It took me a while, but I finally got a twinge of a holiday spirit. My kids were returning from a week with The Fate Worse than Death and it was snowing. Wouldn't it be lovely for them to come in and find a fresh cut Christmas tree, full and fragrant, for them to decorate? Won't it be a Norman Rockwell evening as we all hang delicate glass bulbs from lush green branches? We could sing carols and have cookies and cocoa and pretend for the evening that we aren't broken and bruised from the past six months. We would be filled with the joy of the season and realize that it truly is a wonderful life. Never mind that my kids are 4, 2, and 1 and less than focused to say the least. It took me 2 hours to fold one basket of laundry the other day. Never mind that I won't even see them on Christmas this year. Never mind that I will be stuck 1200 miles from where I would be happy this Christmas. A beautiful fresh tree would fix all of that or at least make it more palatable.
I drove around to three different tree farms and had a gorgeous 8 foot tall douglas fir picked out when I realized that I would have to lug this fucker into the house by myself, not to mention strapping it to the roof of the flying fridge (my minivan) with the aid of only the idiot savant tree farmer. An image of my windshield being smashed in by a gargantuan pine limb flashed in my head. I began to rethink my plan, weighing my options. There was the dreaded fake tree. Easy and cheap enough, but it felt wrong to present my children with a green synthetic excuse when they were accustomed to the beautifully lit and decorated real thing. However, the going rate for pre-cut, decent looking trees in Ohio is $8-10 a foot. Fuck. I could spend that money in much better ways. I pulled into my driveway, teetering on discouragement when I had an epiphany: You schmuck, I thought, you live in the middle of the woods. Go cut one down yourself.
Armed only with an ATV, bungee cords, and a chainsaw, I set out in the snow and rain to find the perfect tree. I combed my 5 acre patch of dismal forest. It was getting dark and I hadn't seen more than a pine twig when I saw exactly what I was looking for: 4 feet tall, full, with long silver-green needles. Gorgeous. I took my chainsaw and went to claim my happy holiday. My inner grinch melted away as I began to picture my children when they saw this lovely specimen. "Oh Mommy," they'd say, "we are all so happy and well adjusted. We love you so much. When we're with you, it's Christmas every day. What a glorious tree! What a glorious mother!"
About forty seconds into this fantasy, the red clay devoured my right leg. Immediately, I sunk crotch deep into the stickiest kind of mud in America. In my panic, I grasped at my beautiful tree to keep from being completely absorbed by the sinkhole. The mud vs. Sheza and her tree in an ill timed game of tug of war. I broke several branches and ripped off a majority of the pristine needles from one side of the tree in my struggle to reclaim my leg. The earth kept my boot as well as my will to have a fresh cut tree. I dropped the F bomb about 90 times, rode home, showered, and went to Walmart where I bought a 7 foot tall full, thick, green (fake) tree for $30. Merry fucking Christmas.