Monday, December 16, 2013

Keeping the ASS in ChristmASS

Well - half of it, anyway.

It's worth repeating: Cats are not good helpers when it comes to wrapping Christmas presents.

Okay, so it isn't really worth repeating. It wasn't even worth mentioning in the first place, since pretty much anyone who gives half a rat's ass about cats is already fully aware of this fact. But what the hell. For those of you who don't know it, even the most weary, elderly, sedentary cat gets a little sparkle in his eye when the wrapping paper comes out. The crisp rustle of it, the intoxicating aroma of fresh-printed ink sliding out from a cellophane sheath; the glossy snap of Scotch tape being pulled from the reel; the wriggling twirl of the foiled ribbons; the hissing snip of scissors slicing through shiny paper - well, you can hardly expect a cat to contain itself.

Cats neither own horses nor wear pants, which makes it especially tricky for them to hold the one or keep the other on.

But despite the helpful efforts of two furry, diminutive, pointy-ended housemates, I did manage to wrap what I've accumulated so far of Christmas presents.

Katie moved out just a few months ago. She's 21 now, setting off on her first flight of adulthood (sort of). Eric is 23, living with a girl I adore somewhat apprehensively. It's scary, getting attached to your offspring's potential better halves. You don't know where it's going to end up - I mean, sure, she's awesome, and they're happy, and the two of them are so good together.

I've been in that relationship. Many times. Many.

Or not; actually, those two seem stable and calm in a way that I never quite managed, and have been so for a couple of years now. There's a certain unobtrusive purring of the kind of relationship-supporting machinery that keeps running as long as you aren't one to get all excitable and start flinging wrenches in the form of hopeful future partners, unsupportable financial cravings, or just one more kitten.

Anyway, in the wake of Katie's moving-out, I did some empty-nesting, which is to say I went through the toy chest and the depths of the storage areas and the piles of everything in the closets that's never been cleaned out, ever. There were hundreds of stuffed toys, a few of them important and worth hanging onto, most others not. There were children's books that got read once or twice and stuffed into the back of an overcrowded shelf. There were blocks, puzzles, Barbies, beads, teasets and action figures. There were kids' meal toys from pretty much every fast-food place you can think of, and possibly some you'd rather you hadn't.

So all these extraneous things went out - in bags of trash or recyclables, in boxes of items donated to Goodwill. Katie's whole high-school subscription to Vogue got trashed. Now if I could just eradicate the smell of the perfume samples.

All in all there were so many boxes and bags, it's kind of hard to go and buy a bunch of Christmas crap that I know will be fully appreciated for all of two weeks before being relegated to the back of the closets I've just spent so much effort digging out from under years of needless excess.

Keeping to a minimum of what we need and really want is more of a Quixotic struggle than I'd anticipated.

Bingo, overexcited by the myriad sensory excitements of Christmas wrapping, got carried away and tilted at a brown paper shopping bag tonight, and I'm sorry to say that he was very soundly defeated. He jumped into the bag, tipped it over, jumped out, jumped back in, spun around, and got his upper body stuck through one of the string handles. The ensuing ruckus was so noisy and violent that his younger, fatter cohort, Baby Kitty, promptly slunk off to hide behind the encyclopedias in the bookcase.

This is also where she hid from the Christmas tree when I put it up, because apparently in Soviet Russia, CHRISTMAS TREE TERRORIZES CAT.

We put the ass-backwards in Christmas.

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At December 19, 2013 4:24 PM, Anonymous crosspalms said...

I don't think our cats will be happy untill they've removed every ornament from the tree.


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