I hope that tree won't fall on me.
Yesterday we put up our Christmas tree. It is an artificial one. I long ago decided not to bother with the fresh-cut, but even this one seems to take an entire day. Larry has the job of getting the thing upstairs and put together, and stringing the lights around it. Then the boys and I decorate. None of our ornaments are especially valuable, but together they form a set that to me is priceless. They kind of tell a story of our Christmases as a family. The garlands are strings of pearls. This is in remembrance of the first tree I had during my brief time as a bachelorette. I went and bought a tiny potted tree for my small apartment and since I didn’t have any decorations I strung my jewelry all over it. My friends found that hilarious to no end and I like to remember them laughing about it. Then in the early marriage years nothing but beauty and glamour would do and I went to the Hudson’s Day After Christmas sales and stocked up on gorgeous blown-glass ornaments, half-off. Then the kids came along and kept bringing home creations such as a gingerbread man cut out of sandpaper, frames made from popsicle sticks, and pipe-cleaner candy canes. And my mother likes to buy them each an ornament every year, usually in the shape of things they like at the time, such as fish, frogs and fire trucks. All of this goes on there together. For a while it was sorted into zones: The glass stuff up high where I put it and the kids things low where they could reach. But now they are taller and think it is great fun to stand on the step ladder so it’s all mixed up.
So after the boys went to sleep I sat in the living room under the glow of the lights and listened to the wind beating against the house as a developing storm was sending huge gusts across the lake and sending sleet, leaves and twigs smacking against our big window.
I flipped on the TV and caught a bit of the show Desperate Housewives. A tornado was touching down on Wisteria Lane and they showed a man getting skewered by a fence picket. With that disturbing image against the soundtrack of our own storm I clicked it off and went to bed.
Around midnight Larry came and woke me up with the news that the dead tree in our backyard had crashed into the house. With heart and head pounding from the jolt of waking up, I staggered out to the living room and looked out the window to see the big dead tree forming a right triangle with our roof, just outside the window from the Christmas Tree inside. I watched Larry go out in the snow and shine a flashlight on it while the wind slapped around him all crazy. It didn’t seem to have crushed anything, it was just leaning there with one big branch flapping against the window like a great big claw trying to get in. C-click c-c-c-click. I stumbled back into bed and listened as Larry put a call into the local tree service. Then I only partially slept all night as the storm carried on and I kept listening to hear if the tree shifted or if that big arm made it into the house.
That tree has never looked very good since we moved here, it probably got injured when they built the house, and is too close to it to fully recover. But I did like that birds would land in it’s branches and we could see them close up through the window. This summer it was finally obvious that it was to be pronounced completely dead. Kendrea pointed that out when she was over having Margaritas on the deck with the Glenmoor Gals. I agreed and said we should probably take it down, in fact a tree company had put a brochure for tree removal in our mailbox that very day. "Ambulance Chasers" she called them. We both love big trees and hate to see them go away. It came up again when my brother-in-law Hal stopped by on his way back from cutting down a dead tree at his family cottage in Oxford. I pointed at ours and he looked at it and tried to figure out how it could come down without hitting the house. He’s good at thinking things through like that. A job for professionals was his assessment.
So in the morning the tree guy came and told us it would cost $300 to take it down, only $200 if he didn’t have to haul anything away. We signed up for the cheaper option, and he attached a series of pulleys and yanked the thing away from the house and right towards our deck where Larry was standing and was able to deflect it with a push so it landed diagonal across the backyard.
There really wasn’t any significant damage to the house. Good thing, because it could have gone through the window and destroyed our Christmas Tree and television. Or it could have scraped the shingles off the roof. It could have brought down the gutters. Good thing. Of course, we COULD HAVE had it taken down before this happened, but let’s not talk about that now. Anyone need some firewood?