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My first Christmas; with my wife and our pet cat

By By Fredie Carmichael
Dec. 23, 2001
As I fumbled with the scotch tape, scissors and wrapping paper the other day to wrap my wife Sara's final Christmas present, I made a terrible discovery.
Our Christmas tree is almost gone.
It's shedding so bad that I'm worried our first Christmas as a married couple will be with a tree that looks something like a few bare branches barely hanging on to a few ornaments all stuck in stand with piles of presents underneath.
What's the cause of the shedding tree? Our cat, Princy.
Princy likes to swat at the tree's ornaments, drink the water out of the stand and swat ferociously at its branches. Some times I wonder if she just likes to do to simply listen to the sound of the needles from the Douglas Fur raining down on the presents below.
The cat
Before I go into the story of the cat and its destruction of our tree, I thought I had better give a little background information about the cat first. Sara and I got married in July and Princy was my pre-wedding/house warming gift to her. She's grown up around cats her whole life and that's the one thing she really wanted.
The cat like Sara is real petite and small. She was the runt of the litter. Even though she's small, she's extremely hyper.
Now that you know a little bit about the cat, let's continue on with the story.
Being newlyweds and all, Sara and I were really looking forward to purchasing our first Christmas tree together. So about a month ago, oozing with anticipation, we headed out to Marvin's Building Materials and Home Centers to find that perfect tree.
When we got there a polite little boy scout approached us and asked if he could assist us. Boy scouts are working with Marvin's this year, helping them in the Christmas tree department. Marvin's donates a percentage of the money they earn to the boy scouts for helping out.
Anyway, the boy was probably about 12 going on 30 and I knew that he had won Sara's heart over when he asked us what kind of tree we were looking for. I turned to her and said, "We're going home with whatever tree he picks out, aren't we?" She said yes and we left Marvin's parking lot with a 6-foot-tall Douglas Fur tree strapped to the top of my Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The destruction begins
I could tell as soon as we got the tree up and in its stand (which was a task in and of itself), that Princy was intrigued by the latest addition to our living room.
Later on that night, around 3 a.m. I think, I was awakened by sounds of the tree shaking. I looked downstairs and noticed the cat was playing with the tree. I went down there, picked her up, and locked her in a room so I could get some sleep cruel and unusual punishment according to my wife.
About a week later I started noticing the piles of the tree's pine needles were getting bigger and bigger. Consequently the tree was looking thinner and thinner.
When we told my family about it the next day, they told me it was probably dried out from not getting enough water. Someone in our family (and I'll keep their name a secret for the sake of anonymity) told me to put our left over coffee in the tree stand. That, they said, would keep it from drying out as easy.
Well that was a big mistake. Come to find out, the tree hadn't been soaking up the water in the stand, Princy had. So you can only imagine who consumed the highly caffeinated batch of coffee.
Here's a hint: it wasn't the tree.
Discovering the mystery
I had the misfortune of making the discovery in the middle of a long nap. It was my day off and I had decided I would sleep in. But my fully caffeinated cat had other plans.
I woke up hearing a sounds of paper tearing. When I stumbled downstairs to see what was going on, I discovered what the noise was. I found Princy attempting to open one of the presents under the tree.
Now had it been mine, I probably would have finished what she had started so I could find out what was inside, but since it wasn't mine I got pretty angry.
I took the rolled up piece of newspaper that we use to punish her with, and chased her around the house. I knocked over lamps, tables, chairs, just everything in my path except the cat.
After deciding to give up and let her win, I made my way to the couch to finish my late-morning nap. Then, as soon as my eye lids began to close, I heard slurping.
Princy was under the tree drinking the day-old coffee/water.
Today, two days before Christmas, I'm now wondering if we'll even have a Christmas tree left by Tuesday morning.
Not to mention the presents under the tree. We had some friends over the other night to exchange presents and eat, and when I pulled the presents from under the tree they literally had a two-inch coating of the tree's needles on them.
We just had to laugh, brush the needles off and give them their presents. I'll just be glad when the tree is gone so I can get a good night's sleep.
But at the same time I'll probably miss the darn thing because it was our first. The first of many more to come.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas this and takes time to celebrate the true meaning of the day: Jesus' birthday.
So Merry Christmas to all.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com.

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