This blog is a direct sequel to: https://radioactiverabbitink.com/2014/12/22/14-foot-of-trouble-part-1/ posted yesterday.
When I last left you, we had successfully brought the tree from the yard into the house. Now we had an equally challenging task, placing the tree in the stand. This was not the traditional stand, mainly because the tree was too large for any normal stand. The stand my friend had procured was essentially three pieces of rebar welded together with a spike darting up from the center, around the spike was a large plastic bucket shaped contraption for holding water. After the ordeal of bringing the tree into the house, this should be easy, right? Well given that bringing a Christmas Tree into the house should be easy as well, this went a little better but still not great.
First we had to lift the monstrous ten ton, 14 foot tree into a position where the spike would insert itself into the hole that had been drilled into the bottom of the tree. So as you can imagine Luke and I started to lift the tree, starting with the tip and lifting it higher each step we took toward the base. Then while the tree was standing we had to lift it up and place it on top of the spike, while my friend made sure the insertion was done correctly. We got it on the first try. The only problem was that the tree was so heavy that it split the rubber covers on the end of the rebar. We should just leave it right? Wrong, my friend has hard wood floors and rebar can be very scratchy. So we lifted the tree off of the stand and placed it against the wall. Several goings over with duct tape solved the problem of bare rebar on the floor; now to put the tree back onto the spike. It was like Ahab harpooning Moby Dick, after everything that happened getting the tree into the house, we all wanted to stab the thing.
Still we had it on the tree stand: mission accomplished . . . until we checked and saw about three inches of spike gleaming underneath the tree. This thing just would not die! Luke, myself and our friend stood in a circle around the tree and began turning it, hoping that the spike would drive itself further into the heart of the tree. It took a lot of doing and the strangest rendition of a maypole I’ve ever seen, but we finally got the spike to sink into the tree. Awesome job’s done. We step back to admire our work as our muscles groan and our joints pop. “Why is the tree leaning?” Asked our friend’s wife.
A collective groan, mingled with profanity, answered her question. The tree was leaning, the top of it was tipping over slightly and the center seemed to be bulging out at an odd direction. How should we fix this? Exactly, with rope that was our thoughts also. The large loft area overlooking the living room of the house, where we had placed the tree, has a railing to prevent someone from taking a fall. It just so happened that the top of the tree reached the railing. So with rope in hand we proceeded to tie the top of the tree to the railing. Easy fix, now what to do about the curve in the center of the tree. MORE ROPE! That’s right, we opened the glass sliding door that leads into the library and using a heavy duty cargo strap we pulled the tree in the opposite direction. Once we had the tree straightened out, we tied off the cargo strap around yet another railing in the library stairs. Good thing our friends bought a house with lots of stairs.
Now some of you may already see the problem here, we fixed the top and then the middle. Once the middle was fixed it changed the position of the top of the tree (at this point I would like to state that I believe that exhaustion caused our lack of foresight). So up to the loft, where we had to untie the tree, re-straighten it, and then tie it back off. Standing and looking at the tree tied to two separate railings and impaled on a rebar stake, we realized then that perhaps this tree was a little too large. The white cord holding the top of the tree to the railing was easy to disguise and most people could not see it from the living room, the bright orange heavy duty cargo strap though, well that tends to stand out no matter what.
And yet despite, the aches, the pain, and more profanity than should be used near the Holy Day of Christmas. We were victorious. Three men and women went into the woods that day and returned bearing a tree; a monster of a tree, but a tree nonetheless. Before the clock chimed midnight on that evening, that monster had been conquered and all that remained was a Christmas Tree and three very sore men covered in sap. Well that and a very important lesson. Never get a Christmas Tree too big for your house, seriously.