At some point, things just die.
That's what happens twelve years into a marriage. Almost all of the things we bought when we got married have now fulfilled the measure of their creation and are desperately gasping out their last great, heaving breaths -- washing machine, clothes drier, television, and, alas, the vacuum cleaner.
My kids are into Raisinets lately. And they're also really big on molesting the Christmas tree. I swear, it's a good thing we do real trees because an artificial tree would not make it to see another season with my children beating on it. Yet another thing that will breathe a sigh of relief when I finally take it out of my house.
So I was vacuuming the other day. I noticed some chocolate-covered raisins on the floor, and sucked them up, then made my way over to the tree to get rid of the many, many needles sacrificed on the altar of toddler tree redecoration efforts. As I went over (and over and over . . . 12 years is a long time for a cheap vacuum) the area surrounding the tree, my vacuum cleaner pooped on the carpet.
Or, that's what it looked like. It took me a minute to realize the Raisinet had been rejected by my Hoover -- spit right back on the rug like a little mouse turd, pooped out in midstream just like MayDay, who can (and does, frequently) clear the room with a foul stench while simultaneously putting together a train track and telling an entertaining story about his imaginary accomplices.
I need a new vacuum cleaner.
But it's December. It's Christmas. It's my birthday. It's CPod's birthday. I'm not spending my money on a vacuum cleaner.
And (are you listening?) CPod better not be either.
When it comes to gift giving, I'm complicated. I love to be surprised, but I also like to be happy. At the beginning of our marriage, those two things were mutually exclusive. Now, thankfully, my dear CPod has mastered the art of selecting the perfect gift for me to open on Christmas morning. One year, he bought me a print (genuine, official, signed, numbered and smacked on the butt as it went out the door) of the Greg Olsen painting, "Mother's Love". Not the close up, but the real one. The big one. Now it hangs over our bed. A few years later, he bought me a print of a painting that hangs in the BYU Museum of Art that he knows I love; it hangs over our fireplace. Another year, he gave me an entire box of Godiva key lime truffles. Mmmmm. He has developed a knack for choosing jewelry I will love, fine kitchen tools I will appreciate, and delicious-smelling things that will make me swoon.
But a vacuum cleaner? No way. I just don't think the sight of a new Dyson under the tree would have quite the same effect as, say, a beautifully wrapped bottle of L'Eau d'Issey. (Oh, yes, ladies. He even does gift wrap!) There's just something about vacuum cleaner that says, "In case you weren't sure about your place, little woman." And maybe there will be high heels and an apron in the next package. Now, don't get me wrong, without the vacuum cleaner in the picture, I'd be all over those stilettos, and the apron, too. But gifts are supposed to be something that I wouldn't be able to justify buying for myself, or that I wouldn't think of, or that make me remember fondly the person who gave them. Lucky for me, CPod does not subscribe to the Homer Simpson school of gift giving: I don't have to use the bowling ball engraved with his name to remember that he loved me enough to give me something I love on Christmas morning.
Speaking of things that I love -- check out my new signature! My awesomely fantastic brother-in-law used my own handwriting to design that cool little sign-off. Isn't he great?