For the last 16 years, we have been in possession of an artificial Christmas tree. The first year we were married, we lived in an apartment in downtown Calgary. Fire regulations dictated that real trees were not allowed, and so we purchased an artificial one from the Hudson's Bay Company, along with a complete set of decorations. This tree served us well in our next home, too, as we moved to Norman Wells, NWT, and trees at that latitude were about 100 years old and four feet tall, and probably illegal to cut down.
A few years ago, we started buying real trees for our home in Calgary, and I swore we would never go back. We always set up the old artificial in the basement for the kids to decorate, but there was nothing better than the smell of a Balsam fir in the house.
So now, here we are in Doha, and the need for an artificial tree has never been greater. We noticed an online ad recently, selling real trees here - with only 44 available! Thankfully, we had thought ahead and had our artificial sent with our sea shipment.
Our trusty tree has been in a Rubbermaid container in our tent-shed for the last two months. On Saturday morning, I decided it was time to at least set it up. I took out its three large parts and set them on our living room floor.
A couple of hours later, I thought I would assemble it. Upon lifting one base of branches up, I noticed something scurry out from under it. I dropped the branches to the floor, and suddenly several other creatures tore across the tile. The scene quickly became reminiscent of the ant scene from Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull, only instead of ants, the bugs were amber coloured beetle-type things, measuring about half an inch long with antennae growing out of their ugly, vile heads. Naturally, I handled it with grace. I stood, paralyzed, waiting for the hordes to carry me off to their sandy lair. Then I snapped out of it, screamed like a girl and ran into the kitchen. Ever the gentleman, Dan bee-lined for the living room and swatted as many as he could with his sandal. Too grossed out to stick around, I ran out the front door to await Dan's control over the situation.
Dan brought the tree, in pieces, outside, where it could undergo some pest control. This consisted of us lifting up the branches and then squashing each little weaselly disgusting creature that ran from its hiding place.
Three days later, the tree is now up and fully decorated. This is no small feat considering I had to first get my nerve up, and second, stand outside and check every box in every bin of decorations for evidence of more vermin. After much anticipation, the kids decorated the tree after school today. I only hope they checked their stockings for geckos.