December is approaching and it is time to start Christmas shopping. Not my favorite thing. Fa la la la blah!
I loathe shopping—and not just during the holidays. I am a member of the small segment of the female population that would rather give birth without an epidural than shop.
Fortunately all the kids in my extended family are now older and there is no need to battle the masses on Black Friday—teenagers and college students want cash. I love them for making my December shopping as simple as a trip to the ATM.
However, I still have to shop for my two teens. It seems wrong just hand them cash Christmas morning.
For the past 8 years, Olivia has provided Joe and I with a detailed wish-list by the beginning of November. When she was in elementary school, she would write, as well as draw, a picture of her Christmas morning desires. In middle school, she began creating the list in a Word document that included embedded photos. Now a freshman in high school, she sent me an e-mail—along with links to the websites I could go to in order to purchase the items. Brilliant.
Then there is Hannah.
Not only has she never bothered with a list, she has never, to my recollection, verbally mentioned anything she has wanted for Christmas. Well, there was the one time she asked for a camera—but was not clear on what kind of camera—so of course that gift was a fail. I love that my eldest does not get caught up in the latest trends, but it makes buying her gifts a Herculean task.
Last year all Hannah would say is she wanted was a kitten.
That was not going to happen.
And she knew it.
Joe and I are not cat people. We did not understand why anyone would want a pet that pooped inside—even if it was in a litter box.
And the hair! Why purchase a pet that requires you to constantly carry around a lint brush?
And the scratching—a cat would destroy our furniture. In addition, we had two dogs—one of which would eat a kitten.
Then I had a breakdown.
I realized Hannah would be leaving for college in two years.
She was a great kid. She had been working hard in school, struggling to stay in the top 10 percent of her class—a junior in high school with college on the brain. Hannah was the most spiritually strong member of our immediate family—and she upheld her values while surrounded by close friends with extremely different views on religion. At sixteen, she did not drink, smoke, curse or do drugs. She had never asked me about birth control and found my wine habit disgusting.
The least we could do was get her a kitten!
A few days before Christmas, we told Hannah there was a gift she would need to open early. The gift was a cat toy. After opening it, she gave us a blank look. She subsequently stared at the toy for several minutes, then looked up at us and said, “Wait. Are you serous? I am getting a kitten!?”
We drove her and Olivia to the pet store for the adoption. Hannah walked past several cages, checking out each of the innocent creatures. She eventually stopped in front of a cage and asked the volunteer to open the door. Immediately one of the two imprisoned kittens flew into her arms.
It was love at first scratch.
After much thought, Hannah christened the cat ‘Penelope.’
Most of the time I do not call the cat Penelope. I call her Satan, Stupid Cat, Dumb Cat, Spawn of Satan, La Reyna, Nina de Diablo and on occasion, a name I will not post to this blog.
In the year that Stupid Cat has been with us, she has destroyed one phone charger, one computer charger, two sets of curtains, one set of blinds, one chair, one ottoman, several window screens, and is in the process of destroying a couch. She uses the dogs as pommel horses—then vaults off of them to spiral headfirst into the wall—always bouncing back unharmed. Stupid Cat eats her food and the dog’s food. She has claimed the island in the kitchen as her pedestal and rules the house with sublime authority.
Confession: I love Stupid Cat.
I cannot help myself. Hannah has discussed taking the cat to live with her once she is able to get an apartment. I think not! This is my grandchild we are talking about. I cannot take a chance that sweet Pennilicious (I call her that on good days) will be exposed to college debauchery!
This morning, as I was leaving for work, Penelope ran to the front window to watch me drive away. She appeared from behind the shears that she has ripped to shreds. With her hind legs firmly placed on the table, she stretched her paws to reach the center of the window. With her sweet little head angled toward me, she bid me farewell. Once I was out of the driveway, she jumped down and disappeared behind what remains of our curtains.
Maybe she is not so stupid after all.