Every year as we place the first ornament on our Christmas tree, B and I often ask one another, "Remember our first tree?" And then we laugh and laugh and quickly reiterate our vow made 10 years ago, "We will never again have a real tree."
The year was 2001. We were a couple of newlyweds celebrating our very first Christmas married. We were wavering between a real or artificial tree, when a sweet couple at our church offered to let us cut down a tree from their acreage...for free! We were way excited about that, so we drove B's little Chevy Z-24 to their farm loaded with some rope and bungee cord, and set out to find our tree. It all seemed very nostalgic and romantic and I have to admit, B was pretty handsome playing the role of lumberjack.
With the help of our friends, we loaded up the tree (on top of our teeny car) and headed home after receiving a bit of advice: place the tree in a bucket of water and let it sit outside overnight so the scent isn't overpowering. No problem.
After letting the tree sit overnight...
We brought her in and decorated her...
A few weeks went by, and we were still congratulating ourselves on a job well done. One evening, I was sitting near the tree admiring the lights, when I noticed a fine white thread in the branches. I reached up to remove it, when I noticed another thread.
And another. And another.
Upon closer inspection, I realized the tree was covered with the threads...or webs. And then I saw it...a teeny, tiny, spider lowering itself from a silken thread. But there wasn't just one spider...he brought along several of his spider friends and they were partying it up in my tree.
Apparently, the spiders were hibernating in the tree for the winter, and had mistaken the warmth of our home for summer and decided it was time to come out and play. Gross.
I ran to get B and screamed that spiders were everywhere and that I was pretty sure they were now crawling all over me. Probably an exaggeration.
So, B carried the hulking tree back outside, with me doing the hebejebe dance behind him. We took ourselves down to the local hardware store and purchased a few bug bombs to set off in the apartment while we left for a few hours to make sure the little beasts were gone. We came back to a nasty, foggy, mess and began a lengthy clean-up process.
I'm pretty sure this is the reason you're not supposed to just go and chop down some random tree out in someone's field. I mean, that is why there are tree farmers and little stands set up in abandoned parking lots with perfectly fresh trees that I imagine are debugged as a free service to all paying customers.
So, while you're enjoying the fresh Christmasy scent of your live (bug free) tree, I'll be bringing out the box containing our tree, and place the 'branches' in the little metal slots. Then, branch by branch I will fluff it out, trying to convince myself of how 'real' it looks.
Yeah. Not even close.