Flawed tree may be a keeper

Jan. 21, 2022
by Andrew Meuleners

I took a couple of weeks off of writing a column. Did you miss me? It was not for any important reason other than the fact that I got busy and missed my own self-imposed deadlines. Also it has been a couple of hard weeks honestly.

I turned 44 on Jan. 6, and let me tell you, I didn’t not want to reminisce about my birthday last year. Needless to say there was a lot going on that day for me, and no not everything had to do with what was going on in Washington D.C. We had a hard day as a family that day last year, and I really would rather forget it.

I am not sure if I have mentioned it before, but I am not one who likes to spend money especially on things that you use only once a year. My wife is a wonderful person, and she puts up with me and my need to complain about purchasing things that I deem unnecessary. A few years ago we purchased a pre-lit Christmas tree.

“You will never need to put Christmas lights on your tree again. They will magically light every year for eternity.” I swear it said on the box when we bought it. It was a “deal” my wife said. She said we were saving so much money on not having to buy a real tree every year, and we will just pull this one out every year and, boom, it will be ready to go.

Even at the price we paid which was half off, it seemed like an enormous amount of money to pay for something I was very skeptical about purchasing in the first place. Pre-lit with lights, wrapped around each branch, zip tied to make sure they stay put. It seemed too good to be true. Guess what, it was.

Three years after we purchased this “tree of the future” the lights went out. Oh, I tried to replace bulbs and everything else, but I eventually gave up and we went and purchased more lights to put over the lights that we already had on the tree.

That was two years ago. We have been buying lights to put on it ever since. This year my wife said to me, ‘we should buy a new Christmas tree, one that isn't pre-lit’, I said “Why? We have one already.” She didn’t seem to find that comment as amusing as I did.

The thing is we both really liked the tree that we have now, we just wished that it was not full of lights that didn’t work. We started looking at other trees and none of them that we found really met the expectations that we had for a tree.

First almost all of them were pre-lit and secondly all of them were fall over, pass out crazy expensive. So I had an idea, a wonderful but terrible idea. I thought why don’t we cut the lights off the old tree and then we would have the best of both worlds. A tree we liked and one that didn’t cost me any more money.

Fast forward to this past weekend, NFL football playoff weekend and as I am watching the first game of the day, I see her start cutting the lights off the tree. I am sitting there thinking “sweet,” she is going to cut the lights off the tree and I won’t need to spend money on a new one. Then it happened, she said “aren’t you going to help me?”

I froze there for a second, then acted like I didn’t hear, her, she said again, “aren’t you going to help me.” I looked around and said “who are you talking to?” “You,” was her reply, and it was downhill from there. I tried to plead my case, saying it was the playoffs, and she said that it was my idea to keep this tree in the first place, and that she certainly could find another tree for us. I begrudgingly decided to help.

I did eventually get my oldest to come help us with this more than joyous act of family bonding and about a couple of hours later we were done. After everything was over we shared our war stories, showed off our battle wounds, and commiserated together about how it almost got us, but that we eventually prevailed.

Was it worth it? The jury is still out on that one. I am not sure my oldest thinks it was a good use of his time. I know my wife definitely thinks it was worth her time, and as for me, I have learned that sometimes it is best to keep my opinions to myself.

Have a great week!

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