Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Okay, so we aren't exactly the family off of a Norman Rockwell painting. Because I'm sure they wear gloves. And boots.

I must preface this story with a little background information. Every year since we have lived in this house, we have bought our real Christmas tree from a nursery near our house. Every year, for 4 years.

We go the weekend after Thanksgiving, pick out a fresh Frasier Fir, and the nice boy at the nursery loads it up on top of our car for us.

We even bought our fake, prelit tree from this nursery. And this year our prelit tree, would not light. After about 3 days of turning bulbs, replacing bulbs, and a lot of swearing, K called the nursery in desperation.

"Bring it on in!" they said. "We'll fix it for you...no problem!"

So we loaded it up and drove it back to the nursery. And the next day they called to say they couldn't fix it.


Never have we experienced such customer service. We jumped for joy. We vowed to be customers for life. Any and all future nursery needs would be brought to this mecca of cutomer service.

So this year, when it was time to make the purchase of our real tree for our family room, do you think we would head back to this nursery, like we had done every year before, and where we vowed to shop for all of our nursery needs for the rest of our lives?

No, we did not. Of course not.

And you know that saying about karma coming back to bite you?

It sure did. Or maybe it was the frostbite. But either way, we learned our lesson.

We are not Tree Chopping Down people. We are Go To the Tree Lot and Let Them Tie it on Your Car people.

And this is the story of how we found that out.

It all started a couple of weeks ago. K said to me "The kids are getting older, why don't we try and go cut down our own tree this year?"

And I said, "Sounds fun!"

I immediately got some recommendations on where we 'had' to go, if we were going to go and cut our own tree.

And still, despite a tiny nagging voice in my mind that was screaming "DON'T DO IT" I thought, this could be fun. Cause I am all about fun childhood memories for the kiddos.

And, when K actually offers to leave the house on Saturday and tear himself away from college football, I will go anywhere he wants to.

So, a friend suggested a place about 35 minutes away from home. A place whose website had me firing up my Cocomotion and getting ready to blog my little heart out about all of our new, warm and fuzzy, Christmastime memories.

The website said:
"We're about those long lost traditions from your childhood, when the crisp, cold air held EXCITEMENT while you hunted for the perfect tree with your family by your side. It was knowing that beyond a doubt you had the freshest tree possible while the SMELL of pine & fir saturated every breath you took. It was the JOY of adventure while huge horses pulled an old fashioned wagon into the fields. It isn't a long ago memory....it's still here at XXXX's Tree Farm."

I'm such a sucker for good copy. And breaths that are saturated with the smell of pine.

Now would be a good time to insert in this story about the Winter Storm Warning that much of my area was under for Saturday. I'm sure some people would've take this in to consideration when planning to ride on a wagon out to the middle of a field and be dropped off. But we are not some people.

I believe K even said that "a little snow" would make it perfect weather to go and get a Christmas tree.

He did not however, mention the sleet, freezing rain and STINGING WINDS in this perfect tree chopping weather scenario.

We arrive at the farm, and the snow is really coming down. We visit Mrs. Clause, in a little cute cottage, she gives us candy canes and even writes down the kids names on the 'Good' list. After our little chat about good behavior and good manners with Mrs. Clause we went outside because Gracie had to have a ride on the ponies. And by this time it, the snow, was really coming down. But we persevered. And loaded that girl up on the pony and smiled and waved and took her picture, all while standing there looking like we were Having Fun! And Making Memories!

This is the only photo of our whole day. Sadly our memories of this day of good old fashioned fun are not forever preserved in mega pixels. Because the darn camera got so wet while I was taking pictures by the ponies, it literally shorted out.

After the pony ride is finished, we go and get in line for the wagon, drawn by two Clydesdales, to take us out into the field so we can find that perfect tree. It's snowing, we're wet, and it is just a bit breezy on the wagon ride. But still, we persevere.

The wagon pulls up to the middle of a large, hilly, rocky field and drops us off. And it leaves. Oh, yes it did. Bye-bye Clydesdales and wagon. Don't forget where you dropped us off.

And now, I can tell K is rethinking this whole chop your own tree down thing.

Because upon looking at him carrying the saw, I realize he does not have any gloves on.

I guess when I called out 17 times that morning "DOES EVERYBODY HAVE THEIR HATS AND MITTENS?", he didn't realize that I was talking to him.

Or else I just didn't make it clear enough that everybody should, in fact, bring their hats and mittens.

At least he had his baseball cap on. That sure kept his ears covered and dry.

So we start walking, because of course, all of the trees that used to be near the wagon drop off spot, are gone. I asked someone who had a tree where they found it and they dropped their shoulders, hung their head, and pointed to a hill in the distance that looked to be in Iowa, and said 'right over there.'

Now, have I mentioned it is cold? And wet. And raining/icing/sleeting at this point. And did I mention about the wind? Because, oh the wind. I believe Gracie may have screamed "MY CHIN IS STINGING" about once, or even 14, times. It was like someone should've issued a winter storm warning or something.

And you know the most dangerous thing about walking through a Christmas tree field? It's not the saw being wielded by a very cold and crabby, under dressed dad with no gloves. It's not even the threat of frostbite. It's the stumps on the ground from the trees that have already been cut. And did you know that when they are covered with a dusting of snow, they are nearly invisible to see? My son may have found this out the hard way. Fall after fall. Which of course caused him to cry. Like he wasn't wet enough. The extra moisture on his cheeks was really necessary in the cold, stinging wind.
Now I know that nothing screams holiday memories like a crying, whining five year old who wants to be carried through a tree field.

I also found out the hard way that my Fiona needs new shoes. Because her foot started to get a little wet. From the big gaping hole in the bottom of her gym shoes.
I could not make this up if I tried.

And then there was Choppy, whose feet were cold. Do you really think I need to remind an 8 year old to wear socks in December? When we are going to a Christmas tree farm? And it is snowing? And she is the most responsible child I have? Apparently, I do. But, at least she had her hat and gloves on.

And, I may have snapped at my three year old who was still screaming about her STINGING CHIN. And even though I'm sure the people at the Iowa border could hear her, I probably did not handle her freezing-rain-bouncing-off-her-chin-problem, very well. I may have told this three year old to "Suck! It! Up!"

I'm not proud.

Or mother of the year.

I was able to regroup enough to start singing "Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!" at the top of my lungs in an effort to be Cheery! And Fun! And make the best of it! Because we were making memories people!

My people on the other hand, were not that into it. They were acting like they were out in the middle of nowhere during a winter storm. With no socks. Or gloves.

But for now, that is about all the horror my brain will let me recall of this tree chopping expedition. Tomorrow, I'll let you know just how long it took for those Clydesdales to come back and get us.

That is, if they ever did come back.


Jul said...

Like I said before reminiscent of the Clark Griswold experience in Christmas Vacation- only with no Uncle Eddie!

MotoMom said...

You did indeed make some memories! Sorry for laughing. :) I hope you are all defrosted and have all fingers and toes still intact.

ValleyGirl said...

Ahhh, just think, 20 years from now, this will be remembered as BY FAR THE FUNNIEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!! Quite the adventure. I'm looking forward to Part II!

Family Adventure said...

Lisa...you are giving me the chills just reading about your sockless, mittless adventure. And a STINGING CHIN.

Ouch! Heidi

Staciesmadness said...

ah yes, the joys of cutting down your own Christmas tree. good times.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

See, now that's why we live in the Midwest and not in Hawaii. So we can have adventures!

I look forward to Part 2. And now, if you'll excuse me, I feel the sudden urge to go make some hot chocolate.

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

Oh sweetie, that sounds positively HORRIBLE. I cannot imagine any embellishment being necessary in the horrors that you laid out before us.

Pictures of the tree that was obtained under the worst circumstances EVER KNOWN TO MAN! must be posted. We'll be waiting!

chickadee said...

oh dear. i'm cold just thinking about it. the poor wet footed daughters and the stinging chin of the baby are just too much. i would have been calling for the carriage.

gordostyle said...

Oh my gosh...I'm totally rolling! Laughing out loud even. I thought our experiences cutting our own trees were bad enough...but I'm really sorry (but kind of thankful) to say, that none have been this bad.

Now that it's over...look back and laugh your hiney's off - it will make it all worth it....someday! :o)

Thanks for sharing!

Tamara said...

Thanks for your story. You have just saved me from a similar fate. I almost gave in this year but I will JUST SAY NO!

FernandoDownUnder said...


Do they have a special award for killing your readers with laughter?

Annie said...

Oh, brings back "wonderful" memories of our tree hunting escapades. I'll have to blog about them some other time, but they won't be as funny as yours!

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Please tell me that you have since gone back to the Heavenly Nursery and gotten yourself a damn tree?

Darcy said...

Oh my, this was hillarious! I totally agree with the first commenter that this story is like a version of Christmas Vacation! Please don't tell us your hubby lost the saw in the snow and you had to take the tree home, root ball and all. :)

Can't wait for Part 2!

my wonderful men... said...

Someday you will look back on this and be able to laugh with the kids and their children.

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

Suck! It! Up! So glad to know I'm not the only mom that gets rattled to the extremes sometimes. :)

I must say, I laughed out loud at this post. I am sorry to laugh at your poor, cold, wet, stinging, tripping, whining, crying, frostbitten toe family, but oh. my. word. that was funny. Bless y'alls hearts. (yes, we really say that down here)

You made some great memories that day. You really did. And since it was so insanely cold and on the brink of torture, I'm sure your kids will remember it, too... and laugh... one day. :)

Go bust out that cocomotion machine ! Warm wishes to all! :)

PLO said...

I had a very similar experience last year, I don't even have a tree up yet this year. My children are always running out of the house with a pink hat, purple scarf, green gloves, and boots 3 sizes too big(or small) for them. I am so organized! Ha!