Sunday, December 4, 2011

a week ago

It all started with a simple desire.  The desire turned into a simple request.  The request turned into an easy breezy adventure to the park and it spiraled down around, up, back around and down and up over and over and over again.
The desire?  A real Christmas tree.
Simple enough desire, don't you think?
Well, that desire turned into this:

Lots of moving, chaos and mayhem. 
But lots and lots of smiles!
Allow me to take you on our journey....
Friday night the kids wanted to put up the tree.  I talked to them about wanting to get a real tree and how we would have to wait until the morning to get one.  The girls all agreed; Cade freaked out.  He, under no circumstances, wanted a real tree.  Now, isn't that the opposite of most people?  I, in past, under no circumstances wanted a fake tree.  Eventually, when I had to spend my own money and they dramatically improved the aesthetics, my frugality won out and we got a fake one (we'd still get real ones occasionally too).  Well, after his reaction, I saw oh-so-clearly how I have failed as a parent..... we had not had a real tree in several years - therefore not in his recent memory (or any memory, according to him).  Not only had he not experienced (or remembered the experience) the wonderful fragrance of a burly pine, he had not experienced (or remembered the experience) of going off on the romantic quest for THE tree.  Aghast, even though the fit was being thrown, I knew, beyond the shadow of any doubt, we had to, must, didn't have any choice, but to get a real, live Christmas tree.
So, after putting a furious boy to bed (and all the others, of course), we relaxed the evening away and waited in eager anticipation until Saturday morning.

Saturday morning we took a short drive to Carolina Park.  It was necessary, apparently, as part of the experience, for Lucy to wear the carrot nose from last year's snowman.
We arrived at the park and the grand beam of light shone over one tree almost instantly (think Christmas Vacation hike deep into the forest).  
Unfortunately all of the people selling trees either didn't see the beam or ignored it - they were all hounding us to buy their trees.  Because, naturally, their trees were so much better.  It put a minor damper on the whole romantic experience of the finding of the ONE..... something about having twelve people calling and nagging at you does that.

Remember the guy who didn't want any part in a real tree?  Remember him?  Well, he took almost no part in selecting our family tree.
He took almost no part because he was too busy trying to select a tree for his own.  He fell deeply in love.  He really wanted his own tree.  Lucy followed suit, but wasn't quite so head-over-heels.
The tree we liked was slightly too tall, so it got a trim....
and was then loaded onto the van.
While Eric paid the man and secured the tree, the kids and I looked around at the little stands set up filled with bajillions of nativity sets, and a few other things as well.

We also needed to buy a tree stand.
Now, the tree stands here are a little odd - only $15, but a little odd.  Perhaps you get what you pay for?  They look like they hold the tree fairly well but being three pronged instead of four, they are a little too lopsided.  Eric and I needed to hunt around for some stuff to stick in the stand to help secure it.  In our hunt, we happened to find....  two tree stands.  Sigh.  Yes, the people who lived here before us kindly left their tree stands for us.  Somehow we never connected it.... I don't think we had a clue what they were before this.
So now we have three interestingly designed tree stands.....we are not sure about the design in terms of watering the actual tannenbaum.  See the photo?
That is our rigging.  See, under that stump, there is a metal bar so that the stump sits on top of it.  The problem is that this bar is equal in height to those other horizontal bars attached to the legs.  That means that you can't put any water source to reach the bottom of the stump.
So we thought we'd wrap a few wet rags around the stump, put a shallow paint pan with water underneath and have the rags hanging down to soak up the water.  And it worked.  The tree sucked up lots of water for the first few days.  Fabulous.
But then something happened - don't know what - but now, a week later, the tree is pretty much dead.
A beautifully decorated tinder box.

Moving on....
So after a good (or not so good) hour of wrestling with the tree, the kids started decorating.

They were almost finished when we heard them simultaneously yell  "MOM!  DAD!!"  The tree was falling over and three of them were holding it up.  So poor Eric had to re-rig it.  Another lovely half an hour put into the tree he really didn't want in the first place.
After that there just wasn't enough time left to finish the tree before our movie we set our minds to finishing later.  After the movies were done and the kids were in bed, we went to go hang out in our usual location - the aquarium.
The smell was overwhelming.  Yup, the very reason (or one of the biggies) for wanting the tree was now keeping us from enjoying it.  It was so strong.  With that room being the smallest, warmest and having the poorest circulation of all the rooms in the house, it provided a perfect atmosphere for "fresh pine" to become "killer-pungent, make you want to flee for your senses, overwhelming cypress".  It brought back memories of Eric's youth - hiding in the neighbors' cypress bushes so not to get caught from door-bell ditching the wrong person.....
In conversation trying to decide what on earth do we do now?, we thought we would bump up our January plan and turn the aquarium into a bedroom and make our living room THE room.

Sunday morning the kids wanted to finish decorating, so I laid the new plan on them.
and all kinds of other adjectives that describe how happy they were ensued.  They would now all have their own rooms.  Divine.
They graciously and joyfully decided that Mia would have the aquarium and Cade would have the same room.  Then Maddy began her negotiations.....  You see, Cade and Mia's room has a bathroom attached to it.  She began to highlight to Cade all the benefits of her current room.  Somehow she managed to convince Cade to switch rooms.  She ended up with the previously-mentioned emotions as well.  Eric, on the other hand, ended up with some emotions including but not limited to
Okay, those may be a bit strong, but now he ends up with a whole heck of a lot of work.  Cade's bed is a monster.  It must have been assembled in the room that it is in (we bought it from the previous owners).  It is loft style, made crudely with very large bolts and stuff.  It will pretty much have to be completely disassembled, moved and then reassembled.  Good times for my darling husband.
Well, they patiently waited for Sunday afternoon to completely redecorate the tree.  Yes, that meant that Eric had to move and re-fuss with the tree, again.  He didn't quite feel the same emotions as the kids did in this either.

 After the tree was done, it was time to nag dad about moving everything to switch rooms.  There were many repeated conversations that went something like this:
"Mom, can we move the beds now?
"No kids, daddy has to do most of the work and he has already done a lot.  Let's give him some time."
"But mom, when is he going to do it?"
"I don't know, that is something you will have to ask him.  But give him a little time - don't bug him about it now."
"But mom, can't you move it?"
"No sweetheart (I'm speaking in a lilting, singsongy, ever-patient voice, by the way), I'm not strong enough to move that by myself.  We'll have to wait for daddy, okay?"
"But mom, can we move some stuff?"
"Yes, you can move the stuff that you can carry."
And then off they ran to work like they never have before..... for another 3 minutes until they needed to have that same conversation again.
Repeat 23 times.
Well, it is one week later and Mia is almost moved into the aquarium.  All that is needed is a dresser/chest of drawers.  Painting/decorating is suspended until January.
Cade and Maddy have not yet switched rooms.  Little too much going on for Eric to have gotten to that yet.  The living room is now fully our family room and we have only had two incidences of smashed faces as people have tried, out of habit, to go into the aquarium, only to find the glass door closed to what is now Mia's room.
We miss the coziness of the aquarium, but the family room has quickly become our new center of the home and the kids are loving having their own spaces.

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