I ended up running across a contest on the Intertubes where this guy Patrick is giving away $70 gift card codes to ProFlowers.com. What he asks in return is your best story regarding Valentine’s Day gift FAILs. Whether I win or not, it reminded me of a bad gift that has spanned 15 years and counting. All events are true. No names have been changed to protect the innocent. I’m guilty, of spousal gift abuse and I admit it.
It was 1994, February. We had been in our first home, this little brick bungalow since November. No dishwasher, no garbage disposal. As a result, the kitchen usually evoked the days when me and six of my Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brothers shared a house and resorted to each having only one place setting: if someone else cleaned it, you had to buy it back from them. Like I was sayin-
Amy: “Wow, you have no desire to get this right. It was February alright, but 1995. We did not get married until October of ’94 so I am not letting you get off the hook that you were able to treat me this way before I married you.”
Me: “Fine, whatever. 1995. I, being the loving fiance I am wanted to get my dear soon-to-be-wife something of great value and importance for our new home: a garbage disposal. She had mentioned it on occasion and I figured, being the practical guy I am, that it would make the GREATEST VALENTINE’S DAY PRESENT EVER.”
Amy: “I mentioned it a couple times, correct; but in the context of a Valentine’s Day present suggestion? I don’t think so. Besides, let those people you write to know that I WAS NOT EVEN LIVING IN OUR HOUSE YET EXCEPT FOR THE WEEKENDS. Remember, I was still trying to get a job over on the West side of the state and living with my Mom on the East side? You would spend 2 hours on Friday nights cleaning the kitchen before I showed up. Remember I walked in on you doing it that one Friday? Looked like you had slaughtered a wild boar that had taken down a syphalletic horse that had its head lodged iin a wood chipper. It also looked like bacon gravy was involved at some point over the past five days. Simply put, it was so horrific that I still wake up some nights with that smell in my head all these years later.”
Me: “I think you’re taking artistic liberties with this post. Who is putting this story together anyway? Let me fin-”
Amy: “Oh, and another thing, let them know you chose the disposal over the dishwasher, which is by far the better option because it was cheaper than a dishwasher and was on clearance at Sears.”
Me: “You’re making me look bad.”
Amy: “No, I think that the story will be doing a fine enough job of that without my help. I’ll let you finish.”
As I was saying. I bought this great garbage disposal (okay, the cheapest one I could find. Wrapped and presented her on Valentine’s Day weekend 1995 her reaction was quite nice. She did not let on that I was a total schmuck. We’d been married for less than 6 months at that point, so she let a LOT of things slide back then.
That was 1995. February.
DATELINE KALAMAZOO, MI JANUARY 1997
Local man who presented his newlywed wife with cheap garbage disposal still has it in box in basement workshop. Offers to pay to have it installed for 1997 Valentine’s Day Present. Wife says she will not divorce over this crisis. Stands by her man.
In 2000 I finally resolved the situation. She finally had her installed garbage disposal. Mounted in a new sink, installed in a new kitchen, surrounded by a new house. For 4 years she was the proud owner of two disposals. One in the sink; one in a box in yet another basement workshop. We’re now in a new home we built in 2004. A garbage disposal was part of the deal. This time the old-brand-new-nine-year-old disposal was not part of the deal. Goodwill received that when we moved. I can only hope that some other wife does not have it sitting in a basement workshop waiting quietly for installation. To this day, it has now turned into one of those inside jokes that couples share with eachother. Birthdays, anniversaries, and gift-giving holidays come and go. Usually the word disposal comes up prior to each one. This year she is getting a nice card. Perhaps $70 worth of free flowers too, but at least a card. If anyone has access to a garbage disposal box I may make the card by hand. I’ve got this great idea to get a laugh…
Amy: “You realize I’m still here, right?”