One friend who knows us well pointed out that if we are crazy enough to have two cats and two kittens in this tiny apartment, we are crazy enough to have a tree. That made a lot of sense.
My older sister said:
Geez, you sound like a new mother with worrying about eating pine needles and lights. I've never heard of a cat doing either of those things. Snalbert is just weird. I doubt the kittens will eat pine needles. They'll just think Snalbert has a screw loose. So if they SHOULD start to eat lights, you can pull them off from the bottom of the tree.
Kittens are supposed to knock trees down. Then you have a baby story to remember them by forever. It's part of the kitten tradition.
GET A TREE, FOR PETE'S SAKE. It won't seem much like Christmas without one.
Don't disagree with my sister unless you're looking to get verbally pummeled. And she's nailed it, of course. I was out doing some shopping last night, and as I walked home, the lights from the trees in Marlborough Street's bay windows looked sweet and romantic. I was sad not to see one twinkling in our window.
Spores be damned.
So we drove to Wilson Farm and selected a slender balsam fir that will fit nicely in a corner. I now feel it's too short — but all of our trees have been too short, in my opinion. This one is perhaps 8 feet tall, and that's pushing it. I prefer a 10-foot tree. But my husband prefers a very smelly, 7-footer, and I am always in the mood to humor him these days.
We're going to put it in our Mother of All Tree Stands, attach it to the window frame with fishing line, and decorate it tomorrow. No matter how short it looks in the stand, we won't be returning it in the snowstorm. I'll be stringing both colored and white lights using a technique refined in my hometown, The Christmas City of the USA. Then I will add only a few, kitten-safe ornaments instead of my many hundreds of glass balls, Santas, snowmen, carrots, trumpets, churches, strawberries, etc. We also bought pine boughs to decorate the living room mantel and a wreath. I'll begin decorating as soon as I finish another big, ceiling-to-floor, antifungal housecleaning. I'm hoping it will be the last one before we get a negative ringworm culture result. (We're a week away from the first set of results, and each day feels a little more tense as we wait for the vet's office not to call us with a positive result from one of the four felines.)
I hope the kittens enjoy it more than Snalbert does. Why he spends a few days each year eating pine needles and puking them back up baffles us. It would be more fun to climb the thing or pull off ornaments and chase them around the apartment. We sort of hope the kittens do climb it. They're only kittens for a short time and we want them to make the most of it. (This doesn't include running off with scraps of curling ribbon. Hazardous.)
* * * * *
As we stood in line at the cashier to pay for our greens, the guy in line behind us hoisted two old-fashioned glass bottles of egg nog onto the counter. "Wow," I said, "Good for you. We buy the light stuff and it isn't the same. Tastes like melted ice cream."
He replied, "I cut this by filling half the glass with bourbon, so it lasts twice as long and it's not as heavy."
"Good idea!" I said. "You cut the cholesterol in half that way, so you're really doing the healthy thing."
"Yeah?" he said. "It's healthier?"
"Oh, it is!" I said. "The alcohol will kill any lingering germs from pasturizing or the eggs. And since there are eggs in it, it would actually be a good breakfast drink."
"You think so? You think it's good for me? I don't know how I'd feel, drinking it in the morning. It would be a really long day," He said."
The cashier chimed in: "A really long, happy day."
"Or a really short day that you totally missed, " I said.
We all agreed we'd like to try it.