How lovely are your branches.
I have always said I will never, ever, have a fake Christmas tree in my house. In fact, this was one of the compatibility issues that Phil and I discussed before getting married, along with other important things like,
"Do you like to camp?"
However, every year, we've gotten our real tree, late at night, and every time, I go into Project Mode and Must Decorate that Same Night. This has always led to a major fight because I have to complete everything while Phil gets tired and wants to go to bed. On top of that, we Ogdens have terrible allergies. Phil gets a shot, I take nose spray, Ryan takes spray and Zyrtec, and Jack takes Claritin, and still the allergies are not fully contained. Every year I enjoy the smell of pine while also wiping noses, itching my eyes, and sneezing for the 3 or so weeks we have the tree in the house. As I thought about these things, the idea of a fake tree came to mind as the perfect solution. I brought this idea up to Phil on Saturday and he immediately shot me a look of death. As an Ogden, Phil does not embrace change immediately, and logic does not win him over if there is a sentimental attachment. I planted the seed, then watered the idea all day. By that night, Phil said he didn't like it, but if that was what I wanted, he would go for it. He also admitted that he could understand the logic behind it.
We set off to Home Depot. We found a lovely 9 foot tree that we really liked on sale. I questioned the tall-ness of the tree, but Phil being a man of extremes, and liking the idea that the tree would be much taller than him, insisted that it would fit in our normal spot. They were sold out. We drove across the street to Walmart. No 9 foot trees. Next we set out to the Home Depot across town. We found our tree. We loaded it up and set off to fit it in our car. Jack and Ryan were both in the cart. We first went to a wrong car to load our tree. While questioning why the car would not unlock, Ryan stood up in the cart to get out, somehow lost his balance, and landed, head first on the concrete. He screamed and cried and I wondered if we would be going to the emergency room for a concussion. He immediately grew an enormous bump on his forehead and started frantically asking, "Is the skin still there? Do I have blood?"
You can really see the bump in the picture
Thankfully everything else was intact. Once we located our car, we headed off to go home. Phil declared that he was done for the evening and would not be setting up the tree. As excited as I was, we had just returned from a few days with family in Fresno and were tired and I also knew that I didn't want to repeat our past Christmas fights. I bottled my excitement till this afternoon.
As soon as we got home from church and had lunch (another important component to keeping the Ogden household happy and running smoothly), the decorating began. Phil commented that decorating while rested was great. He and Ryan went to work assembling the tree. After pieces one and two were put together, it was clear that our normal spot was not going to be tall enough. We moved it to the apex of the vault in our ceiling and rearranged some stuff in our living room. We stared at the tree. I asked Phil if we should return it for a smaller one. Ryan ruefully told us no and Phil said he liked having a tree that was so much bigger than him. Once we got everything back into place in the living room and I looked a bit longer, I decided that it was good. Phil agreed. I set out to fluff the branches into place. I instinctually braced myself for a sneeze as I buried my face in the branches. No sneeze. Hooray! After while, the boys got tired and we put them down to nap while we finished the tree. I set aside Ryan's favorite ornaments for when he woke up.