Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pet Resorts and Christmas Trees

For the first time in years, Nathan and I will not be spending Christmas together. I'm headed to New York for ten days to visit my family but he just started a new job (yes! in his field! with a livable wage and benefits! hallelujah!) and doesn't have any time off for the holidays. Instead, he will be making a quick weekend trip to Illinois to see his parents and brother, who's about to be deployed yet again.

This means that the dogs - our dear, spoiled, and, um, unique pups - will have to be kenneled for the first time in their pampered lives. Back when we only had Seamus, we would have avoided kenneling at all costs. Seamus is codependent and nervous, and I can only imagine the trauma that leaving him in a strange place, with strange people and stranger dogs, would have inflicted. However, we are now a two dog family and Calvin is decidedly not codependent or nervous (unless you're fighting with him over the blankets at night - then he wants to be as close to you as physically possible). Seamus and Calvin are definitely a team and I think that Seamus will be okay in a kennel if he has Calvin to keep him warm at night and boss around during the day. Luckily, I found a kennel - excuse me, a Pet Resort - in town. It features rooms with glass walls (no bars or chains for these dogs!), raised beds which include headboards, beachy jazz and classical music playing all day long, and optional webcam access to your animals. Best of all, they can put dogs from the same family in the same room. I think the boys will be fine for three days, but I'm still nervous. (I wonder where Seamus gets it?)

In happier Christmas news, Nathan and I got our very first real live (well, technically dead) Christmas tree.

Naked tree!

Alas, we did not chop it down ourselves, but it is from North Carolina. It's a little crooked, but I think that adds to it's charm. In all our years of living in sin, the closest we've come to a Christmas tree is a potted rosemary plant, and it's not quite the same when you can pick around the ornaments for dinner ingredients. The tree was only $25.00 and I had a $10.00 coupon, so we were feeling pretty thrifty - until we learned that tree stands were $30.00! I have since discovered that they are much cheaper elsewhere, but it was too late. We were determined to make our own tree stand, dammit. Nathan used some scrap wood and drilled it directly into the trunk, flush with the ground, which worked great.  Until, that is, I read online that the trunk of the tree should be in water, so it does not shrivel and die by mid-December. You have to water your Christmas tree! Who could have known?


This was a problem that was easily solved: I retrieved the dog's large, outside water bowl, filled it with the good stuff, and Nathan successfully put our homemade stand in place. The only downside is that Calvin keeps pacing the tree's perimeter, whining because he's thirsty and can't get to the water. He's a special dog.

We don't really  have any ornaments and I didn't want to spend $20.00 on generic ones from Target, so we've decided to build our collection slowly. Each year, we'll each buy or make an ornament for the tree, something meaningful or beautiful, and by the time we're fifty we'll have a huge tree, dripping with lovely decorations. For now, we have three ornaments, some mini-disco balls I found in the attic, and pretty lights. And it's perfect.

When can we pee on this thing?

Merry effing Christmas, y'all!

Now if you'll excuse me, there is about a week and a half left to this semester and I am up to my ears in workshops and critiques. If you need me, I'll be buried under stories and poems, covered in red ink, and permanently attached to a cup of coffee with a splash of almond milk. Oh, grad school. How I missed you!


  1. We avoid kenneling at all costs too. It's great though you found a lovely pet resort. :)

  2. I LOVE that you found a pet resort that caters to your needs. So few people put that much consideration into where they kennel their pets. When I first brought home my cat Mr. Fly, I went away for 5 days when he was 4 months old, and spent weeks leading up to my trip trying to find the exact right kennel for him. I found one that had these huge kitty condo spaces, that were basically the kitty penthouse suites.

    Although, apparently he was such a cute kitten that the staff let him run free the entire time and only kenneled him at night. Calvin and Seamus are lucky pups to have you two as their humans.

  3. Congrats to Nathan!  That's such good news :)  As for the tree--I love it!  It's so pretty & I'm in the same boat as you--our first tree this year and not many ornaments.  But I found some thriftily at antique stores earlier in the year, so that's helping.  And the tree stand is really quite amazing on the cheap.  Can't believe tomorrow is December & that you're wrapping up your 1st semester--crazy times, eh?

  4. Loving the Christmas tree!! I think you are right to wait and buy your decorations bit by bit - I have done that and have quite a nice little collection now. Try charity shops like Oxfam for decorations too - they often have cute handmade ones and the money goes to a good cause!!



  5. Hopefully this will be the first and last time. Usually they travel with us, but things just didn't work out this year. Makes me miss Amy and David even more! :)

  6. Aw, thanks so much for saying that! We try to do right by our pups as much as possible. They are family, after all!

    And I love that story about your kitten. Sounds like you found a great place as well! 

  7. Yes! I'm very excited to stop paying bills with our credit cards. Thrift shop ornaments is a great idea! I bet you could stick a hook on a gaudy brooch and no one would be the wiser. And yes, I cannot believe the first semester is almost over. So glad I'm in a three year program! :)

  8. Chip and I buy Christmas ornaments when we go new places as souvenirs. We have a few of the "made in china" variety, but we try really hard to look for ornaments that are handmade locally.

    Also, I discovered after becoming a teacher that children like to give you ornaments for Christmas. So we have a bunch of those, and I try to put the name of the child who gave it to me and the year on the back of the ornament.

    I think the tradition you are starting is a great one. And it sounds like Calvin and Seamus will be living swanky while you guys are gone. I kind of want to stay there myself.

  9. We're spending Christmas in Nacogdoches this year. It will be nice not having to figure out how we're going to work things out for the pets. :)