Archie (a cat), hates our Christmas tree. Or, just maybe, he loves it so much that he wants to become one with it and I (not a cat) might be interpreting this love as destructive behavior. Either way, thanks to Archie, our tree looks like hell.
We stopped getting real trees after a mysterious blight caused the prices in Brooklyn tree lots everywhere to skyrocket.
Combine this with Seth’s discomfort with the equation of drying greenery plus electricity and, suddenly, a fake tree seemed appropriate. Realistic fakes were a new concept back then but we found one that looked legit. Or, that’s what we chose to believe. We also vowed that this was only until the prices of real trees returned to acceptable levels. Thirty years and a few incarnations of artificial tree later, we’re still faking it.
Enter Archie the Cat. We adopted him last November and despite our doting, he feared if he wasn’t polite, he’d be out on his little cat ass, spending new Year’s Eve back at the shelter. He might have thought the tree, with its’ multitude of temptations, was some sort of test. So, Archie circled and sniffed but didn’t do any of the things those naughty internet cats do like roosting in the branches, swinging at the decorations or even tipping the whole thing to the floor.
|Don't get too comfy in that|
champagne glass, Betty.
We were thrilled, assuming we’d been blessed with a miracle kitten who was charming in every way yet had no interest in Christmas trees (this, obviously, being a huge asset on cat resumes). The closest the tree got to getting wrecked was after Seth had a third martini at a party and tried to slow dance with it once we got home.
So, we bragged to our friends --many of whom had awful cat-related tree stories -- that Archie understood to stay away from it because he was that smart. As readers of this blog, you know that if Szolds brag, they will be punished…
|Acting coy will not save you.|
So, this year, not only did Archie appear to be on some wild hallucinogen while the tree was being assembled but he broke the sound barrier racing around the room, attempted to string the lights all by himself, picked up ornaments in his mouth and ran away with them and dipped a paw in everyone’s eggnog. What is happening, we wondered! Why had dignity and restraint turned to mayhem? Why was our little genius behaving like a total maniac (or, an actual cat)?
It got worse. Archie enjoys snoozing midway up the tree or drowsily cleaning himself on a 'shelf" of branches, flailing wildly at the fragile baubles and clambering straight up the side of the tree in one swift ascent. He’s also removed every ornament from the bottom branches, happily rolling them into the far corners of the house.
|And pouting will get you nowhere.|
Soon, there were sharp slivers of paper-thin glass all over the floor. My dust buster lost its charge from working overtime and we had to put away special ornaments, including precious specimens made by the kids and already held together by yellowing tape. Cowering downstairs, we hear crashing and tinkling every night, followed by the clatter of whatever he’s destroyed bouncing down each step as it becomes a plaything for this madman.
|Yes, I'd be pissed, too.|
The tree is a disheveled mess. Every morning, I pick up more ornaments he’s kicked around, readjust the lights and bend the branches back into position. Every night Archie does all he can to undo my work. Today, we found Betty Boop in pieces on the stairs. We thought we’d removed all surviving fragile ornaments but Archie found Betty and murdered her, leaving her carcass in silvery shards under the coffee table.
If Archie weren’t so cute, this would be more of a problem. Clearly, he feels secure in our love and doesn’t fear eviction. In fact, I am guilty of chuckling indulgently at many of his hijinks. When poor Seth recently dropped a delicate ornament, I screamed bloody murder at him so his nose is a bit out of joint about this whole double standard type situation but he, too, is enchanted by all things pussycat though he will vehemently deny that.
Uh-oh, I just heard a crash from upstairs….enjoy your pre-Christmas prep, friends! And thank God it comes but once a year!