December 22, 2001
Home Alone


David is leaving to go do his Christmas shopping.

(Finally.)

"Be good," he says fondly, indulgently, and he kisses me on the top of the head.  It is a blustery Saturday morning -- a wool-socks-and-hot-coffee 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 unanswered e-mail.

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.

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 I know 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 Hag ... 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 Child.

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 the 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 Campbell song, forcryingoutloud?

Those Christmas Tapes?

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.



tell 'em secra sent you

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thank goodness david doesn't read *footnotes,* huh?
[and thank goodness JAYMI doesn't read it, either ...
... otherwise she might find out about her new sewing machine
and it would ruin the surprise!]