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Genki des!



parenthood and the pursuit of happiness

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another tree. just what we needed!
Genki des!
I’ve been pushing for a fresh tree for years.


We have an artificial tree, pre-lit, that we inherited from my parents, after they couldn’t be bothered to put it up anymore, that we now haul out and assemble about a month before the big day. I’ve got the assembly system down to a science. I don’t even forget to put the skirt on before I put the tree in the base anymore, which is a triumph of epic proportions.

Most of the lights on the old girl are burned out, and I have to add extra strands; I add extra because I like extra, too. It’s BRIGHT. I am a coloured light person; white I typically only use for dim light in my yoga room. Frankly, I prefer the hokey comfort of the multicoloured lights, and I love all the mismatched ornaments, many that I’ve received from my aunt, a former Hallmark store manager, over the years.

Tree is up! It’s all Christmas carols, sugar cookies, eggnog and Irish cream for the next month! Woot woot!

I have ornaments I made with my mother when I was six or seven or something — clear plastic beads placed in a metal frame, baked in the oven and strung on a piece of silk string — and, I have ornaments made by my own children. And I wouldn’t for a moment think to relegate them to a “kid’s tree” in favour of some cookie-cutter matchy-matchy character-less catalog creation. I don’t like perfect, and I am peculiarly judgmental, as you can tell, about people who do whole new colour schemes for their trees every other year. Just ugh. Ugh. But, ya know, do your thing, if that’s your wasteful, boring thing.

We put up the good ol’ faker up in the main basement TV room a few weeks ago, but I wanted the smell of pine in my living room, and I didn’t want to have to use Glade pine-scent candles like I did last year, and so the conversation with my husband, who never wants to do anything more than enough, went something like this.

Me: I think I want a smallish tree upstairs in the sitting room. Just in the corner. Nothing big.
Ben: Well. Where you gonna get it?
Me: Britton’s has some. I just don’t have a tree stand.
Ben: Bah, you don’t need to buy a tree stand. Use a bucket. Rocks.
Me: Rocks from where?
Ben: I’ve got something. And weights.
[Argument about tree stand and whether indoor trees need water omitted.]
Me: Well, okay, I’ll take Taylor with me to get a tree.
Ben: How much you gonna spend on this?
Me: I don’t know. However much I have to spend on this.
Ben: *sigh*
Me: Well, there’s always the trees in the back yard. Or front yard. They’re all going to get cut down sooner or later. Might as well have a purpose for it if we do.
Ben: Really? Which one?
Me: There’s that one on the back corner of the deck, it’s still smallish. [I go look] Yeah, it’s okay.
Ben: *Sigh* just go buy one.
Me: Okaaaay.

Two hours later, he gets back from church and Taylor and I have returned from our shopping trip with a bunch of candy canes, egg nog, and a giant ornamental Santa he's been nagging me about for weeks. They didn’t have a tree stand, and I didn’t feel like taking my chances. He sees me and Tate laying on the couch, watching Home Alone 2, and says, “Where’s the tree?”

I tell him there weren’t any stands.

He runs up stairs and changes out his church fancies for jeans and tee shirt, comes back and says, “You sure? The one on the back corner?”

Me: Uhhhhh. Yeah?

Ben stomps outside with his winter coat on, work boots, a saw and safety glasses and cuts it down and drags it through the sliding doors.

It’s too tall, so he saws off another foot of tree. In the middle of my sitting room. This is not what I had in mind, but I keep my mouth shut. In fact, I’m grinning so hard I think my face will break. It’s hysterical, actually. The Husband Who Never Wants to Do Anything just did something interesting. He cut a fucking tree down and hauled it directly into the middle of my sitting room.

Still grinning, I held the tree upright, guarding my face from the branches while he ran for a bucket — an old super-size of muscle-gainer protein mix container — and weights from his dumb bell set, along with a few paving stones.

My kids were playing a game on the computer while all this was going on. I was all, “Are you guys watching this???” This is memories, dammit.

They were not. Taylor sort of looked up and crooked a smile, not at all sure how this was going to turn out. And once it dawned on the others, all they could ask was, “Are there any bugs on that?”

There was spot or two of bird shit but no bugs. I didn’t say that though. I hauled the white lights out of my yoga room, grabbed all the gold and red ornaments off the “usual” tree, and tossed them on the glorious monstrosity in the corner of the sitting room. No, it doesn’t quite fit there, does it? Behold, the Lwanga’s first REAL Christmas tree.


No, we know. It started to fall down only once. I caught it. I held it up by branch while balancing on the corner of the couch I was standing on while more weights were brought upstairs.

It was wonderful. And if my husband could actually grasp how blissful he made me by doing this, he’d understand how action like this would lead to other kinds of action. Bedroom action. Nudge, nudge… wink, wink.