Last year, our seven-year-old pre-lit Christmas tree started acting up. By which, I mean, not consistently lighting up on demand. Hugh tested every bulb, the cord, the wires between bulbs, everything. He found no logical reason for the glitch. Finally, he unwound the entire light strand from the top third of the tree, re-wrapped it with a brand new strand of lights (that he had tested, successfully, prior to spending three hours on the project), and plunked it back on the pole. It looked beautiful...for about a day. Then, it blinked out, again.
Then, it came back on.
By the end of the season, Hugh was over the sometimes functioning, sometimes not, tree, and, he literally threw it in it's box, turned to me and said "Fuck it. Buy a new one next year".
So, this year, I stalked the pre-season sales, turning down insufficient tree after insufficient tree (too short, too skinny, not pre-lit, pre-lit with the wrong color of bulbs, etc., etc.) before finally locating a tree nearly identical to our old one.
I was pleased.
Until, Hugh set the tree up and it became clear that, not only were the trees similar in appearance, but, in temperament, as well.
My first clue was a small band of lights, near the top of the tree, that blinked off and on at near-perfect five minute intervals. Of course, I didn't notice that fine feature until the tree was completely decorated, at which point there was no way in HELL I was going to undecorated and dismantle it just to return it to the store.
Instead, I decided to ignore the glitch and to return the tree after Christmas (I purchased an extended warranty when I bought the tree, so, technically, I can exchange it for another one anytime within the next three years, not that I am quite that lazy).
I did a remarkably good job at the ignoring thing for about a week, at which point I noticed that the band of lights had ceased its' on again-off again routine and had simply gone completely dark. Fine by me; the band was fairly small and the other lights on the tree disguised it well enough that most people probably wouldn't even notice they were off.
This evening, I sat down to watch a movie and I noticed that the lights are, inexplicably, back on. I've been obsessively watching them for the past hour now and they have not so much as blinked.
I appreciate the tree's last-minute attempt to stave off a return to the Hellmouth, where, in all likelihood, it will be banished to the Policy A room, to await it's eventual fate on the scrap heap, but; not enough to change my mind about returning it.
The stress of it all has been almost enough to convince me to just get a real tree from now on.
Ok, not really, but, still! Dubbya tee eff, tree?