Friday, December 12, 2003

Continuation of "THE TWO WEEKS FROM HELL"

Let's see, on Wednesday I got you to Monday Evening when we got the tree into the house.
Tree went up in the stand just fine. As we got it tightened down in the stand we noticed 2 things 1. The trunk was not straight and 2. The tree is not as full as the first one and there are some bare spots. Not a big deal we can work with it.

This tree also would not stay upright due to the curve in the trunk. We solve the problem by shoving a book( after first wrapping it in plastic and using copious amounts of tape in order for the book not to be destroyed. Books are almost like living, breathing things to me and this one was a hard cover, so It had to be protected.) under the edge of the tree stand on the heavy side. Worked great!!! We water the tree and left the decorating for the next day in order for the branches to settle like they should.
Let me note here that the problem with the first tree was that it was trimmed unevenly, fuller on one side than the other and that when the branches finally settled into place, the weight on the heavy side pulled the tree over. Had I some good fishing line( I don't fish so I didn't have any handy" and some heavy furniture (which in this new bigger house I have yet to acquire) we could have made the first tree work, but, alas; it was not to be.
It was such a beautiful tree to....hopefully the ladies at the bank will come and get it and it will be of use to someone. If not when the city picks up trees for mulching after Christmas it will be on the curb with the newer tree.
Now remember, I told you to remember about the phone call from the school on Monday morning. Seems that when the school couldn't reach me they called my other SIL on the home phone number I left with instructions to only call for late afternoons as she is a work most of the time but occaisionally gets off early. About 9 pm someone starts ringing the doorbell. It's my SIL. Who has rushed over because she got the message on her machine after she got home from work. She had tried to call all afternoon, but someone left the internet connected when they got off line and the phone line had been busy all that time.
She couldn't sleep because she was worried about Danielle and came over to make sure everything was okay. The school never told me when I picked her up that they had called her so that I could let her know that Everything was fine. She gave me her work number to give to the school in case ift happens again, which it shouldn't as I have given newer, stricter instructions to only contact her in extremem emergencies. A 100.5 fever is not an extreme emergency and Danielle can sit in the nurses office till I can get there if that is the only problem. They also got a talking to about the message they left my SIL which was" I had been out of town all week end and Danielle had been sick all weekend and someone needed to come get her." First we were out of town on Saturday, but Danielle was with us, second she had a cold all weekend. Danielle had told the secretary that we were going out of town that morning to get another Christmas tree, not that I had been out of town all weekend. No wonder my SIL was frantic and couldn't rest when she got the message.

Tuesday afternoon. Gregory comes in the house after school and as he passes the living room on the way to his bedroom, he says"Tree is on the floor" so we go in to investigate and sure enough this one is laying in the floor as well. We stand it back up and shove the book back under it. and it stands on it's own. We leave it to make sure it is going to stay standing. After about an hour, we water it and leave it alone. Mind you, until we are positive that this tree is going to stay up, we are not decorating it.
About 9 that evening Gregory goes to check on the tree and finds it in the floor again. So we go thru the same process all over again. We start looking for something to tie the tree up with, but can find nothing and decide to get some at the store the next day. I can tie it off to a small chest and the sewing machine cabinet( neither of which were large enough to hold the first tree.)
Wednesday, Gregory and Danielle have been home almost an hour when I hear the tree going over(we never heard it the other times) WE rush into the living room to find that Bear Face (the cat) is buried under the tree. Seems he thinks it's a great idea to climb the tree and when he gets to s certain point in his climb, the tree goes over and then he stands amidst the branches looking like" I meant to do that."
An aside here about the cat. For those of you who are old enough to remember "Morris" for the cat food commercials, this cat is "Morris" incarnate. You do not have a cat, he has people. He is very haughty.Most of the time, I am sure he considers us his staff.
By this time Gregory has found some very old fishing line that he has found in the house. This stuff is more like very heavy thread, but it says fishing line on the spool. To break the cat of the habit of climbing in the tree, we spray him with a spray bottle full of water. Course we don't use the the whole bottle, it takes just a couple of spritzes and he's outta there. The only problem we have with that is most of the time we just grab the first spray bottle that comes to hand which is usually the "Febreze" bottle. Needless to say we have the best smelling cat in town.
Elizabeth comes by, and helps tie the tree so that the cat can not knock it over and we get the lights on and some of the decorations and decide to finish tomorrow.

I will continue the saga later today, I have much to do this morning and must bid you adieu for the time being.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


Been a few weeks since I posted last, so I have a lot to catch up on; but first a gentle reminder for my SIL. Update your album please. The kids keep asking me "don't they have any new pics yet?" They are driving me nuts about it, so now I only check your WEB page and blog when they are at school or still asleep. As soon as Oldest son gets back from working at Christmas tree farm, I'll have him show me how to download the photos from the docking station to the computer and send you some you can use if you like. Then you can introduce the world to some of your other wacky relations.

Now back to the last two weeks. We'll start at Thanksgiving. IT went fine...everything turned out well; turkey was moist, pies turned out fine, dressing was great, cake turned out more like pound cake but was still edible and the rolls rose and stayed that way. All in all, it was all good, which I should have realized was an omen of things to come.

Saturday we took Eric back to the tree farm and went ahead and picked out a tree. It was beautiful...And since I have a formal living room that has not furniture in it yet, we could get a bigger tree that usual. The first problem came after it was shaken ( to remove all the dead needles) and baled( covered in netting to keep all the branches in). It would not fit into the trunk of my Impala. Don't get me wrong, my youngest can get into the trunk and lay stretched out with room to spare on all sides and she is 4 and 1/2 ft tall. There is plenty of trunk space. But this tree was BIG. So we had to figure out the most secure way to tie it to the roof of the car. Which we did and then drove 80 miles back to the house.

Got home, got the big heavy tree into the house, and then found out it was too tall to even get it into the tree stand. I had to hand saw about 6 inches off the trunk and the excess branches off the new bottom to get it in the stand. Since the trunk was about 5 inches around, this took about 45 minutes. Finally the tree is in the stand. We decide to decorate the next day to give the branches time to fall back into place and give the tree time to suck up some water and rehydrate.

Sunday, the tree is looking good so we decide to get it decorated. I notice that the tree is too close to the ceiling for the star, so we look for something stable for me to stand on so that I can trim some of the top. The tree is so full that I can't get enough of it trimmed to be able to see the star from the back of the tree, and it is still to close to the ceiling to go directly on top, so we position the star so that it can be seen from outside the house thru the big window it is standing in front of ( this is the first time I have had a big front window that is visible from the street, so that I can show off my tree). We have a little trouble with the lights as 1. I run a full string up the front and back next to the trunk to help light the tree from within and 2. Because the tree is so durn full its like fighting with a living breathing hundred armed beast to get some of the lights on, but I'm thinking that it will be so beautiful once we're finished that it will all be worth it.

We start putting the ornaments on. Now I have some really neat ornaments; angels and houses and stars( they look like miniature maces but with longer points) that have to be hung over a light that can go up inside them, so that they are lit from inside. Then all the colored, glittered balls and bells and some that ceramic ones that my mom had made for me many years ago, that have managed to survive the tests of time. We get almost all of the decorations on with about 5 or 6 left before we put on the icicles( not tinsel, acrylic icicle ornaments, which we have a lot of and use instead of tinsel) and take a break.
As I am sitting there, looking at the tree, I notice it appears to be moving. About the time it hits me that this is no optical illusion caused by the twinkling lights, and stand up and holler( yes holler) "HEY!" ( as in Hey! Grab the tree it's falling!" BOOOOM!!! it's on the floor tree stand and all!!! For a moment there is silence, the Erin says"sh@#*%t" to which everyone laughs. We pick the tree back up, thinking that we have put to many ornaments on it or something, but now it will not stay up. So we take off all of the ornaments. It still will not stay up right. We take off all the lights, it still will not stay up. We wedge a book under the side the the tree falls towards, it still will not stay up. Everything we tried, the tree still wanted to fall over.

I call the tree farm, and talk to Charlie who gives me 3 options
1. Prop the heavy side up on something( didn't work already tried that one)
2. Tie it off to something, preferably a heavy piece of furniture. (didn't have anything strong enough to tie with or any "heavy furniture"(remember I said the room was empty))
3. Come back and get another tree.

The next morning, as I am getting out of the shower, in preparation of going and getting another tree, I get a call from Danielle's school. I don't get to the phone quick enough and have to call them back. I get voice mail, and think "bull! They just called" so I call right back . The Secretary says Danielle is running a 100.5 temp and I have to com get her. They think she has the flu. It's a cold she's has had all weekend, but I don't have time to argue and I go to get her.( Remember the me getting the voice mail, it plays a part a little further in the story). We go down to the tree farm and get another tree. This one wedges in the trunk and we tie the trunk lid closed and come 80 miles back home. That's 320 miles over the course of 3 days, so not only are we tired but so is the poor car.
This takes us through Monday evening, and I will fill you in on the rest of the week when I get back. I have to make a few phone calls, so I will be back later.

Ta for now

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