Lights Out and Ponytail Palms

Today begins my slightly delayed two-day weekend. I feel off-kilter. Saturday turned out to be a relatively light day at work, and I was only called out of my office three times. I caught up on my filing, got a few pesky low-priority things taken care of, and strung the lights on my office for the holidays.

Before this year, I never decorated more than the outside of my own office. With the current détente, it seemed churlish not to make a stab at decorating the entire small building I share with The Minion and The Mouth. It’s amazing that the same quantity of lights that made my office look positively encrusted with jeweled color look absolutely pitiful when diluted out to decorate three times the space. I refuse to purchase additional lights, though. And seeing how ridiculous the lights look strung out the way they are now gives me cause to reconsider my decorating plans for next year.

Regarding Christmas Lights: How is it that a perfect string of lights (no bulbs out, no unlit sections) can be carefully stored away in January and come out of the box dead as a doorknob the next November? What magical pixies are in charge of frying Christmas lights over the course of a summer? Whoever these little anti-light faeries are, I’m convinced they are in the employ of Wal-Mart. And if I ever catch one of them flitting about my office, I’m going to teach it the real meaning of “lights out”.

I had plans for dragging our Christmas tree out today. I still may do it, but the tree is stored in our utility closet off the back deck, and it’s raining outside. Between the cats trying to get out, the tree trying to get in, and raindrops that would keep falling on my head, I’m not entirely sure that my tenuous hold on the holiday spirit would withstand the experience of decking the halls today.

The kitten is being an especially persistent twit today, giving me additional reason to perhaps procrastinate the Tree Raising Ceremonies. With the onset of the frost season, I have had to bring a couple of houseplants back inside the apartment. I have a medium sized jade tree that the cats mostly leave alone, although the Grey Bonehead will occasionally bite a leaf or two just to make sure she still doesn’t like it. And I have a ponytail palm that I’m particularly fond of.

I’ve had this plant since 1976. Hell, the damned plan is older than half my readers. When I got it, the thing was barely a sproutling. I was in college and was just developing an interest in horticulture (an interest, I fear, that never really blossomed into any impressive talents). I had dozens of different plants, mostly cacti and oddities, growing under a handful of plant lights in my bedroom. Of all the plants I owned back then, this plant is the sole survivor. It’s nearing the thirty-year mark, and we’ve gone through a lot of history together.

For some reason, all the cats have taken an unhealthy interest in my ponytail palm. When given the opportunity they will go to astounding lengths to browse upon its leaves. When successful in gaining access, the cats can’t keep the tough and somewhat abrasive leaves down. Even if they manage to graze behind my back, I always know when the cats have been at their evil deeds from the little puddles of upchucked fronds left about the house.

It doesn’t matter where I put the ponytail palm. Its allure is far greater than canned cat food, or even catnip. I’ve had it on top of every inaccessibly high piece of furniture I own, and at least one of the three idiots eventually figures out a way to get access to it. Usually it’s the Grey Idiot who is successful.

I have therefore taken to keeping the ponytail palm in my private room for the winter. Since there is no place in my room that the cats cannot access, the door has to remain shut to my room all winter unless I’m actually in there. Even when I’m present, the ponytail palm isn’t necessarily safe.

That’s the Warrior Princess this morning, eyeing up the plant. It’s somewhat unusual for her to take this avid an interest in it, but I had recently walloped the Little Grey Shit for sneaking up and grazing on it behind my back, so I imagine WP was reassessing the situation in terms of desirability versus unpleasant repercussions.

How the LGS (and if she keeps this stuff up, that nickname is going to stick) managed to sneak behind me and commence grazing without me realizing it is beyond me. She’s fairly good at getting to inaccessible places, but she’s also whiney and belled. I should have heard her coming, but I never did. It wasn’t until I realized that the rustling noises I was hearing were not papers being trod upon that I turned to find her nose in the middle of my poor plant. She’s quick, but this morning she wasn’t quick enough to escape a cuff on the backside as she attempted to dematerialize through the cracked door.

I should have noted previously, by the way, that this same LGS is under suspicion for being the culprit that broke the last pot that my ponytail palm was in a few weeks ago. I suppose it’s just as well she’d done it, as I discovered the palm had become root-bound and needed replanting anyhow. Still, I hated to lose that cream-yellow pot that the plant had been in. I’m not nearly as fond of the new pot I purchased on sale at Lohs, but the pony tail palm seems to be finally hitting a good growth spurt and I don’t imagine it will be in this new pot for more than a year or so.

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  1. Oh LA! Half my friends were born before 1276!

    Too bad about the PolterGLIGHTs faeries. Have you considered putting up 256 teeny tiny little candles, maybe the trick birthday candles that would stay lit for the whole season?

  2. If it wasn’t so serious, this story would be kinda funny!!

    Maybe the heat has gone to my brain and fried it. Its 42 degree C here, and i just found the kitty story really amusing. Sick eh!

  3. RYC – You can tell the Socialist that our low yesterday was 27. Orange County is about 1.5 hours north of here but I just checked the weatherbug site and it looks like they’ve had the same cold front… Today is warm… our low is expected to be 33!! LOL!

    Have fun!


  4. *~Salamander~*

    We got a christmas tree, and I swear its like a 13 foot charlie brown christmas tree. This tree is pitiful and it was so tall that had to go and buy more lights. Poor thing. It looks good so far, but it needs much more decorating.

    Cats can be little shits. My moms cats usually chew on the leaves of her plants that she has around the house. We cant seem to ever find a place where they are safe from the cats chewing habits. It seems to have rubbed off on the dog also. Wonderful.

    Thats a long time to have a plant. Thats cool that you’ve kept it through the years though. The plant IS as old as I am, but you’re the same age as my mom approximately, dont feel old, you’re not. I think its wonderful you’ve kept it.

    Well at least you got the chance to repot the plant since you needed to. So you have to give the cat some kudos. Yes the pot was special, but it was time.

    We have christmas lights on our tree that will be alright for a few hours but then suddenly start blinking like a bulb is loose but I’m too lazy to go through which one it is because thats soooo many bulbs! I’m gonna leave it up to my sister or her b/f. LoL


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