Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pack it up, pack it in

Every year, I take one or two kids with me on a family-bonding special ops mission to hunt down a Christmas tree, throw a net over it's head, and shove it into the trunk of our car for easy transport back to the headquarters, where it will be forced to stand for several weeks and endure non-stop exposure to loud noises. David apparently took the black op seriously and even camouflaged his fingers in filth. Yuck.

Last year, David was The Decider and Tommy was the helper. For the last few weeks, Tommy has been screeching at anyone who could tolerate his pitch that this year HE was the one that would get to pick the tree. Whoa, throttle back, there, Turbo.

As we pulled up to the lot, I laid down the rules. Papa-style.

'Tommy, you get to decide on the tree, but I get to overrule the decision if you pick a tree that is too big, too expensive, or simply one that I don't like.'


If only real life was that easy.

Before we got started, I realized that I only had 50 Euros in my pocket. Last year's tree set my wallet back 80 Euros, so I asked one of the guys working there if they take a card. Instead of answering, he jabbed an annoyed thumb at the wooden picnic table that served as their checkout counter and shrugged.

Me being wiser than three men took that as a sign that Tommy would be picking out a smaller tree this year.  Adding to that decision were two lessons learned from last year followed by a fun fact.
  1. Last year's tree did not fit in the car
  2. Last year's tree did not fit in the tree stand
  3. Last year we had a bigger car than we do now
'So, Tommy, you get that you're stuck with the trees that have a yellow tag, right?'

Sorry to get all philosophical on you, but if you're in the middle of a forest and there are no living trees around, does everyone else hear your kid scream? [SPOILER ALERT] Yes, they do. 

As it turned out, the 'yellow-tag' lot only had twelve trees. How festive.

My first three vetoes were over-sized twigs that were simply not manly enough to be accepted in Angie's house. I mean my house.  

Number four was okay size-wise, but the trunk had more green mold than last year's lunch boxes after Angie forgot to check the backpacks at the beginning of the summer break.

Number five and six were plagued with dry, white needles. It was about this point when Tommy's bubble popped.

'Papa! You say I decide, but then you keep saying "ah, no" and "nice, but".'

'Yeah, I know. It's like that time I lost my mind and allowed Mama to go with me to buy a pair of jeans.'


'Nothing, just keep looking.'

Number seven was indeed lucky. Pack it up, pack it in. 

I forked over my fifty and hoped to hell that it wasn't customary to tip Christmas tree sellers in Germany. 

Before embarking on our mission, I had called Peter, who was hanging out at Arman's place.

'Peter, we're going to get the Christmas tree. There's only room for two of you, though. Last year David and Tom went, and this year Tom's The Decider, so it would be your turn to be the helper, if you want to go.'

'That's okay; David can go. But Papa?'


'This year, maybe pick one that fits in the car.'

Peter's words of wisdom sounded eerily close to the round of nagging I had to suffer through earlier today over coffee, so I chose the same approach and simply hung up the phone.

For both of thee with little faith, BOOYASHAKA!

Ladder Talk: 
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That I could do the googly challenge with Arman.
David: That we got the Christmas tree.
Tom: That we get the Christmas tree.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That my foot hurts. 
David: That we couldn't get another Christmas tree for the balcony.
Tom: That I don't was good with by the haircut.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to play with Tommy spider-catching.
David: I want to have fun with Luca playing something.
Tom: I want to play spider-catching with Peter.

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