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« Real Men Make Quiche | Main | It's that Time of Year »

Next Time make it Bracciole

When I pictured having a husband in my life, one of the first chores I thought of having help with was a Christmas Tree. 



My father got the tree for my mother, put it in the stand, and brought it in the house.  From there, it was her deal.  Why shouldn’t I have expected anything different?

From my earliest trees, it was always an event.  I’ve always been a big fan of “choose and cut” trees, having grown up on a tree farm.  Depending on where I was living at the time, it was as much as an hour to find a place where trees actually grew.  I would make a day of it.  I’d have a meal all prepared, have my ornaments out and at the ready, and not a drop of anything to drink until the lights were on the tree.

Someone once showed me how to wrap the lights around each branch, and from that point on, it became one of the biggest chores of the season.  Since I was single, it was me getting the tree, getting it home, getting it in the stand, getting it in the house, and getting the lights on it.

Not without incident.

Take the year I decided to have the tree delivered to my house.   I thought I would finally have some help, and for a mere $25 fee, actually have a man bring the tree in the house. Didn’t quite work out that way. 

I was in Newport Beach at the time, and there were Christmas Trees available on every corner.  I thought it would be easy to get my tree delivered on the spot.  When I went to the tree place, they were not able to deliver until the following week.  And I’d already planned my Saturday event around having the tree that evening, and decorating with a date.  A date that stood me up, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I later found out the reason he stood me up was because of his wife.  But that’s another story.

It took the tree guy nearly 45 minutes to tie the tree to the top of my car.   He could have driven it to my house and been back in that time, and gotten paid for his efforts, but no.

As I’m driving up the hill towards home, I happen to look in my rear view mirror, and what do my wondering eyes behold but a tree rolling down the hill.  Odd.  Where did that come from? 

Oh.  Right.  It was my tree.

I pulled over to the side of the road, got out of the car, looked at the tree laying on the shoulder, and did what any normal woman would do in that situation. 

I cried.

Miraculously, a truck pulled over almost immediately.  A nice young man got out, and after introductions and a couple of attempts at putting the tree in the car, he said,

“Where do you live?”

I pointed to my condo complex, because it was within sight.  He threw the tree in the back of the truck, and said, “I’ll just follow you, it’s easier.”

Smart guy.

When we got to my place, and he put the tree in the bucket of water I had ready, he said to me,

“Next time, ma’m, maybe you should have your husband help you.”

Right.  Next time.

Then there was the year I decided to use up all of that cathedral ceiling space with a 9 foot tree.  I went to the local tree place, and picked out a beauty.  I even had my gardener -- (OK, I know that sounds ridiculous, but when your yard is all of 100 square feet, it doesn’t make sense to invest in yard equipment, it’s actually cheaper to just have someone else do it) -- scheduled to help me with my tree.

The difference between an 8 ½ foot tree and a 9 foot tree is more than just the six inches in height I discovered.  The trunk of the tree was also about six inches bigger around, and there was no getting that thing into my tree stand.  Nor any of my neighbors tree stands.  After several attempts to trim the trunk with his chain saw, my gardener even threw in the towel.

Back to the tree place to purchase an extra large stand, one with three legs more than four feet in length to support a tree as big as I had purchased.  As I’m paying for the stand, the tree guy says to me,

“You know you have to drill a hole into the trunk to get it onto the spike in this tree stand, right?”


“Do you have a drill that big?”

How big?  As big as my forearm it turns out.


Out of the goodness of his heart (not to mention the $125 I shelled out for this tree), he loaned my gardener his drill.  Back again to my house, where Frank (that’s was my gardener’s name), proceeded to drill into this poor tree, and then it takes both of us to get the tree into the house and then back to the tree place to return the drill.

By this time, it’s nearly 6pm, and I have to string 1200 lights on this monster.  It took me nearly four hours. 

Did I test the lights before hand?

No I did not.

I’ll remember to do that.

Next time.

Good thing dinner was ready. 

This year, Braciole, made the day before.



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