Christmas Time is Here!

IMG_2364As a divorced parent, I only get every OTHER year to spend each holiday with the kids. As such, I try twice as hard to make them special.

This year we started the weekend before Thanksgiving. There’s some unofficial rule that makes everyone wait until then, but that was a weekend I didn’t have, so I made the most of it. We busted out the rubbermaid of decorations, and IMG_2355strung some outdoor lights. Last year, I used a screw-in socket to power the lights, but the receptacle felt really fragile. As a result, I decided to replace my front porch light fixture with one that had one built in. Additionally, I added two little spiral trees, which was my after-Christmas sale item from last season.

IMG_1009Thanksgiving was calm and quiet without the kids so Birdy, Lil Pill, and I had a simple meal together. Unexpectedly, my son was able/willing to be dropped off, so he tagged along as we put up lights at Birdy’s house too!IMG_1033

Next, we proceeded to get some hot-liquid treats at Arrowhead Chocolates to warm us for our hay ride. The local businesses were celebrating “Jingle Through Joseph” but we only had time to visit one shop. I’ll have to return, as my son went crazy for its contents. We had hoped to loiter longer, but only ONE business had a burn barrel for pedestrians, so we retreated to the truck to thaw until the parade started.

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In the week following, a front came through, bringing a little snow and some freezing fog which put a natural ‘flocking’ on all our shrubs. With Thanksgiving weekend gone, there was no time to waste, we had to go get our trees!

I used my radio to check in with a friend, telling him where I was headed, when I’d be back, etc. Fortunately, nothing went wrong, so I was able to let him know the coast was clear. No cell service, no problem! IMG_1070

Birdy followed me down the highway, until we found a side road to take. Here, she parked her vehicle, and we continued in the truck. First, we wolfed down her chicken-chili with homemade bread (awesome), and took a potty break. We traveled down the road a ways, and stopped where we saw a few stands of smaller trees. Birdy found hers at the top of a hill, and offered to fetch the chainsaw, while I stayed guard with all the kids. Apparently, that saw was heavier than it looked, lugging it up a snowy hill.

IMG_1091TBear carried the saw, and I the tree, as we tromped back to the truck. We were all a bit tired now, so we had a hydration break. Rather than re-tracing my steps to my “maybe” selection, I scouted down the road, and back the other side. I was rewarded with my choice for the day.

Often, wild trees are a lot skinnier and have less branch density than one bought from a lot. I enjoy the experience and long life, so it’s worth it. However, I sometimes miss the dense canopy of a farm-grown noble fir. This years tree is a bit thicker than normal, as it’s in the early stages of fighting some malady. In addition to removing that from the forest, I’m blessed with a specimen that’s sprung extra branches. A win-win, if you ask me.IMG_1117

It was a much heavier, stockier tree, so I unloaded Birdy’s and put it on top. Another potty break later, and we were ready to go. However, Birdy thought she’d surprise me with a snowball. She hadn’t planned to nail me right in the face, though! After the initial shock wore off, I repaid her deed with slushy kisses IMG_1125off my frozen face. Reassuring her that I wasn’t mad, I then made a snowball of my own. At this point she and the kids were locked safely in the truck, so I stalked them a bit.

After some shenanigans, giggles & taunts, TBear jumped out of the truck running saying, “hUmAn SaCrIfIcE!!!” IMG_1134

“Okaaayyyy,” I thought, then let snow fly. He went down valiantly, saving the rest from what was sure to be a snowy end! With trees loaded, vendettas subdued, I fired up the truck.  I found a nice place to turn around, and headed back. It was a whirlwind tour from there, delivering and erecting Birdy’s tree, then repeating the process for my own house.

IMG_1137Now, as I write this, my “manly” tree is raining down onto my living room floor. The flocking that was once beautiful, turning to puddles. By tomorrow, we’ll have it cleaned up, and get it decorated.

Until next time, I’m hoping you are all having a wonderful season!

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