Last year we threw out our Christmas tree after Christmas. It was a Charlie Brown tree that Bob brought into the marriage. It was supposed to be 7 feet tall, but the last foot at least was one skinny "branch" that went straight up in the air. We always had to fold it over several times to get our angel to sit up there, making the whole tree much less than 7 feet tall. The branches were starting to fall off, so it was reaching the end of its life. I hated it with a passion, and I hated stringing lights on it (and taking said lights back off). I shed no tears when the garbage truck took it away!
So this year we knew that we had to find a tree. We started a few nights ago, looking at Lowes and Home Depot. We didn't find anything that really grabbed us, so Saturday evening we headed off to Michaels, Target, Sams and WalMart. After going to all those places, we decided that the 9 foot tree with lights from Sams was the best for what we were looking for, so we headed back there. Bob and Nathan ran in and bought the tree, but when they got back out to the van, they could not make the box fit. So Bob took the tree back, planning on coming back this afternoon with the Pathfinder.
We bought the Pathfinder back in '95 when we first got out to Colorado. It is a '92, and we bought it from someone coming off a lease, so it was in good condition. It was a faithful Colorado vehicle, going up and down mountains, on dubious "roads" at times, pulling trailers, driving through snow, and getting us cross-country several times to visit family. When we bought the Odyssey in 2000, the Pathfinder was demoted to "second car" status, and Bob drove it to and from work in Colorado and also in Ohio. While we were in Ohio, Bob tore a muscle in his calf, and so by the time we got here to Virginia, driving a stick shift every day was painful for him. We bought an old Camry for him to commute in, and the Pathfinder got demoted to "third car, rarely driven" status. I would drive it occasionally to the library or shopping at night without the kids, but mainly it sat on the street. Even I stopped driving it lately because it was really squealing, and the battery light and brake light were both on, so I didn't trust it at all. Knowing we need another vehicle once we have the baby, we just put a "for sale" sign on it, even with those problems.
As Bob drove it off to Sams, he called on his cell to tell me that it was running really rough. He parked on a hill so he could roll-start it, if needed, after he got the tree. Well, he needed to, and he couldn't even make it back home again without it dying. We came with jumper cables and rescued him at the Shell station. He knew the battery wasn't recharging, so it must be the alternator, and we hoped we charged the battery long enough to get it home! It died right in front of our house. Thank you, Lord! When Bob looked in, he discovered an alternator belt lying on the skidplate at the bottom of the car (the thing that protects the engine if you're going 4-wheeling). So maybe when he replaces that, the squealing will be gone, as well as all the lights! And it will run, and we can sell it!
The Christmas tree is still in the back. At least we have one technically in our possession now. We're waiting for my parents to come help us get it in and decorated! There should be lots of room for all the kids' ornaments this year. And we don't have to put lights on it!!