Christmas Tree 2010 + New House!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 18 No tags Permalink 0

“Is it big enough? How big is it?”
“Ahh, 12 feet?”
“12?! That’s it? Nooo, must be bigger!”
“Hard to see from this angle. You’re right though, I think…15 feet?”
“No way.”
“17 actually! Now that I look from here, yes, must be 17 feet at least.”

That’s my dad attempting to cut down an actual Christmas tree from the forest we call our backyard. For the last 24 years of my life we relied on a trusty 12-foot plastic tree that moved with our family to house to house. And there were a lot of houses. My parents build and sell, and build and sell, always at rapid speed. Always moving within a 15-minute driving distance from the previous home. And always in Honolulu.

As a result, I never fully unpack my belongings. Life in boxes. Sounds like a hassle, but I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

Until this current house. A one year project that evolved into a five year affair. It’s the only house mom and dad have fallen head over heels for. So I think we’ll be staying here for awhile.

It’s at the top of a hill in Honolulu, fairly isolated. We bought it as a raw patch of state preservation land. And between obtaining government approval, constructing the home, and figuring out how to make it completely green, and building our own water supply system, the one year naturally rolled into five years.

And now we’re done!

Almost at least. I don’t think it will ever be completely finished.

I arrived in Hawai’i yesterday evening, after a ridiculously long flight from NYC. Both mom and dad picked me up at the airport, and on the ride home dad declared, “no more plastic tree this year. We’re going to cut our own!

Mom thought he was kidding, and I was too tired to confirm.

But this afternoon we realized dad was not joking. He brought out sneakers, matching long flannel shirts, and a machete. Tree cutting time. Our new backyard is two acres of raw land, a good portion of which houses Christmas trees. It was a 20-minute “hike” into the backyard when we came across the perfect tree. Well actually the “perfect” ones were just too massive for our puny machete ;)

Dad was in charge of the chopping while mom and I pointed out potential trees. Mom said, “smile!” and so I did and here’s the photo. About eight seconds after this photo was taken my ankles started itching, crazy, crazy. I looked down (stupidly wore knit leggings instead of reasonable pants), and my ankles were covered, no, coated, in mosquito bites…one, two…twenty-six, twenty-seven! It was disgusting, bright, taut red bumps overtaking the skin, looked like a science experiment gone terribly wrong. I charged right back to the house, after tripping on several random tree branches, and metal markers left by the construction crew. A hot bath, thick layers of Calamine lotion, and hopefully my ankles won’t be all bubbly red tomorrow.

But we did get the Christmas tree up and here it is! It turned out to not be 17 feet, but SEVEN feet (things look so much bigger from a distance in the forest!) Ahaha. We’re going for the minimalist look!

A few hours later and…Here’s what the tree looks like now. Wish I had a more complete photo to show you…but we’re running out for dinner. Happy Holidays!

18 Comments
  • anonymous
    December 15, 2010

    I love your house… gorgeous!!! And the tree's not so bad either ;)

  • K and S
    December 15, 2010

    love this post! happy holidays!

  • anonymous
    December 15, 2010

    I love the minimalist tree, honestly. In this season of copiousness values, I favor the opposite: modest and less.Your house is goooorgeous. It's great to have that as your cushion to escape from a place like New York City.

  • Sasha
    December 15, 2010

    Wow. This house is just majestic. And good job with the tree :)

  • Tamakikat
    December 15, 2010

    Love the tree story apart from the mossie bites.Looks like you're going to have a lot of fun in the sun this Christmas:)

  • Alice
    December 15, 2010

    such a beautiful house and location!!and it's so cool you guys cut your own tree haha. enjoy your time in hawaii!

  • KirkK
    December 15, 2010

    Hey Kathy – I see you've made your annual trip "home" for the holidays. Wow that is quite a home Kathy! Cute tree too! ;o)

  • eiLeen
    December 15, 2010

    wow, that's an incredible looking house…i love the pool!

  • anonymous
    December 15, 2010

    Welcome home!You folks have a beautiful home and the tree is perfect – plenty of space for ornaments and gifts.Enjoy all of the new places to eat, it's crazy how many have opened up the last few months. I'm going to check out Morimoto tonight with my daughter and some of her friends – I hope it lives up to expectations!Maybe a chain saw for your Dad for Christmas?Have a great holiday,Alan from Makiki

  • Kathy YL Chan
    December 15, 2010

    Hi Stephanie!hehe, thank you!!Hi Kat!Yay, glad you enjoyed! Hope to see you in Hawai'i soon!!!Hi Diana!I totally agree with you – you'll have to come to Hawai'i someday, but till then we have an awesome surprise waiting for you that second Sunday of January!!Hi Sasha!Thank you! The tree toppled over late last night, but that's another to tell! ;)Hi Tamaki!I sure hope so! The bites were horrific, but I guess that's a small price to pay for finding our own xmas tree :)Hi Alice!Thanks! First time EVER cutting our own tree, we were lucky that we could just chop it down from the backyard!Hi Kirk! Thanks man! The holidays just wouldn't feel the same without a trip home :)Hi Eileen! Thank you! Have yet to go swimming in it, but might do that today! :) Hi Alan!OOoo enjoy Morimoto! Would love to hear what you think of the food. I'm curious to check out all the new food trucks around town. Ahhh, was going to get dad an ipad, but I think chain saw may be more appropriate indeed! :D

  • Alessa
    December 15, 2010

    The house is absolutely stunning (and being green gets two extra thumbs up). Welcome back to Hawaii for the holidays :)!!-Long time blog lurker (and I mean that in as non-creepy way as can be). Now bring on the Hawaii food :).

  • anonymous
    December 16, 2010

    Is that a fireplace I see?Alan from Makiki

  • Kathy YL Chan
    December 16, 2010

    Hi Alessa!Thank you! Am so happy you unlurked hehe ^_^ Hawai'i food coming right up!Hi Alan!Yes, fireplace! We put one in the living room and one in the family room…it actually gets cold enough here to justify the need!

  • Katie
    December 16, 2010

    Okay, this is kind of (or really) creepy but I'm pretty sure I spotted you at the US Airways terminal at JFK on Monday morning. I was on my way to Phoenix for a work trip. I didn't say anything to you then because I didn't want to be a total creep! Anyway…Also, I was just in Hawaii for Thanksgiving and my parents cut a Norfolk Pine down too. I wasn't too keen on it at first (who doesn't love a traditional, full, nice smelling tree?) but it grew on me. Yay Hawaii and Norfolk Pines!Happy holidays!!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    December 17, 2010

    Hi Katie!Ahha yes that must have been me! You should have said "hi!" I was so tired and groggy that morning…but still would have been nice! ;) Hooray for cutting down trees! I miss the nice smell, but that's what the spray scent can is for right? hehehe ^_^

  • Justin
    December 20, 2010

    wow, what an amazing place

  • anonymous
    December 20, 2010

    damn, cutting your own tree from your own backyard. that is some 1800's shit right there. pretty cool though and the house looks cool too.

  • anonymous
    December 21, 2010

    Hi!! Just found your blog. That looks like my dream house!! All those windows are amazing. That tree goes very well with the house.

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