Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quest for the Dog-Proof Christmas Tree

Hello Blog World, this is my first blog post. Let me preface this by saying I have no idea what I'm doing, but am nevertheless plowing forward.... Hopefully this vignette will serve as introduction to the key players in my life's drama and inspiration for you, dear reader. So without further ado, I give you the saga of the dog-proof Christmas tree.

Three years ago we had a "real" Christmas tree in the house. By "real," I mean fake. Fake, white and 6 feet tall. (Just to be clear, my definition of "real tree" means something taller than a tabletop tree. I don't know what I have against tiny trees, but they just seem like a disappointing cop out.) Also, to be clear, I am very much a fan of nontraditional Christmas trees and colors. The white tree was great because each year I'd do a different color theme (pink, black, aqua, etc.) and the ornaments and wrapping paper just look stellar with the white tree.

So the beloved white tree was always put up in our big picture window in the front room  (Note: this room will be referred to by it's proper name from here on out. The "formal living room" in our 1961 split level is formally known as the Bamboo Room due to it's original 1961 badass wallpaper, seen at the top of this blog.) The point of having the Christmas tree in the window is to let the neighbors know that you remembered Christmas and to give them a chance to gawk at how trashy you've doodied up the place. The problem with this placement is that the dogs have claimed the window as theirs.

The window is an 8 foot picture window that looks onto a 6 acre wooded lot that goes down to the river. There is always something cool out the window. The window pretty much takes the place of cable TV. For example, last winter we had 5 baby foxes in a den right across the street. Between neighbors walking by, deer hanging out, squirrels raiding the bird feeders, etc. the dogs are always in the window.  It takes much more than a six foot fake tree located square in the middle of their domain to deter them.

So, three years ago the white tree was in the window one moment and on the floor the next. Rearden, our ten year old hound mix, had walked in front of the tree and sent it crashing into the coffee table. So, I had the brilliant idea that I would alter the crappy plastic stand to fit into a large heavy planter. My thinking was that a heavy base and higher clearance of the lowest branches would be the winning combination. I envisioned  something like this one from myhomeideas.com (complete with well behaved dog...yeah right.)

It didn't work. Suffice it to say that no matter how much sawing, duct taping, weighting, bending or cussing I did, it would not stay upright in the pot. After serving faithfully for 6 years, the cheap white tree (which I admit, was starting to turn yellow) went to curb.

Last year, my grandmother kindly gave me one of her trees. It was a 4 foot (groan), pink (hooray!!!) fake tree with fiber optic ends and red lights...I really have no words to describe this little marvel of a tree other than "trailer park chic." We kept it classy by decorating it with all Elvis ornaments and our "Christmas Story" lights with miniature Leg Lamps. It was pretty cute. But, being a table top tree (groan) it was on a table... in front of the window. While there was no tree carnage that year, there was a lot of dog fussing and the table didn't do any favors for the view.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago when my parents were over and I was whining about the upcoming holiday season and tree situation. "I want a cool nontraditional tree. I do not want to yell at the dogs constantly or keep picking the tree up off the floor. I don't want to put the tree in a room we don't hang out in, etc."  Enter my Dad and the solution. My Dad has a something that I will call, for lack of a better term, Redneck Wisdom. This is the kind of practical, who-gives-a-damn-what-the-neighbors-think kind of wisdom that allows people to freely practice the art (or is it science?) of repairing everything with duct tape. It's the kind of no-frills wisdom that gets the job done and lets you move on with life to more important things like eating, sleeping or playing with dogs. My father says, in his infinite Redneck Wisdom, "Why don't you just paint a tree on the winder? Just getcha some markers or somethin' and draw it on."

And so, we did.

Final results:

We got the window paint markers for car windows (I got mine at Michael's craft store for about $3) and some window clings in the shape of ornaments (two packs, $1.50 each.) My sweet husband not only agreed to help, but did an amazing job and even had fun. For less than $10 we now have a tree that is dog-proof, nontraditional, takes up zero space in the closet and really doesn't block the view from our window. I'm super happy. The kids are super happy. My Dad is gonna be happy he's in a blog (after I explain what a blog is). And I'm laying on the couch since the tree is done. Hooray!


sharonavinger said...

Dad is happy to star in your first blog post! Cute, cute story. The tree looks great!

sharonavinger said...

Congrats on your first post! Love this story. Mike did a great job with the tree. The dogs photograph well!