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My Parkinson's Journey

In which Terri shares a humorous look at her journey with Parkinson's disease and Dystonia:

For me, illness and health are not opposites but exist together. Everyone has something that is challenging to them. Mine just simply has a recognizable name. My life will take a different path because of this but that's okay. Everyone has changes in their lives that create their path.  I'm learning how to enjoy whatever path I'm on.

A Simple Tree

Terri Reinhart

We decided to get a small Christmas tree this year, just to keep things simple. Chris would prefer to have a small tree anyway, but most years, I intervene. This year we want to focus on family and making dinner on Christmas eve and preparing for guests on Christmas day. A small tree leaves more room for guests to be comfortable in our small house. I got it. 

Off to our regular Christmas tree lot at Wardle's Feed in Wheat Ridge. They were down to 9 trees, 4 of which were large, full, and over $50; the rest were sort of Charlie Brown trees without the charm. Back in the truck and off to another lot. This one had a lot of trees. At 25 degrees and windy, we made our choice quickly. It's a small tree, about 5' tall, but nice and full.

christmas tree.jpg

Back home, we got out the tree stand only to find out it is made to hold trees which are at least 5 inches in diameter. Ours is... maybe 4 inches. Close doesn't work with tree stands. I did a quick search on google for tree stands for small trees. It came up with a few available in our area. The closest one was at a Walmart. We do not shop Walmart.

I went to Walmart. To get to the particular Walmart which had this item in stock, I had to pass two other Walmart stores... on Wadsworth Blvd, which was going at a snail's pace with bumper to bumper traffic and road work. But I got there. They had two stands, one for larger trees and one for smaller trees. Unfortunately, the one for smaller trees was made for those at least 5 inches in diameter. 

On the bright side, I didn't spend any money at Walmart. This was good because I realized I had also left my purse at home. I spent the drive home (also on Wadsworth) thinking of all the possible ways to hold the tree in place in the larger stand. In fact, I let my inner Mattheus (my soon to be 7 year old inventor grandson) imagination go and, by the time I got home, had a complicated plan involving a piece of PVC pipe, more nuts and bolts, and power tools. 

Chris looked at me and said, "That's way too complicated. How about putting some gravel in the stand to see if that helps."

Sigh. He was right, of course, and I shushed my inner inventor who was sputtering, "but, but, but...". We put gravel in. Amazing! The tree stayed upright! Right up until I put the skirt around the base. We decided to sleep on it and try Plan B in the morning. 

Next morning: Maybe we needed some larger rocks to wedge it in? We siphoned off the water. We went out into the snow and dug around where we knew we had left some larger rocks. Bennie, our chiweenie, bravely followed me all the way to the garage before whimpering and turning back. It's 7 degrees out today and we have a foot of snow.

Digging out rocks in the snow ended up being worth the effort. The tree is now standing, as straight and sturdy as we're going to get it. We'd better be careful to balance the weight of the ornaments as we decorate the tree. Chris mentioned the possibility of guy wires. 

As soon as the tree was relatively stable, it seemed to me it would look much better if we had it on a small, low table. Chris suggested this would have been a fine idea IF we had done it before putting in all the stones, gravel, and water. He's right. Moving it now would be too complicated.

And this year we're keeping it simple