Every Christmas I dream of having the perfect Christmas tree, filled with lights and beautiful ornaments. Our living room has vaulted ceilings and visions of a tall, real tree have filled my dreams. My husband, however, refuses to spend the money on a real tree until our home is pet free. He has good reason to feel this way.
Every year I have him drag the old fake tree up from the basement and I try my best to make it look as pretty as I can. I spend hours folding those fake branches just right so that it will look almost real. It comes in three sections and is pre-lighted. Once I get through folding and bending all those wires, I do manage to hide most of the fake pole that stands in for the trunk of the so called tree. Then I go to work.
I hang ball after shiny ball on that tree. Each one is designed to hide a spot that is showing through. I try so hard to hang each color in a different spot on that darn tree and fuss at my husband to get him to help. This is not his idea of fun, however. So I carry on without him. Once all the balls are on the tree, I then attempt to wrap the tree with a garland of glittering magic that will transform it into a magical thing. No tinsel for us because of the dogs and cats.
When I finish, it looks ok when the lights are on, but when you turn the room lights off and only leave the tree lights on, then the tree actually looks like what it is supposed to be; A Christmas Tree. This lasts for only one day so I better enjoy this moment.
The reason this lasts for only one day rests on the furry shoulders of my two cats. I KNOW they think I put this thing up just for them. I see this on their faces as they play in the box the tree was in and as they bat the balls around the living floor. I see them sitting on the back of the couch, measuring the distance between it and the tree and I know that tree is doomed.
It starts slowly. I wake up the next morning to find a few balls missing from the lower branches. I find them, scolding whoever is responsible and who is never around and re-hang them on a higher branch. I usually decide at this point I better move the balls up higher, so I do. We now have a tree that is naked from a quarter of the way down. Not quite the look I was going for, but what are you going to do?
Things gradually progress from bad to worse as those furry feline menaces make their way into the tree. So I moved the balls. Big deal. They climb the darn tree and perch in the fake branches just waiting for me to walk by and happen to look their way. I jump every time I happen to catch one of them staring at me from in-between those branches and I know they are laughing at me. They get hauled out of there, knocking off more balls in the process, and stroll away quiet perturbed at me for de-treeing them.
More balls are gone because a lot of them just seem to disappear in the night. We have carpet on the floor, but even that doesn’t protect a ball that is being used as a soccer ball by a couple of cats. I vacuum more during the holiday season than I do any other time of year. The tree manages to get knocked over at least twice by those cats and I have been known to just take it down, even before Christmas has even arrived. And the presents under it?? They somehow seem to think anything at floor level belongs to them and try their best to open every one of them.
So why even bother, you might ask? Because I want my Christmas tree and I will not give in to a couple of furry menaces who seem to take such delight in ruining my tree. I will win this battle if it is the last thing I ever do.