Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

“Goon!” I bellered. I call him Goon but he’s actually my husband, Prince Third-Time’s-a-Charming.

“Goon! Come quickly! I broke the toilet!”

You have to realize that I took an awfully big chance marrying this guy. For one thing, Versions 1.0 and 2.0 were not successful releases, if you get my drift. I don’t like the blame game so I feel it’s important to note my own flaws in those previous and unsuccessful financial relationships. For one thing, I failed to see how wrong a choice I was making at the time. These are expensive mistakes and so, counter to conventional wisdom, traditional religious beliefs and what your mama said, I recommend at least a thorough beta testing of the model prior to purchase. However, I also have to admit that the enthusiasm of the sales force prior to purchase can diminish to near-zero after the sale.

If you didn’t follow that, you shouldn’t get married. I’m just sayin’.

Another part of taking a big chance had to do with the parties involved, namely The Goon and me. He’s a Capricorn and I’m an Aries and for me to say that he “grounds” me is something like saying that helium is holding down hydrogen. I’m flammable; he’s not. And there's more to it than just your Sun Sign. There were some who were concerned about the lack of adult supervision in our relationship but we have the dog now.

Quincy will bark at us until we are all seated and being nice to each other, preferably across the room. There is no hugging or kissing in dog, as John explains, so we have to sneak in PDA when the dog’s back is turned. This is one of the secrets of keeping our romance spontaneous.

“Quick!” I’ll hiss to the Goon in the middle of the kitchen.

“While he’s outside in the back yard!”

We’ll sneak in a smooch or dance to some tune in our heads, usually sung with made-up lyrics, something like this that was never meant to be in Oklahoma,

“Don’t cross your eyes like that.
They’ll just get stuck that way.
They look so cute stuck that way!
People will say we’re in love!”

We started calling Quincy “The Duenna” and just settled for calling him Dwayne when he starts supervising during the good stuff. We didn’t realize we had a Cocker Spaniel in law enforcement, his Day Job being the Knight of Swords. What’s funny is that he (the dog) tends to work only one shift. After about 10 pm or so, he just looks at us, snorts and goes back to sleep. My sense is that he figures if what we’re doing is fighting, it’s someone else’s problem until he’s back on duty the next day.
Picture Postcard Tarot
(c) Copyright 2010 Marcia McCord
John figures his marriage vows were to love, honor and say Yes, Dear to just about anything I came up with. In fact, I did make him promise me one thing.

“Promise me…” I struggled with the exact wording.

“Yes, dear?”

He felt it wise to get practice in before the ceremony.

“Promise me you will not be handy.”


See, the thing about guys is that they always want to fix stuff for you. That’s so Knight of Swords too. That’s so cute. Well, it’s cute unless he doesn’t really have a knack for it. It’s not that John hasn’t a knack for fixing things. It’s that he is so creative with alternative solutions and wants me to participate in the process of selection. My imagination runs wild with visions of burst pipes and John reviewing the choices of duct tape versus replacement pipes and whether copper is better than PVC. My promise extracted from him means that when the pipes burst, we call a plumber, period. He is free to speculate and even annoy the Hired Professional all he wants as long as he stands back far enough to let the expert do his work.

Sometimes John does do some handiwork but I always cringe at the descriptions prior to actually viewing the body, so to speak.

“Come out here and see this lash-up I rigged for watering your roses,” he will announce. I suppress all my fears and reason that as long as the “lash-up” doesn’t actually undermine the foundation of the house causing it to settle even more than it has already, it can’t be all bad. If necessary I could always purchase new roses for the yard.

Most of the time I think it’s a language barrier. John speaks Butte-en-ese (byoo-tuhn-EEZ), the native tongue of those from Butte, Montana, usually Irish in origin but with the occasional Finlander and Italian phrase thrown in. It’s almost like English and perhaps just a tad more cosmopolitan than the language spoken in the movie Fargo. Like so many things about John, I used to think he was joking because it sounded so funny. Then we went on our honeymoon to his family’s reunion in Butte and I realized he was telling the truth after all. By the end of the week, I was saying, “Yah, sure, you betcha’” with the best of them. At least full immersion in Butte-en-ese gave me a way to translate, but occasionally a term like “lash-up” is something I take entirely too visually.

How can you lash up water, I muse as I’m reluctantly trudging down the stairs to view whatever he’s done to my roses now. The project reveals itself to be merely a complex series of tiny hoses, valves and sprinklers threaded through my flower beds for zone watering. The materials he used were those actually intended for flower bed watering. He called it a “lash-up” because he was not sure, even after the success of his project, that he’d done the right thing.

Back to more recent times and the broken toilet, John rushes into our 1930’s era pink, violet and black tiled bathroom which I call Mary Engelbreit’s Bad Dream. Don’t get me wrong. I love the color scheme, but I recognize it’s not that California sea glass and sand thing that people associate with luxury bathing nowadays.
Tony Sincerely Concerned With the
Status of Things in the
Pink, Violet and Black Bathroom

I had reluctantly agreed to replace the 1930’s toilet a few years ago due to wear and tear. Little leaks become big leaks and replacement seemed like the right thing. You could sink the Glomar Explorer in that baby with the water capacity, so the new one is more eco-friendly and low-volume. It feels responsible to have the new one, even though I miss the old one. But if I’m saddled with the new one, I expect it to last at least 50 years like the old one did. Flipping the little flush handle on the new convenience and having it swing limply in response was, well, horrifying. I had to yell for help. My Goon came running. OK, it wasn’t running because of the replaced knee, but he hurried after he figured out I was hollering for him.

After all, I have to give him these little opportunities to rescue me, right? He threatened to use language that Mother would not have approved and eventually wrestled the chain back onto the hook, restoring order to the Universe.

“My Hero!” The big ones like praise like this so I like to make sure he gets it whenever possible.

“Dollie,” he calls me Dollie, “Dollie, if I’m a Hear-O, what would a See-O or a Smell-O be?”

My eyes close and my mind shuts down momentarily. I breathe deeply.

“Quincy, bite the Bad Man.”

It’s not very effective giving verbal orders to a dog who can’t hear so Quincy, picking up the scent of our breath, wags his tail, pretty sure he was just told he was a good dog. Bad jokes, however, are a small price to pay for getting the toilet working again especially since I’ll be cooking Christmas dinner for a motley crew of guests this year.

Sometimes those last-minute Christmas gifts can be the best thing. If I can find that nice bow the cats hid under the couch, I might put it on the toilet tank as a reminder that we still don’t have to go out under a tree like the dog does!

Best wishes for a bright holiday season, no matter what your faith!


There's a last-minute gift you can give any time of the year and that's your registration to be a bone marrow donor. Our little Tatiana's happy recovery was short-lived and we lost her. That bright little star twinkles down upon us from heaven. But you can make the gift of life to someone else. Be The Match.

While you're at it, please say a prayer for my friend Johnny Leadfoot who has been battling cancer this year. He's been trying to dress up as Santa for the folks at the cancer hospital in Houston with a sign that says, Does this make me look fat? Prayers for him and for his family would be appreciated!

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