Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why Taking Down the Tree Sucks

It's always a bummer of a day when you take down the Christmas tree. I never get sick of looking at my tree (Oooooh, sparkly. Ooohhh, pretty lights.), and I hate when that inevitable time comes when I have to put it back in its box and carry it back into the garage until next year. So very un-festive.

Generally, I wait until after Epiphany to take it down, but this year, my parents and brother Troy are coming for New Year's weekend, and I'm having the carpets shampooed in their honor. So, as I'd rather have the spot where the tree was standing cleaned and free of milk splatters and ground-in cheese than leave my tree up for a few more days, down it came.

Taking down the tree is more of a bummer for me than for most people. Yes, it sounds like an exaggeration, but there it is. Here's why:

Ten years ago, Jose and I bought a very nice fake Christmas tree for two reasons: 1) we misguidedly thought fake trees were better for the environment; and 2) we have allergies and thought a metal tree might go easier on our sinuses. I have since discovered that real trees are better for the environment, because Christmas trees tend to grow on rough terrain on which other crops can't/won't. So instead of having just a stretch of rock-strewn sand or mushy swamp, you actually have a bunch of carbon-eating trees that are continuously replenished. The jury's still out on the whole sinus thing.

So anyway, we have this fake tree. When we first bought it, Simba our Skulking Cat LOVED to climb into the uppermost branches and shake all the ornaments off. So Jose bought an all-natural animal repellent spray called "Get Off!" that was supposed to deter kitty from shredding the tree, breaking all the ornaments, and ruining Christmas.

Unfortunately, Get Off! did not deter our persistent cat, so Jose went out and bought an even stronger all-natural herbal pet deterrent. It turned out to be the most noxious substance I've encountered this side of the smelly cheese factory in Random Lake (whose cheese is most excellent, though the process required to make it is often most odiferous). We don't remember what it's called, as we immediately started not-so-affectionately referring to it as "Get the Hell Off!"

It made our eyes water, caused sneezing fits, and often had me reaching for my asthma inhaler whenever I came within a few feet of the tree. We surrendered immediately and informed Simba that if he could stand the smell, the tree was his, as we figured spraying more Get the Hell Off! inside the house might cause one of us to grow an extra hand out of our forehead. (Needless to say, after one treatment, we weren't buying the whole all-natural thing anymore.)

Simba tried a couple more times to lurk in the tree, but eventually, the persistent nature of Get the Hell Off! wore him down, and he found other, less-oxygen-sucking things to climb and shred.

To our shock, the following year when we pulled the tree out, it STILL smelled like Get the Hell Off! And the year after it did. And the year after that. And the year after that.

Apparently, Get the Hell Off! has the half-life of DDT, because ten years later, I can STILL smell and taste that stuff in a big, bad way whenever I put up or take down the tree. And since I just took it down mere moments ago, I feel like I've spent the whole day licking George Costanza's postage stamps and bathing in the eau de skunk. Plus, the tree itself likes to attack me while I'm trying to shove it back in its box ("Nooo! I want to stay out here with yoooouuuu!"), so I also have itchy little scratches up and down my arms.

And this, dear readers, is why taking down our tree really sucks. The end.

Interestingly enough, not knowing what I was writing about, Jose just walked in and said, "My throat is killing me, and I keep sneezing. It's that Get the Hell Off!, isn't it? I think my head's going to explode."

"All-natural" my big boo-tay....


MaryF said...


I'm sorry, but that's toooo funny!

Tracy Montoya said...

Glad you can laugh at my pain, Mary. ; D

Anonymous said...

Tracy, I kept thinking of this the whole time I was taking down the tree. The family couldn't understand why I couldn't stop snickering. Too, too funny.

BrendaM said...

Maybe it is time for a new tree if the cat will stay out of it. I had one cat that did that and I sat there one whole day and squirted him with the water bottle if he even looked at it. Now the cat we have sleeps under it. I hope it gets better fast. I understand not wanting to put it away. I love just sitting there looking at it, it feels like dream time.

Tracy Montoya said...

Glad that you could also laugh at my pain, Chris! : D

Tracy Montoya said...

Welcome, Brenda! Glad you stopped by. And yes, it's probably time for a new tree, but once it's up or down, the smell isn't noticeable at all. It's just when you fuss with the branches. And it DOES keep the cat out--something I'm not sure a new tree would.

I sit and look at my tree, too. They're so pretty. I'm already looking forward to next Christmas!

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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