There's been substantially more than a little pre-Christmas madness and sibling rivalry at our place this week.
Kramer, our Kristmas Kitten arrived three weeks early.
Tuesday 4pm, Sally: "Hi, Danielle. Can you collect Kramer this afternoon?''
By 5.30pm we were home with a handful of Kramer, a bag of tofu cat litter and a couple of pink sachets of kitten food.
Stella, the 10-year-old white poodle who may have a learning challenge, looked totally perplexed.
For five days, elder cat Lulu, only managed a loud, sisterly hiss when she and Kramer crossed paths.
The other night, all was quiet.
The cricket was on the tele, subtitles and no sound (our new favourite thing).
I was reading with Lulu on my lap.
Hubby, engrossed with the cricket or snoozing (it's hard to tell), with Stella by his side and baby Kramer, asleep away in her kitty manger.
Silent night. All was calm.
A loud snore was it all took to unravel the whole scene.
Stella made a vertical leap like an Apache attack helicopter, onto Kramer's cage; a quivering wreck of the chilled-out dope she once was.
Before you could say 'Kramer the Jewish lesbian Hannukah kitten', Lulu erupted from my chest, like the Alien from Sigourney Weaver, pounced off my right shoulder into the kitchen, over the bench and dived under the kitchen table.
Kramer slept through the whole thing.
The beauty of a kitten.
... many would argue that tofu and cat litter have a lot in common ...
In the decade that's passed since Lulu was a kitten, tofu cat litter has emerged as a thing; obviously for the vegan cat who likes to eat when she poops.
Full credit to the person who decided to repurpose the tasteless tofu into cat litter.
Truth is, I'm a fan of tofu, but many would argue that tofu and cat litter have a lot in common. White, tasteless and easy to digest.
I wonder how tofu ends up as cat litter?
Is it the tofu that Buddha rejects?
Is it really tofu - or does tofu so resemble cat litter that - sort of which came first - the tofu or the cat litter?
Now, a week later, Stella is asleep in the Sunday morning sunshine at the bottom of our stairs, with Kramer alongside and Lulu kind of wrapped around them both.
Us. We're fully knackered.
The end of the year is shaping to be the usual frazzled bah humbug.
So, this is my final column 'till February:
'Twas the week before Kristmas when all through the house, all the creatures were snoring, including the mouse.
The parents were quiet, all snug watching cricket, while Lulu dreamed of chicken wings and the neighbour's grey whippet.
I, in my dressing gown, with Lulu on my lap, had just nodded off, for a pre-Kristmas nap.
When up from the couch what should appear, but Stella the poodle with ... absolutely ... no ... idea.
Lulu leapt to the kitchen; she caused such a clatter. I dropped my book and screeched 'merde!' What is the matter?
The subtitles from the cricket threw a gentle living room glow and husband, now conscious, smiled ... "I know''.
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came, as one by one he called them by name:
"Now Stella, and Lulu and Kramer the kitten, now Marvin and Noodle from up in pet heaven.''
He sprang from the couch to his team gave a whistle,
And up they all flew, like the down from a thistle.
Next, I heard him exclaim, as we settled back into our night,
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
PS Magic Christmas moment of '21 ... Jeanette's shortbread and blackberry jam and Lorraine's marvellous company. Blissed!
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