Failing to find much information online, they started to make phone calls. Why, oh why, did I teach them how to use a phone? The first greenhouse they call says "We don't sell them, but we have them all over the property. Come pick one up. We'll give it to you for free." The girls couldn't wait to tell me. But warning bells were going off in my head. Why would he give it away? I asked them to call back and find out how big it was.
Girls tell me, "one foot." This "one foot" haunted me the rest of the day. Did the guy lie to the girls? Did they lie to me? Did he mean the root ball, which was at least two feet anyway. Was the man really that bad at estimating size? I will never know. We go to pick up the tree and it is taller than me.
I say we can't possibly take this tree. Your dad is out of town and I can't lift that thing. It won't even fit into the van. Kindly neighborhood gentleman say "No problem, I can get it in your van, I'll just tie it up. Besides, my son dug this out for you, you have to take it." Ugh. Right around now I am regretting sending my kids to that nice little summer camp where they picked mulberries on the way to the campfire.
Next thing I know, I'm dragging a tree down the road with my family minivan. Oh poor, sweet van, what did you ever do to deserve this? My daughters are busy professing their love for me and promising all sorts of wonderful things - like doing dishes for a month and never, ever asking for anything again. Wouldn't that be nice.
We get home and 13-year-old assures me she can drive our John Deer. She'll just hook up the cart, slide the tree onto it and drive it to it's final home. Simple. One hitch - she may be able to drive it, but she can't start it. I try and fail and then get the bright idea to scrape enough mud off the thing to read what appear to be directions. I get it started, only to have the kids stall it in the front yard. Now. I can't get it to start at all.
The kids run to get our neighbor to ask him for help and add to my humiliation. He has a good laugh and then looks at the mower and shrugs. Says "I have never driven one of those in my life. I might hurt it." But he does help the girls get tree onto a dolly. I did mention my husband was out of town - by that I mean he's been traveling for almost 24 hours and is in Italy. I send him the picture above.
It takes about 30 seconds for him to call me back, never mind that it is midnight in Italy. My first words to him are "Honey, I think I proved I cannot be left alone with the children." Thankfully, he laughs. I recount Treegate for him and he says - "No problem, I can walk you through driving the tractor."
And that is what we do, him in Italy at midnight after a travel day from hell and me in Ohio feeling like a fool and yelling "What?" over the sound of the engine. But at the end of the day, we proved what we always knew - we are better together.
The girls have their tree, my husband has something new to tease me about and I learned a new skill. Hope this doesn't mean I have to mow the lawn!