i was left having to purchase a bushy, tiny tiny tree for violet from urban outfitters and then had to battle my wits to figure out what to do about the family tree.
i dragged various configurations of my family around to different stores: kohl's, target, garden ridge (god help me). i assaulted the internet endlessly: amazon, ebay, google, department store websites.
i knew i wanted silver or white, but all i was finding was that one white tree with the iridescent needles mixed in. i worried about the gaps between the branches and, since i'm always hopelessly indecisive and lacking in design vision when it comes to my own home, i just kept visiting that tree in different locations.
finally, as a result of what i took to be fate, i found a little number on chiasso.com and brian placed the order. it arrived lickety split. i must've had ill-fitting hair on, or something, because i knew the ups man was coming and i saw his truck arrive and i heard the foyer door open, but i had no desire to face him head on. he was incredibly quiet, as i was listening intently and heard no xmas tree thud outside the door. i realized why when i went to check: the poles of the tree had burst from their confines and i suppose the delivery man did not want to deal with the aftermath. fortunately, the only damage done was to a piece of plastic that had to be removed for assembly anyhow.
i managed to pull the box inside while oliver was otherwise occupied and decided to be surprised when we found it together so i could tell him santa had somehow popped it into our house all magically like. it was oliver who discovered the large, red stamp of santa himself alongside his snow-covered cottage on the exterior of the box. this supported my story a great deal.
once brian arrived on the scene, the assembly work began. i started to fret we'd made the wrong decision, especially since i had, in the interim, seen that same haunting white tree in a storefront window at northpark mall looking all glorious and full-limbed. this one is silver and comes with the branches impossibly clumped together. it took at least one full day of me stopping by to periodically work on it, until violet would cry 10 minutes later, for it to stop looking frighteningly bare.
saturday morning, oliver and i got to work on it while violet and brian slept. i wound two strands of lights around it and pulled out this giant tub of 69 multi-colored ornament balls i had purchased from the target. i wasn't left with many choices, especially if i didn't want them covered in glitter. which i didn't, because glitter is about as big a scourge as styrofoam peanuts. they can both go and burn in hell together, as far as i'm concerned. so there was that bounty of 69 ornaments. they were graduated in size and i pulled free all those colored hot pink, pickle juice green, and turquoise. the red and purple had no place in my plan.
oliver had me put them in the large, plastic kitchen bowl he had recently inherited from my kitchen. he put on the first half and directed me in putting on the second half.
i became increasingly pleased with the results.
the following day, we put on the annual ornaments. this year, we each got a vintage rudolph reindeer ornament. since i had picked up a set of five, i told brian the remaining deer was for our unborn third child.
oh dear. the other afternoon, i left our front door to go retrieve oliver from school. robert was out there. he was standing by the large oak that stands halfway between our condos and he had dragged a string of lights out his door to the tree and was trying to wrap it around a large branch. i like to think he was as infected with glee by all the light-covered tree trunks around here as i've been (there is a gigantic xmas-light wonderland up the road at this old, massive apartment consortium. i think someone had a big wreck there last week because they were agog by the spectacle). joanne must've put the kibosh on his activity, as the lights and robert were both missing upon our return.
i taught oliver how to make a xmas chain this week, as he has no recollection of making one last year. i was rather impressed with his scissoring abilities. he hung the short chain in the window and we relished the fact that this was likely to make ann's skin set afire. "bedsheet" curtains, a gaudy silver tree, and a crookedly hung xmas chain. and robert's xmas light handiwork. surely there's no accounting for that in the condo association rules.
i had a case of the fecal urgency all day saturday, and i think this extended to the kids, so i spent much of the day hanging out on the couch. amid that bit of ugliness, i couldn't stop staring at the tree and all it's sparkly prettiness.