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Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas Tree, of all the trees most lovely Miscellaneous

You’ve probably heard the classic joke, “How many people does it take to change a lightbulb?” Over here in Building 86, the running joke this holiday season is, “How many people from University News does it take to put up a real Christmas tree?” Remember, we don’t claim to be engineers. It is our jobs to promote the work of these left-brain people and their right-brain colleagues.

If any engineers had witnessed our tomfoolery, they would have clearly been befuddled at our numerous and misguided attempts to force the tree into the tree stand. It just wasn’t going to happen.

Based on this, you can only imagine the laughs, curses, tree sap, sweat and blood that were flying in our office lobby the afternoon of Tuesday, Dec. 2.

Kelly Downs, Bob Finnerty and Susan Rosinski

left to right: Kelly Downs, Bob Finnerty and Susan Rosinski

This adventure stems back (I know, bad pun!) several months ago when I told my colleagues at lunch that I would love to get a real tree for the office. I offered my father’s services to load the tree in his truck and deliver it. I don’t believe any of the bosses were present at the time of my proposal. Truth be told, Susan Rosinski, our office manager, holds the “real” power and she began making some phone calls to inquire if it was possible.

Indeed it was! Facilities Management requires the tree to be coated with some kind of fire retardant material. Once it’s been sprayed, the branches need 24 hours to dry before it can be handled.

My father (great sport, thanks dad!) and I met at an area tree farm the morning of Dec. 1 with my measuring tape in hand. We have a limited amount of space in our lobby for the tree (as Bob Finnerty, chief communications officer, reminded Susan and me on several occasions!). With Bob’s words ringing in my head, “Be sure not to get too big of a tree,” I hemmed and hawed over which one to buy. No worries though. I picked out a full body Douglas Fir that easily cleared the appropriated space. Paul Stella, director of University News, called the tree “Fat!” I think he means Phat, doesn’t he?

After the Facilities Management crew sprayed and delivered it to us (special thanks to Chris, Marty and Bill for all of their help), Bob and I tried to get the tree in the tree stand. The problem—two of the branches were too low and prevented the stand from going on. Cutting them off though would destroy the tree’s shape. Susan and I then debated (more like obsessed) about which of the two branches were the lesser of the two evils. Once we determined that, Bob did as he was instructed.

Bob: “Just tell me what you want me to do. I don’t want to be blamed for making the wrong cut!”

The tree still wouldn’t fit in the stand. Refusing to butcher the tree any further, Susan, in the clutch, drove home and brought back a different tree stand. Her and Paul, unlike Bob and me, easily got the tree in to this stand and there was no need to make any more alterations. Bob and Susan both ended up cutting themselves, but luckily no medical personnel needed to be called to the scene.

Was it worth all the sweat and blood? You bet! The tree looks beautiful and the fresh scent of pine greets us daily. My colleagues love it. Kathy Lindsley, editor of the RIT University Magazine, donated the angel that adorns the tree top. Kathy even made a miniature version of a magazine cover for the angel to hold. The perfect touch to our perfect tree! So if you are in the neighborhood in the next several weeks stop by Building 86 to see the newest member of our University News family. He’ll be the one twinkling.

  1. Bob Finnerty
    Dec 08

    Let's not forget the humiliation of having RIT students in the hallway laughing at us trying to put this up. They must've been thinking: "Our tuition dollars are spent on the best and brightest!" I will keep my day job.

  2. Paul Stella
    Dec 09

    Now that's phat!

  3. Jenn Hinton
    Dec 09

    I really miss my 86 friends!

  4. Christine
    Dec 09

    How on earth did Ali, Ron, and I miss all this excitement at our end of the hall? If there's any caroling to be done, be sure to let us know!

  5. Sue Provenzano
    Dec 10

    I want to come work with you guys!!! What a great story!

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    The Tiger Beat takes you behind the scenes with the members of RIT University News—the news and public relations division of Rochester Institute of Technology. Get the “story behind the story” and an insider’s look at who we are and what we do to publicize RIT news.
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