email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Tree

I should have known not to buy an artificial Holiday Tree!  I don't like artificial things all that much.  And I didn't even go shopping to get one.  I was at a DIY store to buy furnace filters weeks ago, and there were all these nice-looking artificial trees so nicely decorated.  Two thoughts came to mind.

First, I recalled memories of younger days with the family decorating the tree, and I thought a nice artificial one would be "satisfactory", convenient, and cost-effective over the years.

Secondly, I had had to empty the attic a few months ago to have the attic sealed and additional insulation sprayed in, so I had all these boxes of Holiday decorations stacked up in the cat room.  The decorations were on my list of things to keep or donate.

So I was looking at the trees in the store and thinking of the all the decorations I'd collected over the years and ON IMPULSE I bought an artificial tree.  Impulse purchases are not my habit, but by definition "impulse" is not planned.

I opened the box today, and it was NOT what I expected.  I EXPECTED a box of a dozen or so stacking rings of perfectly formed branches that would be ready to go with a simple plug-in (and me adding special ornaments and my bubble-lights.  Foolish me!

Instead, there are only 3 sections (of branches that DO hinge down, to be fair).  But each branch is as tightly squeezed into a tube-like shape as wrapping paper.  Each individual stem and twig has to be bent out into a realistic shape.  A quick estimate suggested there would be 100 branches of about 20 stems per branch and 20 twigs per branch (= 40,000 if you really do it right).

A sample branch of the middle section took 2 minutes to make look realistic.  So, 2 minutes times 100 branches = 200 minutes (or 3 hours and 20 minutes).  And adding in some time for discomfort caused by handling the prickly plastic needles, hand-cramps from all that bending of stems and twigs, and back-cramps from being bent over and around reaching them, I decided that was more than I wanted to do in order to have a Holiday Tree!

I re-evaluated my concerns over killing live trees.  I guess if I am perfectly willing to have chickens and turkeys raised just for the purpose of being killed for my eating pleasure, I can stand having a real tree grown and cut down for my decorating pleasure.  At least trees just use sunlight and produce oxygen.

Hey, I can rationalize my decisions with the best of them, LOL!

That's IF I get a real cut tree...  I probably will, but it's not definite tonight.  I haven't bought one for a decade, so there may be sticker-shock involved.  I have to think about this.

Its not like there are children or visitors who would see my tree.  But it HAS been years since I decorated and I DO have all the boxes of decorations out of the attic already.  And none of the cats has ever experienced a real tree in the house and that might be interesting.  Skeeter and LC (and the cats who came before) always seemed to enjoy them.

I could justify buying a real tree just for the cats, I suppose...  Hmm, yeah, that could work.  A tree just for the cats.  And they wouldn't mind if I decorated it with cheap plastic ornaments at the bottom where they could reach to whap them.  They'd LIKE that...  I'll put the "good" stuff higher up.

And the birds would like it too.  I used to dig a hole in the backyard to set the tree in after I was done with it inside.  The tree leaves a bare spot under it even when it snows and the birds LOVE picking at the seeds I toss under it.  I had almost forgotten about that.

So, well of course, I'm not buying a live dead tree for ME, I'm doing it for the cats and then the birds.  What could POSSIBLY be more noble?

Oh my goodness!  I better go shopping for a real tree ASAP.  The cats are waiting, and the birds will be happier into the New Year, and the New Year is something to celebrate too...



Megan said...

Mark - that sounds like an extraordinary task to set up the fake tree. I agree: not worth it. I vote to get the real live deaded one - but hold off with any of the special ornaments until you see how the cats cope with the cheap plastic ones. The cats might try to climb the tree - and pull it over when they jump off.

Sydney, Australia

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

Fortunately, I bought a massively heavy tree stand a decade ago that weighs about 10.5 kilos/25 pounds. I had tree climbing cats before, LOL!

Its a reason I might dare getting a real tree again. But it will still be a dare.

Megan said...

Well - I double dare ya. So there!

This from a woman who has never ever, not even once, had a real tree at Christmas. Do you feel sorry for me? We used to get a large bunch of parsley, stand it in a drinking glass and 'decorate' it with torn paper. Now we don't even bother to do that.

Sydney, Australia

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

Well the Parsley sounds interesting. And I recall Mom decorating some 2 liter brandy-snifters with small balls around them on the mantle.

But try this... Clasp your hands behind your back and bend over until your forehead touches the floor. No I can't do it either, but I can get an inch away. The fun part is hearing my spine make "cricking" noises.

THEN, you can decorate a tree, LOL!

Shaggy and Scout said...

Hi Mark, I bounced over here following the link on the holiday tree post from the cats. Haven't been here for some time, although I've always enjoyed your household adventures.
After the kids left home we bought a 6 foot, slim tree from Target that came semi assembled (top & bottom) in a box. Mike put a bunch of new LED lights on it. The idea was to just leave the lights on it and toss a sheet over it, carry it down stairs for storage after Christmas each year. When we bring it out all we have to do is spread out the branches that got squashed into tree shape and add our treasured ornaments. No muss, no fuss. Our house is too dry to have a live tree, we gave that up years ago. We have a huge one like the one you describe> you assemble the pole and the color coded sections of branches are added as you open and spread out each one. We actually put that one up (the one you see in my picture) since we have a nice room now with a big window to place it in front of. We have the smaller tree in the family room...lots of trees for the cats to nap under, and that's all they do with them, nap. The large tree goes back in the box nicely and the branches can stay semi-splayed out when taken down and put back in the box. I think it just depends on what ever routine you get into each year. Hope you find a solution that works. Lynne