Well it’s Christmas Eve, and in accordance with my policy of delaying Christmas shopping until the very last second, I’ve delayed Christmas shopping until the very last second.
In the pre-interweb days that meant stopping at any – any – store on my way home from work either Christmas Eve or The Day itself. If it was Eve I would shoehorn myself into some mall and let the crowds carry me along into whichever store the tide was flowing towards. If NewWifey(tm) was lucky, it was a jewelry store. If not, it might be a wholesale dog food outlet. And if it was The Day itself, my options were pretty much limited to the Speedway Gas Mart on Rt.23, or The Hunan Grotto. On more than one occasion NewWifey(tm) was thril…surprised to unwrap a Slim Jim and a car freshener, or an order of Dim Sum with extra duck sauce.
Of course, it being NewWifey(tm) this was never a problem. She just wanted the sex. Presents were secondary (unless it was jewelry. Even in those hyper-libidinous days she still had her priorities).
Now the bar is set a bit higher. It’s not that the Boink Imperative has lessened (much) after 16 years together. But, see, when we first got together I was a struggling young media wanna-be working 6 days a week, including most holidays, and usually overnights. She knew how hard it was for me to get to any store at all, let alone one open on Christmas Eve/Day. So I got a pass. If I could wrangle Christmas Day off – and that didn’t happen often – a day of uninterrupted physical groping really was the best present we could unwrap.
Now I’m a struggling OLD media wanna-be. But I’m a struggling wanna-be who is now only working 5 days a week. And I get out of work at 1pm instead of 7am. And I get most holidays off.
All of those things, but especially the internet, mean I have no excuse for giving her a free gas station calendar on Christmas morning anymore. Oh, we’ll still play ‘Hide The Yule Log’, and maybe ‘Blow the Shofar’ if Christmas falls on Chhhhhhhanukka (as it does this year, hooray!). But I won’t get a cookie afterwards. And I’m a man who loves cookies.
And what could be easier than shopping online? You pound a couple of beers, mouse on over to Amazon, click the first dozen recommendations they give you, and ho ho ho, you’re done.
Yet I still procrastinate.
I did again this year. Put it off, put it off, jingle all the way, until finally last Wednesday I had to bite the keyboard and surf over to “Last Day to Order For Christmas Delivery!” land.
The funny thing is, I actually knew what I wanted to get NewWifey(tm) WEEKS ago. I could have had the packages ordered, delivered, and wrapped in time to put them all under the Halloween tree, saving myself the usual last minute tachycardia. But did I? And I even ordered stuff for myself during that time – all I had to do was tack on the things I knew I would be ordering for her later!
Ok, I’m an idiot. Or at least a creature of habit. Either way, I didn’t end up ordering NewWifey(tm)’s Christmas swag until last Tuesday.
And it bit me in the ass.
I guess that since it’s now Christmas Eve I can safely mention what I got NewWifey(tm) without worrying about her seeing this. It’s after 2, so she’s too drunk to read.
I got her a set of studio lights, and a nifty novelty watch.
NewWifey(tm) wants to start a YouTube channel in support of her business. Now that she’s a recognized designer and teacher who’s presence is being requested at shows and shops around the country, having a channel dedicated to whateverthehell it is she does (being the husband I’m still not really sure) would be a huge boon. Or so that’s what she tells me.
The problem is, we only have this rinky-dink little Flip camera that I got so I could make upskirt videos. Since it’s winter now and short skirts are in short supply, I figured I’d let NewWifey(tm) use it until temps and hems both go back up. However when I tried some test videos, it failed miserably. The light gathering capability, while fine for capturing a pair of Hanes Her Way on an escalator under the glare of consumer mall hyper-lighting, is just not up to the task when it comes to the single 60-watt bulb illumination in her “studio”. So I got her a pair of real, actual, studio lights that come on telescoping stands and have diffusion screens and baffles and…well, that’s it. But that should provide enough lumens to keep her from looking like she’s performing in blackface. In a black room.
I also got her a wristwatch, a really cool and funny timepiece from a company called “The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild”. She doesn’t need a wristwatch. But I liked this one, so she’s getting it. It’s cool. And funny. Go look.
I paid for the 2-day shipping upgrade just to be sure, and after hitting “Confirm”, I went to bed.
The next night I went to bed.
The next day, Thursday, the packages should have arrived. They didn’t, though. However this is not unusual, since I go to bed so early. Often when packages are delivered I trip over them when I walk out my front door at 3am to go to work. So on Thursday I went to bed and figured I’d see them in the morning.
That night, though, there was a chance of snow in the forecast so I parked in the garage. Our garage has a door right into the house, which makes it convenient in poor weather.
Friday morning, 3am, I walked through the basement door into our garage and got in the Subaru. I punched the garage door opener on my dash and put it in reverse. Slowly I exited the garage.
‘I guess it really did snow’ I thought. I gave it a little more gas to get through what sounded like a good layer of crusty ice.
Huh. That’s odd. Once my car cleared the garage I looked to the left and right and didn’t see any snow on my lawn. Or on NewWifey(tm)’s car on the other side of the drive. Or on my house.
Then I looked forward.
There were two brown pancakes on the driveway right in front of my car.
I got out of my car.
Yup. The UPS guy was so pressed for time – or couldn’t be bothered – that he couldn’t go three steps up to my front door landing and place his packages where they were supposed to go. Where they always go. Instead he put them right in front of my garage door. And not in the center of the garage door. He laid them on the right side, RIGHT BEHIND MY RIGHT SIDE WHEELS. What sounded like crunching snow beneath my tires was actually my wife’s Christmas presents being ground into a fine and even powder.
I was heartsick. There was no salvaging the lights. The box had blown apart at each end, and a bright and sparkly stream of glass shards spilled out when I lifted it. The watch box was only two inches tall, but eight inches wide. I carried them both inside and hid them under a blanket, then went to work.
When I got home from work I called UPS, who took a report and said they’d open an investigation, for whatever good that will do me.
On the other hand, I contacted both Kim Outlet – the purveyor of the lights – and the Unemployed Philosophers, and both immediately said they’d shoot out replacement products no charge and by expedited shipping, even though it was me who ruined the packages, not UPS. They really wanted to make sure I was a happy customer. You should buy lots and lots of things from them even if you don’t need them. You’ll be happy too.
I’m also a happy husband. I had to tell NewWifey(tm) today that I wasn’t gonna have anything festive under the tree for her Christmas morning, and it was all because I thought I was rolling over snow on a bone dry night and I hate UPS and I didn’t even get her a card.
Instead of being mad she hugged me and said, “Ah, don’t sweat it. You can just get me a gas station calendar. It’ll be just like old times. Now let’s get you back in the spirit of the season. Tomorrow’s Christmas AND Hanukkah, so I’ve gotta blow the shofar, right? Well, I think I better get a little practice in beforehand. Waddaya say? Santa may come but once a year, but that doesn’t mean you have to.”
Damn, I love my little ho ho ho. I should ruin her Christmas gifts more often.
Well, it’s time to wrap this up with a bow and put it under the tree. Over the wet spot.
Have a good night, kids. I hope you get that pony tomorrow.
God bless us, every one. Blow that shofar.