Because my husband is a tax preparer, he is MIA from late January until about mid-April. Sure, I catch glimpses of him here and there. We’re even able to sneak in a few quick phone conversations between his appointments with clients.
But after fifteen years of this routine, I’ve learned that when Valentine’s Day rolls around, I know I don’t have a Cupid’s chance in divorce court of experiencing anything even remotely romantic.
Historically, I always get him a pound of turtles – those curious lumps of chocolate-covered pecans and caramel – and he always gets me a heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates. It was a sweet tradition to begin with, but these days, it’s as if every selection in the assortment is a boring vanilla cream, or worse – a maple nougat.
This year, I longed to break with tradition. If only I had the chance to convey this to my beloved prior to the big day. Instead, I tried subliminal messaging as he slept. Stumbling over his gym bad during the night though, its a wonder he didn’t wake up feeling the urge to curse.
So the choice lay before me – should I go with tradition or encourage his quest for a healthier lifestyle?
Turns out the choice was made for me. By the time that I a) realized Valentine’s day was on Tuesday, not Wednesday of this week and b) made it to the store to take advantage of their buy-one, get-one sale, all of the chocolate turtles were long gone.
Trudging to my car, a bright neon light caught my eye. It was a discount clothing store in the corner of the strip mall. I had never stepped foot in it, but something was telling me to take a peak.
Once inside, I read the signs hanging from the ceiling to see of they even had a men’s department.
I mosey’d on over and saw two racks brimming with a wide assortment of dry-fit shirts, the likes of which my boys run in. Tracking down his size, I found three that would not only fit him, but were discounted considerably. So much so, that I would leave the tags on to further impress my bean counter spouse with my keen sense of frugality.
Once home, I was so excited that I stayed up to wait until he came home. He walked through the door at 11:30pm. As he sat on the couch across from me, telling me about his day, rubbing his eyes and yawning, I burst out, “Happy Valentine’s Day Eve!” and handed him the bag of shirts.
Pulling them out one by one he feigned excitement and managed a weak, “Thanks.”
Figuring he had forgotten all about Valentine’s Day, I mumbled, “Read the price tags – that’s the best part.”
Squinting at them, he asked me to dig his glasses out of his briefcase.
Popping it open, there it was – a pound of assorted chocolates, but not in a heart-shaped box. These were in a lovely white square box emblazoned with “Graham’s“, the finest chocolate shop in the county, and wrapped in a lovely red satin ribbon.
“Oh, sweetie? How did you know?” I asked as I considered using the ribbon to tie the box directly to one of my thighs.
“I don’t know. I thought you might like something different this year.”
At least he didn’t swear…