Friday, December 7, 2012

Thinking Inside the Box

Or, Why Did I Spend All This Money on Actual Presents?

Sometimes the gift that ends up meaning the most is the one to which you gave the least thought.

When Scott and I studied The Five Love Languages in Sunday School, we were not shocked to learn that gift-giving was not a love language for either of us.  Our families usually get their presents within months of their actual birthdays not because we don't love them, but because we are horrible gift-givers.  Scott and I take a bizarre approach to gifts that has worked for us for 17 years now.  In short, you get a gift when you need that particular thing and then it's chalked up to the next gift-giving occasion.  For example, Mother's Day often comes in February, but that's OK since I have usually burned my Valentine's Day present when I did something like drop my phone in January, etc.  Right now, the gift I just received for Christmas 2012 is probably technically for our anniversary.  In 2017.

I got a big, shiny, new computer.  (Thank you, Santa!)

I decided to leave the world of PCs and go all Mac, all the time.  I love the photo editing, the new software, and all the things I can do with a click of the mouse.  And obviously, this giant computer came in a giant box.  TWO giant boxes, to be exact.

As I was opening my new toy, the kids came running.  "Here we go," I thought.  "I can't even open this thing and my kids are going to want to play with it before I can even touch it."  (Yeah, my Holly-Jolly was on leave at that moment.)  But the kids had no interest in the computer.  "CAN WE HAVE THE BOXES?" they screamed.  And with joy and excitement on their faces, they dragged them out and into the night.

Hmmm, OK.  These are thoroughly modern kids.  They have a computer in the playroom and an iPad. When my phone is giving me trouble, Katie fixes it for me.  But when I went to check on them, Davis had made a "jail" for his stuffed animals with his box, and Katie had made a dormitory for her stuffed animals with hers.  They had taken markers and decorated the boxes and were horrified when I asked if I could throw them out.  What was I thinking?  I had to promise that I would not even THINK of touching their new treasures when they left for school this morning.

Panda made bail, but he was bonded out by Clownie, who is known to break kneecaps.
Davis's room is an underworld of shady characters.  

I love it that my kids are getting older.  I am very un-sentimental when it comes to aging.  I love them at nine and six because we can do fun activities, we can take better trips, we can read more advanced books, and we can have heated discussions about whether Andrew Jackson was a great president or a monster for causing the Trail of Tears.  (Guess which side Katie takes?)  But I also tear up a little when I watch them, lost in their own imaginations, inspired by nothing but cardboard and markers, making new worlds for their old-fashioned teddy bears.  Maybe I'm OK with their staying little a little longer.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


This summer seems to be dominated by the theme of what women will do for the men they love.  There’s this little book called Fifty Shades of Grey – perhaps you’ve heard of it?  All the women in the western hemisphere seem to be a-flutter over what a straight-laced, nice girl will do when asked by the man of her dreams.  I think we can all admit that we’ve read at least one People Magazine article about what Katie Holmes may or may not have done during her marriage to her once-Prince Charming, Tom Cruise.  So I felt right at home with these brave women when my husband sat me down this summer, looked at me with those huge, blue eyes, and asked me to do the most shocking thing I could imagine.

Scott wanted me to start playing golf.

I like sports. I adore sports.  In my life, I have played tennis, soccer, basketball, fenced (it’s true!),run track, and been a cheerleader.  I avidly watch SEC football.  Golf?  Golf is for people who don’t like excitement.  For people who sip bourbon and talk about their stock portfolios.  For people with country-club logos emblazoned on their sun visors.  There was no possible way I was going to buy into this crazy idea.  Scott was on his own.  After seventeen years together, this was asking waaay too much of me.  I am a nice girl, brought up with good values, and I would not give in to him, no matter how hard he pleaded.

Then he bought me a set of clubs.  (I am bribed so easily.)  They’re really pretty.  And they came in a sky-blue bag.  And they’re guaranteed to help a first-timer ease into the game while providing exceptional distance and feel on impact, while also being forgiving with a large sweet spot.

So, yeah, I’m hooked.

We joined the country club (under-40 golf membership.)  He took off work Friday morning so we could play our first nine holes together.  For the record, Scott takes off work when I am giving birth, being cut open by surgeons, and… no, wait, that’s it.  Scott goes to work with 103 degree fever.   Scott puts the snow chains on the tires and makes it in to the office when nobody else can make it out of his driveway.  Scott goes to court battling stomach viruses that would level an elephant.  Scott inherited his father’s professional drive when it comes to showing up at the office, except when a small, white, dimpled ball is concerned.  He has a kryptonite, after all!

We drowned golf balls.  Scott hit someone’s house.  I think I gave a goose a concussion.  And I managed to bogey on one hole with some sort of beginner’s luck.  We laughed and cursed and had an enormously wonderful time.  How could I love a game that made me so crazy?  I couldn’t wait to get to the next hole, and I was horrified at how sad I was when it was over.  When could we do it again?

After we finished our scandalous morning together and I came home, I set up shop in the back yard and hit practice balls for another hour, trying to figure out fairway shots.  (How DO you get distance without a tee?)  Saturday night, we packed up the kids and went to a driving range and hit balls until closing time.  Sunday, we lay on the couches and watched the British Open (“The Open”) all day, passing issues of Golf Digest and Golf for Dummies back and forth to one another and discussing whether Adam Scott would blow such a large lead (bless his heart, he did.)  We ordered the kids TaylorMade hats because let’s face it, that’s just really funny.  We scheduled lessons with the country club golf pro.  We cancelled plans to go to the lake just so we could make it to those lessons. 

I was in the back yard tonight in my rubber duckie pajamas, with my driver and a glass of wine, wearing my golf shoes, working on my swing when my neighbor leaned over the fence and told me in the most loving way possible that I had completely lost my mind.

We’re hopelessly bad.  We’re learning.  We’re na├»ve.  Our enthusiasm to play every second of every day will wear off at some point.  We’re terribly outmatched at the club, and we can imagine the laughs that other, “real” golfers are having at our expense.  But we’re having fun.  And that’s a handicap I’ll take any day.