In my home, next to the wife’s birthday, Valentine’s Day is the 4th biggest holiday of the year. Falling behind Christmas, Easter, and her birthday, of course. It really is a big deal. And, rightfully so. Every year I try to do something that lets her know how much I love her and also express my amazement that she settled for me. And believe me, she SETTLED. I, on the other hand, definitely married up. She’s a great wife and we have great kids but I’m cheap and we both acknowledge this. I can’t really help it. I’m cheap about almost everything. She points this out constantly and it only seems to really bother her when she thinks I’m being cheap about safety. I’ve been known to cut corners on safety in an effort to save a few bucks. But, in all fairness, I cut corners on everything to save a few bucks. It’s just that when it comes to safety she feels that we shouldn’t worry about the cost.
I grew up real poor. I’ll save the woe is me stuff but I’m no stranger to going to bed hungry. I’m still poor by my own standards. I work a blue collar job and consider myself lower middle class. However, I have a college degree and we’re probably middle-middle class (did I just invent a class?). Well, you get my point. What I’m driving at is that I don’t like to spend money and society has made this holiday about just that. I know the day should be about spending quality time with the one you love and you don’t really need to spend a lot of money to show someone how much you care. But, that’s not the reality of it. It’s almost impossible to get a decent box of candy and a dozen roses for under $100. That may not seem like much but expensive is relative.
I also know that roses and chocolates are the cliche gift to give, but that’s me. I grill on the Fourth, sing carols on Christmas Eve, and carve pumpkins on Halloween. I’m all about the cliches. I love the hokey Americana of our holidays. I’m not so big on Christmas lights, they drive up the light bill. Just kidding. Basically every year I have the same problem trying to find something traditional yet unique and within a reasonable price. That can be harder than it sounds.
I remember last year I went with Sharis Berries. Funny story. I couldn’t make this up. I spent about $80 for some berries and a couple of individual cheesecakes. First off, let me say this place sells the biggest strawberries I’ve ever seen. I don’t eat strawberries but the wife loves them. Anyway, I placed an order and all was well. I even paid extra to make sure they arrived in time. Like with most online orders I had a tracking number. They shipped my order through UPS. I’ve never really dealt with UPS, my company and I usually ship through FedEx. So, like any anxious husband I was following the package from day to day to make sure my extra shipping charge was well spent.
Their packages are shipped with dry ice so they generally arrive in a couple days. I followed my shipment to my town and saw that it stopped. For three days. No movement. So I called the UPS customer service line and was told that because I was the receiver and not the shipper, I couldn’t be told what the problem was. I called Sharis’ customer service and had the rep contact UPS. The Sharis’ rep put me on hold and when she came back she said that she would refund my money and send me another package. Two problems. First, why did I need another package? Second, another package wouldn’t make it in time.
The Sharis’ rep told me that the package made it over 1000 miles to within 5 miles of my house and then an employee of UPS at the sorting facility opened it and ate the contents. That’s a true story! Now, this could happen at any shipping company so I don’t think it says anything about UPS except maybe they should keep a snack machine on the premises. I have other stories like that regarding various holidays, it seems that things like that happen to me all the time.
This year I was hoping to maybe go to the beach for the weekend. You can do that in Florida in February. It’s nice. But my wife would probably see it for what it is, an attempt to save money.
We always have fun but maybe not a good choice this year. I’ll probably just go with chocolates and flowers and a fancy dinner at the Outback. I’ll probably slip in a special surprise for her this year though. She really is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and after you put all the cards, candy and commercialization aside, that’s what it’s all about. Taking time to tell your significant other that you love and appreciate them. It’s amazing to me that I found anyone, much less my wife, that would want to spend the rest of their life with me.
Hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day.