My tree was like Playboy lemonade

We venture back to 2009 when this writer attempted to put up her first artificial Christmas tree. It should be noted this tree has since gone to the dump and has been replaced by a much smaller one – one that she is not allowed to touch either.  

I was inspired. Holiday music was coming from the television as stores advertised their digital cameras and warm sweaters. I looked around the living room and decided it was time to decorate.

But, alas, the husband was gone, working. How was I supposed to decorate a Christmas tree if it wasn’t up yet?

Yes, in our house, putting together our big artificial tree is “man’s work.” For the past 20 years, my husband has had the task of erecting the green monster and stringing it with lights. Then the “woman’s work” begins – hanging the ornaments.

It became “the man’s job” because, standing a foot taller than me, he has enough length to reach the top of the six-footer. Plus, when we got married, he brought prior experience in putting together an artificial tree – I had not.

So we assumed our roles and I never bothered to learn how to do it.

“How hard could it be?” I asked myself aloud. “Surely I can figure it out.”

Plus, wouldn’t be a great surprise when he returned that night to see twinkling lights through the window? He’d be astounded, even impressed, I convinced myself.

When I removed the lid to the giant tote, all I saw was a disarray of green branches. Fortunately for me, the “trunk” was still put together from last year – at least that’s what I thought it was.

“This has to be the trunk,” I said to myself, noting the base. “Now, how do I put the branches on?”

As I pulled them out, one by one, it started to occur to me that the branches were of different lengths. That made sense, I reasoned, seeing how the top ones obviously have to be shorter than the bottom, or it would be just one big ball.

I realized there were hooks on the end of each branch and I discovered holes around the base. They must go in there, I finally decided, and proceeded to assemble the tree from the bottom up.

I changed television channels and found myself listening as a group of bleach-blond Playboy bunnies were talking about having a lemonade stand. They were actually going to make the lemonade – apparently, therein was the problem.

“How do you get the juice out of the lemon?” the one in pigtails and pink bra asked another.

“I think you use this,” said the one in short shorts with striped tube socks, as she held up a boiled egg slicer.

“Are lemons vegetables or fruits?” the one in a bikini wonders from the corner of the kitchen.

“Could you get any dumber?” I asked the bunnies in the television. “Come on! Put some clothes on and quit it already with the lemonade!”

As they continued to try a number of gadgets “to get the juice out,” I continued to stick branches into my fake tree trunk. That’s when I realized some were upside down, making my tree look as if it had been twisted in an F-5 tornado.

As I got to the bottom of the tote, I found some longer branches that clearly needed to be on the bottom of the tree, but I was already nearing the top.

“This is a nightmare,” I said to the lemonade-making bunnies.

I tried to arrange the branches so there was some semblance of an evergreen, while the blond girls chatted about selling their lemonade to raise money for charity. Unfortunately, one said she didn’t know the names of any charities or what types of causes there may be in the world.

“You don’t know the names of any charities?” I asked her, while I fluffed and fussed. “How can that be possible?”

As the pigtailed one tried to stick a straw into one of the lemons and shake it upside down – I nearly fell off my folding chair while trying to shove the mangled tree-top into a hole on top of the trunk. As the blond bunny tried jamming things into that poor lemon, I kept jamming that messed up greenery into the top of my artificial holiday nightmare.

As they grated and squeezed, I strung the lights on the uneven chaos. By that time, I decided that if I just got some stuff on that tree, it would cover up the flaws. Unfortunately, the leaning green giant still had gaping holes and I ended up with a few leftover parts that I just threw back in the box because I had no idea how to use them.

“Making lemonade is hard!” one of the busty bombshells declared, while I stood astounded at how hard it was to make a tree.

“This is why we should just get a real one,” I muttered while one of Hugh Hefner’s 18-year-old girlfriends declared, “This is why you have butlers.”

During a commercial break, I decided to take a break myself. I stood back and took a look at my mangled concoction that appeared to have been attacked by a family of beavers. That’s when I had a revelation.

“If I just turn the tree a little to the right and push it back further into the corner, it will hide the biggest problems,” I proudly told myself I could conceal the flaws.

When the highly intellectual reality show returned, the bunnies were still in the kitchen at the Playboy Mansion. They had decided on a charity, for which to sell their lemonade. Thank goodness, I thought, at least they’ve solved one world crisis today.

I grabbed the base of the tree and tried to move the monstrosity back. As one of the girls lamented that she got lemon juice on her designer bunny tank top, I heard a loud popping noise.

“I’ve got lemon juice in the scratch on my pinkie!” one of them shrieked.

And then I shrieked, as the tree came tumbling down.

While the scantily-clad airheads yelled over their lemon dilemma, I saw the gold bulbs shatter on the floor.

“We need some help!” the girls declared while I, too, cried out for assistance. My screams garnered no response as I desperately tried to rebalance my holiday disaster while not stepping on ornaments.

“It’s going to take like three weeks for us to, like, make all this, like, lemonade,” said the girl in lingerie and leg warmers.

It seemed like I stood there for, like, three weeks, holding that tree up. I couldn’t dare let go, it would fall again. But I couldn’t stand there for all eternity, waiting for the husband to save me.

Then, it was Hugh to the rescue. The 80-year-old Hefner sauntered into the kitchen, wearing his smoking jacket and offering solutions.

“You girls have more important things to do,” he said, noting their hair appointments. “I have the resources to get this done. You just concentrate on getting ready.”

“Oh, Hef,” they cooed, as his team of butlers and chefs raced in for the rescue.

“Oh, humidifier,” I suddenly thought, as I spied the appliance sitting nearby. I stretched my five-foot frame as far as I could and pulled the humidifier closer to my tree. I found a way to lean one side against it and gingerly let go. The tree, while a disaster, was again upright. The garland was uneven, the branches were pointing all sorts of directions, broken glass was thrown about the floor. But darn it, the Christmas tree was up!

I was relieved as the sun set. In the dark, the tree looked spectacular — the twinkling lights were soothing on a room filled with green debris and littered with fake needles. We won’t be able to turn on the house lights until January.

“Well, I guess I pulled it off,” I sighed, as I sat back and surveyed my handiwork.

“Well, girls, we did it! Yeah!” squealed the Playboy bunnies while jumping and clapping as the butlers delivered lemonade to their stand along a Hollywood street.

The girls sold lemonade while I swept the floor and threw the leftover tree parts into the spare bedroom.

“We wanted to raise $15,000, but we’re at $300 right now,” said the centerfold models.

“I wanted to have a beautiful tree,” I replied. “Yeah, it’s ugly, but at least it’s standing.”

“Whew! It’s been a long day!” the blond girls said as they wiped the perspiration from their Botoxed brows.

“Yes, girls, it has,” I agreed.

The Playboy bunnies and I don’t have a lot in common. But we are equally skilled (and stupid) when it comes to my tree building and their making of lemonade.



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