Usually, I arrive home sometime between the 20th and the 22nd. The first year or two that I was in college, there would somehow already be a tree at the house (we have an artificial tree from my childhood, but we we've gotten a pine/fir--I can't tell the difference unless you tell me first--for years now) and my brother and I would decorate it. Then, at some point, I remember arriving home and there wasn't a tree anymore: my mom had unilaterally decided that tree acquisition was a chore best left to P
So, the way it's been for the past few years (when I've been home, so about half the time, and not at all for the past three years), is that my brother and I take $7 and go to a tree lot somewhere on either the 23rd or Christmas Eve. By then, the only trees that are left could charitably be described as either poor judgment on the part of the feller, or, well, Charlie Brown
The dialog goes something like this:
P: How much do you want for this tree?
Tree Lot Guy: Um ... you want that
tree? Um, I dunno, twelve dollars?
AV: We brought seven.
TLG: How about ten?
P: We have seven.
By this point, Tree Lot Guy's putting the tree through the netting that they use and I'm giving him seven singles. And within twenty minutes, we have a perfectly workable, albeit lopsided, Christmas tree in the living room and are trying to make the tree stand hold it up in some semblance of upright (usually, wedges
This year, we didn't manage to get a tree until today
. You will note that today is the day after
Christmas (although we're having Christmas on the 6th or 7th
, since that's when P gets home. Conveniently, that's also Three Kings' Day
/Armenian Christmas/Eastern Orthodox Christmas, so it's not as if we're outside the bounds of tradition. Another one, but a tradition nonetheless.)
My mom and i went to the tree lot, where there was exactly one (1) tree left, and it was way too tall, and the guy wanted $35 for it, which is absolutely insane. He offered to chainsaw it down to a smaller size, but still. He had two little weird tree-top things that were super scrawny. We were going to the hardware superstore anyway, and my mom mentioned that they had trees there, so we decided to see if they had any left.
They had some, but no one knew what the prices were (we asked at customer service and the lady told us to look on the box and we said, no, not a fake tree, a previously-live tree) and the people in the greenhouse area were unknowledgeable and so we didn't get a tree there.
Anyhow, on the drive home through Passaic
, my mom says, keep an eye out for Monroe Street; there's a tree there. And there was
Someone had put it out to the curb already; I'm not sure if it had previously been decorated or not (it didn't seem to have been; all the branches are still super up-pointy and the tree seems closed. It was right outside a big parking lot; maybe that was a tree lot before?) and so we put that into the trunk and put down the hatchback of the car and then I talked to my dad on the phone and I said, "Hey, we got a tree!" and he asked, "Where did you buy it?" and I said "Monroe Street."