Please don't think I'm feeling ungrateful. Because I'm not. I am SO thankful to be sitting in front of an electrically powered screen, in my warm, lighted house. I shrink away from feeling apathetic about that, because there are many who wish they were in my shoes. I like that it's Christmas time. There is festivity in the air. BUT. I need to pick the proverbial nit.
Annoyance is lurking about. I must tell you about a problem we are having here, and it has to do with this holiday. It makes me clench my teeth. I mutter things under my breath. I think bad thoughts. It's the issue of the Christmas tree. We, for many years, ventured happily to different wooded locations to pick a tree just right for us. The trekking, the picking, the chopping, the hauling, the whole family festival of fun. I will also reveal to you that NEVER have we had the perfect tree. Really, it has always been more of a sit-and-chuckle-at-what-we-ended-up-with kind of occasion. I know this, because the name Charlie Brown came up every year. Even when we were SURE we had scored. So a few years ago, we were nearing the $50 mark to pick a tree that was never quite as lovely as we had hoped, and it always dropped WAY too many needles for my liking, and I couldn't WAIT to get that thing down and put away.
SO, we decided to make the switch (gasp) to artificial. We shopped after the holidays, and came home with a big box. Which I happily shoved into the attic with the boxes of holiday cheer in the decoration and ornament categories. The first year we pulled it out, and set it up. It was fine. Not smelling like pine, but fine. The second year, we got it out, and it was a bit of a pain to unsquish and 'fluff,' but it was pretty okay. This year it has come out of the box, needing MUCH more fluffing and care... well it has been set-up and for 10 days now, undecorated, unlit and quite mangled.
The problem? (The whole ice storm thing wasn't a big help here) We have two VERY naughty cats. We wisely opted to set up the tree in the only room with french doors. We knew we could try to separate the ornaments from the pouncing. However. Certain members of this house forget that those doors must stay shut. Certain other four-footed furry members of this house, lurk at the corners, waiting for someone to leave that door not quite shut. And then? If we're lucky enough to catch them, they're at the top before you can blink an eye. The TOP of the tree, I mean. If it weren't MY house, I might actually find the scene quite amusing. (Get it! Go get that tree little beasty!) And those pets wrestle and wrangle that tree until it no longer resembles a nice tree of Christmas (as nice as the fake version can be). It's like the WWF of cats. VS. tree.
It has gotten to the point where I just shut the door, and now I keep walking by it, looking at the coiled up piles of lights on the carpet, the heap of deformed plastic wiry branches and the boxes of ornaments under the chair in my bedroom and occasionally wonder if we could possibly just do Christmas without the tree? (just maybe try it this once?) My children protest. But. Nobody is eager to unmess the cat tree. So last night I sent in child number one. Just spend a few minutes re-fluffing some branches. (I said) Then later on I sent in the second child. Look! (I exclaimed) See how much better it looks already? Just spend a few minutes making it look a bit better. It'll make you (really me) feel good. Then went in child #3 for her few minutes, and well, you get the picture. Hope returns. The child who said he would no longer be the light guy actually went in and strung up those pups. Tonight we have a fake pretty (non-ornamented) lit-up Christmas tree behind french doors. We hope to adorn the tree next, if we can actually have all eight people in the house at once without the power going out. Can we also hope that the doors will stay shut until at least the 26th? Stay tuned. And P.S. If your household has always wanted two cats who are very cute, tolerate being dressed up in American Girl Doll clothes, chase your toes while you're trying to sleep and are also (bonus!) hairy (all over the couches hairy) and like to attack Christmas trees, let me know. I have just the answer.