Time mellows the moment – The Great Christmas Tree Disaster

Posted By on January 30, 2019

In an old spinnaker (sail) from our Thistle, I finally hauled out our larger than usual Christmas tree this past week. It was then that I realized I had neglected to archive the “Great Christmas Tree Disaster of 2018story from December. Hm, how could I have forgotten … likely for the same embarrassing reason I didn’t post about my careless bumping the BMW X5 35d into a brick wall – ChristmasTreeRemoval_Jan2019photo below (parts/paint have been ordered). In the case of the Christmas tree disaster, Brenda and I have decided we are both to blame – but there is no escaping who is to blame for driving the car into the wall – sadly, that’s 100% my fault … but here’s the full Christmas tree disaster story:

Taylor and I (the men) have always been tasked with getting our yearly Christmas tree; it was cutting and hauling our Charlie Brown tree from Mom and DadH’s Green House, then farmhouse property, in the early years … and then picking one out and hauling home after sleuthing the local places after we moved to Cincinnati. Taylor always seem to apply the “bigger is better” principle, while I usually factored in the value vs dollar equation … which to my defense, didn’t always mean a “smaller tree.” Over the years, the duty finding the “perfect tree” became mine alone … although recently I’ve detected criticism: “Dad/Rich, the tree is too small” from Taylor and Brenda.

But not this year. This year, I splurged for a near perfect 15 foot Norwegian Spruce that according to both Brenda and Taylor, my biggest critics, “it was perfect.” ChristmasTree15foot_2018Perfect meaning that it was big enough, full enough, nicely shaped enough and fresh enough to last until December 25th and beyond. I’ll admit, it was partially due to the scarcity of nice trees as well as knowing Annalyn would be here.

So, after hauling the tree home in the trailer, I shook the tree out, trimmed the trunk making my regular crisscross, tic-tac-toes cuts and the drilled a center hole for the tree stand. It stood straight and was so well balanced (key point), in fact so much so that I had no fear of it falling over when standing it up in the heated garage to acclimate.

In early December, Taylor just happened to be coming over in order to put the rear window seal in his car. He was able to help me haul the tree into the house. The rear door to our house is a tight squeeze for such a large tree, which is even more challenging when removing the dry and stiff tree after Christmas. This year I cut off the longer limbs before wrapping it up to go thru the door – it was still a tight fit. After we set the tree up in the house, it was time to get Brenda’s final approval for position and exact rotation (I suspect husbands understand the “every angle must be looked at” – it is as if they are trying on clothes).
Once set, it was my task to put on the lights, and then more lights. At this point I USUALLY add a couple safety wires or at least some heavy monofilament line … just to be sure the tree doesn’t shift. Again, this tree was PERFECT and so well balance that I wasn’t in the least bit worried. It was a BIG mistake – doomsday approached.

The task of putting on the majority of ornaments and hydration was now Brenda’s (we do some together). She concocted her “witch’s brew” ChristmasTreeEVE_2018of some kind of hot blue liquid that she claims keeps the tree fresh and filled up the large base (admittedly our trees do seem to remain softer and hold their needles longer than I remember). The decorating was going great … and the tree looked fabulous. THEN … Brenda applied the Martha Stewart idea of wrapping the trunk in a spiral fashion from trunk to the top with a big wide ribbon. This was not a problem at the base, but when only working inside the tree as she got halfway up (said she wasn’t climbing in the tree, hm?). Thankfully she was not up on the ladder yet, BUT the wrapping and pulling on the ribbon caused the tree to tip … at first, she said “it was just a little creak,” but within seconds … TIMBER! Down it came falling on top of her, the couch and dumping the full pan of “witch’s brew” all over the floor. Lights, ornaments and decorations were everywhere; some glass ones were broken yet Brenda (thankfully was unhurt) managed to scramble to unplug the lights. It hardly needs to be said, but clean-up was not fun … and neither was untangling and setting up the tree all over again – this time with the “normal” safety wires. Later, I had nightmares thinking, “this could have really been bad” … remembering Brenda’s life-altering 2015 ladder and pine tree trimming incident.    


The blame game passed as we cleaned up and put things back together. Christmas neared and all was well with the world. In fact, the decorated tree looked no worse for the disaster … and we both eventually agreed: we were both at fault (unlike the damage to the car bumper. Now that is just embarrassing. Ugh!).




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  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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