3:02 PM – Mother hands brother sixty dollars to get the tree. I’m in the kitchen watching infomercials. I scream after brother, suggesting he get a Charlie Brown tree; one that is ugly and small, but that we love to a full and lush festivity. He ignores me, per usual.
4:17 PM – Brother returns with the shittiest excuse for a tree in existence. It appears he has taken my suggestion a bit too seriously.
4:19 PM – Brother reluctantly hands mother fifty one dollars in change, after Mother realizes there is no way this tree could cost sixty dollars. Brother groans, as he had intended to keep change and use it to buy booze. Mother calls sister downstairs to help decorate the tree.
4:21 PM – Tempers are rising.
4:23 PM – Mother notes that she thinks the tree is “Lovely.” Sister responds, “That’s ’cause your eyes are going.”
4:25 PM – Mother grows weary of Sister’s shit. Tells her to stop feeding the ugly ornaments to dog #1, and help “Decorate the goddamn fucking tree.”
4:26 PM – I make a mental note to schedule plans for tonight, as Father will inevitably be displeased with the pathetic shrub crowding our living room.
4:29 PM – Brother begins trimming branches along the bottom. Sister spills wine on the carpet as she yells at him, “The last thing this shit tree needs is less branches.”
4:30 PM – TV switches from Judge Judy to Jeopardy. Sister’s attention is immediately lost.
4:32 PM – Mother realizes tree is a disaster. She suggests that it doesn’t matter, “As long as we all get along.” Brother chimes in, “Fuck off, Mom.”
4:36 PM – Sister has stopped helping. She concentrates on the TV as she expresses to no one in particular, “Sometimes I can predict when the daily double is coming.”
4:39 PM – Mother notices painfully obvious hole in major focal point of tree. She retrieves somewhat nostalgic stuffed animal from brother’s room, places it in hole. We appear to have hit rock bottom.
4:40 PM – Sister points out a second noticeable hole in the tree. Brother tells sister to, “Stop bitching and start fixing.”
4:41 PM – Brother notes, “At least this year we don’t have to stand on a ladder to get the star on top.”
4:42PM – I discover dog #2 snacking on half-eaten star.
4:44 PM – Mother tells brother, “Leave room under the tree for presents that I might buy you.”
4:45 PM – Sister shouts at TV, “What is a washing machine?” She is wrong.
4:47 PM – Mother suggests to sister that they tie bows on the tree. Sister tuns her attention to the tree for a fleeting moment and replies, “Let it lie.”
4:48 PM – Brother thinks tree looks like a far side cartoon. I’m not sure what a far side cartoon is. Maybe he’s right.
4:53 PM – Sister shouts at the TV, “The Von Trapp family!” Wrong again.
4:56 PM – Mother and sister start singing “Noel” painfully out of key and not in unison.
4:58 PM – Sister tattles on me, telling Mother I am blogging about the family experience. Brother yells at sister to “Stop starting shit.” Sister tells Brother to “Shut the fuck up.”
5:00 PM – Tree is finished. Mother distresses over the fact that she will soon be having company in the form of old friends whom she has not seen in thirty years. I bid her good luck. She is screwed.
5:03 PM – Mother concludes that If you take a picture of the tree from far away, it looks really big.
5:04 PM – Sister leaves, late for a therapy session.