Monday, December 05, 2011

Titanic Tree

"It isn’t bigger than the one you had last year” Ironman said as I stared at the tree towering two feet above my head. Despite my saying, and knowing full well, that it was taller, bigger, fuller and heavier than last year’s Christmas tree, it seemed like a good idea to purchase it anyway. Note to self, trees outdoors in a park are not smaller than they appear.

If Ironman’s faith in his statement waivered, or any doubt seeped into his noodle his face didn’t betray it. Not when we had to lay his passenger seat down, remove the headrest and bend the top foot of the tree to get it in the car. Don’t even get me started on the argument about putting it on the roof (that has racks, just FYI).

Not when we realized my fantastic flora specimen had to come in the house throw the second floor balcony because it wouldn’t go through the door from the garage to the house. And not when I had to take an extra four inches off the bottom to get it in the stand and to keep the top from scraping the ceiling did a bead of sweat form on his brow.

Despite all that, she was in place and by far the biggest tree I have ever had. When it comes to certain things, and Christmas tree decorating is one of them, I am NOT a patient man. I told myself, leave it for a day, let it drink and the branches fall. As it was late in the day and I had to feed my man, I turned my attention to other things.

Next morning, I was off to Fergus for a visit with me mum and then went to teach a yoga class. After that, there was no holding me back! I popped the cork on my traditional bottle of tree trimming champagne, prepared a plate of nibbles and got to work on the lights.

Illumination perfection achieved, I opened the first of four, disgusting I know, Rubbermaid bins and started through my twinkling treasures. Side note, four bins is not all I have. These each contained one of this year’s four colours – red, green, gold & assorted traditional, but not touched and still in storage, I have bins of purple, pink, blue, silver and other sundry Christmas décor.

After five hours of talking to my favourite pieces, literally squealing at extra pretty ones I forgot I had, the last of the ornaments was nestled among the branches. A couple times, I chastised myself for not following my tree decorating rules, none of the ornaments can touch and they all must hang freely; ornaments hanging at odd angles on a tree angers me.

The aforementioned ‘last’ one was from the traditional box and was a HUGE hand painted glass Santa whispering to a little girl. It must have weighed a couple pounds. I say ‘was’ and ‘must have been’ as it is no more. I also mentioned my visit to Fergus and mother’s as it is an integral part of this little tale.

After describing my lumber adventures, my wise mother said “I hope you tied it to the wall, you have a lot of glass ornaments”. I told her I did not as there was no need, me being an expert wood erector, and the wall behind the tree has a lovely mirror that reflects the light and there was not place to secure it.

Listen up, your mother’s advice is always something to heed. Maybe not ALL of it at face value, but in there, somewhere is a seed, speck or nugget that you must follow. Setting that aside, and despite having had my own Futility experience years ago (IronGirl still claims her cat was in her room at the time) I ignored the experts for the glitter of the mirror and left my tree freestyle.

Much like the first class passengers of the ship that holds such fascination for me, I went to bed last night, rather proud of myself and with a nice buzz from the bubbles.

Those that know me know I am not a morning person. I don’t sleep until noon or anything and I am usually up by 7:00 on the weekends. But do I jump out of bed with a smile on my face? Nay, gone are the days of full blast Madonna mornings. I need to ease into the day and be thoughtful and deliberate with my actions lest I find myself peeing on the floor or poking myself in the eye with a spoon. Not at the same time or in the same room. Just for the record.

At 5:37 this morning, the sugar plums stopped dancing and I heard the repeated tinkle and pop of glass dancing across the hardwood floor. “No no no no no no…..” was all I could get out as I raced downstairs. If you want me out of bed maintenant, push over my Christmas tree. And that is not a metaphor for anything.

My ears had not deceived me, as I feared, it was ornament carnage. Being a tree snob, I don’t do plastic ornaments so the smash factor was all the more devastating. I am not one to panic and think I would be rather good in an emergency situation. Keep calm and carry on and all that. To back up that claim, I reference the party I went to where a tiki torch leaked oil and caught on fire.

Damp cloths, flour and water attempts at dousing tried and failed, it was I that went to the hall and got the fire extinguisher. I also kept my cool during the pit-bull attack so snaps for me.

Tree down and water already out of the basin, there was no point in trying to right to the tree. It would only lead to another fall and potentially more shattering.

I plucked what favourites I could from the sides of the tree as they were clinging on like those on the overturned collapsible of Titanic herself. Setting vanity and decorating ego aside, I removed the mirror and secured two hooks into the wall and fed twine through. It was then time to raise the tree for the second time.

Securing her with new guy wires, I mopped up what water wasn’t already collected by the tree skirt and then started the search for victims. The death toll wasn’t as bad as I had feared. There were 17 ornament tops in the rubble but I expect, much like the lifeboat found floating months after the Titanic disaster with bodies still in it, I will find more under furniture and down heating vents when I do a good clean in the spring. Among those lost was the JJ Astor of the tree, my monstrous glass ornament from Poland. I have to wonder if it’s weight, much like the ships too small a rudder, was a factor in sealing the trees fate?

Luckily, none of my great-grandmothers ornaments were lost and most of the others I can replace either at Canadian Tire, Kitchen Stuff Plus, Peir 1 or, for my precious Martha Stewart ones, I hope eBay will prove a fruitful replacement stomping ground. It was her red feathered glass ones that produced the tears.

Also unharmed were my corner cabinet, chesterfield, coffee table and sideboard. Falling to the right would have been a fateful blow to my miniature nativity collection and two oil lamps. If they were taken out and there was a spark, who know what might have happened?

As a reminder about the importance of securing my tree in the future, will keep the little girl from the Polish ornament who, aside from being cut off at the knees, I still giving me that “your mother told you so” smile.

I told you so.

Victims above, Off tree survivors below


Blogger Blair said...

Expert wood erector. Bwaaa.

I thought I heard something smash from down the street!

5:49 PM  
Blogger IronGirl said...

No feline to blame this time. Winnie did do it... hee hee...

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Momma said...

Oh my dear, I am so sorry. I suppose the good news is that you were home when it happened and didn't come home to soaked floors. I will not say I told you so. No no, not me.

4:59 AM  

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