I’m pretty sure I have covered here before how I am not a particularly romantic or sentimental person. Part of me would like to be, but that part has been beaten into submission by the practical part of me that doesn’t have the time or the brain space to actually care. So.
On Friday I realized that Valentine’s Day was this weekend, and I drew close to my beloved and stared deeply into his eyes and said, “I love you. Can we please not do anything for Valentine’s this year? Can we just… not?”
Otto immediately took on the look of a caged animal. I could almost HEAR the opposing arguments in his head. (“Woohoo!” “Wait, is this a trick?” “I’m off the hook!” “Hang on, I think I’m supposed to do this no matter what she says.”)
I tried not to laugh. “I’m serious, I just don’t think we arbitrarily need to make this a big deal.” And then ANOTHER look crossed his face and it dawned on me. “You already got me something!”
“Just something LITTLE,” he confessed.
So that was the moment I went from being the unromantic but at least somewhat practical wife right into being the romance-killing, thoughtless wife. I mean, I could’ve run out and bought him something just because he’d gotten something for me, but that somehow seems even less romantic than being empty-handed, to me. Seriously. And I did go out on Saturday to run some errands and I brought him back a belt. A really nice belt that will totally hold his pants up. So.
(Supportive condolence notes can be directed to Otto at Sorry Your Wife Is No Fun Station, Northern Georgia.)
Anyway. Valentine’s Day dawned and everyone kissed and hugged and went about their business, and then a little later in the morning Otto set about making (pink!) pancakes for the children, and I made eggs for us low-carbing adults and bacon for the carnivores (turns out I’m perfectly happy to diet when I can still eat bacon…) and veggie sausage for the veggie girl, and Otto set the table and put little heart-shaped boxes of chocolates on the children’s plates and a bag of candy and a little box on my plate, and suddenly I felt like a COMPLETE asshole for not having so much as purchased cards for anyone in my family.
(But… I did GIVE BIRTH to two of the people at the table. Plus, I made BACON. And did I mention the BELT? IT’S A REALLY NICE BELT.)
Brunch was delicious and the kids were delighted with their candy, and my little box held some very pretty earrings that match a newly-acquired dress perfectly. Because my husband is sweet and thoughtful and observant, unlike his downer of a wife.
I vowed right then and there while sitting at the table with my family that I would make it up to Otto. That very night! I would plan for an unforgettable evening. I would SHAVE MY LEGS! And then… uhhh… hi, Dad… well, we could play Scrabble. Because I am always better at Scrabble when my legs are stubble-free. Ahem.
The day went on uneventfully, and at some point after I did my daily session on the elliptical I started thinking about what I’m going to pack to wear to this conference I’m going to later this week, because on any given day here at home I wrestle with important wardrobe decisions like “Shall I wear yoga pants or jeans today?” When I go out to do business-y things I try to act like I actually know how to dress in public, so I was going through some stuff in my closet and at some point I thought, “Oh, I should totally bring my black boots.”
I have these killer black boots I love, you know. I haven’t worn them in a long time; they really don’t go with my yoga pants. Heh. So I pulled them out and put them on and… couldn’t zip them.
Have I mentioned lately that as a result of some really hard work and deprivation I’ve recently lost 6.5 pounds? I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for YEARS. I have a ways to go, yet, but even I—queen of self-deprecation—have to admit I am looking pretty good, y’all.
And the boots are too small.
It turns out that sometimes this whole exercise thing builds muscle. (Who knew!) And then sometimes you end up parts of your body actually being larger than they were before. WHICH UTTERLY SUCKS. So yes, I’ve lost inches off my hips, but I found them! They’re on my (toned! shapely!) calves!
I seemed to remember Karen talking about having stretched out a pair of boots a bit, so I did the logical thing, which was first to stomp around complaining about how I DIET and I EXERCISE and I DEPRIVE MYSELF and the result is that I AM BIGGER, and then I went online and found Karen. “Tell me what you did to stretch your boots?” I asked.
Karen told me that her husband had deflated a ball, inserted it into the boot, and then partially inflated it and left it there for a few hours. Sounded simple enough. I went and batted my eyelashes at Otto and he was on the task.
After a bit of rummaging around (and, apparently, the discovery of several nests of bugs in our shed, ACK), Otto returned to the house triumphant, soccer ball in tow. Together we stuffed it into one of my fabulous boots and zipped it back up, and Otto began inflating. The boot began to swell.
“You’ll have to tell me when to stop,” he said. “I don’t want the zipper to rip.”
I was mesmerized by the process—the boot was aliiiiiive!—and absently offered, “Oh, I don’t think the zipper will rip. It’s pretty strong.”
The good news is that I was right: The zipper did not rip.
The bad news is that there was a loud POP as the boot exploded.
Yes, I know I’m given to hyperbole ’round here. But this is no exaggeration; the boot ripped along two outer seams as well as the inner lining just sort of… disintegrating… and it all happened simultaneously, leaving the shredded boot laid open, FLAT, in front of us.
Poor Otto. He looked like he’d just run over his best friend with his car. I had, just prior to the insertion of the soccer ball and the beginning of this exercise, mused that I’d purchased those boots for quite a bit of money during a time when I had very little, and that I had justified it, somewhat, with the knowledge that hey, good Italian leather will last forever, and here we were going to make sure that it did, etc.
I waited for the rush of despair, of anger, of frustration… and none came. I laid my hand on Otto’s arm. “Honey, it’s okay.” He was speechless. Let’s be honest; he was SCARED. He was waiting for me to freak out, because hi, MY EXPENSIVE BOOT EXPLODED. I said it again: “It’s okay. Seriously, I’m not mad at you. I’m not even mad. It’s my fault, this was my idea, and it’s okay.” He seemed cautiously relieved, and we went about the rest of the day (after I tossed the boots into the bottom of my closet).
I renewed my (secret!) resolve to make the evening a memorable one for my longsuffering sweetheart, given the stressful experience of Bootgate.
For dinner we cooked for the kids and then picked up some buffalo wings for us. They were delicious, and it was probably the biggest meal I’ve had in a while.
Which is why I probably shouldn’t have been all that surprised when a few hours later I started showing signs of food poisoning.
Otto didn’t get sick, so in the end I think it was more a case of “been eating small, healthy, low-fat meals and my system said NO THANK YOU to a pile of greasy animal limbs” than actual food poisoning, but, um, it was really not the evening I’d had planned.
So, to recap:
1) My diet is apparently self-regulating at this point.
2) My boots exploded.
3) I wrecked Valentine’s Day.
4) My husband is a saint.
5) Try not to be jealous.