"You're lucky you don't have to pull these toys out of their packaging," I told my husband Tom as we spoke via Skype on Christmas Day. "I'm about to murder the person who invented those plastic twisty ties. I feel like I'm untwisted so many, that now my hand has turned into a miss-shapen claw." I held up my hand dramatically, my fingers curled into a C.
"You're overdramatic. Your parents are there to help," Tom reminded me.
"Miss-shapen CLAWWWW!" I bellowed. "This is what'll greet you when you return home. I hope you don't mind."
Tom leaned close and whispered, just so no one would overhear, "By the time I get home, I wouldn't care if you had lost all your teeth and were extra hairy." He gave me a seductive smile and I blushed, dropping my claw.
"Speaking of extra hairy, I got a razor in my stocking. It even does bikini lines," I added seriously.
Tom blinked. "Well."
"So I won't be hairy at all. Lucky you. I also got a Coach purse."
This is true. It was a total surprise. I didn't even know it was a Coach purse at first, I just thought it was a nice purse and was thinking, "Nice, a new purse," and then I saw the tag and was all, "And it's a COACH!"
"Open the purse," my Mom had urged.
I thought she just wanted me to check out the inside and ooo and ahh over it. Did Coach have fancy insides? I wouldn't know, I never owned a Coach before. My purses all come from the Target clearance rack. Or Kohls. From the clearance rack.
Inside the purse were gift cards! I don't care what people say, gift cards are a fantastic present. Those old experts drone on like, "Gift cards mean the person didn't care to think about your gift," but I think those old experts need to shut their old mouths. Gift cards are fantastic. And I had three of them.
$25 for Olive Garden.
$25 for Gymboree.
$25 for Barnes and Noble. My heart lifted at that one. I could spend all day in Barnes and Noble. I already had plans to spend it. I'd drop Natalie off at preschool and then head right for the store where I'd wander it for two hours. Well, more like an hour and a half so I wouldn't be late for picking Natalie back up. I imagine her teachers wouldn't be amused if I were all, "I apologize that I'm late, it's just I got caught up in Barnes and Noble! So many books, so little time, you know how it is." They'd probably be thinking, "Actually we DON'T you idiot stay-at-home-mom who doesn't have to deal with angry parents, teacher meetings, angry parents, children who spit and pee on us, ANGRY PARENTS who freak out if little Suzy was looked at funny by another kid..."
"I also got a Ped Egg," I said to Tom. "To shave my feet dry skin."
Tom made a face. "That's gross, Amber."
"And I got chocolate. Santa knows me well," I continued. "Plus a few clothes. And of course, the Sesame Street martian that you bought for me. Yip, yip, yip, uh huh, uh huh."
"I'm glad you had a fun Christmas," Tom said.
"I wish you were here though. It wasn't the same."
"You just wanted me there to deal with the twisty ties."
"Well," I shifted. "That too. But mostly just to have you here. Do you know that I have this shopping cart for Natalie that I have to put together when I get back home and I have no clue how to do it. If you were here, I'd push the box towards you, bat my eyelashes and beg you to do it."
"And then I'd remind you that you were quite capable, that I have all the tools you'll ever need..."
"But you know how I get when I put stuff together. I yell, I throw things, I curse, I cry, and then I end up giving up and using the box as a foot rest," I said.
"It's a shopping cart for a child. You can do it," Tom said, popping a handful of M&Ms into his mouth.
"Well, if Scarlett O'Hara can manage, I suppose I can too," I sighed.
"Who is Scarlett O'Hara?"
"She's from Gone with the Wind. You remember that movie I made you watch, the one that you said if you had to watch a minute longer that you'd pass out from boredom? The one where Rhett Butler said, 'Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn,' which you applauded and said that the bitch deserved it, and to which I threatened to divorce you if you ever said such a thing in my presence again?"
Tom rolled his eyes as his candy crunched in his mouth. "Oh. That movie."
"So I will put together the shopping cart and then I'll show you when I get home," I said proudly, getting all excited over putting together something. Surely it wouldn't be that difficult. It was just screwing pieces together. Simple. "Wish me luck."
Tom scratched his arm. "Good luck."
"Merry Christmas. Next year for Christmas we'll be together again."
"Unless I have to work."
"Let's not think about that. Just think that we'll be together again."
"Unless I'm at work. It's happened three years in a row," Tom shrugged.
"Just think that we'll be TOGETHER, dammit!"
"Okay. We'll be together," Tom obliged. "Unless I'm at work."
"You bug me."
"I know. Merry Christmas."