Al* reminded me this weekend that I haven’t introduced the world to my Christmas tree this year, and we discussed the reason why.
Okay, this is already getting complicated but the problem is I truly don’t know where to begin. Do I start with whose fault it is, or the first problem, or the end result?
Hang on, let’s address the end result issue:
Yeah, that’s as good as it’s going to get. Because—as everyone knows by now—I hate this house and everything about it, but right now I especially hate that it’s left me with nowhere but this awkward placement for my Christmas tree. So it’s really difficult to get in one frame without also catching either the dog feeders or the clutter on the kitchen table or the moving boxes still stacked behind that chair in the living room (I need to craigslist those, I really do). You may also note that this tree is not as well lit as my usual work, or as heavily decorated. This is because of The Other Thing, so let’s back up a bit, shall we?
Our anniversary was… less than magical. I mean, thank you for coming by and reading about how much we love each other but there’s a reason I didn’t post a cute story about the romantic thing we did that day.
We came home from bringing our Brindle hound into the vet (routine blood work, she’s fine and will live to be twenty; I’ve decided and none dare oppose me) to find that the Big Good Boy
had elected to reenact select scenes from the movie Carrie. All. Over. The. House. Bloody pawprints everywhere, blood halfway up his leg, it was a mess. I was sure he’d torn a nail and sent Husband back to start cleaning up the mess while I investigated whether he needed a wrap or a trim when I heard the scream.
Husband had found a puddle of blood you could drown a toddler in.**
Right about now you’re thinking, “Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a story about her Christmas tree?” Yes, and if you’ll hold on a moment we’re getting to that bit. But first we have to deal with the sick dog and all the blood, don’t we?
So I examined the blood—yep, I’m a freak like that, don’t judge—and immediately determined that he’d vomited it up. I called the vet about this while Husband started the cleanup process, looking for anything that could explain this amount of internal bleeding. Our protagonist, one Very Big Good Boy, pranced around (if you’ve never seen a 90 lb dog prance you haven’t laughed) leaning on everyone to let us know he was Very Sorry for the mess and was feeling just fine thankyouverymuch and didn’t really need to go to the vet after all.
Our vet disagreed.
If you’ve never walked a prancing 90 lb dog into an emergency veterinary hospital, knowing full well you’re paying several hundred dollars just to cross their doorstep, you haven’t cursed all that creatively.
He’s fine, by the way—he just got his dainty esophagus a little irritated and then ate too quickly, which caused some bleeding, which snowballed because he does everything bigger than normal dogs.
But Husband and I still came home to clean up, on our hands and knees and anniversaries, a lot of bloody vomit.***
After that, I needed a fucking Christmas tree. Which we hadn’t gotten yet because we’d been traveling and busy until then. So!
ME: (wandering, disappointed and disheveled)
TREE GUY: Can I help ya find somethin’?
ME: Well… yeah. See, I think my tree is not out here (gestures at lovely set-up trees) I think you put it back there (points at back of lot with piles of Secret Trees, which everyone knows are better)
TG: (confused) Oh, did you already buy a tree and we put it back—
ME: Nonono, I just looked around at all of these (gestures) and they’re not… They don’t have… You know?
TG: Oh! Okay, You’re just lookin’ for somethin’ special and these are a little…
TG: Well, we did get some new ones in today, but they’re still pretty cold…
ME: That’s fine!
TG: Let’s go have a look… Now there’s these—
ME: No, I need shorter needles this year.
TG: Okay, good to know. So we’ve got these gorgeous Frasiers over here…
TREE: (stands upright, creates zone of Christmas Perfection)****
TG: Did… did it just start snowing?
ME: It did!
HIM: Uh… What about those cheaper ones over there?
TG: Yeah, we can have a look at those.
HIM: (quietly) You said we were going to spend less on the tree. Because of the vet.
ME: (sadly) I know.
TG: So we have these Scotch Pines… They’ve got a real nice look to them, very full, and I think they’ll give you a balance between the look you want and the sturdiness we were talkin’ about.
TG: (spins tree)
HIM: I like it!
TG: You want this one? I could do it for… (quotes price)
ME: (to Husband) You think this is our tree?
HIM: I do.
HIM: (firmly) I really do.
ME: Okay. Wrap it up! You deliver, right?
TG: We do!
And I tipped the delivery guy in cookies and it was a perfect Christmas miracle.
Of course not! Husband should never pick the tree! He is not the Harbinger of The Christmas Spirit! I am!
And I’m allergic to this fucking tree.
That’s why it’s barely lit and sparsely decorated: every needle poke was like a hypodermic full of fire. I’m still (gross alert!) scabby from some of the sticks. I broke out in hives the first day I tried to light it, every inch of my arms (I wore a tank top) except for my hands which I always protect with nitrile gloves. (I don’t know why, but sap does not wash off your hands; arms yes, hands no. It’s one of the great mysteries of the universe)
To be fair, it’s not just me. Husband had to finish the lighting (hence the upper third being even dimmer, because he can’t do it the way I do) when I was covered in hives and screaming every time I brushed up against the damned thing. Sure enough, he complained of pain too, though he didn’t get it as bad as I did.
AL: Was it at least worth it?
ME: No. It stabbed me through sleeves and Benadryl didn’t work and it’s only meh after all that.
AL: This deserves an Actual Conversation, if he picked the Tree of Poison.
ME: He’s never picking our tree again.
* Whom you may remember as the friend who is ultimately responsible for all of this. Thank her or blame her, she’s the one who talked me into putting the random crap we say to each other out there for public consumption.
** I’m guessing. We didn’t test that, obviously. We don’t keep a toddler handy for things like that and also we were way too freaked out by the sheer volume of blood to worry about how we’d tell the story later. Apologies.
*** And diarrhea, because the medicine they gave him to settle his stomach caused diarrhea. Like I said…
**** This actually happened. Husband later asked—I am not making this up—“Why didn’t we just get that tree?” I stormed off before I could hit him with the poison one.