We had to go out to buy a new (artificial, pre-lit) Christmas tree yesterday. We bought a new tree -- our first pre-lit model, and only the third tree we've had since we were married -- when we moved to our condo, six years ago. (I love real trees, but they are not allowed under our condo bylaws, and at any rate, it wouldn't be safe to leave one up when we're away over the holidays.) Last year, we noticed that some of the lights on the bottom had burned out -- but we turned the tree and it wasn't too noticeable.
I read somewhere that the average pre-lit tree lasts just seven years... (!) yikes! I was hoping we could get at least one more year out of it (this would be Christmas #7) -- but when we opened up the box and started taking out the sections, we found the top section had snapped in half -- probably when we were trying to cram it into the box after Christmas last year. :( I thought maybe we could still salvage the situation by duct taping the two sections together?? and then disguising the duct tape with a strategically placed ornament?? -- but when we plugged the tree in, only the middle section lit up. Dh & I looked at each, and dh said, "Well, I guess we're going shopping!"
Off we went to Canadian Tire (which is where we got our last tree -- and our very first one too, come to think of it). (Canadian Tire, for non-Canadians, stocks a LOT more than just tires!) We eventually found a tree that we could both live with, on sale (although still at a somewhat ridiculous price..!). We assembled it yesterday afternoon and decided we'd decorate it this morning.
Now to backtrack a little: before we went out to buy the tree, dh went out on the balcony & brought in the two chairs & little table that sit out there during the summer. I wiped them down, and we took them down to the storage locker on our way out to go shopping.
Picture this: the storage locker is located just behind our parking spot in the underground parking garage downstairs. It's kind of like a big closet. We access it through a heavy metal door set in a concrete wall behind our parking spot. We have boxes and other stuff stacked up high along the back wall (which is also concrete). There is JUST enough room for the door to swing open (it opens in, from the left side to the right), and a little wall space on either side of the door where something flat (like a folded up chair) can lean up against the wall.
Dh put the two chairs folded up against the wall on the left side, slammed the door shut & locked it -- and as he did, we heard something crash. "Ummm -- did that chair just fall over?" I said.
"We'll get it when we get the decorations tomorrow," dh said.
I had a bad feeling about this -- but I bit my tongue (for the time being).
Sure enough, we made the trip down to the storage locker again this morning to retrieve several plastic bins full of Christmas decorations -- and the door was jammed! One of the chairs had fallen over -- we couldn't see it, but we knew it was there somewhere...!. As a result, we could only open the door about six inches or so -- wide enough to peek in a little ways and stick your arm through (and turn on the light switch, which is right beside the door on the left-hand side), but not your head or torso.
Dh retrieved a golf umbrella from the back of the car and poked it through the door blindly, trying to find the chair with it, with the idea of using it as a kind of lever. We could see his golf clubs sitting in the corner, in front of the boxes on the left side of the locker. Too far away to reach in and grab one, but he managed to use the umbrella to lift one up & bring it out of the bag without dropping it (!) -- and we tried using THAT to poke around, thinking we could maybe hook it on the chair and lift it up. Nope, no can do.
What to do?
I thought we were going to have to call the property manager -- but I'm not sure what they could have done. It's a solid metal door, surrounded by concrete, and the hinges are on the INSIDE. I suppose maybe someone knowledgeable could take apart the (metal) door frame? But even if that was possible, I'm sure it would cost a small fortune -- and we'd be the ones paying the bill.
I also thought maybe the property manager could contact one of the people whose lockers are on either side of ours? There's just wire fencing in between the units, albeit most people put up plywood or a tarp or something like that for privacy, so you can't see into each others' spaces. I thought maybe if we were able to access one of those other lockers, we could poke something through from the other side and lift the chair up that way?
Dh was starting to get frustrated and mutter about how we (*cough* -- *I*) have "too much stuff" and that maybe it was just going to have to stay in there forever...
We were both getting tired -- but I finally thought of something else to try. I simply dropped to my knees and shoved my hand through the opening along the floor to see if I could actually feel the chair there.
I did! And I managed to grab enough of it and lift/move it enough while dh leaned against the door enough for it to FINALLY swing open. What a relief!!
We retrieved our decorations and put the chair back in the locker -- VERY carefully this time around! We both agreed that, once the weather gets nicer again, in the spring, we really do need to go down there and see what else we can cull.
But... all's well that ends well. We got the stuff we needed. The tree got decorated.
It was worth it. :)
|New tree, cherished old ornaments. :)|