Saturday, December 11, 2010

Getting Help With Christmas.

 Nefertiti defending her stash of decorations.

Christmas is almost here.  I LOVE Christmas.  The house begins to explode in Christmas decorations on 1st December.  It takes me a few days to get all the decorations up and where I’m happy with them.

Graeme brought in my decorations from the old farmhouse where I store them all year.  As he hauled in the last of the boxes he said, "Please don't buy any more decorations."  I tried not to let my eyes shift to the huge bag of decorations I'd bought at last year's sales and kept in the house all year securely hidden until this moment.  I think I got away with it.  Nothing has been said about the huge bag anyway.

I don’t know if it’s the result of the trauma of carrying all those heavy boxes inside but Graeme has gone into Scrooge mode and is bah humbugging all my decorations.  We had stern words about it for a while.  I pointed out they weren't actually hurting him.  He disagreed, and my thoughts turned to Graeme carrying those heavy boxes.  He is now learning to live with the decorations quietly, but I imagine he shudders every time he thinks of returning them to storage.  Graeme does like the tree lights though.  Apparently they can be set for a few different sequences and fiddling with electronic boxes is just what Graeme likes.  So he’s in charge of the sequencing and happiness reigns once again.

I'm having a lot of help with the decorating - unfortunately.  The first thing I put up is the Christmas tree.  Decorate it heavily, complete with lights and angel on top.  This year it took twice as long to decorate – not because of all the extra decorations we’re not going to mention to Graeme (please remember that if you meet him), but because of all this help I was getting.

 Ambrosia followed me around the tree and stood  on her back paws, put her front two paws together and plucked off the decoration I’d just added and dropped it on the floor.  At first I didn't notice what she was doing and looked back to see all the decorations scattered around the base of the tree instead of on the branches.  Christmas trees experience an autumn?  I thought.  I sighed heavily and rehung them all.  That’s when I met Ambrosia coming around the tree from the other side, plucking decorations as she went. The guilty look on her face said it all.  Nefertiti was keeping a low profile under the tree, but was just as involved with the deciduous decorations.  From time to time a little tortoiseshell paw would delicately hook around a fallen ornament and scoop it under the tree to be inspected and chewed just a little bit.  She had amassed quite a pile before I noticed her there.  She left the real dirty work to Ambrosia as usual, but found her own fun in it all.

Ambrosia then decided that if removing decorations was going to be that frowned upon she’d wait until I’d finished and walked away, when she could de-decorate the tree to her heart’s content.  In the meantime she’d find other forms of amusement with this wonderful addition to the house.  What are trees for?  She asked herself.  Climbing!!!  She answered herself and fitted the thought with the deed in no time flat.

 Ambrosia with the evidence.
Once again I was taken by surprise.  I heard here scuffling around under the tree and decided to investigate after I’d returned all the decorations to the lower branches.  Before I’d accomplished that a striped paw shot out of the branches and tried to take the decoration I was adding out of my hand.  To say it took me by surprise is an understatement.  I screamed, jumped back and nearly landed in the boxes of decorations.  When my heart returned to its approved site within my body I thought this needed documenting pictorially so I got the camera and you can see it all.

Once the photos were taken I was left with the cat in the tree problem.  I knew that just removing her would do no good.  She’d be back up that tree as soon as her paws hit the ground.  Ambrosia was having so much fun communing with nature (even if nature was in the form of a plastic Christmas tree).  I could see her imagining herself back in rainforest with her wild ancestors, the Asian Leopard Cats, hunting the wild life (in this case Christmas ornaments) and living the good life of a beast of prey.  I brought the trusty water spray bottle into play and by the end of the day tree climbing had been reduced to only very occasionally when the call of the wild was just too hard to resist.

Next up was putting up the tinsel.  This activity was soon reduced to a tug of war between me and the two cats.  As I climbed the kitchen step ladder, trailing tinsel as I went, I’d feel a gentle tug on the free end which soon turned into all out warfare.  I did try draping the hanging part of the tinsel around my neck and shoulders but from time to time it slipped off and Ambrosia and Nefertiti were waiting at the bottom of the step ladder to deal with any tinsel ends that came their way.  Of course I won the battles every time with my superior human strength, but the tinsel did suffer damage.  By the time the tinsel was up in the loungeroom, kitchen and dining room the floor looked more sparkly that the walls!  This was fine by the girls.  Ambrosia and Nefertiti stalked the highly dangerous glittery stuff, pounced on it, threw it up in the air and generally reduced each bit of amputated tinsel to a quivering heap on the floor.  Thankfully this battled raged for quite some time, allowing me to get the rest of my decorations up. 

Decorating this year was much more a case of putting the delicate ones up high and the sturdy and/or soft ones lower  rather than putting them in the spot to show them at their best – just like decorating with a toddler in the house.  I’ve had to drastically reduce the number and type of decorations in the bathroom.  Ambrosia and Nefertiti sleep in there and as they are unsupervised, fun was had by all - except the decorations.  Each morning I’d pick up the decorations from the floor, throw out the more chewed ones and find a new home for them.  In the end I found that one handmade, sewn and stuffed fabric tree, one large felt reindeer and a basket of pine cones are the only decorations that can cope with all the nocturnal attention.  I still have to return them to their rightful spots most mornings but at least they are unharmed.

Now that the presents are wrapped and under the tree the cats seem to think that there must be something in there with their names on them.  To this end they spend as much time as they can get away with under the tree investigating the parcels.  I’ve had to repair a few already and the wrapping, never wonderful to begin with, is looking decidedly second hand.  Never mind, my family is used to this.  The ferrets love nothing better than to get in amongst the presents when they come in for a run from time to time.  Now they have the cats to help them, the presents are in mortal danger each day.  The spray bottle won’t work here because the water may damage to paper and or gifts.  Constant vigilance on my part is the only answer. 

Ah, Christmas.  I do love it so, but this year it seems to be more hectic than usual.  I wonder why?