December 22, 2001
David is leaving to go
do his Christmas shopping.
"Be good," he says
fondly, indulgently, and he kisses me on the top of the
head. It is a blustery Saturday morning -- a
morning -- and I have been parked in front of the computer for the past
two and a half hours, desperately trying to catch up on piles of
I smile up at him and
say Of course I'll be good.
This is code between the two of us -- his "Be
good" translates into "Just
sit there in front of the computer all morning while I'm gone, OK?
Don't even THINK
about doing the dishes or starting the laundry or picking up the
apartment: I'll do all that stuff when I get home from shopping for
your Christmas presents" -- and
I have every intention of doing as he suggests. I love him for it. Our
marriage is built on an unwavering foundation of trust, cooperation,
recognition of each other's needs, and the unspoken understanding that
*I* pretty much get whatever I want. I think this arrangement works out
spectacularly well, actually.
Of course, the instant
he's gone ... I leap out of the computer chair.
Now's my chance to wrap his
Christmas presents, for one thing. I've had his new Mötorhead
T-shirt stashed in my bottom desk drawer for the past week and a half,
tucked discreetly between the "TotStuff" hanging folder and the
"SecraStuff" hanging folder. I've been living in terror, every time he
sits down here at the desk, worried that he might have a sudden
uncontrollable desire to open the file drawer and start rummaging
around, looking for Jaymi's kindergarten immunization record or a No
Nonsense Control Top coupon. But luckily his Christmas
shirt has thus far gone undetected. On the other hand, the "Tick"
cartoon video and companion book I ordered for him from Amazon.com have
been hidden in my underwear drawer, underneath my bra collection, where
they're safe. As soon as the door closes behind him, I scramble madly
around the apartment, looking for wrapping paper ... scissors ...
Scotch tape ... gift tags.
Now's my chance, also, to
poke and prod at the big pile of presents sitting on the floor next to
the bookcase. Most of them are from Jaymi and Joel -- UPS delivered
them yesterday -- but there is also a beautifully wrapped/intriguingly
heavy present from our pal, Bitter
... and another one that jingles enticingly, whenever you shake it up
and down firmly and repeatedly, four or five or twenty-six times, from
somebody at David's office. I know that forty-four year old women
aren't supposed to poke and prod and "accidentally" peel the Scotch
tape from one corner of their Christmas presents when nobody is around
to keep an eye on them ... but somebody forgot to tell that to My Inner
Now's my chance to
finish the other half of that Tobler Chocolate Orange, stashed at the
bottom of my purse. It's a bit smooshed and linty, but it tastes
just fine with lukewarm Jingle Java.
And now's my chance to
listen to The Christmas Tapes. You remember: The Christmas Tapes I wax
endlessly rhapsodic about, year after year? The Christmas Tapes I made
while The Tots were growing up, filled with songs I taped from
radio (John Lennon, Roger Whittaker, Placido Domingo, that wondrously
goofy "Stop The Cavalry" song) ... favorites from old scratchy
Christmas records (The Brothers Four, Stevie Nicks, Andrew LLoyd
Webber's "Requiem") ... the Tots' sweet tuneless baby voices: Jaymi as
a hiccuping newborn, Kacie singing "Walkin In A Winter Wonderland,"
Kyle growling his way through "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."
The Christmas Tapes I
swore I wasn't going to listen to this year, because I'm boycotting all
of the holiday nonsense and folderol and I don't have time to sit
around weeping over a stoopid Glen
What can I tell you? You
can trust me Home Alone about as far as you can throw me.
Which -- considering all
of the chocolate I've been eating -- ain't very far.
throw a popcorn