I told Brooks that I was going to finish tiling the downstairs bathroom for his Christmas present. Either that or I would finally clean up the Halloween decorations from off the front porch.
He opted for the bathroom.
Christmas represents a sort of dilemma for Brooks and I, two people who are challenged in the gift-giving area. In the beginning of our marriage we tried hard to please one another until we finally realized that giving and receiving gifts really isn't our thing. One year I thought I was really going to make him happy by putting down shoe base along the baseboard in what is now his office. He had been complaining for so long that the main reason that room got so cold was because of the gap between the baseboard and the floor. I recruited our neighbor's knowledge and tools to help me and did it while Brooks was at work so it would be an extra special surprise. "Wow, Jenny - that's nice," was his reaction. Nice?
What about the time I got him "How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci"? It sat on our bookshelf unopened for years until I finally realized he wasn't reading it because 1) he doesn't like to read and 2) he already thinks like that. I gave it to the DI.
Admittedly Brooks has been better over the years at choosing meaningful gifts. He knows I'm a practical person so the bathrobe, the cookbooks, kitchen accessories, etc., have all hit the mark. Nonetheless, I know he's a procrastinator so the last minute running around only serves to stress us both out. What's the point in that? It made more sense the year he put it off so long that he ran out of time all together and got me no gift at all. "Hey," I said to him yesterday. "I bought your present for me today while I was at Spoons-n-Spice. I'll let you wrap it, though, if you want." This arrangement makes us both happy since I get the gift I want and he gets to forego the 11th hour madness.
Seven more shopping days until Christmas. Even though the tile is 90% done, I admit to still freaking out about giving him a gift he can unwrap on Christmas Day. I'll do the usual cruise through Barnes and Noble just in case this is the year he finally decides to start reading. There's a few eclectic shops downtown where I might find something to appeal to his dark humor. Neither one of us pretend anymore that unwrapping me will be very stimulating so maybe the bathroom is all he gets. I can just hear him Christmas morning: "That's nice, Love. Very nice."