Tag Archives: Christmas

Hunting for a Christmas Tree in Miami

How’s that song go?….

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….NOT!

I’m not complaining.  It’s just different.

It’s humid.

I’m sweaty.

I’m writing this sitting outside on our lanai – nice.  But there is a bug flying around big enough to be one of Santa’s elves delivering Christmas gifts.  He has circled me twice now and I’ve noticed he has a sign on his back that says, “Coal Delivery.”

That explains a lot.

We finally managed to get our Christmas lights up two weeks ago.  The thought was: “it’s too damn hot but if we don’t do it now we’re not going to.”  The snowflake lights that looked so pretty on our front porch in Alaska….twinkling against the snow…. still make me smile when I come home at night.  I just snort and roll my eyes at the idiocy of the concept:

Snow in Miami?

Sure, right after the Devil goes down to Georgia and sets up a half way house for wayward souls looking for salvation on a one-way road to heaven.

Of course my four potted palms on the deck add a nice backdrop to the snowflakes.

Obviously, the next step is acquiring the Christmas tree.

In Alaska – getting our last tree involved the following:

1.  On Saturday morning you dress in Carharts, put on your snow boots and grab your work gloves.

2.  Head out to the forest with your saw.

3.  Find your tree and cut it down.

4.  Tie it to the roof of your car.

5.  Once home, wrap it in a tarp to avoid leaving a trail of needles through the house.

6.  Set up the tree!

Here, in Miami, you go to a tree circus.  Complete with red and white canvas tent.  Oh Christmas Trees…..oh no!  Please tell me they give you a shot of vodka before you enter.

Before us, in the first big tent were about 20 trees standing up on display.  It’s like a fashion runway for trees.  This is ridiculous.  Nothing like Glacier Gardens in Juneau.  We would also get our trees from Cindy and Steve.  I loved how Cindy, just a petite little thing….would wrangle them away from the pile and compare the different varieties: smell, needles, height, color…all according to what I was looking for in the tree.

You see, I’m very technical when it comes to getting a Christmas tree.

Last night, at the Miami Tree Circus…when you walk through the gate they simply ask you what size of tree you would like:

Over 8 foot, 7 foot, 6 foot or 5 foot.

My response: short and fat.

Our helper elf, who stuck to us like sand on wet feet (which is more annoying than grass on wet feet I’ve now decided) I noticed had shockingly….shockingly…..let me say it again….


amazing eyes.  They were like liquid gold.  I’ve never seen eyes like that on a human.  Which made me wonder if he might practice voodoo.  Then I thought, anyone who sells Christmas trees can’t be a bad person and I am probably just enjoying way too much of American Horror Story: Coven, this year and should probably just get a grip.

But seriously – wow.

This young man followed us from tree to tree to tree.  They were short, but not fat enough really.  If I can’t get short and fat, I’d prefer a Charlie Brown tree.  Tall and bare.  I’ll even take a few branches and stick them in a pot and call it good.

Tent two…yep.  Tent two. Had about 6 trees in various sized that were…are you ready?  This was a definite first for me.

Flocked white.

Real trees, sprayed with paper mache.

They were lovely from a distance.  Then when you got closer it kinda looked like someone  went wild with a bunch of wet paper.  Well, technically that’s what they did.  It was lumpy and fell off in your hand.  I immediately thought of the cat.  We’d come out one morning and there she’d be covered in white crap…our fat mostly black cat gone wild with the Christmas tree….now encased in a self made paper mache mold….courtesy of Oh Christmas Tree Circus.

Oh hell no, I think we’ll pass on that disaster just waiting to happen.

Next tent.

More trees lined up.  There’s a short and fat tree that I like but he tells us it’s 7 feet tall.


7 feet tall.

I look at the tree and stare….eye ball to eye ball with it.  This isn’t 7 feet tall.

Blink.  Blink. Blink. Blink.

OMG.  Are you telling me because of the tree’s pointy thing on top….that one branch, which is like the tree penis? ….you’re calling this tree 7 feet tall?

“Yes, we had to cut some off the bottom but it used to be 7 feet.”

Okay well it’s only 5 1/2 feet now.

“Still 7 foot price.”

By now I’m thinking those S H O C K I N G L Y amazing eyes have some kind of trance inducing powers but I’m not buying into it.  This is obviously the tree I like, but I flatly refuse to pay for a 7 foot tree when I am getting a short & fat tree.

Back to the first tent.  We need to wrap this up cause I’m starting to sweat….and it’s after work and I want to go home.

I go back to my original tree.  Eric and I look at each other, a little disheartened at the whole experience.  We agree.  We’ll take it.

The tree elf takes the tree to the register, we pay $65 and he puts a fresh cut on the bottom.  Eric goes to get the tarps to wrap it – thinking easier now than later.  Then we find out two things….

First, they sell tree stands, which we didn’t have, so we bought the tree stand…another $30 and our elf puts it on and levels the tree for us.  Fabulous!

Second, our elf slid our tree into a tree size fishnet stocking.  NO TARP REQUIRED!  How cool is that?!

With the short and fat tree tied to the roof of the car we headed home.

In Alaska, we always let the tree have an overnight to “rest and warm up” in the house.  The limbs relax with the heat of the house.  Obviously, we decided to let the Miami tree “rest” overnight as well. As far as I can tell there isn’t any fir trees in Miami – this poor thing is probably sweating to death.  Yes, if I look at the tree, I do think it has relaxed a bit since it’s arrived.  The branches are a little looser – not so pinched up.

The fir is saying the same thing I say every day: “Hallelujah!  Air conditioning!”





Somewhere Between a Tree and the Grim Reaper

Well talk about awkward.

I hate awkward moments.

Not so much my moments of awkwardness, where I’ve obviously made a complete and utter ass out of myself, but the awkwardness of someone else always makes me wear my squinty eyes.

Squinty eyes = “well this is awkward” comment….usually silently to self.

Today found me at our regional hospital – bright and early this morning. Fear not – it’s nothing serious, just a routine picture of my brain. I tend to get distracted by glittery things, small fuzzy animals and annoyances — so my brain tends to ache more than others apparently. Really, it’s my third eye that generally throbs the most.

Strangely enough, I was on time this morning. I registered and checked into the radiology department. Since I was ahead of the game I was directed to sit in a small waiting room. I walk in and it’s about the size of an office break room.

Immediately I try and locate a chair that isn’t near someone else – as I like to spread out. Happily I wander to the back of the room and sit down between two end tables. There’s six other people waiting with me and of course I get the once over – which is fine. I, myself, prefer to use my stealthy peripheral vision – rather than gape….but whatever.

There’s a large Christmas tree decorated in one corner and the window looking out to the hallway has been painted over with holiday characters. It is then that I notice the couple directly across from me on the little couch.

She’s sobbing.



Great. Now where do I look? I try and look busy with my Blackberry. Well crap. Wonder what happened? Is she sick? Did she just find out she has cancer? Is it one of their parents? Maybe she doesn’t like hospitals. Could be claustrophobia. Too much anxiety will make a person cry. Well crap. I can’t look up. I should have stayed in the bathroom longer….

Suddenly, the music, being pipped in from the holiday elves, has broken through my awkwardness cloud of contemplation. I’ve gone from a level of “this sucks” awkwardness to a “this is bad and would anyone notice if I moved my seat?”

It’s holiday music and not the quiet melody type. It might have been okay if it was something along the lines of “Silent Night” or “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” but no, this was a very zippy rendition of “Deck the Halls.” At least it wasn’t “Feliz Navidad” which causes me to unwittingly belt out a “wah-ha” during the chorus, which would have been uncalled for in this situation.

So there I am listening to Deck the Halls, watching the lights on the Christmas tree and pondering to myself: Oh boy, how could this get any more awkward? That’s when someone’s cell phone starts belching out some terrible, robotic tune. Turns out, it’s the sobbing lady’s partner/husband/boyfriend and he can’t get his phone out fast enough.

Now everyone in this tiny waiting area has turned around to stare at the idiot who didn’t turn off his phone in the hospital and the woman who won’t stop sobbing. Lucky for him, he didn’t answer the phone and just plopped it back in his jacket.

All I could think of is really, the hospital is in a Catch 22. Hospitals are a place people don’t normally like to visit, voluntarily – unless you count my coworker who LOVES the hospital cafeteria. Yet, the hospital is a necessity. People who work in hospitals are usually normal people, just like those who work in an office building, so it’s nice to provide some holiday cheer. The decorations provide a distraction. If enough of the surfaces are covered with bows, lights, wreaths, cards, painted characters etc…people will think they stepped into their neighbor’s house and not the radiology department! Genius idea.

So there I sat in my armchair. Pondering how nice it was the hospital supported Christmas cheer and wasn’t being so PC that they become offensive in ignoring the season. Yet, when you’re sitting across from someone who is obviously in depths of despair, the holiday carols are a bit contradicting.


It’s a great reminder of the yin/yang of life. While one life tumbles into hardships another one is lifted into the beauty of a new beginning. There were seven of us in that room….each with a different pathway through this world and yet, for a brief moment, we were all together, experiencing the same thing….wondering what will come next. We’re all somewhere between the Christmas tree and the Grim Reaper…however we’re not certain what mile marker we just passed.