There were times yesterday afternoon, when I was ready to throw in the towel, and forget about putting a Christmas tree up. It just seemed like too much of a struggle.
While most people who know where we live (an isolated community in the mountains of British Columbia) probably assume that I go out to some snow covered slope with axe in hand to get a Christmas tree, the reality is somewhat different. In the past, I have slogged out through knee-high snow and cut a small tree. I dragged it back to the truck, hauled it home, and tried to rig up some kind of base so it would stand up in the living room, but after a few of those experiences I gave up that hassle and bought us an artificial tree.
Yesterday, it seemed that going to the attic of my shop and carrying the artificial tree back to the house had become almost too big of a hassle, but I did it. I was already having trouble with my back, and somehow getting the tree to the living room made it worse.
We positioned the tree into the corner, then plugged in the lights and discovered only 2 of the 3 strings worked. (To make putting the tree up easier, I always leave the lights attached to the tree when we store it.) The lights are old and cheap ones, so if one bulb is bad, it effects the whole string. We tried to go down the string of lights, re-positioning each bulb, to see if it was the one causing the problem, but we couldn’t get the string to light up.
With each movement, my back was getting worse, but I wanted to get all the lights going, because once they were lit, Joan takes over in decorating the tree. In my frustration in trying to get the lights going, I finally decided that they all had to come off of the tree, so I could make sure each light on the burnt out string was tested (it was very difficult to tell which one I had tried when they were strung on the tree). I unhooked all the light strings from the tree and they end up in a tangled pile on the floor.
One string was plugged into the wall socket and the other two were plugged into it. I unplugged them from each other and plugged each one individually into the wall socket, and to my surprise all three strings of lights then worked. That meant the problem was not with an individual bulb, but with the plug in on the one string. After I rearranged the sequence of strings they all worked, but unfortunately, they were not on the tree, but still in a tangle on the floor.
My back pain was getting worse as I untangled the complex weave of lights, and draped them over the tree. Then I went around connecting each bulb to a branch. To my great relief all the lights remained lit. Finally, I got them fairly well spaced and happily turned the tree project over to Joan. I had only enough energy left to get my aching back to the bed, where I spent the next couple of hours trying to recoup.
While I was down (and out), Joan did her magic on the tree, and as a result our living room now glows with Christmas spirit. I am afraid if it was all left up to me, I would have given up and played the Scrooge this year.
See my paintings: www.davidmarchant.ca