in your shorts, although...never mind!) Christmas carollers stroll the streets wearing Hawaiian shirts and drinking margaritas. We sit by the firepit on the patio, and I explain to the children what a 'snow day' is. Tears well up in their little eyes as they realize they'll never have one. 'Earthquake day,' 'forest fire day,' and 'mudslide day' are all on the calendar, but no chance of a snow day.

I'm sure the folks up north, with their ice storms and subzero weather, are quite saddened by this. We don't have snow handy in our driveways and walkways like they do, tons of it falling from the sky for months. If we want to see real snow we have to drive over an hour to see it, and sometimes it can be viciously cold, almost below forty degrees. I don't mean to upset you, but that's how it is down here.

The one tradition I have been able to carry on is the cutting down of a live Christmas tree. Each year we head to a tree farm to find the best looking one we can afford, (which reminds me of a singles bar, but I digress). They keep the trees neatly in rows, fenced in so they can't escape. We usually pick the biggest tree we can find, because, dammit, we have a twenty-foot ceiling going to waste in the living room, and I have size issues (as a result of that singles bar). I whip out my trusty hacksaw, lie flat on the ground next to the chosen victim, and get to hacksawing.

At this point, my eight-year-old tells me that trees are living beings too, and that we should respect their right to live. He's trying to hug the tree so I won't cut it down. Suddenly I'm a big, bad logging company. His younger brother tells me he can see my underwear. I can't see anything but pine needles and mud.

We get the monstrosity home and I remember the cardinal rule to tree picking - if it looks too big, it is. We lower the tree onto a wheeled chaise lounge (you'll never see that tip on Hints from Heloise) and tow it into the house. I attach the base, which involves a large iron circle, a wedge, 2 screws and a partridge in a pine tree. All we have to do is tip it up into place and voila! I said....voila!

It's too big. Not for the room, but for us to lift. We use ropes, pulleys, lots of grunting, but our Christmas pine is still reclining on its chaise lounge. My tree-hugging son is worried that it's gone too long without water. He wants to give it an IV. His younger brother has realized that his favorite show is on and has disappeared.

After three hours of cantilevers, Advil, and a physics lecture (last one courtesy of my eight-year-old), we come up with a plan. Using 2 barstools and a two-by-four (aka - 'piece of wood'), we manage to lift the center of the tree a few feet off the ground. I take a deep breath and position myself, coiled, under the top of the tree. Then, just as both boys jump onto the base of the tree, pushing it down with their weight, I spring up, launching the top skyward. The tree creaks, the barstools fall, and the boys run for their lives. I become the first ornament on the tree, but that's ok, because it's finally upright. The boys place me on the chaise lounge and wheel me to the kitchen to make dinner. Happy holidays, everyone!

10 comments:

Sarah O. said...

One of the funniest posts I've ever read! Can't wait to read about stringing the lights.

Teri said...

I just have to know where you got the chaise lounge on wheels. It's going right to the top of my list!

Happy Holidays...

Teri

Annie said...

Teri - I found it in my garage. I never thought of it as a pine tree gurney until this year. My next book will be called, "How to replace your ex-husband with a few batteries and some old patio furniture."

sarah - thank you! I'm now feeling the pressure to produce posts on a regular basis. Maybe with a little more fiber in my diet....

Floridacracker said...

Very funny and very true. They never go up without a battle.

Aunt Mo said...

It's true! You're hilarious! I found your blog from a link from the comments on Dave Barry's web site. You're really funny. Keep up the postings!

Heather said...

Hi Annie. I also found your blog via someone else's blog via Dave Barry's blog. It all comes back to him I suppose.
THANKS for entertaining me. Never have I read entire sentences that double as adjectives, except for at dooce.com.
As a Calif. girl I often try to describe winter to those other people in the world. I will now refer them to you.

Clay (aka WriterDude) said...

Thanks a bunch, Annie -- now I have to use the last of my Biofreeze stash to soothe the five muscles I pulled laughing at this.

Also, in the interest of disclosure, I neglected to tell you I linked to your blog from my own. I am Heather's "someone else's blog", and she is my dear friend/former fiancee. I'm not sure why she declined to say so, unless... no, I'm sure she's forgotten aboout that by now.

Heather said...

I think I was trying to avoid a long run-on sentence or perhaps thinking Clay didn't want to be known but now I realize both of those thoughts were silly!
And yes....Annie......please add your favorite links to your blog. I am also a link on Clay's blog (aka Cinnamon Girl).

Lisa said...

Hilarious! Thanks for linking to it.

I always forget how Calif has the best of both worlds with sunshine AND snow. Down here, once a millennium we get wimpy flurries that melt as soon as they hit anything. Most of the time we have to settle for a snow cone.

southerngirl said...

Snow? What is this "snow" of which you speak?