Friday, February 19, 2010

Anniversary Adventures (Part 3)

A few days before we left for Gatlinburg, which would make it a few days before our anniversary, I surprised the wife with her anniversary present. Now you might think that the trip to Gatlinburg was the present. And, originally, that had been the intention. But, as I chronicled back in August, the wife, as usual, figured it out barely two weeks after I'd made the reservation, and without seeing the credit card statement. I was not to be outdone, though. Two weeks before our actual anniversary I ordered her something a little bit smaller than a trip to Gatlinburg, but something she'd wanted for YEARS, but which we'd not really been able to afford. It was, perhaps, the perfect gift, but I can't take complete credit for thinking of it.

Each year in a marriage is supposed to be marked by a traditional gift made from a certain material. We all know that the 50th anniversary is supposed to be gold and 25th is silver, but without research it gets a bit more murky below that. We used to joke that the 5th year anniversary was probably something like paper plates, and this is not too far off, as it's wood. The wife and I haven't really paid any attention to these gift categories, though, but I decided to see what the 10 year mark gift was in order to find inspiration. Turns out it's tin or aluminum. Being only 2 weeks from the anniversary day, though, I decided to shop exclusively locally or via where I have free Amazon Prime trial through March. I did a search for "tin" and immediately found the perfect gift: a magnetic spice rack.

Now, I know what you're thinking, "Dude, that's hardly a romantic gift. I mean, kitchenware? Really?" To this I say, "Is too! So, shut it!" See, the wife is a very good cook and knows from spices beyond salt and pepper, having been trained by some Indian friends in their use. This being the case, our spice cabinet has three full shelves that are constantly glutted with jars of spices, not to mention the others that are stored in the freezer. A few years ago, back when we lived in Tri-Metro, the wife saw a magnetic spice rack set on Food Network and fell in love with it. The concept is pretty simple, consisting of a stainless steel sheet on which magnet-backed stainless steel spice tins can be adhered, each opening with a twist to allow for easy spice sprinkling. Trouble is, they're not exactly cheap and, being poor college students for nigh on the past decade, we could never quite justify the expense. Seeing it come up when I searched for tin, though, seemed like a good sign. (Never mind that there's neither tin nor aluminum in them, but merely the presence of the word "tin" in the description--I think I win on a technicality.)

I ordered it, hid it upon its arrival and waited. I knew I wanted to surprise her with it before we left for our trip, but could never find a good time to install it. The day it arrived, I was going to be out of town until late. The following day the wife had off, except for having to pop in to work, but she made me take her, so I couldn't put it up then. That afternoon, I had to go pick up my parents and sister for their visit and then she was around us all for the rest of the weekend. Then, on Sunday night, the wife announced she was popping out to Wally World to pick up a few things and left the rest of us watching TV. She'd been gone for 10 minutes before I realized my opportunity.

"I think I'm going to put up the spice rack," I told my sister, the only other person who knew about the gift. "I'm going to need help."

"Go for it," she said.

At that point, though, I would be extremely pressed for time, as Wally World is really just down the road. I nearly broke my ass running down the garage steps to fetch the rack and the tools I'd need to put it up. While I measured, eyeballed, leveled and pencil-marked the proper place for it on the wall above the stove--a space that had been crying out for something like this since we moved in--the sister and my step-mother tore all the plastic off of the spice tins. It was not a perfect installation, because the screw anchors for two of the bottom screws wouldn't sink into the wall properly and then buckled under my attempt to hammer them in. I wound up just installing the rest of the screws, deciding to come back for the others later. In the end, it looked fine. We chunked the tins onto it arranged them pleasingly, then fled back to the living room to continue our movie.

The wife came home, groceries in hand. She walked into the kitchen to put them away and then paused. I crept behind her and watched as she stood and stared at the shining tins of the spice rack. It was perfect and, more importantly, a complete surprise.

"But I didn't get anything for you," she said.

"This is for us," I said.

"The trip is for us," she said.

"That, too."

She would, however, get me back.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had to go get a tissue, that was so touching and thoughtful. What happened to cynical and sarcastic? ;-)