Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Gift

One of my few faults as a loving husband is that I don’t shower my beloved with gifts. On the husband gift-o-meter the needle is stuck between “you’re a thoughtless asshole” and “the divorce papers are in the mail.”

It’s a good thing for me that every time the postage rates go up the mail gets slower.

When the rate went from 39¢ to 41¢ last spring, I had to fuck around with a lot of little 2¢ make-up stamps so I could use up my old 39¢ leftovers. This spring the rate is going up to 42¢, which means I’ll have to fuck around with a lot of little 1¢ make-up stamps so I can use up my old 41¢ leftovers. That will leave me with both extra 1¢ and 2¢ stamps, which always fall out of the postage folder every time I pick it up. Ever heard of the game 52-stamp pickup? I could throw them away, but I’ve decided to save them; I’m betting that the next postage rate will be 45¢, in which case I’ll have to fuck around with all my 1¢ and 2¢ make-up stamps so I can use up my old 42¢ leftovers.

And at 45¢, the divorce papers will never get here.

Lest you think I’m a complete monster, I’ve given Martha plenty of gifts over the past thirty-four years. In fact, I gave her one just a few weeks ago.

My beloved is a sudoku freakazoid—and the harder they are the better. Being an accountant eight or nine hours a day isn’t enough for her; she has to come home and beat her brains out on number puzzles. She’s been beating her brains out on Mensa Absolutely Nasty Sudoku, Volume 2, and looking with maniacal glee for Volume 3 in the local bookstores. To no avail.

So, computer wiz that I am, I searched Amazon, found Volume 3, and ordered it immediately as a GIFT. I like to save a buck when I can, so I used Amazon’s free shipping—forgetting, of course, that it would come in the . . . mail. I may have mentioned this, but every time the postage rates go up the mail gets slower.

But putting the postage thing aside for a future blog, Martha’s GIFT arrived in a box that could have held twenty books. It was on our doorstep instead of the mailbox, and naturally Martha tripped over it when she came home from work (I wish I had a buck for every time I’ve watched her fall in the front door).

‘Whatever you ordered from Amazon is here,” she said, throwing the box at me while she dabbed at the blood on her knees.
“That isn’t for me,” I said with anticipatory excitement. “That’s a GIFT for you!”
She opened the box after putting ointment and gauze on her knees and elbows and said, “Volume 3!” She was pleased for about three minutes until she flipped through the pages. “What the hell is this?” she asked. “All the puzzles are filled in already!”
“I know,” I said. “Amazon wanted $6.95 for a new one, but they also had one used for $1.50. Isn’t that great!?”

And that's why I don't shower my beloved with gifts: Martha thinks I’m a cheap bastard. On the cheap-o-meter the needle is stuck between . . .


Nightmare said...

oh THAT is rich old bean! very rich! Had me laughing all the way to the loo.

Kim Ayres said...

You really are a cheap bastard. With the money you'd saved you could have included a bottle of Tipp-Ex!

Rhonda said...

I bet I know what Martha used to line the floor of your doghouse . . .

Mary Witzl said...

This is wonderful, Charlie. It is also a fine piece of writing, and I am thrilled to meet:

1) A fellow grass widow(er) of a Sudoku freak -- me too!

2) A fellow cheapskate.

Martha and I have things in common, too: my husband isn't generally a lavish gift-giver, and I still reckon I'm a bigger klutz than she is. I got off the bus last week and waved happily to my good husband who had come to pick me up -- and fell flat on my face after stepping in a hole filled with icy mud. The next day when I got to work I found that my bag was full of mud.

My poor knees. I've got scars on scars on scars.

Lola Magnolia said...

Just looking at those Sudoku squares makes me wanna' run screaming. I'm so Sudoku illiterate, I don't know how people do it!

By the way, my sister told me about those Forever stamps so that you don't have to fuck around with those 2 cent stamps anymore! WOO HOO!