Anyway, yes, I took the massive tree and hauled it to the trunk of my rental car. The kids were with me. The Girl got some plastic tie stuff from the ground. I used it to tie the lid of the trunk down.
I had to be at work in forty-five minutes.
I called the Professor when I got home.
"I got a tree," I said.
"What the heck?! Wow. How'd you do that?"
"I paid for it and got it in the trunk somehow and took it home."
"Cool," he said.
"So---my question is this---I have to be at work in less than an hour. I am not sure if I have enough time to get the thing in the stand AND serve dinner before it gets dark. I will work tomorrow all day long. When you are home with the kids do you think you would put the tree up?"
"Fat chance," he said.
"That's what I thought."
"Better do it now," he said, "if you want us to decorate the thing when you get home. Just get the Oldest to hold the tree up although he will complain the whole time."
I went out to the shed and got the saw. I got the stand. I sawed that stupid trunk until my muscles got horrendously sore. I prayed it would be over soon. I thought freakishly for a split second how much I hated Christmas. I put it up and I take it down every ridiculous year. For what? The delight of untangling lights and then taking them down again? So it will look all pretty in a window? I want Christmas to be every other year. I want Christmas to be over already. I hate shopping for presents and I hate how people act when they shop for presents and I hate the little drummer boy and I hate the Jackson Five seeing Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, and I hate Santa Claus.
Meanwhile, the neighbor boy ran up. Eraser Eater bolted out of the house ready to meet him.
"Can the Oldest and Eraser Eater play?" He looked rough. Really rough. One eye was about five times its usual size.
"Did you get in a fight?" I asked him, looking up from my sawing work.
"No, I just came home like this, I don't know what's wrong with my eye."
I looked up at him again. Yep. Sure enough, his eye was oozing yellow crud.
"You have conjunctivitis and you are highly contagious. You must get off my property and go on home."
He moaned in disappointment.
I just wanted to get this dumb tree hacked. Gee whiz.
Eraser Eater moved forward. "But Mom, we can just play a little ball outside, it won't hurt!"
He grabbed a football from the yard and threw it at the oozing eye kid. The oozing eye kid threw it at him and pelted him straight in the nose. Eraser Eater bellowed out in pain, crying piteously and ran inside on the spot.
"See ya later!" I said to the oozing eye kid. The kid turned and went home.
Finally the saw met the ground and declared it finished the job. For a split second I imagined my finger sawn off just for a stupid Christmas tree. I imagined rushing into an emergency room holding my severed finger in my hand begging them to put it back on. But then I halted in mid sentence and embraced my handicap. Perhaps if I lost a finger over this stupid Christmas tree the Professor would do it from now on.
I stood the thing up. It was fairly tall. My Oldest tapped on his window to say hello from upstairs. I was freezing my ever-living butt off. With a cold nose and a hoarse voice I hollered,
"Get down here!"
He scrambled down and stood on the porch with no shoes on, only socks. This proved to me that he is as much of a twit as me.
"I need you to hold this thing up."
He stepped down from the porch and grabbed the tree trunk.
"How long do I have to do this?!" He had one hand on his hip.
"Until I am done."
"But my feet are cold! You have to hurry! How many screws do you have to twist in?"
"Four? How am I going to do this! I will have to endure frost bite! I am getting colder by the second, I just don't know how this will work, Mom. How straight do you want this? Are you sure you know what you are doing? It is not twisting fast enough for me...I just, I have no coat on, I have no shoes on, my feet are blocks of ice..."
He gasped. I am sure he clutched his chest in horror.
Soon the tree was up and I moved it into the house. I put dinner on the table, got dressed and ran out the door.