Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peter Bunyan

In my book, lumberjacks are supposed to wear red and black checkered flannel, but I guess Peter Bunyan didn't get the memo. Doesn't matter - he was the only of my three sons who screamed 'ME!' when I rounded up the troops this morning and screamed 'Yeah, buddies - it's time to go tree hunting - who's with me?'.

I had honestly expected a trio of shouts followed by a scrambling to get shoes on. I don't blame Nicole, but it's still her fault. She stayed over last night and 2 out of 3 mini-Johnsons chose a warm house and Monopoly over bonding. Thanks, Nicole.

Five minutes into our search for the perfect tree, two things happened. First, Peter dismissed every single tree in the lot as not meeting his standards. Second, his bladder screamed at me that he urgently had to pee. So here we were in the middle of nowhere in a big field with tree after tree after tree after tree. Hmmm, where could Peter possibly go?

'No way, Papa!'

'What? Why not? Come on, just go.'

'PAPA!! I am not going to know. There are PEOPLE here!!'

'Your call, buddy, but those same PEOPLE will probably point and giggle at 8-year-olds who wet their pants.'

After christening a tree that I was considering up until that point, we continued our search. We left the lot with the 'pre-cut' trees and moved to the adjacent forest, where the trees were still as Mother Earth intended. As we entered the lot, there was a rack of saws. I've never cut my own tree down, so it seemed like a cool thing to try. Notice the word 'seemed'.

Peter finally found a tree that spoke to him. Great, lovely, give me the saw.

Twenty minutes later, I was covered in mud, out of breath, and really freakin' tired of Peter's helpful comments like 'are you done yet?' and 'man, I should have stayed with Nicole'.

I bit my tongue and went back to work on the tree. After another ten minutes, I needed to take a break. I stood up and noticed a man running around with a chainsaw. WTF!

I dropped my hand saw and ran up to him.

'Hey, can you cut a tree down for me?'

'Of course, that's what I'm here for. I hope you weren't trying to do it with the hand saw.'

'No, of course not. What kind of moron do you take me for?'

So yeah, the rack of handsaws is apparently more for nostalgic types that actually like a muddy workout. I don't, and almost hugged the guy with the power tools that saved me another hour of crawling around in the mud. See, Sarah also wanted a tree and doesn't have a car.

'No problem, I'll pick one up for you.'

'Thanks, Steve. You're...'

'Cooler than pickles - I know, tell Angie.'

Needless to say, I am damn glad that I didn't have to manually chop down two trees. Chainsaw Guy took care of Sarah's tree in three and a half seconds. Man, I love this guy!

After dropping our tree off at home, I hand-delivered Sarah's tree to her door. I rang the doorbell. Nothing. I rang again. Nothing. I don't have Sarah's cell phone number, so I called Angie to have her call Sarah and figure out where the hell she was.

While Angie was calling Sarah, I got impatient. I know, I know - that's normally Angie's forté, but I've also been known to burn a dish every now and then. Instead of waiting for Angie to call in Sarah's coordinates, I rang the neighbor that lives above her.


'Hi, this is the Christmas Tree delivery service, I have a tree for Sarah, but she's not here. Can you let me in so I can drop it off by her door?'


The door clicked open and I dumped Sarah's early Christmas gift off. As I left the building, Sarah came running up out of breath.

'Steve, I told you I had to work and to just leave the tree in your car!'

'Yeah, right. Sorry. In my defense, though, I rarely listen to women.'

Speaking of man-types that don't listen to people they love, Tommy earned a big fat FAIL when it came to dinner.

Okay, Lauri might have had something to do with it, but if I'm completely honest, I think Tommy was taking the lead in disruptive mealtime behavior.

After dinner, I realized something that forced me to whip out the man-saw again. See, when I was manually sawing our tree down, I actually managed to make it halfway through the stump. When chainsaw dude came by, he cut the tree, but he did so lower that where I was cutting. This left us with a tree with a stump that was already cut halfway through. I reluctantly admitted that I needed to finish the job. Peter then jumped in and saved me. Kinda.

Okay, he didn't really help, but it was oddly amusing to see him grunting and trying to use a saw. Plus, it made me look like a rock star when I finished the job in less than ninety seconds. I am Papa, hear me roar!

After getting the kids to bed, Angie and I raised the tree. Surprise, surprise, Angie was the first one to raise a gripe.

'It's not straight!'

'It's not falling over, either - are you sure you want to wake sleeping dogs?'


Let me just state that once a tree is in the stand, it is a royal pain in the ass to change its vertical angle. I managed to do just that, though. Afterwards, my expected 'thank you, Steve - you are the hottest guy to ever verticalize timber' was replaced with 'I don't like the sofa there'.

To make a very frustrating story short, Angie had the sudden urgent need to rearrange our house. To make matters worse, moving furniture revealed dirt, dust bunnies, and molding edibles that apparently needed to be cleaned up immediately.

As Angie became borderline catatonic with her cleaning frenzy, I popped open a beer and admired our Christmas tree.

If you think it's crooked, feel free to leave a comment, but please include your address so that I can hunt you down and deliver your Christmas gift personally.
Ladder Talk: [Tommy fell asleep before jumping on the ladder]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we could get the Christmas tree.
David: That Nicole was still here.
Tom: ZZZZzzzzz.....

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That we buy something today for Arman and Mom already has his gift.
David: That I couldn't eat my sweets.
Tom: ZZZZzzzzz.....

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to decorate the Christmas tree.
David: I want to play computer...and decorate the tree.
Tom: ZZZZzzzzz.....

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