Tag Archives: holiday

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….

S H O C K I N G L Y

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.

What?

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!”

 

 

 

 

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OPEN! Damn It!

Is it me?

Have I turned into a jello armed ninny?

Why is it you have to have the biceps of The Terminator in order to get most things open these days?

Don’t get me wrong. I have some bicep muss-kulls. While, I’m not going to win any arm wrestling competitions, they aren’t all flab and punching bag material either. The Body Pump class at the gym kicks my butt and my arms – so something’s happening there.

Years ago, in grade school, when we would have snow delays or cancellations my neighbor and I would occasionally stay at his Nana’s house. One of the first times we did, I remember him asking his Nana to put her arm up and make a fist. She did. He then proceeded to use it like a punching bag!

The horror!

Age 12. Mental note. Don’t let arms become punching bags.

Tonight, I nearly gave myself a black eye trying to get the damn wine cork out of the bottle. I was using a standard wine opener, nothing fancy. Once upon a time I invested in one of the automatic cork removers. There’s one problem. You have to remember to keep it plugged in to stay charged.

There I am with the bottle on the floor, between my feet….and I am struggling  to get this damn cork out. God bless the wineries that have switched to the screw top. At this point I contemplate using the Samurai sword to hack the cork off.  Then I realize two things:

A.  It only works on champagne.

B.  I don’t have a Samurai sword.

It’s obvious tonight’s wine is ORGANIC and the cork pieces, should there be any in your glass, is on purpose.  It’s the newest thing out of the valley.  Of course, I’m silently referring to the Mendenhall Valley, where we live….not so much the Napa Valley.

Have you ever been desperate for a bag of chips? You find an excuse to stop at the grocery to pick up a few items for dinner. In the meanwhile some how a bag of Sour Cream and Cheddar chips make it into your basket. Or you really, really, really need that chocolate bar…with the creamy caramel and cookie crunch and nuts.

What I find ever so helpful are the manufacture’s polite little instructions, complete with tiny arrow….”tear here.” Really?

Yeah and what happens? It practically takes a lightening strike to get it open in the car. You’re worried you may end up socking yourself in the eyeball if you have to pull any harder. Seriously, what did they use to seal these pieces of plastic together? Super Glue? Kryptonite Epoxy? Devil’s Spit? A common household roach, which is said to survive everything….wouldn’t be able to get into this bag of Cheetos.

Thank god, you’re stopped at a red light and a member of the local motorcycle gang is next to you. No worries, just put down your window and ask if HE can open the fucking bag. If not, perhaps he could shoot a hole through the top 1/3. Honestly, what happened to quality control? Are all these companies employing gargantuan homo sapiens who are able to pull 150 year old Elm trees out of the ground with a flick of the wrist?  Have the actually tried to open their own product?

Don’t even think about “child proof” medicines. Just to get that bottle of aspirin open I have to run the bottle over with my car. Another option that works well is to attach it via string to our dog’s tail then point out a squirrel in the yard. Running as fast as a cheetah through the trees, with a 250 count of aspirin around her neck can only lead to one thing…..aspirins for everyone!

I suffer from migraines. If you are one of the lucky ones in life who has never experienced one…let me tell you what it feel like to me:

An evil sadist taking an ice pick to one eye while tightening a vice grip on the same side temple and with every heart beat and breath those areas pound like they are being hit with a bowling ball. At some point it would be easier to pull my eyeball out of its socket. My eyeball is literally going to end up on the floor if I don’t get some relief.  Occasionally accompanying the pain can be yodeling into the porcelain bowl and on a rare occasion…blindness in that eye.   Awesome.

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with a doozie. I stumble into the bathroom and like a bull in a china shop, find my prescribed medication. Of course, it is in a blister pack….you know, where in theory,  you are able to press the tablet through to the other side. WRONG.

I couldn’t get it to pop through let alone peel the damn plastic cover off the back.

Solution? Digging around for something sharp, I found my cuticle cutter and stabbed that package like it was a vampire and I had a 6 inch wooden spike. You would think they would make packages for medicine….especially medicine you need when you are desperate….easier to access. It was like the pharmaceutical executives sat around and said:

Which is easier….wrestling an alligator or opening our package? The alligator! Perfect!
Which makes you happier….gouging your eye out with a stick or opening our medicine? The stick!

Duh.

I was working on two art projects last week.

One required lots of glitter – an entire giant jar of silver glitter to be exact.

The other required gluing tiny red balls, not much bigger than a grain of rice, to paper.  (Not to self, those tiny balls are a pain in the ass.  I was excited to get going and see the final creations.

There was of course, one hiccup:  I had to get the glue bottle open.

I heated the bottle up under the hot running water.

I beat the lid on the counter.

I tried using one of those grippy things to get a better grip on the top.

I thought about using my teeth to get it open, but I have this fear of loosing my teeth – so that wasn’t an option.

I put the bottle on the counter and cursed it.

I beat the top again – this time on a different counter.

One last try….before I pitch the bottle in the trash…and have a severe case of the two year old’s temper tantrums over this damn lid!  Just when I was worried my third eyeball was going to pop out of my head, the top slowly began to budge.  OMG this shouldn’t be so difficult.

Finally, I can get going on with the crafting.

It took several days to get the projects done.  Glitter and glue.  Glue and tiny, stupid red balls, glitter and tinsel and glue, cutting, gluing and more tiny red balls.  Final layer of glitter and a thread and bead to top things off.

I thought IT was going to do me in.  I thought IT would be the death of me.  IT could have been the glue.  IT could have been the stupid little red balls.  IT could have been the hour long struggle to get that stupid ass lid off the glue jar.  IT could have been all the cursing which would send me straight to hell back in the grade school years.

Nope.

IT was my slight embarrassment when I went to the hair dresser the other day, several days after completing my crafting mayhem.  She was looking at my hair and said, “You know, you’ve got quite a bit of glitter in your hair.”

Yes, well apparently the glue worked so well  I managed to get it into my hair, along with a nice smattering of glitter (hey, at least no red balls were discovered.)

Doesn’t EVERYONE have glitter in their hair this time of year?

Stupid ass glue bottle.

Holiday Season = Holiday Donkeys

What is it about the holidays that turns everyone into raging hemorrhoids? Honestly, I believed the holiday season was about celebrating the season, spending time with friends and family, creating memories with the help of spiked eggnog and hot buttered rum beverages. My encounters with John and Mary Q. Public today were enough for me to say, “Forget it! I’m out of here!”

Just because you didn’t finish your gift shopping, party shopping, gift wrapping, gift packing, card mailing or Santa photo taking – does not create an emergency in my world. Let me repeat that:

YOUR LACK OF PLANNING DOES NOT EQUAL AN EMERGENCY FOR ME!

People, if they could, would have driven their Ford pick ups, Subaru Outbacks and Honda Accords up and over my car today! Lucky for me I’ve been driving Tater’s Suburban around town rather than my Toyota Yaris. (If you haven’t met Tater yet, he’s the 180 pound Mastiff we’re watching through January 7th) No, that’s not your imagination. Tailgating my ass does indeed make me go slower. You can gesture all you want back there buddy, but this is a 40mph speed zone and I’m now going to drop to 35mph since you didn’t like my previous speed. And you know what? This Suburban is bigger than your Camry so back the hell off my fender. You hit this car and there’s going to be hell to pay with one very large, very protective, 180 pound Mastiff.

I get to the grocery store today. I’m delighted as I’ve managed to score one of those cute half carts – which are new to our area. (Alaska, in some regards, is behind the times.) Figuring I can get in and out in record time with my zippy half cart…. I did the best I could…considering the circumstances.

Grocery stores are informal community meetings. You always run into people you know. With this in mind, there should be some form of universal grocery store etiquette.

Want to stand and shoot the breeze? Move over to the side and stay out of the way. Standing three abreast in the main aisle, chatting about what Mary told Susan at the last quilting meeting — does not constitute proper etiquette. Excuse me, pardon me. See the chic here with the cute cart? I’m trying to get to the pasta sauce. No eye contact, no movement. Just discussion about Charlie telling Louise to stuff her fruitcake. EXCUSE ME! Oh you didn’t just roll your eyes at me did you? OMG, you three are blocking the entire aisle! Don’t glare at me like I just happened to interrupt the top secret meeting of the world dictators. That’s not you. Now MOVE!

Here’s a novel idea. If you’re using one of those motorized cart/scooters the store provides – you should have to complete some driver training first. It’s called, “look behind you before you flip the damn thing into reverse.” No, let me guess. You thought your peripheral vision was as exceptional as a bird of prey? Newsflash, in order to see what’s behind you – you have to actually turn your head and look. Can’t turn and look then yell out, “HEY! I’M BACKING UP!” In the often occurring chance that you hit me with your motorized cart/scooter it is proper etiquette for you to apologize to me. Please note, it’s not the other way around as I was here first.

If you’re needing to double check your grocery list, here’s a suggestion: rather than parking your cart between the milk fridge and the display table of cookies set up to entice the grab and go impulse buyers — move out of the way where someone can:

A.) Actually get around you.
B.) Not have to ask you to move so they can get a gallon of milk.

The milk fridge is a popular stop on everyone’s shopping list. Whole milk, 2% milk, non-fat milk, rice milk, almond milk, half and half, heavy cream, flavored coffee creamer and the ever fat packed eggnog….milk is popular! Why not stop near the sardine shelf? Or you rarely see people picking up tuna fish for that matter. How about double checking in the baby aisle – that’s low use. Better yet, the charcoal and lighter fluid aisle is also very low use – especially in the winter.

Just as much as I enjoy the cute little half carts, I like using the self check out. Although the computer will randomly say “attendant has been notified to assist you” and freezes until said attendant clears it – I feel like I’m being productive and moving things along quicker than a normal check out. Why is it people think standing within your personal space is going to make you go quicker? It’s tailgating with a grocery cart. Or tailgating with ginormous belly gut. Having to ask you to step back so I can go around my cart to get something out from the other side is not very polite. There are times when I want to cancel my entire order and insist they go in front of me. I imagine the conversation would go like this:

I cancel my order and leave everything where it’s at, turn to the idiot behind me and say, “You know what, why don’t you go ahead of me.”

Of course, they’d say “But you aren’t finished.”

My reply would be, “Actually, I’m finished with having you breath down my neck. So why don’t you just go ahead because apparently I can’t do this fast enough for you and apparently you think you’re really important so I insist you go. Really. I’ll wait.” Then I’d wave my hand at the machine like it’s a prize on The Price Is Right.

Today I had a young couple moving up on me first. Really? My solution? A hip check into my cart – causing it to shoot backwards into them. “Oh, I’m so sorry.” (quietly to myself: back the !@#$ up!)

As I pull out my wallet and start to tap the self check out machine to select my payment option a guy comes up and decides to put his stuff down at my machine. He’s now standing at my elbow. I look at him, smile and with teeth grinding kindness advise him, “I’ll be out of your way in a moment.” (silently addressing him as: jackass.) As I put my purse into the cute little cart and prepare to push out….I whip around and pretend I left something on the counter. Oh, so sorry, did I step on your foot?

Lastly. If you see me walking to my car – don’t follow me in yours. Health experts suggest you park far away so you can get in some exercise on the way to/from the shops. I like to park far away so people, who think I may be giving up a prime parking spot within 20 feet of the front door, follow me 200 feet away from the door. If you continue to creep along behind me I will pretend I’ve forgotten where my car is and turn around and go the other way. Yes, I am the person who will walk right past their own car if you continue to nudge me with your front fender in Row A3.

Last, but not least, smile and be nice. Nice matters. Did your mother used to tell you, “I hope your face doesn’t freeze that way!” Well if you could see the faces you’re making, you would be shocked. Third eyes are bulging out of foreheads, jaws are grinding teeth down to rice nubs, frowns are hanging down to knees and eyes are shooting daggers left and right. Don’t you think all that anger and annoyance is exhausting? Try being nice and see what happens, maybe then you’ll stop trying to run me down.