Christmas 2020 and Two Trees

The night before Christmas Eve I finally wrapped the presents I bought for my family. I was tired because I worked all that week. Like most men I just barely know how to wrap presents and I couldn’t find stuff.

I got the wrapping paper out of the garage. Do we have any of those bows you can stick on the top once it’s wrapped? No but I’ll manage. Where’s the Scotch tape? I had a pair of scissors… Where did I put the fucking scissors!

Fade Xmas tree

My first fake Christmas tree

Most of the time being a divorced man is not like being a single dad. My ex-wife is still in town and still helps with the kids. But she’s not here, and having a partner in the house means sharing tasks, like getting a Christmas tree, buying presents and wrapping presents. Having to do all that stuff yourself really sucks.

This year I bought a fake tree for the first time. I went to Lowe’s about a week before Christmas. I was first told that they had none remaining but was later told that they not only had one left – the gal gestured to a box on the floor – but it was small enough to fit in my living room. It had also been marked down to $70 and if I applied for a Lowe’s credit card I could get it for $20.

My son and I left the store with a $20 tree, which wasn’t the fullest and most lifelike fake tree I’d ever seen. But it came with lights already hung on the branches, and a remote control that would turn the lights white, colored, flashing or undulating from white to colored and with some options I’m sure I forget.

My mom’s Christmas gift to me was another tree.

It was a Tipu tree to replace the 80-year-old Pittosporum I had to remove just west of the house. I chose a Tipu because I planted one about six years ago that grew with such speed and vigor that it was sure to be the kind of tree that would soon replace the shade and beauty I was missing where the old tree used to be.

Ted picked it out at an Escondido nursery where I had earlier bought a Jacaranda, which he cursed because he didn’t pick that one or plant it. He was going to plant this one.

Ted is an arborist who I’ve known since moving to California, and in his 70’s he’s gotten more angry at the world. He arrived with two guys who dug a hole as Ted would hawk and spit and tell me how important it was to not bury the root crown. He told me (again) that this nursery (mentioned above) had to hire crews to replace trees they’d already put in because they planted them too deep or otherwise screwed it up.

Ted loves Tipus. Some people call em Tipuanas. They grow like weeds. They love the spare San Diego soil and bring orange flowers in the spring. The Tipu was finally planted and upright and Ted headed off to another client with my check in hand.

Planting tree

Ted and assistant ready to plant the Tipu

What else did I get for Christmas? Obama’s new book. A gym bag from my daughter that I could put my tennis stuff in and a cool plant – an aloe – from my son to also put in the garden.

It’s New Year’s Eve. The lights on the fake Christmas tree, and the ones we had time to set up outside, will glow tonight for probably the last time. We’re about to start a new year and get back to business. Planting a tree is a good way to start 2021. The fake tree will go back in a box and return, evergreen, when the season reappears.

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