posted by Joe Anaya on December 22nd, 2014

When we moved into our house, our first Christmas was an adventure of epic proportions. And I mean that literally. Our living room is an open concept to the dining room with tall vaulted ceilings, a perfect place for a nice big Christmas tree. My wife declares, “Let’s get the biggest tree that will fit in the living room.” I’m totally in sync; I love going overboard and a gigantic indoor pine tree is just the thing.

So, at its apex, the ceiling is roughly 13 feet high. The evergreen dominating the two rooms, the star at the highest point in the room centered by two windows; I can see this picture-perfect vision in my mind’s eye.

My wife finds a tree farm not too far from our house. One of my complaints about where we live has been that we live way out in a suburb of Los Angeles. We are so far out that now instead of driving out to the country to get a tree, we have to drive “towards town” to get to the tree farm.

Anyway, at the tree farm, we hop in the back of a pickup truck and go on what can only be described as a real-life Indiana Jones ride, including large bumps, deep potholes, dodging branches and steep drop offs. My wife’s knees still buckling, we hop down from the truck and head off in search of our prize tree.

The farm provided a pair of gloves and a bow saw specifically for cutting our chosen specimen; I brought a tape measure. “What about this one?” I asked.

“Nope, it’s crooked at the top,” my wife rejected. She points out, “How about this one?”

I measured, “Nope, it’s only 10 feet.” I offered, “This one’s 13 feet?”

“It’s too shaggy in the middle,” she rejected.

Then we found the perfect tree. Not too shaggy, mostly straight, 12½ feet tall. Just one little bald spot. My wife says, “It’s fine. We can turn that part towards the corner.” Since the tree’s in the middle of the room, I assume she means turn the bald spot towards the wall, but no matter. We’re ready to cut this bad boy down.

I huff and puff lying in my side to cut down this noble beast with the bow saw. My wife flags down “Indy” in the truck and he clambers up the trail to help lug the tree down the hill. “Whoa, that’s a big tree,” Indy whistles. Yeah, it is. It takes three of us to heave it into the bed. We get to the cashier stand and everyone is looking at our tree. “We got a good one,” my wife proudly whispers. I, my wife and Indy, now heave the behemoth from the truck to the roof of my car, hanging over both front and back.

I get the tree home and as I’m finagling the tree into the house, I realize that tall trees are also wide; our front door, not so much. After much shoving, twisting and heaving, the brute is inside. Tall trees are wide. They’re also freaking heavy when lifting solo and most importantly to me that day, their trunks are really big. So big, it won’t fit in our Christmas tree stand.

I head off to the hardware store and pick-up a giant tree stand, i.e., a stand for giant trees. Some branches are too low and in the way of the stand. Off to the hardware store for a branch lopper. Single handedly getting this colossus upright, in the stand and straight was one of my more daunting tasks, never mind the divot in the hardwood floor from all this weight and lifting and dropping. Finally, job done, I proudly call my wife into the room.

I stand back to bask in the glow of this glorious monument to excess, a giant tree dominating the middle of the room, it’s peak perfectly matching the height of our vaulted ceiling. My wife enters the room and exhales a quiet, “Oh my.” Her breath is taken away with the sight. Well, not so much. “Not there, I meant in the corner.”


She continues the spirit-breaking clarification, “I want it to go in the corner. That thing’s way too big.”

“Yeah, it’s big. You wanted ‘the biggest tree that will fit in the living room,” I snarl.

“But not that big,” she replies with no acknowledgement of guilt, no remorse and no self-awareness of her part in this spectacle.

“You were there when we picked it out,” I exclaim.

She demurs, “Honey, you know I have no sense of size.”

Now needing to cut off the bottom 3 feet of my King of Trees, I try a hand saw (gets stuck), a hack saw (too small), and a circular saw (won’t cut deep enough). I give up and head off to the hardware store again, to get a bow saw and hack off the bottom of this evergreen beast. I forced the larger tree stand onto the bottom of the tree and heaved the now 9-foot tree up and skoochted it into the corner with tears in my eyes.

Oh, I wasn’t sad, I kept getting poked in the eyes with the branches and pine needles, and lower back pain.

File Under Jack of all Trades