Kinda long and rambling, but we’ll get to the point eventually. Grab a brewski and siddown.
Our family is a large and varied one. At certain times, this can be beneficial (getting birthday presents, calculating deductions for income tax purposes), but at other times, it can be a royal pain in the tuckus. Christmas is just such a time.
Now, the missus and I both love Christmas. Truly, a wonderful holiday. However, when we’re forced to purchase presents for the various Minions of Sauron, along with the Parents of Sauron, the In-Laws of Sauron, the Teachers of the Minions of Sauron, the Coworkers of Sauron, the Relatives of Sauron Whom No One Knows and We Suspect Showed Up at the Reunion Just to Get Free Chex-Mix, and various and sundry other folk, it gets to be a significant drain on the Wallet of Sauron. So my lovely wife and I usually set a monetary limit on the Christmas gift(s) we purchase for each other.
It has always been a point of pride for me to exceed this limit in creative ways. For instance, one year I bought some presents and gave them to my lovely wife as though they were from her son, thereby bypassing my spending limit. Another year I used my heretofore hidden Jewish heritage to purchase Chanukah gifts for her (since the spending limit only applied to Christmas presents, you see).
The upshot of all this is my wife has become more wiley than Lucifer when crafting the spending-limit agreement I’m now forced to sign each Thanksgiving. We’re talking a multi-page document, including four different appendices on the definition of “holiday.” I know what you’re thinking, and you’re absolutely right – her lack of faith and overall distrust is quite disturbing. I intend to send her a strongly worded letter as soon as I finish Christmas (or perhaps Kwanzaa) shopping this year.
But matters for this year’s Christmas celebration came to a head Sunday afternoon, when out of the blue my lovely wife ambushes me.
“Don’t think you can get around your spending limit by trying that kids-giving-me-a-gift deal again.”
I am taken aback by this sudden attack, and shocked – shocked – that she would think I would stoop so low.
“Whatever are you talking about, my dearest? My love?”
“Don’t give me that crap. You’ve put two presents under the tree to me from the Minions of Sauron. You’ve already gone over your spending limit, haven’t you?”
Despite this unprovoked frontal assault (which, to make matters worse, occurred at a pivotal moment in the Titans/Texans game), I assemble my formidable wits and prepare a well-nigh unassailable tower of logic and refutation as my opening salvo in this debate: “Umm … no.”
“You do this every freakin’ year, and it always makes me feel like crap. I stick to the amount we set, and you always go over it, and I feel terrible because you always get me this nice stuff and I don’t get you anything like that.”
Obviously my previous verbal thrust and parry has put her off stride, so I repeat the successful tactic: “Umm … no.”
Now we get to my wife’s previously undisplayed superheroine talents.
“I know what those two presents are, and I know how much you spent for them, and that means you’ve almost gone over the limit with those two presents right there, and I know you’re planning to get me something else, so that for sure will put you over the limit, and it always makes me mad when you spend more on me than I do on you. It’s not fair.”
See that? She thinks she can see through the wrapping paper and discern what the gifts actually are. She thinks she knows exactly how much I paid for those gifts. She thinks she knows what I’ll do in the future.
That’s the problem with my lovely wife. She thinks too much.
I feel that she has humiliated herself enough by this point in the debate, and I offer her a solution which, while making it plain that she has lost this round, will still allow her to exit the field of battle gracefully.
“Honey – you’re blocking the TV screen.”
She stomps off, humiliated in defeat. Why does she continue to batter herself against my indomitable will? It saddens me so to see her dash the sea of her dignity against the immovable rocks in my head.
Since I did not want to embarrass her further yesterday, I did not point out some salient truths. However, upon further reflection, there are a few things I want my lovely wife to understand:
[li]Just because you think you know what those presents are, doesn’t mean you really know. The shape may resemble the boxed edition of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD, but many other things come in boxes that exact same shape. Things such as … oh … a jewel-encrusted marital aid.[/li][li]You may think you know how much a jewel-encrusted marital aid costs, but you just might be wrong. I happen to know the guy who oversees the Vatican’s collection of such items, and he has – for want of a better term – a “fire sale” from time to time. [/li][li]You may think it’s highly inappropriate for one of our children to give you a jewel-encrusted marital aid, but he saw you admiring it in one of those catalogs you get on a distressingly frequent basis, and he told me that’s what he wanted to get you for Christmas. I know that he can’t speak in complete sentences yet, but don’t underestimate the special communication bond between a father and son.[/li][li]You may think I’m going over our pre-arranged spending limit this year for Christmas, but in fact … well, okay, that one you got me on.[/li][/ul]
If she’s not careful, this constant suspicion, badgering, and outright insolence is gonna cost her the Boxing Day present I’m getting for her this year.