Today was Myladylove's half day at work. As usual, we're rather behind on our Christmas shopping. We'd therefore planned on a serious session when she got in—one of those marathon hit-every-store-you-can-manage assaults which, with a little luck, just might have seen us finish out the remaining gifts still on our list.
But when Myladylove came home, she was feeling really bad—and showed it. Whether just a combination of doing too much recently without sufficient rest (we were up until midnight last night), sinus issues from the up-and-down weather we've been having lately, or the beginnings of a cold or a touch of flu…who knows.
I fed her a late lunch and suggested she go bed for a few hours and see how she felt. "We can always visit a few stores later tonight if you're up to it," I said. "If not, you'll have a head start on getting well."
I'm thinking we're probably staying home. Which may be for the best, anyway, since I need to keep an eye on the Christmas tree.
I'm concerned because when we got up at 6:30 this morning, Myladylove noticed the tree had developed a serious lean during the night. It's a big tree, somewhere around 9 feet tall, and surprisingly heavy. We managed most of the decorating the other day, stringing lights and hanging countless ornaments, but still hadn't gotten around to the mylar icicles, not to mention all the other things we stick on, under, and around the tree…plus there's doubtless another box of ornaments, yet to hang, lurking in the back corner of a closet or up in the attic.
Tree-decorating is an evolving task the way we operate, ongoing over several days.
Now, the semi-loaded tree was listing at about a fifteen degree angle. Not good. I held the trunk and Myladylove released the catch on the bucket part of the holder into which the tree sits, where it is held in place by screw-clamps tightened down against the trunk. This bucket, in turn, is clamped into a sort toothed ratchet. A lever allows the bucket to move free so you can stand the tree plumb; when you push the lever down, the ratchet's teeth hold the bucket in place.
Theoretically. At least that's been the case for Christmas trees in the past. Only this morning, when I had repositioned the tree where I wanted it and Myladylove set the clamp we heard a burrrr-bur-burrrrr! as the ratched clamp failed and I had to hang onto the tree to avert disaster. We tried again: burrrrrr-burrr! And a third time: buuuuurrrrrrr!
Myladylove and I looked at each other. "What's wrong?" she asked.
"No idea," I said.
"What are you going to do?"
"Dunno," I said.
"Well," she said, "you have to do something!"
Why oh why did I have to be the one who had to "do something?" Especially given that I had no idea how to immediately solve the problem. It was early. I hadn't had my coffee. Doesn't Santa provide elves for such emergencies?
"Let's try it one more time," I said, not exactly rising to the occasion. But the way I figured it, unless the stand worked, all I could do was either lean the tree into the corner until inspiration struck, or continue with the status quo and become a human tree stand for the day.
Luckily, the fourth time was the charm and the ratchet-clamp held. I know because I just checked—the tree's still vertical…though, alas, Myladylove remains horizontal.
Nope, we're definitely not going shopping.