Tree Trauma

In my opinion, a real Christmas tree is the only way to go. Fake trees are just — fake. Real trees look better, and I love the way they smell. My family had a fake tree for several years (I call those The Dark Years). We even bought a can of “Christmas Tree” scented air freshener to spray on the tree, and it just didn’t do the trick.
Lee, on the other hand, dreads getting our real Christmas tree every year. I think he enjoys the tree once it’s up, but every year he says we should just get a fake tree because real trees are so much hassle. So every year, I try to make getting a real tree simple to prove to him that it’s better than a fake tree. Every year, something seems to go wrong.
This year, we went to one lot, and the trees were pretty but really pricey. We decided to patronize the Lion’s Club lot, where the trees are cheaper and our money helps someone. They were practically wiped out of trees, but a volunteer followed us around, picking up trees to help us choose. With him tagging along, it would’ve been impossible to whisper, “These trees are scrawny, let’s go somewhere else,” and quietly leave. And in my effort to keep things simple, I didn’t want to drag Lee to a third tree lot. So we picked a tree that was green and fat but very short, and tied it to the roof of the car.
So it wasn’t the best Christmas tree ever, but it was cheap and for charity. At home, Lee got out the tree stand and we managed to get the tree standing upright and stable fairly quickly. I filled the stand with water, then went out to our garage to grab the tree skirt, marveling at how well things were going. On my way, I fell down the back steps and nearly twisted my ankle. This was no mere stumble. I was actually on my butt in the grass at the bottom of the steps. I shook it off.
Back inside, I began sweeping around the tree so I could put the skirt down when I saw a large puddle nearby. At first, I thought one of the animals tried to mark the tree or something, until I bent closer and realized water was seeping from beneath the tree stand. There was a leak somewhere.
This was practially my worst Christmas tree nightmare. Two years ago, we had a horrible tree stand experience that resulted in us going through three tree stands in one night. That year, Lee was forced to hold the Christmas tree up for hours while I went out shopping twice for a new stand, and he was stuck listening to a poor selection of Christmas Carols during a depressing radio show. If I wanted to prove to Lee this year that real trees are great, having a problem with the tree stand was not going to help.
We dragged the tree and stand outside, and I headed to Wal-Mart to buy a nearly identical tree stand. Now the tree is upright again, and the stand doesn’t appear to be leaking. We don’t have lights or ornaments on it yet, but really, I think it’s a good looking tree. Short, yes, but still pretty and green. And very fragrant.
I still think real trees are better. And I guess it’s a testament to his love for me that Lee continues to let me get one every year, even if it always invites trauma.

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