Monday, November 29, 2010

The Gravy Boat

When my wife and I got married. We made a conscious, calculated decision to save some of our gift cards for the holidays so that we could spoil each other a bit without breaking the bank.

I've always tried to have a well-rounded Christmas for my wife where she gets a book, some clothes, a couple of fun things, some things she wants, and then the big surprise gift that just blows her away and makes her say..."oh wow, I was NOT expecting this. You are soooooo thoughtful, funny, cool" you get the idea.

Last year, I hit a home run. No, not the gravy boat, I'll get to that in a  minute.

Shortly before we moved, we started playing with the Super Nintendo that my parents had passed off to me when they moved out of my boyhood home. It mostly sat in a box un-played collecting dust. For some strange reason, we decided to pull it out and start playing games on it again. Mostly Mario Brothers. One of the signature games for the Super Nintendo that my family never had was Mario Kart. These days, you can find one of those games at a fairly inexpensive price on eBay. So, I found it, bought it, and gave it to her for Christmas. Home run. I pretty much expect all my gifts to be home runs. Such was the case with the gravy boat.

When we were engaged, we registered at several different places, one being Crate and Barrel in part because my office (at that time) was close to one. After the dust settled and the gifts stopped coming, we had a little bit of money left over on our Crate and Barrel gift card. So I told her I'd run over there and take a look. Before I did that, I looked at our wedding registry to see if there was anything that we didn't have that we really wanted. It popped off the page. The beautiful, white gravy boat that nobody had gotten us. How could they/we have missed such an oversight? I would not let Christmas pass with us gravy-boat less. As I stared at it in all of its $14.99 glory, I thought of my wife's reaction when she opened it on Christmas morning. The happy-surprised expression on her face would say it all. This, was a surefire home run.

Getting the gravy boat was a bit of a challenge. I had to make three separate trips to Crate and Barrel to secure the crown jewel of my wife's Christmas. On the second and third trips, I called in advance to make sure they had it and I was assured they did. Both times I came up empty, but I had someone dig one out of the back. Finally, the gravy boat was ready to come home and sit under our tree until the big day.

Christmas morning finally came. I placed the gift towards the back so that it would be one of the last things that would be opened. As the wrapping paper flew and the gifts were open, I could barely contain my excitement. Finally she got to the gravy boat. She peeled back the paper, opened the box and there it was...I could swear there was a bright light emitting from it, that's how cool I thought it was and how excited I was for her to open it. "Oh, neat," she said.


"Yeah, you know it's from our registry, pretty cool that I remembered huh?"

"Yeah, that's nice. Okay, your turn."

Apparently, the gravy boat was not the out of the park home run I thought it would be. She thought it was nice, but how often do we really serve gravy? It was not the make or break Christmas gift I thought it would you could say that rather than a home run, it was more of a gets you on base, but not in impressive fashion.

Some friends of ours got a kick out of this story when we told them a few years ago.

Guess what they got for Christmas?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Treat Threshold

It starts with Halloween, and it ends with Valentines day. We are currently right in the middle of the parade of treats. It happens every year, and you know what I'm talking about don't you? The weather gets a little cooler, the clothes we wear might be a bit more baggy and there will be more of it becomes less necessary to be in shape perse. Oh sure, we have a shape, but it usually goes from a cucumber to a pear...or in my case, a small pear to a big pear!

The thing I've noticed about this time of year is that every holiday or occasion usually involves a treat of some kind. The problem is, by the time you've consumed too much, it's too late. You have passed the treat threshold!

Let's take some of my favorite treats individually and break down their threshold, shall we?


Candy Corn - Candy corn is one of those treats that used to be seasonal. These days you get pastel candy corn at Easter and red, white, and blue on the fourth of July. However, most treat purists such as myself reserve candy corn for Halloween, the holiday for which it was intended. Candy corn is often grabbed by the handfuls and shoved into ones mouth. By then, it's too late. A few handfuls later, your belly aches and your mouth feels like you'll never be able to get all the sugar off your teeth.

Reece's Peanut Butter Cups - I'm pretty sure I could eat these year round, and I often do. In fact, I requested a peanut butter cup cake for my birthday this week. It was yuuuuuuummmmmmmy! While there may be a threshold for this treat, I will choose to ignore it because it is so good!


Chocolate Moose Pie - This is another one where you really have to ask yourself, is too much of a good thing a bad thing? Let's be honest with each other here, by the time you get to pie on Thanksgiving, you're already stuffed. You just do it because it is the big payoff at the end of a good meal. I think there's some part of each of us also that sees 1, maybe 2 pieces of pie left that makes us say "I must have." Once that second piece of pie is consumed, immediate regret follows. Eat one piece of pie this thanksgiving, you'll thank me later!


Sugar Cookies - Again, something that we see throughout the year, but somehow the idea that we're making them for Santa and the Reindeer, makes it okay for us to eat and eat and eat annnnnnnd eat! And the frosting on these? Get right out of town! It is fantastic!

Divinity - True to its name, divinity is quite divine. These small white puffy treats seem relatively innocuous, but eat 7 or 8 of them and you'll be feeling the pain.

Valentines Day:

Message Hearts - Much like candy corn, this seasonal treat is consumed by the handful, often rendering the eater too late once he or she has eatin too many. Not only do these hearts say "Text Me" they also say "roll me out of here!"

So there you have it, the treat threshold. If eatin in proper amounts, these treats can all be quite tasty and useful, but if overeatin, hello couch, hello cavities, hello hurtin! You'll spend the next 6 months wishing you had listened to me as you run on that treadmill. Don't cross the treat threshold!