Why can’t anything just be simple?

In theory it was simple. The christmas tree would be dropped off by my dad, we'd put it into the christmas tree stand then I'd go into the loft, get the decorations and put them up. Time to accomplish task entirely – approx 1 hr. Unfortunately things didn't go quite according to plan.

The first bit went fine, my dad dropped off the christmas tree. It was at this point that 'the plan' and 'the reality' parted company. This was because the bloody christmas tree had a wider stump than I had anticipated, meaning it wouldn't fit in the damned stand. "Ah", says my dad, "You'll have to saw a bit off the side of the stump so it'll fit it". Then he fucks off home, leaving me with an overly stumped christmas tree and no idea what I'm doing.

How hard can it be to saw a bit off the trunk of a christmas tree? I decide to find out. It's dark, it's cold and I can't be arsed going out to the shed to find the saw so I start with the first serrated edged item I can think of – the spare breadknife. After 15 minutes of hard work I am left with a blunt-as-buggery knife, a sore arm and a christmas tree trunk exactly the same size as when I started. I have however managed to remove a 2 inch square piece of bark. Well done me.

So I abandon the breadknife and trek out to the shed. Even getting to the shed is a challenge because I'd forgotten that I'd had the washing out a few days before and the sodding washing line is still strung across the garden. After nearly garroting myself with the line and letting rip with some choice language I reach the shed and realise I can't see anything because it's dark. This is not only a problem because it'll take forever to find the saw but also because now I can't see them, in my head the shed spiders are the size of cats and they are just waiting to jump on my head if I venture into the shed. Clearly I need a torch. So back across the garden I go, not concentrating because I'm thinking about the shed spiders. This time I miss the washing line but hit the patch of slippery moss, sliding 4 feet and then landing hard on my arse. Cue some more fruity language. I collect the torch, go back to the shed (this time without injury), find the saw and head quickly back to the house, hoping no one in the neighbourhood worked out where the swearing came from.

So I begin sawing, taking great care not to saw off my fingers. Unfortunately I'm taking such great care with the end that's near my hand that I don't bother to look what the other end is doing. By the time I think to check where the other end is I've sawed a bloody great gash into Lou's newly wrapped present which is next to the prone christmas tree. Fuckity fuck fuck, stupid DIY. I've been sawing like a demon for bloody ages and again all I've managed to do is remove another curl of bark. How is it that I managed to buy the one and only bionic christmas tree? Clearly the saw is a no go so I need another idea. I sit back to think about it and go and get a glass of wine.

After the second glass of wine I've hit on a new plan. People make sculptures out of wood don't they?  So maybe I can 'sculpt' the end of the christmas tree into the shape I want. Brilliant. So I refill the wine glass and set off to find the neccessary tools, returning with an icepick and a hammer. I work in health and safety and am VERY sensible at ALL times so I decide that this could be dangerous and I need eye protection. My work protective glasses are in my car, which is in a garage somewhere being mended after a lorry broke it so I need an alternative. Hmmmmm…..I know, I'll use my sunglasses out of the car I've borrowed. So when the husband gets home I am sitting on the floor of the living room, half pissed, wearing sunglasses, surrounded by sawdust and bark chipping, hacking away at a christmas tree truck. And it would be at that precise moment that the fucking head comes off the hammer wouldn't it? Of course it would.

He quickly ascertains that my efforts have been largely fruitless and I'm now getting pissed off so decides to bring out the big guns. Apparently upstairs we have a small angle grinder. Who knew? Fortunately not me because even I know that dry Muscat and an angle grinder don't mix well. Sadly we don't have a blade that cuts wood but maybe one of the other blades will work. He fixes one on and gives it a go. There's a hideous screeching noise, a lot of smoke, the dog shoots under the table and after a minute or so he shuts it off. No, it won't work. So now not only is the christmas tree STILL too big for the stand but the dog is having a nervous breakdown and the house smells of burning. Marvellous.

So what else can we do? It's my dad who finally comes up with the only sensible idea yet to emerge, cut the bottom foot off the tree because it tapers and a foot up it will be thinner. So the husband duly cuts the bottom off the tree and hey presto – it fits. 2 hours and 3 glasses of wine achieves bugger all but 5 minutes of sawing straight across gets the job done, even if I do now have a 5 foot tree instead of a 6 foot one. And this is why I'm not a carpenter. Take my advice – if you need something practical doing, don't ask me to do it.   

 

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24 Responses

  1. I suppose this isn't a good time to wish you Merry Christmas?

  2. Ah no, that would be fine because after the 4th glass of wine it was just funny. Especially when the husband stood up and he had bark ground into his trouser leg that looked like bird poo. And it's all decorated and lovely now. Happy Christmas!!

  3. In that case, Merry Xmas, and have a wine for me.

  4. That sounds like quite a battle!!! I was worrying slightly when you were on your 2nd glass of wine with a sharp implement in your hand that you were somehow going to saw your leg off! Glad there was a happy ending.

  5. Sadly most of my really ridiculous accidents have been while sober so I don't even have that excuse. Thinking on it I probably could have hurt myself but I have learned from the experience, grown wiser as a person and am next year going to measure the bastard tree stand and the tree trunk to make sure that the two work together.

  6. The same thing happened with my tree actually but my solution was to trot over to a nearby store and grab a bigger stand. Of course this was after I'd already wasted
    the same two hours as you beforehand trying to cram the obviously too big bottom down in the old stand. Eventually, the damn thing cracked open and spilled the water out all over the rug, water which I had put in prematurely since they had stressed the importance of getting it in water as quickly as possible. They had also asked me at the tree place if I wanted them to pre-mount my tree in a stand for fifteen more dollars and I of course declined thinking I was saving cash. The new stand cost about thirty. Plus the price of the wine.

  7. [esto es genial]

  8. excellent story! – see tree, frustration, swearing and saws – great blog fodder! – lol!! – pass the muscat, please:)

  9. I'm so very pleased it isn't just me that these thing happen to. I did give some thought to buying a new stand but by this time I was already well past the drink drive limit and into the 'I will not be beaten by a bloody tree' mentality.

  10. Ah just go in your stained trousers, if anyone comments on it, glare at them and thank them loudly and sarcastically for pointing out your disability. I guarantee they will be more embarrassed than you.

  11. No one should ever attempt to solve a DIY crisis without the aid of Muscat or other alcoholic beverage. It is the law. And if it isn't then it certainly should be.

  12. yes, that's for sure, Vicola:) – most of our Christmas tree adventures began after we went to the tree farm, spent two hours picking out just the right blue spruce, and brought it home (precariously tied to the extremely tiny Renault LeCar that my step-dad insisted on driving) and setting it all up the adventures were called – pre-ornament tree + flying cats post-ornament tree + flying cats + garlanddespite this, we did the whole tree thing every year – and my family has always had cats (and dogs, and birds, etc.) – so, not about to stop, these adventureslol!

  13. There is absolutely no fun in having a sensible, well balanced, pre-decorated plastic tree. It isn't christmas unless you've nearly been flattened by the tree, the pets have eaten the bottom row of decorations and the house smells of pine needles! I now have a fabulous mental image of balletic cats of various colours flying to and from from your tree. The worst pet based problem we've yet had our tree is teaching the dog not to piss up it.

  14. Ugh, what I mess! We can't have a real tree because of my son's allergies. Sometimes I wish we could but after reading this I think I'm glad we don't! Did you have enough energy left to decorate?

  15. hmmm – i don't remember my dearly departed beloved Scruffy dog ever peeing up the Christmas tree – lol! – guess we were at least spared that!

  16. I think you may have missed the obvious here. You wrote that the stand is some years old. It is obviously an Imperial measure version and is now illegal under equal opportunities legislation whereas the tree, being new we presume, will conform to the recent EU regulations concerning the approved trunk diameter. To attempt to make the two fit together is a breach of the tree's arboreal rights and to reduce its height to make it fit is unacceptable species stereotyping in a multi-crap society.

  17. After some more fortifying wine I did manage to get myself together enough to decorate the tree, however by this time I was pissed so it looked bloody awful and I had to do it all again the next day. Nect year I'll be measuring the trunk to make sure it fits my stand or I', probably going to end up losing fingers or something.

  18. While I do see your point, the tree was clearly violating my human right to have a seasonally appropriate arboreal centrepiece to celebrate the cultural festival native to my homeland. And I was not about to be defeated by a hunk of bastard wood.

  19. Outrageous. How dare that tree defy it's inevitable destination by bulking up like that! I think my first choice would have been a pencil sharpener but I imagine that would've taken slightly longer and made weaponry out of your "arboreal centrepiece". Merry Chrimbo from an avid reader – your blogs keep me sane while I am working.

  20. Hello! Thanks for dropping by, I'm glad to know that my rantings are
    keeping someone sane, even as my sanity slowly unravels in a heap on
    the floor. Merry christmas to you and yours!!

  21. Ah yes, Christmas. Comes but once a year, replenishes my sock drawer, makes a mockery of my tidy house then buggers off into hiding for another year leaving me with the aftermath of maxed out credit cards and suchlike. No kidding, I love this time of year so thank you for your kind wishes and I'll raise a glass to you, Mr Vicola and your dog. Hope it's a reduced stress version for you.Happy Christmas!

  22. Only just caught up with this, but class, as ever, Vicola. I used to have real Christmas trees, till I got fed up with the Alsatian eating everything on the bottom branches, including the bottom branches and the Siamese using the tree as an exercise frame and trying to shag the bloody fairy on the top. A few years ago, we got a plastic one from the sale bin at B&Q for £4.79 and never looked back. A load of lights, some Victorian – style deccys and some angel hair and it looks pretty presentable, especially after you've had a few. Hope the rest of your Christmas went well, with no DIY.
    Mine consisted of one day's blissful P&Q at home with wife. Boxing Day in Manchester with in-laws. Next day in Stoke with ageing parents, sister and nine bloody cats. Two lovely days in classy hotel in N. Wales. Wife caught grotty head cold, so stayed in NYE. NYD driving steam engine with inexperienced, unfit young fireman, so ended up completely bloody knackered. Now recovering just in time to go back to sodding work.

    Happy New Year.

  23. I've got a marvellous mental image of the cat trying to shag the fairy on the tree! Does it not bother with the plastic tree? Your parents have 9 cats? Jesus, that's dedication, it must be like the Krypton Factor trying to cross their garden without standing in crap. We had just two dogs and after a week putting the laundry out meant running the gauntlet of Turd Challenge.What on earth were you doing driving a steam engine with some firemen?

  24. Believe me, you can give free rein to any mental image, it may approach reality. I'm not sure whether the cat was actually trying to have sex with the fairy, but, I assure you, when he had finished, the fairy was well and truly shagged. To give the cat his due, he would fight, or fuck, anything on four legs that entered his domain, without regard to size, sex, or species. He no longer molests the tree, because he departed with my ex-girlfriend some years ago. God, I miss that cat.
    My sister has nine cats, it's more obsession than dedication. Walking in the garden is no problem, they all crap in the several litter trays which are scattered around the house. I'll leave you to imagine the olfactory ambience…
    I drive steam engines on the Severn Valley Railway, in some of my spare time. It's a big boys' toy thing. It's only one fireman and not the Trumpton type with the yellow helmets, so calm down, dear.

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