Tag Archives: Christmas

What was I doing while I wasn’t here?

I took a blog break between mid-December and mid-February and I had planned to return with this big, ol’ list of exciting things I did while I was not here. I mean, despite there being no proof on the internet, I was still living and breathing during that time. In fact, I did a lot of stuff! I wanted to tell everyone about it and planned to have it all up on February 19th! And then I never did. However, I have pictures I want to share so you’re getting the condensed version of what would have originally been an awesome post but is now really just filler with fun snapshots.

Yeah, you’re welcome.

To pick up where I’d left off last year:

1) I got my Christmas spirit back and just in time. Thanks to the magic of my old friend, Jack Frost, I was swept up in a winter wonderland the Friday before Christmas and as the day wore on, I became infused with festive tidings. It was awesome.

Seriously, I was going nuts running around town after work, taking pictures, squealing. It was just so beautiful!

2) Gabe & I met up with Susan&Elizabeth, our Best Couple Friends who aren’t a couple (they’re best friends and there are two of them so they are like a couple and we make them do couple things with us because they are our favorite couple friends you know what? Just go with it and let’s move on, ok?) to run amok in the cold! We went to see Denver Botanic Gardens’ Trail of Lights and it was phenomenal!  Then we all went out for drinks and fancy pizza, afterward. Man, we are good at being delightful.

So bright, so happy!

This was my favorite tree

Even the barn is participating!

3) I had holidays. It was all fun and games, per usual, until Noelle got our dad reminiscing about a terrible part of his life and he started getting emotional and Noelle LEFT THE ROOM, abandoning the rest of us to Dad’s tales of woe. Chris felt horrible that Dad had to relive all that, Gabe was alarmed because he had never heard any of it, and I’m pretty sure Chris’ wife was wondering why the hell she agreed to be part of this family. Come to think of it, I was wondering that, too. I owe Noelle a punch in the face for that one. Gah!

a) Gabe and I got each other presents this year because guess what? Gabe is employed now! It is an exciting time in our house!

These are my presents from Gabe. They probably seem odd to everyone else, but these are things I had marked in a catalog many months ago and he remembered! Now I have a cricket for my hearth and two apple bakers (plus the apple corer – SO much easier!) and I was really, super, weirdly excited about these gifts. PS – those apple bakers? They make phenomenal baked apples.

b) I also got presents from my GoodReads BFF in a land far away (New York City, folks!) You can see why we’re friends, right? Because she is AWESOME and gives great gifts. Obviously.

No, the bunnies are not playing LeapFrog, but yes, that explanation works well for the under-12 set. This is my official Easter Sweater now, so I’ll be wearing it again, soon!
Thank you, karen. This has brought and will continue to bring great joy to so many!

c) We had an adventure in which we tried the Dryck Julmust we found at IKEA. I’m still not sure what that was all about.

Behold! The festive Dryck Julmust

Gabe drinks more carbonated beverages than do I so he wasn’t quite as weirded out by this.

What the hell is in this??

d) I used the Christmas Ham to make our annual Ham and Beans for dinner on January 1st. It was an excellent batch this year, thank goodness. Not like that tragic swill I made a few years back.

Super close up shot of the beans, which had soaked for 24 hours by this time, onions, carrots, spices, etc. The ham is hidden under this pile of goodness.

4) And on January 2nd, as our Family Christmas Present To Ourselves, we got all the internets installed in our house. That means I now create and post these blog entries AT HOME! We were internet-free (mostly…sometimes we stole it from the neighbors) for two and a half years. It’s been amazing, fabulous, and convenient but also stressful to be back in the connected world as it brings its own kind of worry: I feel like I should check email before bed. I have monsters that sing and I have to gather their money and make sure they’re singing every day. Then there are all the sites we feel compelled to visit at all hours of the day and it gets a bit silly. This pressure to be tuned in everywhere kicked in immediately, the day we went live, and I did not like that. Yes, of course, it’s easy to think, “So just don’t check email, just don’t play games, just don’t…” but you know what? It’s easier to do than not to do. Because I’m re-addicted and stuck to a screen, I don’t read as much as I did before the internet. My house isn’t as clean (ok, that’s actually because Gabe is at work, now, and while I can still leave him threatening messages to mop the floor, I know it’s not going to get done because he won’t be there to read said messages) I’m not doing all the simple, pleasant things I did while we were living the off-grid lifestyle and that makes me feel shallow and a bit hollow. Not enough to stop staring at a monitor for hours on end, mind you, just enough to write about it in a blog post.

5) I took the first week of the New Year off again and got a lot done, mostly cleaning. That’s when I took all my pictures for the How To Oil Wood post from last week. Hooray.

I did other things, as well, but so much time has passed. I should have had this story up as soon as I got back to my blog but I didn’t and now it’s sort of a lame duck of a post. However, I wanted to share all my lovely pictures so I am doing just that and none of us will ever know what I was doing between January 2nd and February 5th. It shall hereforth remain a mystery. Or you can just make up some story in the comments below; that works, too.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, Out & about or abroad

I was an angelic child – or – Grudge Number One

I attended a Behavioral EQ workshop yesterday where I was once more reminded that I have the emotional intelligence of a hermit crab. At least I’m consistent, I suppose, as these test scores never waver, not in ten years.

You know how workshops go. You build up through the information and then put it all together to get to the pivotal learning moment, which I did. Yay. However, the thing that has stuck with me was one of the beginning questions: “Can you think of an instance in which you became upset and reacted violently?” (not necessarily physical violence, just more along the lines of the Fight part of “Fight or Flight” response). Here’s something neat about me: I tend to get overwrought, upset, hateful, retributional…retributioney? Retributive!…and then I get over it, move on, and typically forget it ever happened. I have three grudges and maybe five regrets for my entire life, thus far. Most everything else that has upset me greatly is now forgotten, though probably never forgiven, knowing me.

Because of this ability to let go of all the things that piss me off, I wasn’t able to think of any recent instances in which I had been so upset that I reacted horribly, fighting instead being receptive to the elements of my situation and reacting accordingly. I thought back, thought back further, continued to think back until I finally settled on probably one of the two most crucial stress situations in my life. The topic? My First Grudge.

Dial back to 1979. It’s January. I’m probably in third grade. Chris is not in school yet; he gets to stay home with our mom all day, doing the things that non-school-attending children do. The holidays are over but I am still basking in the glow of my amazing loot haul. It had been a Christmas like I had never experienced. I got all the things I’d asked for from Santa plus a whole truckload of other great gifts. However, there were two presents that stood miles above the rest in my love and esteem: My beautiful, new, 13-inch Wonder Woman doll and my incredible Barbie Perfume Maker. I adored these toys more than I had ever adored anything else in all my life. They turned me into Gollum.

Are you with me, so far? Good, because here is what happened next:

You know, in my memory, she is much more beautiful. I’d kept the leotard for a long time but it didn’t fit any other doll so I don’t think it survived to my adulthood. However, the pink halter dress is still somewhere in my family. Perhaps Not-Little B has it?
Image swiped from My Toy Collection blog

Look at it! Just LOOK at it! Doesn’t it make you want to grab a powder stick, fill the little reservoir with water, and create heavenly scents? Oh, the longing I feel when I gaze upon this picture.
Image swiped from Sprinkles and Puffballs: Girl’s Toys Of the 80’s

During the holiday break, I had spent hours and hours creating beautiful perfumes, unique scents you would find nowhere else in the world except for maybe the bedroom of another child who also owned this magical maker of aromatic elixirs. I was ever so precise in my eau de toilette masterpieces, bottling them lovingly, arranging everything so that the glory of my art could be understood no matter who viewed it. In retrospect, maybe I made the wondrous little manufacturing station too alluring.

So there I was, freshly home from my first day back to school. I’d brought Wonder Woman with me, of course, and was taking her to my room so I could help her change into after-school play clothes, as we did back then. I walked with my doll in hand, probably talking to her, down the short hallway and could smell the Barbie perfumes I had made rushing to me, greeting me, beckoning me to come mix a new scent, to rearrange the bottles, to sniff the pastel-colored powder sticks. Filled with joy and anticipation, I flung open my bedroom door and found a  nightmare before me. His name: Chris.

My little brother was in my room, a place he was neither allowed nor welcome. I don’t know if he had been drawn to the perfection that was the Barbie Perfume Maker or if he hated me so much, he wanted to crush my dreams while I watched, but he was on my bed, frolicking like an imp, a small, plastic bottle in each hand with several more dancing at his feet. He was sprinkling the last of my hard-won, carefully-planned, beloved perfumes on my bed. He’d already relieved the rest of the bottles of their magic, dousing my throw rug, my stuffed animals, anything he had been able to find.

Rage.

So much pure red rage.

He was laughing. He was jumping up and down, from bed to dresser to desk, knocking things over and destroying my entire life. I screamed. No animal on the planet has ever before bellowed such a yawp, no amount of pain, suffering, or agony in any other being alive could have produced a cacophony as feral as mine was in that moment. I had Wonder Woman by the legs. I charged Chris. In my need to stop his carnage, I brought the doll up, up, up and then DOWN right on top of his hideous little head. My screams of outrage were immediately matched by his of pain and shock and probably fear. Blood geysered from his skull as if he were a whale just up for air. I looked at the red lifeforce gushing forth like my own anger and felt justified in my action until I realized his knobby little noggin had split my beautiful, my treasured, my precious Wonder Woman doll in twain. The upper half of her body dangled lifelessly and would have fallen to the floor had it not been held by her patriotic leotard while her legs remained firmly gripped in my angry fist. My shrieks, monstrous before, ratcheted up another several octaves, gaining volume and momentum as each second passed.

I probably could have forgiven the destruction of my life’s work, especially since the perfumes could have been recreated. Maybe I could have also come to terms with the demise of Wonder Woman; already the back of my mind was tracking down the nearest duct tape. It was not to be, however, because my horrible, terrible, cruel parents made two disastrous decisions that night and my first-ever grudge blossomed. When it comes time for those “people,” and I use the term loosely because it will soon become obvious there is no humanity in the souls of either my mother or father,  to move into nursing homes, they will wish I was beating them with a 13-inch piece of hard plastic.

My parents ran into the room to find the source of the commotion. I know they could smell the mixing aromas of strawberries, lilacs, little boy’s blood, tears, plastic, and hate and do you know what they did? DO YOU KNOW? They took Wonder Woman from my trembling hand but not with the intention of fixing her sad, broken body. They took her and they threw her away followed closely by the entire Barbie Perfume Maker and all its apparatus (except, as I found much later, for one empty bottle, sans lid, and the white trellis that had fallen behind my desk during Chris’ scamperings) My dad took Chris to the kitchen to apply pressure to his goddamned stupid, hard, toy-breaking head and then to feed him ice cream and I…I! The victim of this heinous double crime! I was lectured, probably spanked (who remembers by that point. What could they have done to me to punish me further?) and told to stay in my room for the rest of the night while the two things I loved most in the world were taken from me, put out in the garbage can, and placed on the curb for morning pickup. I had no dinner. No family TV time. No bath. I couldn’t even brush my teeth. I am surprised, in retrospect, that I did not die of dehydration in the night, since I had nothing to drink and I am fairly certain I cried every ounce of moisture from my body. And it’s not like I could subsist on perfume water as it had all been tossed away.

I will never, ever forgive my parents for coddling my evil little brother and punishing me for his misdeeds and while I appreciate the strides his wife has made in recent years to correct his long-ago dastardly acts, Chris is on my shit-list for all of time, as well.

And that is the story of My First Grudge, the first time my amygdala urged me to fight with fury instead of flee with fear.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, White trash childhood

To find holiday joy

Gabe and I are having a really hard time feeling festive this December. Typically, starting in September, I’m all geared up for the last  quarter of the year, jumping from my birthday to Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas and then tying it all up with New Year celebrations but this year, I lost steam somewhere along the way and now that December is here, I hardly care.

We’re not a religious family so Christmas is not about baby Jesus for us. Instead, it’s about finishing the year, celebrating the snow and cold and nature’s slumber. It’s about spending time with friends we don’t see often enough and with family whom we see all the time but with the added bonus of watching the kids open presents. It’s about spreading joy throughout a dark month. It’s a wonderful time, one we usually enjoy to the fullest.

But this year, we do not care.

It’s not just us; we’re hearing similar sentiments from all corners, Christian and non-Christian alike. Old and young, families and singletons. It seems there are large pockets of the seasonally disaffected everywhere we look.

Where did our holiday spirit go?

In an effort to bring it back, we’ve been watching our favorite holiday movies. So far, we’ve consumed “Elf“, “A Christmas Story“, Rankin & Bass’ “Jack Frost” (ok, my favorite, not Gabe’s; I love the box of dreams they pass around on Christmas day), and “Christmas Vacation.” And yet…nothing.

There are Christmas carols playing, it’s been snowy and cold, the cider is in its final, carmelized stages, but something is missing.

I made ice lights, lumin-ice-ias, if you will, the other night. They’re lovely, all glowing and twinkerly, casting brightness through slightly- melting ice.

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Step One: Fill your desired plastic containers with water. Put water-filled containers in the freezing outdoors. Let sit until frozen.

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Step Two: Bring frozen water containers inside. Place in sink. Upend container, run warm water over it, watch ice block fall out. If there’s not a bubble in the ice that you can break through, down where the container bottom was, drill a hole big enough in the bottom of the ice block using hot water from the sink. The bottom of the block is now the top and the former top is now the base.
Insert tea light. If it doesn’t fit like you want it to, do some more drilling with the hot water. If it all goes to hell, just refill the tub and put it back outside and try again tomorrow.

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Step Three: After testing all your ice lights, put them outside in the snow. Or on the driveway. Or in trees if you can figure that out. Or on parked cars. Just put them somewhere that is easy to reach so you can light them again after they blow out.

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Step Four: Light the candles. It’s best to do this when it is dark, as candlelight is more visible in the night, but really, it’s up to you. Light these puppies whenever you want. I’d imagine the fire danger is fairly low unless you’ve got these sitting precariously near open tanks of gasoline. The candle holder is made of ice which is really frozen water and we all know that water puts out fire. Unless it’s a grease fire in which case water doesn’t help at all.

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Step Five: Admire your work and take pictures and then check the candles obsessively throughout the evening because you know the breeze keeps sneaking up and blowing them out. Relight as needed. Also, pay attention when taking pictures and don’t get distracted talking to the neighbor or else you’ll end up with images like this one.

I put lights up on the house the first weekend in December in an attempt to bring magic to the yard but the lights are the LED kind and they’re just so empty-looking, so dark, so uncolorful. Hollow. They make me sad with their lack of brightness and warmth. We put up the tree, too, and it’s got cute lights, but that’s as far as we got until the other night when we threw some ornaments on – only about half of them –  and called it good.

I was grateful, though, for the actual ornaments. I’ve got baubles that have come with me from childhood. Gabe has some from his last life, the one before the two of us. We have trinkets we’ve found together on our adventures – we try to buy an ornament every time we go somewhere. We have one from Thanksgiving in Estes Park in 2008, a happy and sad year. We have one from our Disney Cruise honeymoon in 2009 and one from our trip to the La Brea tar pits last year. There are many more; it’s fun to take them out and remember the places we’ve been and things we’ve done.

I have ornaments that have been given to me as gifts and even though I can’t remember anything else in my life, I remember who gave those little decorations to me. I have ornaments from my BFF’s sister who died; T gave friends and family her sister’s Christmas tree decorations so we could continue share the holidays with her. I have such good memories of Christmas Eves with T and her twin so I cherish those ornaments and look forward to seeing them every year. I inherited the handmade ribbon-and-bead ornaments one of my mom’s friends made for her back before I was born. As the 70’s passed, those gaudy, flashy, homemade things became ugly to everyone but me and my siblings. I still think they’re beautiful though I understand why my mom finds them hideous. It doesn’t help that they’ve lost their tassels and a lot of the pins and beads that held them together.

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Ok, so the Snoopy ornament? It’s a Hallmark ornament, called Joe Coolest. I got it in an ornament exchange in 2006, I believe. It’s from Calina. I know all this because I remember it.
The Rolling Hills ornament is from our trip to Kansas to visit Noelle and her family for Thanksgiving in 2010. I know this because I have a whole album full of pictures of our trip there over on Facebook.
The popsicle stick Santa was a Christmas present from the Younger Niece. She made it in 2007. I know this because I wrote it on the back.
See how meaningful these are? They all have stories! It’s so wonderful!

Unpacking and hanging the ornaments was like being able to look into a festive, jolly house. I saw, smelled, remembered holiday joy. But I still don’t feel it. The magic is missing and I dont know why.

I’m going to go find it.

And when I do, I’ll love it more than usual because I have missed it. Off I go, on my quest to find my holiday bliss.

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I’ll be back next year, folks, with new stories and crazy tales and, hopefully, we will have found the Spirit of Christmas!

Be well, Happy Holidays, and I wish you all a safe and perfect New Year.

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Filed under My Dearly Beloveds

I just realized how difficult retirement will be

I live with the belief that I will retire in the next 20 years; it is a great hope of mine. I’ve heard that a lot of people retire and then just die because they have no purpose left in life. That is not going to happen to me. Gabe and I have a whole list of things we want to do when I no longer have to work. It’s a long list and after the past week, I worry we will never get to it.

I took the first week of the New Year off  (highly recommended, by the way) and had hoped to take down Indoor Christmas on the 1st. Usually, I like to leave it all up for awhile but the house has been non-stop decorated for one holiday after another since October 1st and I was 100% ready to have it all back to normal. After Christmas was packed away, we were going to clean like crazy. I figured that would take me to the 3rd and then I could tackle my list things I wanted to accomplish after the house was clean and put to rights:

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It’s not a long list. There are no difficult items. I had a week to do this. Why didn’t I get it all done?

Well, guess what?
The Goodwill stuff only got packed up because I did laundry and had to put it away and needed space. I did manage to finish And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading In the Fast Lane For My Own Dirt Road  by Margaret Roach  and felt good about that, but everything else? Didn’t even touch it. And you know why? Because as we cleaned, all these other things that needed doing kept popping up.

I emptied the china cabinet, dusted and oiled it, cleaned the contents, then put it all back and found that I am missing 3 little garden party cups.

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The cups in the foreground? There should be 12. I can only find 9. My heart hurts over this.

I know the set was whole when I moved in, but I don’t know if I put all the pieces in the cabinet, or not. That necessitated a trip to the Underhouse (like an undercroft only different because we don’t live in a medieval dwelling) to see if there was still a box of fancy dishes down there. I didn’t find one. Since the shed is a disaster zone, I couldn’t look out there but I don’t put things like that in the shed. After an hour of searching, I had to give up and just cry. This particular set is important to me and I hate knowing I’ve lost some of it.

Gabe got us a new bird feeder to replace the one that met with a horrible demise in a recent bear attack. It was taking up space on the living room floor so I had to fill and hang it and, in the process, was mugged for my birdseed by the local gang. Little bastards.

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That deer that’s looking at the seed on the ground? It just came right up. I marched off to get the dog who then barked these bullies straight out of the yard. Good job, Daisy May!

The amaryllis my mom gave me – it came as a bulb in a box – four years ago finally bloomed for the first time so I had to take a LOT of pictures of it. Every day. And I had to tell it how happy I was that it was finally able to show off and that it was stunning. That sort of cut into my cleaning and sorting time.

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It’s so pretty! I want to stare at it for hours like I’m some sort of creep. I don’t think it would mind, though. That’s why I have a lot of plants. They don’t care if I’m creepy. At least, I don’t think they do.

We celebrated Toki&Evie’s 5th birthday on January 3rd. We sang to them and gave them birthday food (Fancy Feast, something they NEVER get any other time of year) and presents (new treats and new stuffed mice) It was a good birthday for them but I can’t believe they’re five. That has nothing to do with cleaning, really, but it deserves mention because Evie told me to put it in here.

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Five years old! He’s so big!

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Also five…and apparently none too thrilled about it. Well, she sure changed her tune when we popped that Fancy Feast lid.

And once we were finally finished after FOUR DAYS!!! (seriously? how dirty are we?), we sat down and discussed the problems and gaps we’d found and what do to about them. This lead to a discussion of things that need to change. Here are some of the things we’ll be doing differently:
-The little tabletop water fountain I’ve got in the dining area will be used more often; I’ve had it running since I put it back out and it’s been a pleasant background noise. Also, I like to think the water that is surely evaporating from it is good for all the plants nearby. Win/win.
-We will plan meals. We ate well and on-time the entire week despite being horrendously busy getting dust and cobwebs in our nose holes. It wasn’t hard – the eating responsibly thing, not the dust in the nose-holes thing (though that wasn’t hard, either). If we can do it while on a mission to restore tidiness to our home, we can do it in a normal week.
-We are taking back the kitchen table! It’s not a parking lot, it’s a place to eat. No more gnawing food mindlessly on the couch in front of the TV and no more messy table top. We both want to lose weight and I have a feeling this will help (it’s far too easy to sit on the couch and just continue shoving food in our faces while we watch an entire season of some TV show or another on DVD)
-We are going to clean up after ourselves immediately. We’ll just clean as we go, all day every day, and then I won’t have to clean the house on weekends and we can do fun things, instead!

These sound like resolutions, but they’re not. They are the things we need to do because we are grown-ups managing our own household, because we care about our health and well-being and about our marriage. So…we’re just going to do them, new year or not.

Come Saturday, I was exhausted. So was Gabe. We sat around all day and read. It was glorious but I felt a twinge of guilt because I hadn’t done anything else on my list and I knew I wouldn’t because Sunday was devoted to meal planning, grocery shopping, and getting ready for Monday.
That’s when I realized how hard retirement will be and I wondered if we would ever get to our Things To Do When We Retire list. Maybe that’s the real reason people just up and die after retiring; it’s disheartening to know that you thought you were done working only to find you are just beginning. I think I’d rather some eternal rest, too, than a retirement full of finishing unfinished crap.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, My Phenomenal Fake Life

Merry Christmas. I know about your affair, part 3 of 3 (finale)

Merry Christmas to you! Gabe and I would like to gift you with the End of Our Scandalous Tale. Yeah, we know, we’re too kind. As usual, Gabe’s voice is in RED and my replies to his voice are in italics. Please enjoy this last installment…if you can make it through to the end without losing your mind. Mwahaha…hohoho!

SO! Remember how last week I’d been trying to hide my excitement at getting Gabe a Wii and he thought I was hiding something else so he was acting like a jerk so I thought he’d figured out what my gift was and was sad because there were no surprises on Christmas? Well, here’s how it all turned out.

Gabe was staring morosely at his box of air mattress, compliments of my friend’s genius husband, and I was trying to suppress all the hideous laughter that was burbling up my throat. I was trying to suppress the feeling of wanting to choke her to death while heartily singing the 12 days of Christmas. “On the first day of Christmas, my true love got from me, strangulation underneath the tree! On the second day…”  He was being a sport about the whole thing. Not a good sport, per se, but a sport. Then he saw Scotch tape on the box flap and since normal packaging doesn’t employ Scotch tape, he started pawing at the box with a little more interest. What’s this? Hmmm I’ll strangle you in a moment, my dear. He opened the “air mattress” and found…a rock. And paper. AND A WII! Wait! What?

Of course, the minute he pulled it all out, I was gushing. “OMGGABE! IwenttoTargetandthelinewaslongandIdidn’tknowitwouldbelikethat (BREATHE) andthenIwentsearchingforotherstoresandIdroveanddroveanddrove (BREATHE) cryingintheparkinglotwhenIrememberedEBXandtherewereonlythreepeopleinlinandIwassohappy (BREATHE) offeredtonotonlywrapthegiftbuttoputitinadifferentboxtothrowyouoffthescent (BREATHE) wassureyou’dfigureditoutanywayandIwassosadthatIcan’tsurpriseyoubutyouAREsurprisedandyouDIDN’Tknowwhatitwas! (BREATHE)
I AM SO GREAT!”

And he said, “I thought you’d been sneaking around behind my back.”

That’s when we looked at each other, both pretty puzzled by what the other was saying, him because he couldn’t understand my gibberish, me because I couldn’t understand his logic. I could only look at her for the moment. I still wanted to strangle her. I’m working on these “thoughts” with my therapist but that’s another story.

It turns out that after my failed breakfast the morning I got the Wii, he thought I’d had a fight with my friends. Because I wouldn’t answer any of his direct questions about the event and because I started being secretive and avoiding him and maybe also because of the whispered conversations I’d been having on the phone when I thought Gabe wasn’t around, he used his past experiences to explain my behavior: I was seeing someone else. Probably one of my exes. Or some hot guy. Maybe some hot girl; I know how Gabe’s mind works. A note from Gabe’s lawyer: My client has no comment at this time. Thank you. Your lawyer. Your lawyer is a paper doll that you made out of leftover McDonald’s bags. I don’t think he stands up in a court of law. He’s pretty flimsy. He figured I’d gone to breakfast that morning, told my friends about Rudolpho and we’d all had a fight over it. He figured the friends told me I’d have to fess up or dump the extra guy and I didn’t like what they’d said so we argued and now we weren’t on speaking terms. (Do you SEE why his logic confused me? Why on earth would I juggle a boyfriend and a hot Latin Lover [they’re always Latin for some reason] when one guy is enough work in the first place?) Because prior to the Wii reveal, you were a skanky skank weasel skanking around the town. Yeah, but I didn’t know that! I mean, that’s the part that just doesn’t make sense to me! Where would I get the energy to skankily weasel around town?  He’d been buying me all these neat, thoughtful, loving gifts for the coming holiday and I was out having unwholesome sex with some dude. I was probably wearing sexy Christmasy lingerie, too. And high heels. And red lipstick and nails. Like I said, I know how Gabe’s mind works. For the record, that’s hot. I am rolling my eyes at you right now.
Despite having known me for 8 years by that time, or maybe because he’d known me for so long, he thought I’d wait until after Christmas to break up with him…because it would be cruel to break up before the holidays. Apparently, I’m evil enough to sleep around but not enough to make him spend Christmas alone? Standard procedure of the bat-faced harpy in my book. Hee hee hee! “Bat-faced harpy” Hee hee hee!
So he’d spent a solid week and a half really mad at me. He couldn’t believe I’d do this to him especially since I knew past girlfriends had cheated on him. He decided to wait it out and then we’d fight when I asked to break up and he’d tell me he’d known all along I had been seeing someone else; he was building up to that last big blow-up. This is so not turning out to be a Gift of the Magi story, is it?
When he saw that box on Christmas, the box with unknown wrapping paper that said “To Gabe, From Santa,” he thought maybe…just maybe…he’d been wrong. Actually, it was more along the lines of, “To choke? Or not to choke?” Gabe has always lived in environment where gifts = love, by the way. The fancier the gift, the more the love. None of this really makes sense unless you know that. So when this big box turned out to be an air mattress, he KNEW he’d been right! I was just giving him stupid gifts that meant nothing because I felt like I had to give him something useful that he could sleep on when he moved out. Because I’m thoughtful that way.
The only thing that kept him from dumping me garroting her with a Harry Potter scarf Geez! I’m glad I didn’t get you a Tom Baker Doctor Who scarf, then! right then and there was the Scotch tape. That piece of cello-whatever-they-call-it-in-England signified my last chance and whatever was inside the box would make or break our relationship.

I had no idea any of that was happening. I just wanted him to see the Wii I’d found for and kept from him for about three weeks.

Turns out, he was surprised. He didn’t dump me. He cried. I cried. We got married. Ok, not right then and there, but later, we totally did. And we still have the Wii.

Epilogue:
I know this story makes us sound shallow and horrible. On many levels, we are. But remember, this was a new relationship. Gabe had come from a short but ugly divorce earlier in the year and I’d come from a spat of unhappy relationships. We’d been friends for eight years and were just-now dating but we both knew there was more there so were eager to impress each other  but also felt wary of being wounded. Plus, Christmas is often so ridiculous when it comes to gift-giving, it’s too easy to get swept up in the contest to show off and buy craploads of crap. Our Christmases have changed a LOT in the past few years and I think we’ve grown since that first holiday together but when all is said and done…I’m still pretty peeved that I had this crazy-mad, hot-n-steamy, torrid affair and DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT!

The End.

Christmas Eve 2007. You totally can’t tell I’m having an affair and Gabe is going to beat me up for it in just a few hours. So romantic!

Oh! Post Script!

It may warm the cockles of your bleedy little heart to hear that we worked together to get our Christmas gift this year. We bought ourselves a copy of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures…for the Wii. We intend to play it with our friends, nieces and nephews, and anyone else who has a little Skylanders dude.

Now really the end.

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Filed under Adventures, For my short story collection, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, My journey to writerhood