Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Tree Woes

The three calamities I expected with the Christmas tree this year (animals eating tinsel, ornaments breaking, tree tipping) have amazingly not occured. But in an house with dogs, cats and toddlers, the poor Christmas tree is still suffering its fair share of mishaps this year.

This past summer was one of the worst we've had for fleas in Ohio, and during the worst of it, the pugs learned that if they get underneath the decorative bushes by the deck, that they can rub their backs on the lowest branches. Oh, heaven! So when we put up the tree, they naturally thought we had installed an indoor back-scratcher just for them. It stinks when the branches pop out of the little holders and fall out. Kind of defeats the purpose. And it's even worse when the german shepherd puppy grabs said branches and takes off around the house with them, dragging streams of icicles, tinsel and ornaments behind her.

Now that the weather has turned cold, the cats have been training me to let them in and out. They enjoyed the fall weather outside so much that they don't want to return to a totally indoor experience, so they go out for a bit while the dogs use the potty, then they come back in, too. They also decided that the upstairs was too crowded with the toddlers, so they're trying to create a comfortable spot downstairs where everyone can live in peace and harmony.

Winter, the more sociable of the two, decided that any laundry pile or the master bed was good with her, and that's where she can usually be found. Luna, being more reclusive in nature, has gone through a number of hiding spots, but just hasn't found her niche. Until the tree went up. Turns out that the bottom two rows give too much (they're sagging very nicely now), but the third row from the bottom is just right. Not too weak and the branches not too far apart. It evidently makes a perfect perch and sleeping spot for a reclusive cat. To her credit, she somehow manages not to disturb the ornaments in her mount/dismount.

With the cats formerly living upstairs or outside, the dogs haven't been around either of the cats in a significant way for quite a while. So to help establish her place in the house, one day Winter hid on a chair and as unsuspecting pugs went by her, she smacked them with her paw. Didn't hurt them, but the sheer surprise of the sneak attack served its purpose and now the dogs don't know what's around the next bend of their formerly perfectly safe house.

Luna is totally black, so when she hides in the tree, there are very few dogs who know she's there. Last night, the german shepherd puppy was sleeping on the living room floor (a miracle in itself, with all that puppy energy) and the tree wiggled. Her head snapped up and it wiggled again. A threatening low growl was emitted at the same time Petunia came around the corner to find herself a cozy place to lay. When the tree wiggled a third time and more vigorously, Petunia jerked around, ran out of the living room with the german shepherd on her heels. No one wants to live with a haunted Christmas tree, you know.

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