Guest Post: Surviving the Christmas Tree Hunt

A guest post by Courtney Chaffee

This Christmas season has once again brought insight into my life with my husband Scott.

A wise woman once said to me, “Most men are a handful, Scott is two handfuls.”He is proving this to be true.

Last weekend, we set out to get the "Chaffee Family Christmas Tree." We drove straight into the woods -- past the boy scout tree lot, Safeway, and any option of getting an artificial tree. See, Scott insists that we “hunt” our tree. This is similar to hunting an animal, except the tree does not leave tracks, so he says it is more difficult.

When we walked into the office, Scott proudly stated “One tree permit please, and how big of a tree can I cut down with that permit?”

Miss Ranger saw him coming from a mile away. She told him, “Well, for $10 you can get a 12-foot tree, but for $20 you can cut down a 20-foot tree!”

His eyes lit up like the LED lights he insists on putting on the house. I honestly could have killed her. If only she knew how much I would now have to give up to bargain with Scott not to buy the 20-foot tree.

She had her sales pitch all lined up. “Well, if it is too tall, or wide, you can cut off part and make wreathes or garland.”

Scott said, “Ohhhhh, Court, you love to make crap like that.”

Five minutes, two life threats, and a promise to go hiking in the south back country at Crystal Mountain a number of times, Griswold gave up the dream of a 20-foot tree for this year.

We parked and hiked into the woods where his tracking abilities told him there would be a large herd of defenseless trees. I followed the trail, but Scott turned into a gazelle and ran up the hillside, saw in hand, to the “mother-load” of Christmas trees. After I found him, we found a tree.

Scott would not settle for anything less than 12 feet, so once he cut the tree down, he physically laid down twice in the snow to measure it out. He figured he is 6’2,” so this is a fool-proof way to measure the tree. Who looked like the fool though? I’m sure this is how Sacajawea measured things, because she must have forgotten her tape measure while tracking and leading Lewis and Clark like Scott did.

Once we got the monster-of-a-tree home, we put it up in the living room in corner by the windows so everyone could see it. We could barely get the tree topper on. The branches were crashing into the blinds and one branch was sitting completely on the couch like it was relaxing from a hard day’s work. The tree was “a little full, lot of sap.”It took me a good amount of time to craft the old growth into something we could put into a home. I felt like Michelangelo sculpting The David out of pine.

Of course, Scott was not around for anything of this. He pretty much dumped it off in the stand and ran out the door. He left me with pruners, lights, and a ladder. It was my version of “Survivor: A Christmas Edition.” I put on some Christmas music to set the mood and started the one thing I wait all year to do. I was feeling happy, and for a moment was excited that Scott talked me into this huge tree.

The moment was short-lived. All 12 feet of the tree came crashing down on me. I can guarantee you this did not happen to Michelangelo with The David. I somewhat caught it, but a better term would be that I just broke the tree’s fall.

Where was Mr. Griswold who decided that we had to have this tree? I had no idea, and I didn’t even have my phone on me to call him to save me from being swallowed whole by the tree.

This is where I took a moment of reflection on my life. As I was pinned under a HUGE Christmas tree, I had nothing other to do than reflect. This really had turned into “Survivor: A Christmas Edition” and so had my life: “Survivor: You Married Scott Chaffee.”

I shouldn’t have been surprised. Everything is just a little harder with my husband. Examples:

SCOTT: “Hey Court, here are your skis. I grabbed them out of the garage for you this morning.” ME: “Thanks, but why are they so slick?” SCOTT: “Oh, I spilled a little oil on them, but I think they will be fine” ME: [Going down the hill] “AHHHHHHHHHHH”

SCOTT: “Look! I got new shoes!” ME: “Finally, thank you” ME: “What is on the heel???” SCOTT: “Oh they are Heelys. Wanna go to the mall and race?”

SCOTT: “Hey, I want to take you to a movie tonight.” ME: “Oh great, I’ve been dying to see that new one with Jennifer Aniston.” SCOTT: “Oh, um, I meant something at the $2 cinema. The Jennifer Aniston movie is brand new”

I stick it out because, in the end, I get everything I want: A Christmas tree, my skis carried for me, Scott buying new shoes, and a movie. It’s just an exciting ride to get there. It’s just a curvy road, and a little uphill.