We did it. We got a Christmas tree this year. Last year was a lit up garland in the shape of a triangle hanging from a hook. The year before was nothing, because the kids kept touching and breaking the little three foot artificial tree I had, and I had a breakdown and threw it out the door, furthering the damage. This year though? WE HAVE A TREE. Getting the tree was an awesome adventure, see below for that story.
Decorating with the ol' ornaments I have. MIA is the garland, tree skirt, and tree lights. Must be in that box I couldn't get to in storage.
The other one: he had bronchitis this week and missed three days of school. On medication now, and doing much better. The other boy doesn't sound so good now though. Crossing fingers we make it through the weekend.
Proud of their work! And, it looks like all the lights are on the bottom. They aren't. (But maybe close, because I bought one box of lights. I just couldn't bring myself to buy more when I know I have them in storage.
How They Got Their First Real Tree From the Mountains
by, "Mom's Car."
It was a Wednesday afternoon, and the air was chilly. They couldn't all fit in "The Beast," a 1976 Ford so they split up. Three went in the Beast, and three climbed into me. I'm the little car, the one with Cherrios and Cheetos stuck to the floor. The one who goes 3,000 miles a month with very little complaint. I need a new front end and tires, but they took me anyway. What else could they do? "Ride Red," the big truck, was loaded with a ton of hay in the bed and was hooked up to a trailer for the hay ride that night.
And, why don't I have a cool nick name? The Beast, Ride Red... and "Mom's Car?" After our adventure, I deserve something better.
We went up the road a few miles, then made a right turn and left pavement. The road was rutted with washboards, but it was a fun road for awhile. Until we came around a bend in the road, and there was snow. Not much, but just enough to have melted and frozen for a few days straight, causing the road to be an icy mess. One side of the one lane road was a steep mountain side going up, with granite boulders jutting out. The other side of the road was just as steep, except going down, down, down. The Beast's tires started spinning as we tried to climb this section of road. I was doing fine, of course, until I had to back up and let the Beast gain traction. Well, I really had no choice, you see, because in all honesty the Beast was starting to slide backwards. He slid a little until he hit dirt, then was able to get going forward again. I, on the other hand, did not make it. I was put in reverse and backed down the road and made several attempts at going forward, but we always seemed to hit ice. By this time my tire tread was full of snow, and the crazy kid in the back kept telling the woman, "Mom, I wish Dad was driving. You are making me nervous. Dad would know what to do." I could tell she didn't really appreciate that, because the next thing I knew she gunned it. We went no where. She backed me back down the road a ways, and parked me at a wide spot. She and the two little ones left me there while they hiked up the road to get a tree.
The tree came down easily, because the man who drives the Beast is like a lumberjack. He has a strong build, loves the mountains, and made short work of cutting down the tree with an ax. The tree was a 10 footer, cut down to eight. It was loaded into the back of the Beast, and the kids switched cars. No one likes to ride in me. I don't know if it's because I often smell like feet and old milk, but since they do that to me, I don't see why they care. (And for the record, the woman cleaned the old milk problem out of me ages ago. One of those kids put an ice cream in my cup holder without any one knowing it until it curdled during a summer heat.)
This is where the fun begins. The Beast, that manly 4x4 truck the family loves so much, had some problems. I overheard the woman telling the kids that the steep incline made the car run out of what little gas was left, and that the battery went dead. Ka-pow! A double whammy! The man always keeps a five gallon tank of gas in the back, because the Beast doesn't have a gas gauge. The big truck was stuck.
They did the only thing they thought possible after failed attempts to start it. The man got out the chains. He told the woman to go get me, and to bring me up where the truck was. She kindly reminded him she had tried several times just 15 minutes ago and had no luck. She came back to me, and I tried to get her up that hill. It was so slick! I ended up turned around from sliding around on the road. She put me in reverse and hit the gas, starting me up the hill in reverse. She made me nervous, really. Don't tell the woman I said that though.
I didn't make it all the way up the hill. The woman was frustrated, and told the man he better try. The man jumped in me (because we were much closer to the Beast by then, just not close enough.) In reverse, he hit the gas and my tires were spinning so much on the ice they started to burn. He put me in drive, and we shot down the road to get a running start. After doing that three times, each time going faster than the last (and, I must admit, the woman at this point was getting a little anxious, envisioning me sliding into the side of something) we finally made it! I was turned around, and the man put a chain on a hook under the back of me, and around the front axle of the Beast. We were lucky, being on the ice, because I could pull the Beast around and get him facing forward again. All was going well until... Well, let me back up by saying that I am a nice, modern, Japanese made Mazda 5. I have numerous airbags, a unibody design, and I get great gas mileage. The Beast, on the other hand has seen better days. He is a great truck, but he doesn't have power steering. And, on top of that, the steering has been modified to allow it to have a lifted suspension, and doesn't turn to the right very well. In fact, it's awful. And guess which way the truck needed to turn? To the right, of course. So, as I'm doing my best to pull a 3/4 ton pickup behind me, the truck gets stuck on the shoulder embankment because of a huge boulder sticking up.
The man gets out, and talks to the woman with their plan. She is used to these adventures, and chalks them up to fun times now. Something to remember and laugh about. The plan is to have me, a little ol' Mazda with slick tires, pull and pull on the Beast until it is jerked off the shoulder and away from that boulder. It didn't start out so well for me at first. I kept coming awfully close to hitting the mountain, but I had to brave it out because of the angle. I tugged several times, and then I heard a loud "POP!" The girl in the back was almost near tears because she had no confidence in me or her parents. She just knew I would crash. Well, I didn't! The popping sound was that welded hook from under my car coming off. Along with some other part the man and woman deemed "not important." The man put the chain in a more secure spot, and back and forth we went, like a machine. Reverse, drive, reverse, drive, over and over again, until finally the truck came off the shoulder embankment. The woman cheered, I cheered, and the Beast followed me down the mountain until the man popped the clutch and was on his way. Sure, it was getting dark, and they were extremely pressed for time so the man and oldest girl child would make it to that hay ride he was in charge of. And sure, I lost my hook, some weird shroud underneath my car, my bumper is cracked a little, and the right side of my rear fender looks like it might need some pounding to put it back how it was, but we made it home, and they have their tree.