I am not a fan of the whole Christmastide Ritual of Bullshit Gift Giving that is imposed on us annually. While I like presents as much (or more) as the next gal, I loathe that society obligates other people to give me things because a specific day rounds the corner on the calendar. I am angered when I am hamstrung into involuntary spending, simply because of tradition. I like to give (and receive) from the heart, when it’s meaningful, not because there is an expectation to do so.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate Christmas. I get giddy when the first lights appear on houses in the ‘hood. I spend the entire year dreaming of the gorging I will get to freely participate in without reprimand: stolen, shortbread, egg nog, cheese platters, booze. I organize an annual Christmas card exchange with 30 or so of my Invisible Internet Friends, and have done so for the last five years. I take great joy in cooking a turkey with all of the trimmings, and even sing Christmas songs in the summer.
I hate phoney obligation.
For the most part, I have managed to avoid buying crap for the sake of buying crap, just to fill a room or please a relative. I don’t feel guilt for not buying my children even more toys to break and destroy. Outlaws are virtually non-existant, and my parents more or less share the same gifting philosophy as I do. My folks, my brother and SIL and my grandparents get portraits of my kids. Hubby and I have an annual agreement: don’t buy anything without consultation, and only what is needed. This usually means I get The Old Man face potions from the Body Shop, because he likes Man Cosmetics and has stipulated that this is his preference, and he gives me some money to piss away on whatever I please. This has worked well in the past. This was the agreement this year.
Or so I understood.
This is not what actually occurred.
The Old Man had been snuffly about having to dwell in the Frozen Wasteland of Ice and Snow, being that he is a creature from Lotus Land and isn’t well acquainted with bulky parkas and -90 C rated snow boots. He has been suffering, slowly, and had been tossing out idle threats like “I’m going to take off to Jamaica next week!” or “We should use our Frequent Liar Points to fly to Florida and take another cruise! Kids sail free!!” Being that we spent the entire summer jetting back and forth between Winterpig and Chilliwack, spending weeks living out of suitcases and itty bitty hotel rooms, I assumed that he was merely suffering from brain/mouth idea seepage, and just ignored him. After all, I just accepted a career making position as a District Sales Manager for a large international corporation, and was slated to start training the first week of the New Year. He was aware that I required the next several weeks to get my poop in a group. Things that were on my list: find daycare for the crotch fruit, get hair trendified, find business attire that fit, arrange for office to be set up in the Dungeon – phone, fax, internets, furnishings, dental care, starve myself down several dress sizes, yadda yadda. I made a string of appointments over the month of December, and was pleased that I was on the ball, and would be knocking everything off in a manner that was not chicken-with-head-cut-off for the first time in ages.
Our 10 year wedding anniversary was nigh, and I’d been harping and carping about a new and improved diamond ring. I have two daughters: I need to have two rings to pass on. Diamonds are an investment. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. The Old Man made a few inquiries about my preferences, and even went as far as having a custom ring spec’d by the wholesale designer that did my first ring almost 12 years ago. After reasoning to himself that he didn’t want to skimp, but wasn’t prepared to invest the amount he had decided to spend, he opted to go another route. He attended a seizure and estate auction, and came home with a pair of gorgeous diamond earrings for me. Being that I’m a bling bling whore, I was smitten, and hubby was rewarded handsomely in many ways. I was even NICE to him. NICE. This was far more excessive than I expected from him, and was pleased that I had more rocks to hoarde and precious to obsess over like Gollum.
So, when he woke me up at seven in the morning a few days later, to tell me that he’d found the most amazeballs all inclusive trip to Cuba, ever, I was irritated and told him to faggetahboutid, or he’d be sleeping with the fishes. He went on about the awesomeness of the trip, and I screamed and stomped feet about how stressed a trip would make me. He relented, and agreed that it was really bad timing.
The next day, he wakes me up early again, bouncing like one of the Gummi Bears, vibrating with glee. “I’m going to book a trip to Cancún! For all of us! It’s a really good deal! You’re not going to EVER get vacation again, and I don’t want that screwing up MY vacation time next year. So we’re going to go. We’ll leave Sunday morning and be gone for a week!!!”
Annoyed that he wouldn’t pluck this wild hair from his ass, I figured I’d do it for him.
“Look, I don’t have TIME for a trip to Cancún. I have shit scheduled all over the place, and I’m not going to miss it so you can go to donkey shows and puke tequila all over the carpets.”
“We’re going. I’ve made up my mind.”
“Fuck no. I’m not going. You can go by yourself. Take your buddy Cookie Monster with you. I have things to do.”
“We’re going. This might be the last chance for a long time.”
” Snort. As if you’ll find a kennel for the DOG that you bought without my permission. It’s a week before Christmas. The DOG isn’t going to be able to be farmed out.”
“Huh. Didn’t think about that…”
“Yeah. Clearly you didn’t.”
Thinking I was clever and had snuffed out his hope, I went back to sleep.
Only to discover, upon awaking, that he managed to find the ONE available dog boarding slot in all of Winterpig, and had gone and booked tickets.
I proceeded to spend the rest of the week screaming, swearing, bitching, threatening and stomping my feet in protest.
I was pissed. Who the hell does that?
I ranted to my Invisible Internet Friends far and wide. Everyone agreed with me: he was a jerk, and was trying to undermine me. I felt vindicated, and continued to kvetch to whomever would listen.
Time ticked away and the date loomed. I had to make some tough choices.
My options, as far as I could see:
- a) Queen Bitch: hire a divorce lawyer, stay in Winnipeg, and let him eat the cost of the trip.
- b) Crafty Widow: go to Cancún, and arrange for a “shark feeding” expedition for him for a few pesos.
- c) Passive Aggressive Martyr: sulk the entire trip and make him sorry he ever crossed me.
- d) Suck It Up Buttercup: go and try to have fun.
Despite option B being the clear favourite, I begrudgingly decided that option D would be the least miserable of the choices.
I rescheduled my appointments. I went out and got a spray on tan and bought a bathing suit that did not totally resemble a burqua.
I went to Cancún.