Binge Christmas

What to get my husband for Christmas (and birthdays) is always a problem. Specifically, he always tells me what he wants, leaving me in a trap. If I get him what he says he wants, I’m disappointed because I didn’t surprise him. If I get him something else, he’s disappointed because he didn’t get what he wanted. You see my dilemma.

This year I went a little crazy, hoping that one of the things I got him would be something he liked, or at least was surprised by. It helps that one of the symptoms of my bipolar disorder is hypomania, which often leads to binge shopping. This time, I thought, I would use my symptom for good.

The first thing I got Dan was one of those home DNA test kits. He had once expressed interest in them, and a friend suggested it, so I went for it. (It was on sale for half price.) I gave it to him early, because it arrived in a box that was clearly and colorfully labeled as such and there was no hiding it, as he brings in the mail. I hoped that the results would be back by Christmas and we could surprise and appall his mom by telling her that Dan had some unsuitable ancestors, such as Neanderthals, in his family background.

So far, though, he hasn’t spit in the little tube and mailed it back. I do not think this is because he does not like to spit, although really he doesn’t do it all that much, except at the dentist. I suspect that he secretly doesn’t care where his ancestors came from, and appalling his mother isn’t enough of an enticement to make him go through the strenuous exercise of spitting. If he doesn’t get with the program, I may have to collect his drool while he’s sleeping.

I also ordered him a print he wanted to replace because the original was destroyed in our tornado. (I call it “our” tornado because, while it affected many other families (fortunately, no one was killed), it was the only one we had ever had (and we thought it was more than sufficient)). But I digress.

The print was a semi-famous one of Morris the Cat, of cat-food commercial fame. If that seems an odd thing to have in one’s collection, I think so too, but there you have it. He loved that thing as only someone who loves large orange cats can. I went on eBay, found someone who had a copy in good condition, made a bid, and got it. The sturdily wrapped package arrived promptly and is stored beside my desk, where it waits enticingly for later in the month.

But I didn’t stop there. I saw one of those online come-ons for a service that would convert a photo of your pet into a piece of artwork. I sent them a picture of his gray tiger, Toby, and was very pleased with the results. Another package beside my desk. Then I ordered one of our calico, Dushenka, too, so she wouldn’t feel left out. Yet another package. At this point, Dan was getting anxious. “How much stuff did you buy for me?” he asked.

I wasn’t done yet. I found another online service that would take any photo and encase it in lucite. I sent them a photo of Jasper, a cat of ours who had passed away and Dan mourned extravagantly. I actually gave him this early, too, because it was just a small trinket and would fit nicely in his curio cabinet.

I’m pretty sure he’ll be surprised, if only by the volume of presents and the theme of “Cats We Have Known” (or sort-of knew, in the case of Morris).

Now I have to think about his birthday in April and see if I have another fit of binge-shopping. Or maybe just get him the Dremel tool he really wants.

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