Over the weekend, we took down the Christmas decorations at our house.
Well, to be accurate, my wife took down most of the Christmas decorations. I was on the couch with some kind of stomach ailment.
Anyway, it took about six hours to dismantle, pack and store everything away.
When I go to work at the radio station on Monday, I decided to take down the newsroom decorations. It took 26 seconds.
Don't believe me?
Watch for yourself! See this tree taken down in record time!
Do I smell like catnip?
That’s the only reason I can think of that my cat is obsessed with me. I may have to file a stalking report with the Lakewood police. Maybe get a restraining order.
It wasn’t always like this. Georgie used to be a normal cat who considered people a nuisance to be tolerated and occasionally exploited for ear rubs. She would do her own thing and I would do mine.
But now she’s older and apparently needy. We don’t know exactly how old Georgie is, but we would estimate around eight. She was already an adult cat when we got her from the Cleveland APL about five years ago. I always thought she was the perfect cat because she wasn’t annoying (claw marks on the furniture aside).
But in the last few months she’s decided that I am “The Man”. I can’t get rid of that darn cat. She follows me like Sam followed Frodo. I could climb into Mordor and still hear “Meow?” behind me.
It’s not all bad. Georgie is cuddly and purrs up a storm when she’s content. But I need some space!
I think I need to see other cats.
When I sleep at night, Georgie is between my legs. When I sit to read, Georgie sits on my reading material. When I go to sit on a stool in the kitchen, Georgie soundlessly leaps there ahead of me. I step on the cat in the middle of the night because I can’t see her walking around my feet. When I get out of the shower, Georgie is sitting on the toilet seat lid. When I go to the basement to fold laundry, she jumps on the top shirt.
The only time the cat leaves me alone is when I clean her litter box. Georgie wants no part of that ammonia mess.
If it was just me and Georgie, I guess I’d understand. But there are four other people living in the house. My son and oldest daughter would accept Georgie on their beds in a heartbeat. Instead, she hangs with them only when I’m too mobile to cling onto.
Perhaps it’s that Georgie isn’t a kitten anymore. As she gets older, maybe the bones need more warmth and the psyche more acceptance. Maybe she just needs to validate her place in the home…which is apparently velcroed to me.
Georgie does her job as a cat. She still has claws (thus the furniture issues) that she uses to keep our garden pest free. No chipmunks or mice gnawed our kale or carrots this summer. I have found a smattering of rodent carcasses in our driveway and inside our home. Yes, the pests stay away.
Georgie does seem to be somewhat intimidated by Morty, the resident guinea pig. Morty is pretty big and gives off a “don’t mess with me you stupid cat” vibe. When Morty is out of his cage, Georgie will approach, sniff and back away. This is no mouse in the house.
So what do I do? I feel like a college freshman whose girlfriend is still in high school. You hate to break it off, but you need to move on. Let’s face it…I’m married. I already have someone in the bed with me. When I reach to snuggle with Missy, I often come away with a face full of cat fur.
And have I mentioned Georgie’s recent cold? You know what’s grosser than having a cat sneeze in your face? Me neither.
I suppose I just have to grin and bear it. I have become proficient at the “Lift, reach and drop” method of removing the cat from wherever she has encamped. But as soon as those paws hit the ground, she’s moving back into place. Georgie can’t take “no” for an answer, and not just because she doesn’t speak English.
As she gets older, I guess she’ll spend even more time with me. Georgie sleeps a lot now and really likes face rubbies. And yes, she will go to other people from time to time, especially if petting is promised.
But when night comes around and I crawl under the covers, I know Georgie will be beside me or on top of me. But I won’t pet her for long! No siree. I know better. I’ll only scritch her ears, rub her back, massage her face and caress her tail for a few minutes.
I’m sure Missy will understand.
Will my mother understand?
When my parents arrive to celebrate Christmas with us on December 11th, they’ll be greeted by a new ornament in our home. It’s not a new tree-topper or lighted ceramic angel or even a hand-made school craft.
It’s the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window. That’s right…we have a leg lamp!
Ever since Missy and I got married, she has wanted a replica leg lamp for our front window. We’re both fans of Bob Clark’s now iconic film “A Christmas Story” and the leg lamp makes both of us smile.
As I set it up, I assured our four-year-old daughter that it was not a real leg. Then Parker brightened and said, “It’s like the one in the movie!” Yes Parker, there is a major award. (And no, we didn’t name Parker after the last name of Ralphie and Randy.)
One of the joys of living in Cleveland is that “A Christmas Story” is embraced as its own. The parade and shopping scenes were filmed on Public Square, while the Parker’s house has been fully restored on West 11th. I know…it’s supposed to be Indiana
in the movie, but we all know the truth.
How much do we like “A Christmas Story” in our house? We already had a leg lamp ornament with actual movie lines (“Frah-gee-lay. That must be Italian!”). We have a DVD set that came in a tin which included movie-themed cookie cutters and an apron. My brother-in-law even has a Flick action figure (but NOT a leg lamp).
My favorite "A Christmas Story" memory involves my late step-father. I was home from college one summer in the mid 1980's and had the movie on VHS. I asked Bob to watch it with me, but it was July and he didn't want to see a Christmas movie. I finally convinced him to sit down, and while Bob watched the movie, I watched him. He smiled through most of the film and at the end he couldn't stop grinning. Bob had just watched his own childhood play out on the TV screen. Bob passed away in 1989, but I have never forgotten how he thanked me for resurrecting those memories that warm July evening.
So for the holiday season, our front window will now be graced by a glowing woman’s leg wrapped in a fishnet stocking. While a leg lamp actually has nothing to do with Christmas, it has everything to do with Christmas spirit.
Will my mother understand?
I think so. But if not, who gives a fudge?
Oops. Where’s the Lifebuoy?