Before anything, before Christmas shopping, decorating, cooking, sending Christmas cards, Christmas Cantata and children’s play practices, throwing parties, calling relatives – yes, before any of these, one must clean the house and perform that irritable duty of dusting. Argh!
Whine … whine … whine, oh, how I detest the chore of dusting. I mean – work, work, work and the clingy, sneeze-making stuff just returns and with a vengeance. I had these thoughts last week as I grabbed the dust mop and dragged-my-poor-weary-self into the living room to start the near-death experience. Yes, with my allergies, near-death in not an exaggeration – well, maybe a tiny bit.
That’s when I noticed a wet spot on the sofa! What the heck – my head jerked toward George and Gracie (our spoiled-rotten-kitties). I spotted them lounging in the hallway and the two knew something was up. It was skedaddle-time, as they ran for their secret got-to-get-out-of-sight hideaway.
This was serious. Here we were – only two weeks before Christmas and my sofa was wet. Upon a more thorough investigation, I found my dining room buffet stained, and the carpet soaked. I wondered about the largeness of the kitties’ bladders? With all of this wetness, the two fuzzy ones had to have saved for weeks in order to distribute this huge blowout only two weeks before Christmas.
And I had stressed over dusting.
I followed the wet stuff from the ceiling. Gulp! Then, I noticed a drip from around three light fixtures and a straight line of wetness throughout the living room and dining room. OMG! I called for reinforcements – the husband arrived. Sorry, that’s all I had at the moment.
George and Gracie were still out of sight.
The husband immediately ran for a ladder. “Up on the housetop – click, click, click.” No, it was not exactly like Santa, but something had been there alright. There was a huge rip in the roof. Nearby was a highly susceptible big, big pine tree limb – Uh-huh.
The husband returned from the roof. He grabbed the phone book and made a call, actually, he made several calls – insurance agent, contractor, and he ordered a pizza. What? Okay, he reasoned that we needed nourishment. This was apt to be a long and painful journey.
You would think the kitties would have emerged from their hiding spot, but NOTTA. I figured they wanted to hear it straight from the insurance adjuster and the contractor the real cause of the wet spots. It was too close to Christmas for the little ones to be in trouble.
Rain was predicted for that night and, yes, it was a gusher. We brought out pails and extra towels. Also, sent the sofa cushions out for cleaning, while we waited, and waited, and waited … well, you know the drill. Insurance adjusters and claims people are as scarce as hens’ teeth; it would seem when one sloshes through carpet and squishes about soaked upholstery.
Here kitty, kitty, kitty ...
Oh, it was a dreary time. The decorations waited patiently in their boxes, the tree, too. We vacated the entire living room/dining room area. The storytelling Christmas party was moved downstairs. George and Gracie finally reappeared, although their tails remained fuzzed, just in case …
Finally, contractor and insurance adjuster completed the inspection and declared a legitimate claim. Now we only have to wait for the contractor to “work us into his schedule” and the check to arrive from our homeowner insurance provider.
Yes, wait, wait, wait …
Life has changed in the McKee household: (1) I now LOVE to dust. (2) George and Gracie cherish their liter boxes, but not as much as I do (3) I have reaffirmed my compassion for all of the families who deal with the total losses of their homes (4) I have experienced a Christmas Blessing (the limb could have been the complete tree). I now hum this little song:
Up on the housetop reindeer pause
Out jumps good old Santa Clause
Down thru the chimney with lots of toys
All for the little ones
Ho, ho, ho!
Who wouldn’t go!
Ho, ho, ho!
Who wouldn’t go!
Up on the housetop
Click, click, click
Down thru the chimney with
Good Saint Nick
--Benjamin Hanby, 1857
Anne B. McKee is a writer and storyteller. Visit her website: www.annemckee.net