Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Partridge in a Pear Tree? I Think Not.

One of my least favorite post-Christmas chores (after reading instructions to try to figure out how some new electronic gadget we received for Christmas works, anyway) is taking down the Christmas decorations and, in particular, the Christmas tree.

I love the holidays and all the bright, pretty lights and shiny ornaments on the tree, but somehow find it a little depressing to look at once we flip the calendar to a new year. I’m not sure why this is, but it is. So on my to-do list over New Year's break is always “Dismantle the Christmas Tree.” It’s not a simple task, since I load up our tree every year with LOTS of decorations. And it's something I tend to procrastinate on until I can't stand it anymore.

This year, however, I couldn’t get the darn thing down fast enough.

Why? Because Jinx, our little black kitten, discovered that she could evade her playmate, Twinks, by climbing up the branches of the Christmas tree where she’d look down at her nemesis and all but stick out her little tongue.

We hadn’t seen this new talent because we were out for the evening, but discovered it the next day. I looked at the tree and realized that my carefully draped beads were all haphazardly jumbled up on one side of the tree. Hmmm…I thought…that’s curious. I wonder how that happened?

And then I saw it with my own two eyes: Jinx scampering up the branches of the tree and taunting Twinks, who was either too big (or too big a ‘fraidy cat) to climb up the tree after her.

No matter how sternly I told Jinx “NO!” and pulled her off the tree, she kept darting up the branches as ornaments crashed down on the carpeting with a thud and beads lost their tentative perch on the branches and trailed onto the floor.

I tried putting her in her kitty cage, but I couldn’t stand her mewling – it made me feel too bad. (Plus, I couldn’t find any earplugs to drown out the noise!)

So as to avoid another day of tree climbing, I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning and immediately started pulling off ornaments. The beads were a big mess and I spent most of my time trying to untangle them. The job was made even more difficult since the kittens thought the beads were a nifty new toy and swiped and batted at each string as I unwound them from the tree.

By the time Vince came downstairs, I’d completely stripped the tree so the poor thing was standing there naked. Well, okay, except that it’s a pre-lit tree – so it was still wearing its lights. They weren’t, however, shining brightly – so it was a rather sorry-looking specimen.

Vince’s first order of business after making coffee was to pull the box out of the garage and pack the tree away for another year.

And then the kittens had nothing to play with.

Yeah, right.

They are creative little buggers, if nothing else. They immediately moved on to climbing up the back of the dining room chair to try to reach one of the plants we’d moved out of their way.

While I can’t quite see the war strategy they’ve devised in their little kitty heads, I’m guessing the living room curtains are their next plan of attack. As a countermeasure, we’ve already pulled the curtains up and out of the way of their little claws.

Yes, our formerly lovely little nest is looking a bit torn up these days.

I DID buy a pair of kitty claw nippers to make them a little less lethal, but I think I’ve managed to clip maybe six of Jinx’s claws before she squirmed out of my grasp. And Twinks? Haven’t even gotten close!

Ah well. These, too, are the joys of having kittens. And, hey, there was no procrastination involved whatsoever in getting the Christmas tree down and packed away this year – that’s a plus, isn’t it?!

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