After a spontaneous night singing show tunes with Deb and a bunch of gay unemployed chorus boys at Marie's Crisis Cafe, I had a slow start this morning. Halfway through my cup of Cafe du Monde* and a stack of french toast made with wonderful hazelnut and fig loaf from a Jackson Heights bakery, Fauxhawk started in on the tree.
"We agreed we would take it down this weekend," he reminded me, knowing full well I had no intention of ever keeping that promise.
"Come on, it's January 14th! This is getting weird."
"But it's so nice and Christmassy in here! It's going to be so dark and barren without the tree!"
"CHRISTMAS IS OVER. IT'S JANUARY 14th. I'M GOING TO BATHE THE CATS NOW."**
We do this every year. If I had my druthers, the tree would stay up until Valentine's Day, when it's only a matter of weeks before spring arrives and banishes all the darkness. I know this makes me a creepy shut-in, but I can't help it.
The tree will come down with me kicking and screaming, but my paperwhite narcissus will get me through. It's true that they can smell a little weird in close quarters (prompting occasional sharp looks at the cats as we often mistake the odor for something ominous), but they are so fresh and beautiful. I bought them in bulk in mid-November and started forcing them in water rather than soil because I like to the see the roots. Any old container will do - I used a tall hurricane vase with glass pebbles for a big display, a shorter, wide-mouthed vase for a single bulb, and an Indian tea caddy like this one. A jam jar filled with shells or river stones would be very pretty too - whatever you have on hand. When the roots begin to grow and the green shoots are about 1-2 inches, I give them a little nip of vodka so they don't get too tall and tip over. Everyone knows a little hootch can be tremendously fortifying.
*Why have you not bought a case of it? At $6 a can, it's ridiculously cheap and delicious coffee.
**Paraphrased conversation cutting all the condemning dialogue and non-verbal cues that go along with this yearly argument. I believe "nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah" was one of them, but I can't be sure.