Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hoisting the Beast

Sunday we set off with the Buckfield Brood to get our annual Christmas tree. We don't travel very far. Maybe five miles. It's a happy jaunt just down the road a piece in our Suburban, pictured here. I drive it, because it's a big man's job.

Our house has 16-foot ceilings so we try to get a tree that fits. There's a local tree farm where you can drive in and around the rows of firs until you find the right match. They have little fat ones. Tall scrawny ones. Medium-sized ones with bald spots, the kind your dad would get and hide the dead spot by facing it in the corner.

Then there are our type of trees, way up on the highest point of the tree farm hill. Tall, majestic, pitch-covered trees. Full suckers. Takes me an hour to cut through the base as the other seven stand around and complain about the cold.

When the tree is cut down, it's hoisted up onto the Suburban. Reference the picture here.

I'm the one operating the crane, because it's a big man's job.

So, we drive back to the homestead, the one with the 16-foot ceilings.

And once we're back, the real fun begins. It's a technical process of measuring the distance between the ceiling and the floor. Then, cutting the base of the tree to length.

This takes eight trips back and forth, from house to tree, because measuring from the ceiling to the floor is a straight shot, whereas measuring a tree bows the tape measure and I never get the proper read.

And, of course, the saw I use came with the house, and tends to dull after just one pass. I've included it here for your viewing enjoyment. It's got a cool handle, but the blade is for shit. That's the technical term, I think.

So, after I've cut it to its appropriate length, Harrison, my oldest son (14), Ty, my oldest step-son (11), and Griffin, my youngest son, (5 months) drag the beast into the house. I am at the base, the heaviest part, because that's a big man's job. Harrison, Ty, and Griffin are at the tree top.

We stagger, grunt, groan, push, pull, and wedge the tree through the porch door the width of 16 inches. Then, it's a process of angling it through the main door, which, of course, is at a 90 degree angle to the porch door. This means walking the tree down the length of the porch to clear the porch door, then bending the tree so that it makes it through the main door.

Are you following me? Can you hear me swearing? Griffin is the only one smiling at this point. (See photo for proof)

He just sits there on the couch smiling at everyone. He smiles biggest when I use the F-word. (Oh, relax, like you've never sworn in front of your kids before.)

The tree then must pass through another door before it has made it's final destination: our expansive livingroom.

Here, it sits on the floor in the middle of the room while Harrison, Ty, and I cough up blood. And Griffin smiles, of course.

Meanwhile, Corrine and the girls (Fallon, Alyssa and Gabrielle) have been working on unwinding the tree lights and untangling the cursed metal hooks used in hanging the ornaments.

Once done, the tree goes up. A process of every one of use finding a point along the tree and tilting it upright, so long as it stays in the base. Last year, the base snapped in three places and I had to drop everything and go to the local hardware store to buy a new, industrial strength model.

Like most tree stands, this one has screws that you turn into the base to give the tree stability, but you have to make sure you tighten them equally or the tree will fall. Like it did last year.

Next, bungee cords. There are two eyehook screws screwed into the window sills on either side of the tree. One end of the bungee cord loops through these, the others are looped onto branches deep within the tree. Everyone lets go, and if it doesn't fall over, then I issue a proclamation that anyone touching the tree will be shot where they stand.

We actually got the tree in record time this year, had it hoisted much more quickly than last, and it was decorated by the end of the evening. It's wicked huge. I'll have more pictures later, i just gotta go to Wal-Mart and get them developed.

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