A Chewed Jute Ornament

Mike vacuumed and put up the tree while I made him pizza. Not a bad trade, right? Keep in mind that I can’t even eat pizza any more, no crust, no cheese, because of my body’s reaction to them. It was a little bit agonizing, to be honest. The guys would have homemade pizza and I got leftovers again. Two-day old salmon didn’t leftover all that well.

In my kitchen, I put on a Christmas CD but by the time I finished kneading dough, rolling it out, layering it with their favorite ingredients, and came out to join Mike, he’d already finished the lights and most of the ornaments, then put on a movie that had arrived from the the library. I love getting free movies from the library, but sometimes the hold timing isn’t all that great. So on TV? The Purge. Why were there always so many horror movies around Christmas We weren’t looking at a simple curmudgeon like The Grinch, but instead out and out murder, terror, and gore, the premise of suspending all legal consequences for one day. The story went straight to slaughter. I had trouble tuning it out.

It changed my mood away from Christmas. I needed to shop for more presents, but I didn’t want to do it under the influence of The Purge.

But the cats were excited. In the course of the season, I anticipated that they would climb the tree trunk, bat at accessible ornaments, remove their favorites to other rooms for play, chew pine needles and garland, and nest in the tree skirt. Later, if I put garland on the mantle, Blitz would gaze from below while Seth leaped the great height, weaved through the mess, knocked off a framed picture or two, and generally managed to pull the balance off so that the loops and the lights would be wonky at least twice a week.

Then, if they chewed anything up, like the jute angel my sister gave me two years ago or the cabin I bought made of bark and twigs to replace it, I would find bits and pieces of them in the litter box later. Mike hung all breakables and undigestibles where he thought they were out of reach, but you’d be surprised how far the combined will of two fifteen-pound cats could reach.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I came home from the grocery store to find the tree overturned and garland and lights pulled half way across the living room floor.

Welcome to the season!

Thank you for listening, jules