…And That’s When I Walked Into a National Lampoon Movie

"Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah."
“Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah.”

So a couple of weekends ago, me and the Yankee Loving Wife decided that it would probably be a good idea to go out and get ourselves a Christmas tree. Easier said than done, right? Well, that’s what we thought. After all, this wasn’t our first time to the Christmas tree rodeo. We’ve bought trees two years in a row now and both times it’s gone off without a hitch, so we thought we had this down to a science.

Here’s the thing though, unlike the previous two years where we went to a lot and picked out a tree that had already been cut down, the Yankee Loving Wife thought it would be a good idea to got to a Christmas tree ranch and cut down a tree ourselves. Again, what could possibly go wrong? Well, you’re all about to find out how our Christmas tree adventure went from holiday family fun to a sequel of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with me filling the role of Clark W. Griswold…

Like any great story though, our’s doesn’t start on that Saturday morning. Instead, our story begins on the Friday night before. After getting home from work and eating dinner we ran out to a few stores to find the finishing touches for our outside lighting display. A week earlier I had Tweeted out the following picture:

We got this Christmas shit on lock
We got this Christmas shit on lock

Ya, I couldn’t have been more wrong. It rained on that week, thus flooding and ruining one of our light timers and ruining the timing for when the lights came on. Then, the 3M hooks we used to put the colored lights around the windows failed because they weren’t actually 3M, they were some cheap generic version. In other words, by Wednesday it looked less like that and more like this.

Fa La La Awww crap!
Fa La La Awww crap!

So as I said, that Friday night we went to Lowes, Home Depot, and Big Lots looking for a solution to the hook dilemma, the flooded timers, and any other decorations. What we ended up with was a fancy ass timer that detects when it’s dark and remains on for the predetermined amount of time, suction cups for the windows, and a green light bulb for the porch light. I had illusions of grandeur dancing through my head… and then I got home.

Literally five seconds after being home I broke the light bulb so there goes $5 down the drain, or… in this case… into a million pieces and the garbage can. At least I know I’ll get to enjoy Christmas this year with the joys of mercury poisoning. Energy efficient my ass.

To add to this misery, my light set up was intended for my original setup with two timers. To get everything onto one timer, I had to spend two hours rearranging cords and damn near rewiring the entire house. It was a blast… in the same way that a monkey throwing turds at you while a dog gnaws at your crotch is a blast. I didn’t like it. Regardless, by about 10 PM I had everything up and running.

I am all that is man. Tremble before my awesomeness and domination all things electrical! Please ignore the fact that I plugged the reindeer into an actual extension cord outlet and not the timer outlet and they were on all night. I meant for them to be on until 11 AM the next day, I swear.

This is what it looks like in our heads... it's not even close in real life.
This is what it looks like in our heads… it’s not even close in real life.

So the plan for Saturday was to get up and moving early, have the Yankee Loving Wife’s aunt and cousins meet us at the house by 10:30 and head to the Tree Ranch. We didn’t leave the house until 11:30. Gotta love it when a plan comes together. You also gotta love being stuck in Christmas craft fair traffic for a half hour. Stupid old ladies and their insatiable thirst for nicknacks  and chotchkie items.

We made it to the Tree Ranch sometime around 12:30 and 1, I’m not really sure. What I am sure about is that we all thought we were going to be murdered by a chainsaw wielding maniac on the way. Talk about being in the middle of bum effing Egypt. Even though this place was in the middle of nowhere, they did have some really nice trees… and that was the first problem.

The Yankee Loving Wife is infamously indecisive when it comes to things like this. Any other mundane decision and she’s all over it, but give her some type of semi-major to major decision such as this and it’s a whole other story. Naturally, acre upon acre of picture perfect Christmas trees was going to be an issue. Complicating matters was the size spectrum of trees readily available. We essentially had our choice of Charlie Brown’s tree or the Rockefeller Center tree. No, I’m not exaggerating.

Knowing there was no in between, we tried to outsmart the situation. We went to college. Hell, I have a master’s degree. We should be able to figure out something with how much we were preached about problem solving in school. We chose an 11 foot tree with the goal being we would have the workers cut 3-4 feet off thus leaving us with a 7-8 foot tree. Brilliant… remember that plan.

Yup... it's a tree and it's huge. Geeze, we're stupid.
Yup… it’s a tree and it’s huge. Geeze, we’re stupid.

With the tree picked out, we flagged down the guys wielding the chainsaws and got them to start hacking away at the tree. Naturally the two children with us thought this was the most intriguing thing ever. So much so that they just had to get right up in there to see everything that was going on. Again, being the geniuses we are, we didn’t think that maybe being so close to saws and a falling tree was a bad idea.

Ummmm... In our defense, they could have gotten closer... maybe.
Ummmm… In our defense, they could have gotten closer… maybe.

With the tree finally cut down, it gets dragged up to the front of the ranch where it’ll get the final measure and we hand over some cash. It’s also at this point where we asked them to put into action our full proof plan. Only one problem.

They can’t do it.

Stupid problem solving… I want my money back, Ohio Northern University. You’ve been put on notice.

You see, because mother nature is a cruel mistress that apparently likes nothing better than to make my life a living hell, our lovely tree’s trunk split in two about three feet up, meaning that… if they cut it anywhere above the split we will essentially be cutting the tree in half. Yes, folks… we just bought an 11 foot tree and had to take all 11 feet of it home.

Oh, and did I mention we drive a Toyota Corolla  Because ya… we definitely drive a Toyota Corolla.

2012-12-019514.07.25
Yes, that is an 11 foot long Christmas tree on top of a Toyota Corolla. Yes, it’s as absurd as it looks.

When we finally got this monstrosity home the reality of the situation finally set in. You can trick yourself into thinking that an 11 foot tree isn’t that tall when you’re in a wide open space. Put it inside a house where the ceiling is barely taller than 12 feet and things change dramatically. Forced with the task of now making this stupid tree fit into the space allotted, I procured a saw from the wife’s uncle and started hacking away. After all, my only three options at this point were to make it work, divorce, or murder everyone and run away to Mexico. Yes, the last option was very much in play. Especially after I was blamed for not checking that the tree trunk split three feet up before we cut it down. Right, because that’s something people think to look for.

Moving on…

So we start hacking away at this mother fudger. Not only does the trunk split, but it’s also crooked. What next, we’re going to get the stupid thing inside and find out a squirrel lives in it? Or what about a bird? That would be great. A bird flying around inside my house pooping on all our electronics. I wouldn’t have put anything out of play at this point.

Meanwhile, my lumberjack shenanigans and uncensored cursing drew quite the audience.

Earmuffs!
Earmuffs!

I also got my first look at what exactly it was I was dealing with.

The bane of my existence...
The bane of my existence…

After about 3 hours of fighting, more curse words than a drunken sailor, and a new-found appreciation for lumberjacks, I gave up. Actually, by gave up I mean the wife washed her hands of the situation and threatened to divorce me if I didn’t give up and feed her. In reality she was throwing me a life line. She’s the best.

We conceded defeat and decided to trash the sucker and get a new tree the following day. Spectacular. Not only did we waste our time with this stupid son of a bitch tree, but we also just threw $66 dollars away AND had to probably go spend another $80 on a tree marked up 100% on a temporary tree lot and relive part of this nightmare all over again. And since it would be Sunday, I’d get to watch the Browns too. What an effing spectacular day THAT would turn out to be. Everything is the worst. What else could possibly go wrong?

Oh… I know. My Christmas lights could all go bat shit crazy. And why did they go bat shit crazy? Because I put the light sensor/timer too close to a light up deer. Sooooooo… it got dark and the lights went on. Then, it sensed all the light from the deer and turned off. Darkness… on. Brightness… off. And on and on it went. That folks is how aneurysms happen. Sure, it was an easy fix, but in the heat of the moment it was a total WTF, eff my life kind of situation.

D'oh!!!
D’oh!!!

Naturally, as word of our idiotic decision making spread, people decided to keep calling and see how it was going. By “how it was going” I really meant they were calling to ridicule and make fun of us. I can’t say I blame them. That’s what I would have done. That is of course until we talked to Heather’s uncle, the one and only Bob Harris. Unlike all the other jokers, he actually presented a practical solution to a ridiculous problem, and I quote…

“Just tie that sucker together with some twine or cable ties, cut it where you want to cut it, stick it in the stupid stand with some water and call it a day.”

Genius!

The following morning, before we did anything, we went outside and cable tied our tree together in several places with what could only be described as an unnecessary amount of cable ties. We then began to hack away at the trunk above that stupid fork from hell with surgical precision. In fact, I was so precise that I ended up cutting it a foot shorter than I had intended. I’m so awesome at life. Everyone from everywhere should envy me. So much for measure twice and cut once. I live on the edge, damn it!

That sound you hear is my father sighing in disapproval for me not measuring twice.

In the end, this is what the scene looked like. Also, for the record there’s a billion more branches outside of that photo that you can’t see. Thank God trees don’t bleed, otherwise this would have been uber messy. Oh wait… they do. Stupid sap. I’m still sticking to the pages of magazines.

It was like an episode of Dexter... but with a Christmas tree instead of a dead body.
It was like an episode of Dexter… but with a Christmas tree instead of a dead body.

Surprisingly… it worked. The simplest, most ridiculous, ghetto rigged solution imaginable actually worked. Shows how much we know. It was glorious. Absolutely glorious!

Don't let the frown fool you. She was WAY more disappointed .
Don’t let the frown fool you. She was WAY more disappointed .

Regardless of how diminutive our once mighty tree now was, this was a victory for a variety of reasons. First off, we got it to work. We took a bad situation that could have spiraled out of control and figured something out. Second, we’re still married. It was looking a little shaky there when it looked like Christmas had been ruined, but we survived. Lastly, I taught some impressionable young children some colorful new language. It’s going to be wildly hilarious when the little one starts speaking actual words instead of prehistoric grunts.

Oh! And there was no squirrel living inside the tree so we didn’t have to worry about reenacting that scene from Christmas Vacation, so that’s a plus.

That about sums it all up.
That about sums it all up.

All in all, it’s definitely a Christmas adventure that we’re going to be remembering for years to come. I hope you have all managed to find some sense of enjoyment out of my Christmas tree misery. Now let’s just hope that for all of my troubles that Santa brings me some totally bitchin’ Christmas presents. If he doesn’t well then I’m going to have to have words with that jolly fat man…

Ok, so it didn't end up so bad after all. You can't even tell it's cable tied together.
Ok, so it didn’t end up so bad after all. You can’t even tell it’s cable tied together.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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