Eric and I celebrated Valentine’s Day on Saturday and it really was my idea of a perfect day.
After sleeping in and then eating Snickers and peanut butter muffins for breakfast, we got dressed, dropped the dogs off at doggie day camp, and headed to the outlet malls to go shopping.
Yes, going to the outlet malls is now officially our Valentine’s Day tradition.
I never thought shopping would be something I’d want to do for a date, but Eric and I really enjoy shopping together. We have a similar approach to shopping. We don’t treat it like an Olympic sport. We don’t try on very many things, so no one gets stuck standing around outside the dressing room for an hour. We don’t buy very many things; we might each come home with a new shirt or slippers or something, but really it’s just an excuse to hang out and people watch. (And eat at Sbarro!) Really, I’ve found that Eric and I are happiest when we have things to talk about, so going shopping just gives us new things to discuss. And rather than go to the mall by our apartments, we went to the outlets on Saturday; going to the outlets involved a mini-road trip built in, and road trips are pretty much our favorite thing to do as a couple.
After a fun day of shopping, we headed back to our neck of the woods, picked up the dogs, ordered Chinese takeout, and came home to watch a little TV and then start the Mockingjay audibook. It was like we took all of the little things that I love to do and crammed them into one day, and it was wonderful — exactly how I want Valentine’s Day to be.
Also, there were gifts!
It’s no secret that I love gifting and consider myself pretty good at it. Unfortunately, most of my nearest and dearest are difficult to shop for because they are, much to my horror, really unmaterialistc. The upside to this is that when I do find the perfect gift for them, it’s a million times better, because it’s everything they never knew they truly wanted and so they are truly delighted. But it’s hard to figure out what that gift is when they rarely shop for themselves and somehow manage to go through life without wanting more stuff.
Eric is one of these people, so I was a little confused last month when he started giving me ideas for Valentine’s Day and/or his birthday. Eric has never made a gift suggestion to me. I was initially confused because that he was making a Valentine’s Day suggestion implied he knew that Valentine’s Day was approaching, and that’s just not something I expect Eric to know. But more than confused, I was really offended.
I mean, by giving me suggestions, he was making it seem like I needed suggestions. And I don’t. I am the gift whisperer. How dare he give me a list?! But what’s worse, he was ruining the fun for me. See, his first suggestion? Was something I’d been planning on getting him for months. So now it was going to look like I’d taken his suggestion to heart. He just needed to stay out of it and let me surprise him.
The first gift he suggested was one I had been planning since before Christmas to give him for his birthday in March. But I figured I’d give it to him for Valentine’s Day, no big deal. Well, it was on backorder. The second suggestion was something that had crossed my mind a year or so ago, but it required a lot more input from him…input he never really got around to giving me, and custom sneakers aren’t really something you can have overnighted. At this point, I was actually starting to wonder what to get him.
Honestly, I’ve never put this much thought into a gift for Eric before, simply because he’s not materialistic and therefore doesn’t care what I get him. I mean, he always appreciates his gifts and sometimes he even really loves them, but I could also get him something kinda “eh” and he wouldn’t care. (I, on the other hand, had several meltdowns over the course of my life over “eh” gifts, until I finally discovered the five love languages and started telling my family up front, “I know it may seem like you can buy my love but…it’s just that you can kind of buy my love.”) When Eric started giving me gift ideas, I asked him if he wanted ideas for me too. And he said no, that he had already selected a gift for me and didn’t want any input. This is completely out of character for him — Eric’s love language is not gifting, but he knows it’s important to me, so he always asks for a list — and though I was excited about this new approach it also left me feeling a bit intimidated. If he was this confident about his gift, I needed to really bring it! I was actually planning to do something a bit more low-key and sentimental for Valentine’s Day this year, but now I had to up my game. It was a bit unnerving actually; I’ve never felt stressed about what to buy someone before.
Then I had a great idea: I could secretly upgrade our DirecTV package to include the channels that show Kansas State sports. We didn’t have all those channels which meant he always had to watch the basketball games at the bar, something that was a pain when he just wanted to relax and watch the game at home. (Or when he wanted to experience a loss he knew was coming in private.) I e-mailed a friend of his to find out what channels I needed to be sure to get so that we’d be covered. I was so excited about this plan.
Later that day, after e-mailing with Eric’s friend and then patting myself on the back for finding the best Valentine’s Day gift ever, Eric texted me to tell me that he wasn’t going to the bar to watch K State play that night, that he had just gone ahead and upgraded our DirecTV package so we got the necessary channels.
I. Was. Sad.
See, Valentine’s Day is totally my holiday. I mean, nothing could ever top Halloween for me, but Valentine’s Day is my second favorite. I’ve always loved it, even though I’ve spent 24 out of 25 of them single. It’s always been kind of a family holiday for me actually. Three years ago I bought my little brother the Perfect Brownie Pan for Valentine’s Day and he told everyone it was the best day of his life and so it was kind of the best day of my life too. It’s just a day when I get to smother people in love just because. And yes, cynics, that’s something one should do do every day, and yes, cynics, I do do it every day. But on this one day, I get to do it using a really pretty color scheme.
Anyway, I was pretty bummed Eric had inadvertently ruined the gift I was so excited to give him. At this point, I didn’t know what to give him; while I felt like the thoughtful/sentimental gift I had been planning all along was pretty awesome, I wanted to nourish his newly-discovered materialistic side, since, frankly, I’d have more fun with that in the long run. As luck would have it, the next morning, Daniel Tosh tweeted that he was going on tour and pre-sale tickets would be on sale the following day. And he was coming to Houston. DONE. I set a reminder on my calendar to buy the tickets as soon as they went on sale. and prayed that Eric didn’t suddenly decide to join Twitter.
I bought the tickets, and then I held my breath for two weeks. At this point, I was concerned he was going to accidentally out all his gifts, even the smaller ones. I was on edge until Saturday.
So. The gifts. Well, there were the Daniel Tosh tickets, which he was really excited about, because he still had no idea Tosh was even touring again. But the tickets were not what I was most excited about.
What I was excited about was the bottle of Sam Adam’s Infinium, which I had been on the lookout for since fall of 2010, when Eric first mentioned it. I had been looking all over Houston for it ever since, but apparently no store had ever thought to carry this magical brew (which is a champagne-like beer). I asked one of my coworkers about it last spring — he’s a beer buff — and he said he’d never even heard of it. It was starting to feel like an urban legend. But then, in January, my coworker texted me one Saturday night to say he’d spotted the Infinium in Houston and would I still like some for Eric? YES, I’D LIKE SOME FOR ERIC. I have awesome coworkers, and that my coworker — who is definitely a gifter — gave me a gift that would enable me to show my love via a gift…well, my heart nearly exploded that day. Eric was pretty impressed that I had found it, which made me really happy.
But I was most excited about the framed pictures of Chuck and Indiana that I gave him. While I’ve never really been a picture-as-gift type person, I knew Eric would love to have pictures of our dogs for his desk at work. So when Caitlin came to take my photos last month, I secretly had her take some photos of the pups too. It wasn’t easy — these dogs tend to behave much like the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes and Indiana head-butted me during the process — but she’s good. I received them in the mail on Friday and bought a frame for them on my way home from work. I also printed off a really lovely poem that I tucked into the frame. (I’ll share that tomorrow!)
Eric loved all the little items, probably more than the Tosh tickets, which I kind of expected. But, as I said, he was getting me something big, so I wanted to bring it.
And his something big for me? Was a Tempur-Pedic pillow! I was thrilled. I’ve wanted one for months but it’s just not something I’ve been willing to splurge on for myself. Given all the sleep issues I’ve been having, it has been on my mind more lately; when we got into bed Friday night, I actually said, “Ugh, I think I need to get a new pillow, even if I can’t get the Tempur-Pedic one right now.” Eric had actually been asking me all week if I wanted my gift early because he knew how much I needed it. I don’t know if it was the new pillow or what, but I slept so well last night. Like, feel-like-a-new-woman well. Oh-my-gosh-that’s-what-my-face-is-supposed-to-look-like well.
It was really a sweet Valentine’s Day celebration and weekend! How was yours? Did you celebrate yet? Any gifts exchanged? Planning something fun for tomorrow? Please share!