Topic: "Christmas Communique"(3)
Frodo and Sam have friends who are retired college professors. She is now an author of romance novels, and any reader who has ever felt her own mounds aquiver would recognize the cognomen. He, on the other hand, takes care of the house, cooks, and composes the annual Christmas Communique. Despite your anxiety about these generally boring and mundane inclusions in the cards you receive from any of your acquaintances with more than two children, Frodo urges you to sit back and read what follows (but, only after going to the bathroom, and doing a "number one"--remember, you were warned). Note also that this posting is done entirely without the permission of the original author because Frodo will attempt to claim credit for its' creation.
"Well, the inevitable finally caught up with Panther, our 24-year-old black tomcat. He died last Feb. I was very fond of him, but I can't say that I wasn't relieved to no longer be chief geriatric caregiver. Free at last, free at last! For about three months. Then Shirl started up. "I want babies." I reminded her that it was a bit late in life for that. But she refined her chant. "I want cat babies." I reminded her that it had been a quarter of a century since we had had kittens, and it was a bit late in life for that. In May, we adopted two two-month old kittens from the Humane Society.
They are purebreds. One is a Hun, the other is a Mongol. The black one is named Attila, and the silver-blue gray one Genghis. Actually, exercising the imagination for which she is renowned in writing circles, Shirl named them Inky and Pewter. She calls them her "precious treasures." Jesu! (You may vomit at will). They are neither "precious" nor "treasures."
Here is a partial recap of about six months of their "treasurely" antics. One afternoon, I was home alone and had just gotten out of the shower. The back wing of the house seemed stuffy, so I turned up the thermostat. Nothing. I turned the blower fan to "manual on." Nothing. I turned the thermostat up to "heat." Nothing. I raced down to the laundry room buck-naked. After an anxious search, I discovered that a plug far back on the side of the furnace was dangling loose. I bent over to put it back in place and I was apparently "dangling." I felt a sudden WHAP where no man ever wants to feel a WHAP. Pewter had been helping me trouble-shoot the problem but then decided to play. Thank god, it was Pewter. When he plays with humans, he does not put out his claws. Had it been Inky doing the swatting, I would now number among the "famous" tenors. . .sopranos even. But the damned furnace/air conditioning was still dead. So I traced the wire from the plug to find that, after they had knocked out the plug, they had used it as a swing and had torn loose the connection in the laundry room ceiling. I reconnected. Success! A couple of months later, the furnace again died. I checked it out (fully dressed), and this time, I discovered that one of the "treasures" had reached through an air vent in the top of the furnace and disconnected the vacuum valve that starts the furnace blower, destroying part of it. The HVAC man had to fix that. A week ago the furnace wouldn't start; and after a check of the old problems, I was relieved to discover that this time they had simply thrown the furnace switch off. I live in fear that they will learn to use a screwdriver.
Next, they burrowed through the wall board behind the furnace and broke into the small wine cellar under the rear stair case and started pulling bottles from the racks in preparation for a four in the morning wine tasting. I can't figure out how they did it, but they got the wine alcove's door open from the inside and decided to come up to us for an early morning visit with lots of purring and "kissing," probably looking for a corkscrew. They busted out twice more that night before we discovered the escape tunnel and sealed it. . .at 5:30 AM.
Finally, came the "fashionista" episode, when they discovered that they looked good in jewelry, Shirl's jewelry. One afternoon, I heard her shriek from the master bedroom: "You wretched little creatures. Give that back or I'll spank your butts." The "treasures" had knocked her jewelry case off the dresser and pulled open the drawers. Spread across the rug was a trove of earrings, rings, bracelets, broaches, necklaces, doubloons, pieces of eight or nine, etc. Pewter was headed down to the laundry room with a dangling earring in his mouth. Inky was waging a tug-of-war with "mommy" over a gold necklace he was trying to drag under the bed. They are the wildest beasts we have ever owned. Yes, they are also lovely little devils, but they won't live long and prosper.
We don't speak to each other anymore. . .we shout. Yeah, you have a nice holiday, too."
Frodo always looks forward to this card. He can't imagine what Christmas Eve must be like in their household--nor will he ever inquire.