Friday, July 30, 2010

Take me away...

Sorry kids, no super embarrassing or potentially life-scarring story today.  I'm still quite spent from the whole "Worst Gift Ever" debacle story from yesterday.

I'm still recovering.

Instead, today I will tell you about one of my best gifts ever.  Not surprisingly it came from Hubs and ironically, I finally get to have it today.

Two weeks ago, Hubs and I celebrated our three year wedding anniversary (applause).  We also celebrated that Hubs has managed to live with me for over three years without being inspired to string me up by my toe nails and leave me for dead.

(Or if he has, he's resisted the urge.)

(He's very Zen like that.)

On our anniversary, Hubs presented me with a stay-cation package I certainly didn't expect.  One of my fave comedians, Bill Maher's comedy tour is coming to the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City tonight.  Hubs not only bought me tickets, but also reserved a room for us at the casino.  Mostly so I can play this slot.

So, tonight I will be sipping on wine.  Or a margarita.  Or a beer.  Or maybe some Courvoisier.

Okay, maybe not.  But I will be having a helluva good time with Hubs.  And maybe, just maybe, Bill Maher will look out into the crowd and decide he wants to take me along with him on the rest of his tour.

A girl can dream.

I'll leave you with a little ditty from Bill Maher's show "Real Time with Bill Maher" that always makes me laugh.  Have a great weekend, Bloggies! See you on the flip side.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

plant one on me - part 2

Welcome back, Bloggies! For the first time in my history as a blogger, this will be a "Part 2" to my story from yesterday.  So please feel free to refresh your memory on Part 1, then come back for the dramatic conclusion of "Plant One on Me: The Worst Gift Ever."

We left off with me in a huge state of disappointment after receiving a cactus and 24-pack of Dr. Pepper for Valentine's Day...

I leave Ex's room that Valentine's Day morning, needing to talk to someone.  Anyone.  The build-up that I have self imposed on this mystery present has backfired worse than a high school kid's hooptie, and I need to share my grief with someone.

I get on the elevator with my newly acquired cactus in my hand and Dr. Pepper at my feet.  As the elevator rises to my floor, I try desperately to see the silver lining in this whole situation.  Yes, I have given a crap gift, but at least I now have 24-days worth of tasty Dr. Pepper to enjoy, right? It could be worse.

When I arrive in my room, my roommate Erin is getting ready for class.  Naturally, she wants to know what "the sweater gift" had turned out to be. (I may or may not have told everyone I know that my present is going to be "amazing".)  After I relay the story, Erin is very understanding, and even manages to stop laughing after only three minutes.

We decide the best thing to do is move forward with our plan for Valentine's Day as though none of this has happened.  Or at least try to pretend it hasn't happened, because the prickly green thing on my bookshelf is an ever-present reminder.

You see, back in January, Erin and I decided to go all out for our boyfriends' Valentine's Day gift this year.  We would each create and paint a special box and fill it with 365 notes, one for each day of the year.  Each note would contain a memory of our time together with our significant other.  Something like "I love it when you carry my books" or "I love when you GIVE ME A DECENT GIFT FOR VALENTINE'S DAY".  Then we would give the box to our boyfriends while dressed up in questionable Victoria's Secret lingerie.

(Just to clarify, we would give these gifts separately, not at the same time.  We weren't that kinky.)

Unfortunately, after this particular morning, I'm feeling less than thrilled about the impending evening. Erin insists that I need to suck it up and move on. I can hardly be romantic if all I'm thinking about is how much Ex has disappointed me today.  Besides, this is my chance to show him what a real gift from the heart looks like. He can watch and learn.

Around 5:00,Erin leaves to go pick up her boyfriend for dinner. Ex's shift at the grocery store doesn't end until 9:00, so I now have four hours to kill.  

I do not spend them looking at the cactus.

When 8:00 rolls around, I perform some last minute preparations in my room to get ready for Ex's arrival. Candles lit (and totally illegal, but so is a hot plate and I use that sucker every day), soft music playing, lingerie on, lipstick applied.  Done. I'm ready.

And then the phone rings.

I immediately recognize the number as Ex's cell and take the call.

"Hellllloo there.  Are you on your way to the dorm?" I ask in an attempted sexy voice.


My spine stiffens at the unfamiliar edge in Ex's voice, and I brace myself for what is coming.  In hindsight, there is no way I could have guessed.

"What's wrong, Ex?" I ask.  (In truth, I kind of want to ask if he has gotten fired for stealing floral arrangements, but I bite my tongue.)

"Well," he says. "You won't believe this." But I already know what it is.  He's met someone.  He's breaking up with me again for some Tri Delta that passed him in a cute top and do-me heels.

"What?" I plead.  "Just tell me, please," I'm trying so hard to remain calm, but it isn't working.

"Um, you'll never believe what I just broke," he replies.  

Truth be told, I don't have a clue.  Another cactus planter?  My heart? I throw out the most ridiculous thing I can think of. 

"I don't know," I say.  "Your teeth."  There is silence on the line.  Followed by more silence.

"Acutally, uh, yeah.  My teeth," he breathes into the phone. "I think I need to go to the hospital."

"Oh, you've GOT to be kidding me!" I shout.  "Ex, you've done this to me so many times, and it's SO not funny!  You didn't break your freaking teeth.  Just hurry up and get here, you're ruining my present to you," I whine. I fiddle with the red ribbon strap on my lacy corset and check my butt for dimples in the mirror.

"No Kim, I'm dead serious.  I broke my two front teeth almost completely out. That's why I'm coming home early. I had to fill out a bunch of workman's comp forms and now I need to see a dentist or something."  

I am floored. How is this possibly happening?  Who breaks out their teeth on Valentine's Day?

"Ex, seriously.  If this is a joke..." I take a moment and gather myself. He's done this before.  There was that one time he called at 2:30 in the morning to ask me to bail him out of jail on a DUI.  I had actually gotten into my clothes and was on my way to the car before he admitted it was a joke. Not to mention all the times he called to say he'd been in a car accident "just to see how I'd react."

"Okay, fine, you broke out your teeth," I say.  "How?  You work in the salad bar. Since when are cucumbers and ranch dressing fraught with danger?" 

A moment of silence.

"Um, well, I wasn't in the salad bar when it happened," he says softly. "I was somewhere else."

"Where?  Where "somewhere else' were you?" I demand.

"I was in Seafood."


"You were in the Seafood department," I repeat, steadying my voice. "Why?  Seafood is on the total opposite end of the store.  Why were you over there and how did seafood break your teeth out?"  

I'm becoming more and more convinced this is a joke and Ex is on his way over with a 3-carat diamond ring.  It will be the most elaborate proposal in history. People will laugh. They will cry.  They will marvel at the intricate work that went into this charade.  Stolen cactus, Dr. Pepper, broken teeth...RING! I wonder how long my parents have been in on it.

"I was at the salad bar," Ex begins. "But the Seafood department guy was bored, and so was I.  No one is buying groceries on Valentine's Day."

I stand and listen in complete silence, my fingers tracing the word "ring" on the table in front of me.

"So I go over to see John in seafood," he continues. "And we're talking.  And then one of us came up with the idea to, um, to, uh..."

"To WHAT, Ex?  You did what?" He's worse than Ross on Friends getting his sentences out.

"We started"


"A...frozen fish.  And some brooms."

Now I know he isn't lying.  There is no way ANYONE on this planet could fabricate something so ridiculous for a surprise engagement. Even him.

"Let me get this straight, you put a frozen fish on the FLOOR of the seafood department and played hockey with it?  Didn't anyone see you?"  I ask, now desperate to hear the rest of this story.

"Oh, no.  We were in the back room. Nobody could see us.  I'm not that stupid."

I let that one go without comment.

"Okay," I say.  "What happened then?"

"Well, we had a pretty good game going," I can actually hear him smiling at the memory.  "And then the fish kind of got stuck between John's side and mine.  We both dove for it.  The seafood section is really cold and wet...and I slipped.  When I went down, my two front teeth caught on one of the prep tables, and now they're broken really bad."

I am officially rendered speechless.  My boyfriend has gone above and beyond the levels of stupidity to completely ruin my faith in men for all eternity.  He couldn't just go to work, finish his shift and come home without incident, could he? Oh now.  He had to go to work, get bored, and play like Wayne Gretzky on a floor covered in NEMO GUTS and break out his most important molars.  Now my sexy outfit and adorable present aren't even going to matter. Can I even kiss a man without two front teeth?

I glance at the clock and see that it's nearly 8.30. All of the urgent care medical places are closed, and certainly no dentist will be open at this hour.

"All right, Ex.  Just come straight here and we'll figure out what to do.  Are you in pain?" I ask.

"Yeah," he replies. "It hurts more every second.  I've got to get some pain meds or something."

"Well," I say slowly.  "Do you even have insurance if we go to the hospital?"

"I need insurance?"

"Oh, Christ. Just get here."

Four minutes later, there is knock at my door.  Ex has already called back twice to make me promise not to laugh when I see him.  I have assured him that the last thing on earth I am in the mood to do is laugh. 

As son as he crosses the threshold to my room, I tell him to open his mouth so I can see the damage first hand. I'm also still holding onto a small shred of hope that the whole thing is a hoax.  It isn't.

As he opens his mouth, I notice that the teeth are not completely broken out, but at least 50% of one tooth is gone, and about a third of the other.  He definitely needs medical attention. And possibly mental...for another time.

"All right then," I slap my thigh. "Let's go."

"Where are we going?" he asks, incredulous.

"Obviously the ER, Ex.  You're still bleeding, and I can tell you're in pain."

"Well...what's that?"  He motions to the corset that I've changed out of that is now lying on the bed.

"It was part of your present," I sigh. "As was that," I nod toward the box of memories.  "But that doesn't matter right now.  Erin and her boyfriend will be here in an hour to "use" the room, and we're supposed to be gone by then.  Obviously we aren't going to do what I had planned, so we'll go to the ER instead."

Ex looks at me with weepy eyes. "I'm really sorry," he whispers. "I love you for taking care of me."

I shake my head. "I know you are, Ex.  I know you are.  But we can't do anything about it now. I would say I hope you learned a lesson, but what would it be?  Don't play stupid games in a wet environment?  I would've thought you'd known that by now."

I motion for him to head out the door, and he goes begrudgingly.  On the way out, I can't help but wonder if anyone else is having a night like this.  I can't imagine they are.

Within forty minutes, Ex has been taken into the ER and is being examined.  I survey the patients in the waiting room with me, and can't imagine that any of them are here because their boyfriend is a lousy fish hockey player.

When he reappears, he is armed with a prescription for pain meds and instructions to see a dentist first thing in the morning.  My instructions are to get him whatever he needs and make sure he's comfortable for the rest of the night.

Oh joy.

In an effort to apologize Ex takes me to Chili's for dinner, though he's unable to eat anything and I therefore feel guilty eating.  Needless to say, I don't use my lingerie, and the box isn't nearly as well received as I had hoped.  Mostly because Ex is falling asleep.

Truthfully, that wasn't the only Valentine's Day I've had that went to hell in a hand basket, but it was definitely the worst. Recalling it now, I still can't believe it happened.  I'm sure neither can he. There are so many more adventures, holidays and non, that you wouldn't believe Ex got me into.  But they're all true.  And at least it makes for interesting memories.

As I said earlier, this whole blog started because my friends and I wanted to compare our "worst gift ever" stories.  

I win, people.  I win.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

plant one on me...

I love giving gifts.  For anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, Valentine's day or no reason at all.  Usually boyfriends give their girlfriends gifts for all the afore mentioned holidays and vice-versa.  It's just something nice you do.  

(That doesn't mean it has to cost a lot of money.  Although that's certainly allowed.)

I've given and received some pretty stellar gifts over the years, and for the most part, I don't have any real complaints.


(You all remember the Ex, yes?  If not, no big deal, this story will remind you.)

So, a few weeks ago over dinner with friends, someone brought up the subject of the worst gift you've ever received from a boyfriend.  Each gal took turns telling her story, but I'm quite certain I won by a landslide.  

Let me tell you why.

During my sophomore year of college, my boyfriend and I were in our 2nd year of dating bliss together.  Or something like that.  We had shared two years of birthdays, two Christmases, two Valentine's Days, and I never missed one occasion.  He missed all but one.

In fairness, maybe on my birthday he would show up with a card and then say, "All right! Let's go find you a gift!" But that doesn't count, kids. 

Everyone knows this.'s February of 2001.   I'm living in the same dorm as the Ex. He's on the 4th floor, I'm on the 9th.  We see each other whenever he feels like it and I basically spend most of my time holed up in my room looking at photographs of us, hoping the phone will ring. (Just ask my roommate from back then, Erin, she'll tell you.)
One day, I meet Ex in his room so we can walk to class together. 

(Just walking.  No hand holding, please. People might think we're tacky, you see.)
(Bitter?  Me?  Noooooo.)

I arrive in Ex's room, and he's still getting dressed.  He asks me to please grab a sweater for him.  I willingly oblige.  The sweaters are piled on a shelf at the top of his closet. Just as I reach to select one, he says, 

"Oh wait!  Please, don't look behind my sweaters.  Your Valentine's Day gift is up there!"

I almost die.  Like, Rachel Zoe die.

We are still 9 DAYS from Valentine's Day, and he already has a gift?  Granted, I've had mine finished since January 1, but for my boyfriend to ALREADY have my gift ready to go?  This was going to be good.

I try to hide my excitement, and outwardly pretended like I don't really care.  Inside, though, my brain is hosting a block party. I may or may not have written "Mrs. Ex Boyfriend" 4,000 times in my journal that night.

Ex and I eventually depart for class, but all I can think is: WHAT IS BEHIND THOSE SWEATERS?

The next 9 days are filled with these thoughts:
  • Sweaters can't hold a lot of stuff, really.  It's got to be earrings. I'll take CZ if he says he loves me after I open them.
  • It's a diamond ring.  OH MY GOD, WE'RE GETTING ENGAGED. But he has no money.  We're in college and living on ramen noodles and vodka.  Maybe his Dad lent him the money!!!  I love my future father-in-law!!! 
  • Maybe it's a pair of those Abercrombie jeans he knows I can't afford but want so badly.  But he told me I need to lose a few pounds,
  • Maybe it's super tacky lingerie and crotchless panties.  This is probably the most likely option.
Finally, February 14th arrives.  Knowing I won't be able to wait until evening, I run down to Ex's room at 8:30 and demand my present.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CANIHAVEIT CANIHAVEIT?

Ex agrees and tells me to close my eyes and sit in his desk chair.  Breathlessly I sit down and hold out my hands, eyes pinched shut.

I hear a thud.  Then a rustling. Wait, is that a plastic sack?  Like a grocery sack? What the hell kind of gift comes in a grocery sack?

Another thump, a shuffle. He coughs. OH my GOD, is he nervous???  Does this mean what I think it means?  Because really, in the past three weeks things have been SO good with him.  He's told me he loved me twice without me asking.  He's given me a kiss on the cheek between classes, and Thursday night at the bar he didn't hit on ONE girl.

This has got to mean something.

Suddenly an object with a decent amount of weight lands in my hands.  This something is too big to be a ring box, too small to be a pair of jeans.

"Aaaand, open!" Ex says with great enthusiasm.

I slowly open my eyes, not sure what I'm about to see.  I look into my hands - and immediately want to shut my eyes again.

No.  This cannot be.  This cannot be my gift.

"Well?  Do you love it?" he asks with genuine excitement.

"It's a cactus, Ex," I say, my voice flat as a pancake.  "A cactus."

"Right! You know how I have my cactus collection here in my room?  I thought it'd be neat for you to start one in your room!  And look, it's in a planter already. And it has the little plastic "Happy Valeintine's Day" thing on it. It's ready to go and you don't have to water it much, so it'll be hard to kill."  

I am thinking of shoving the cactus into an area that would require his hospitalization. Ex rubs his hands together and is looking at me, expecting me to say something about the gift.

My mind instantly flashes back to our first Christmas together.  I bought Ex a brand new watch that was way out of my price range.  I had wrapped it with such care, anticipating the moment he would see it and be beside himself with happiness.  On Christmas, he opened it and shrugged, then said, "Hmm. Do I need a watch?"  

Thinking about this now, I kind of want to say, "Do I need a sharp, prickly plant that only grows in the DESERT?"

Slowly I turn the planter around in my hand and give it a hard look.  The cactus itself isn't horrible looking.  In fact, it's relatively cute.  And I do like Ex's collection in his dorm.  
But it's a cactus. Who gives their girlfriend of two years a CACTUS ON EFFING VALENTINE'S DAY? I realize I have in fact told Ex multiple times that I don't care for roses, but this is hardly what I meant. And then a thought crosses my mind so quickly, I can't quite grab it.  A weird sensation comes over me, like I'm missing something that is glaringly obvious.  I try to conjure the thought again, but it disappears into the back corner of my brain, like a dream that dissolves the moment you wake up.

"And wait!" Ex exclaims. "One more thing!" He is back over in the closet, rummaging on the floor.  Thank God, maybe this is all a joke.

"I got you this, too!"  Ex plops a giant 24-pack of Dr. Pepper at my feet.

"I know how much you love Dr. Pepper, so I got you some,"  He looks like he is expecting a kiss. I sort of want to puke.

Bu then I look into his eyes and realize how excited he is, and I begin to feel bad.  Pathetically I pick at the fuzzes on my sweater.  I mean, so it's a cactus.  So what?  No, he isn't the smoothest gift giver on campus.  So he made a present boo-boo.  At least he finally bought me a Valentine's Day gift that - and then it happens again.  The thought that floated through my mind ten seconds ago has managed to squirm it's way through again, coming through loud and clear.

Ex works at a grocery store. I heard a plastic grocery sack earlier when he was bringing me the gift. Ex has repeatedly bragged that his favorite thing to do is steal plants from his store's floral department because no one is working that section. In fact, it's a point of pride for him that nearly every cactus on his dorm shelf was "Free niney-nine."

Which means he stole my gift. I'm not stupid.  My tacky, ridiculous, ugly CACTUS of a gift was SHOPLIFTED by my boyfriend.  He might have paid for the Dr. Pepper, which cost approximately $4.00.

I heave a huge sigh, and remember that it's supposed to be the thought that counts.  Except I don't believe any thought went into this gift. I've never shown any desire to own a cactus.  Ever. And Ex loves Dr. Pepper as much as I do.  This is a gift for him, not me.

Never mind that upstairs in my dorm, Ex's Valentine's Day surprise is waiting. A hand-made painted box with 365 handwritten notes in it.  365 handwritten memories of our two years together.  A box filled with memories for Ex to take out and read every morning for a year, just so he knows how much I love him.

My gift only cost $8.50 - but it took 18 hours to finish.  I decide then and there that tonight, after Ex gets off work, I'm going to give him my gift. I will lead by example.  After tonight he will know what a TRUE gift from the heart is.  

He has to work until 9:00, and I'm too upset to argue. I kiss him and act grateful, and tell him that his gift is still to come.  Perhaps this Valentine's Day can still be saved.

Or not.

To be continued....