Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Valen-crime's Day

Since my wife and I have a 5-year-old, the two of us will not be having Valentine’s dinner alone. And since misery loves company, we invited another family with the same predicament to join us.

A dinner date was my wife’s idea. She took over the planning. She decided on the time and the place (our house), and she even thought up some tabletop activities for the kids so that us adults could enjoy a long, pleasant, semi-adult-like evening.

TROUBLE BEGINS TO BREWBefore my wife could e-mail her plan to the friends involved, we received two e-mails from the matriarchs of two other families. It seemed our friends had already invited these two families to join us for Valentine’s dinner.

One of these women “suggested” the dinner take place at her house, where she has an entire game room that’s “perfect” for the kids. “Valentine’s Day is also my favorite holiday,” she wrote in her message, “and I spend the whole year searching for the most adorable decorations. I’ll have the perfect atmosphere for the perfect Valentine’s gathering.”

The other woman wrote that she belonged to a karate studio that takes in children for the entire evening so adults can enjoy a night out. She suggested making the kids disappear for the evening and offered up a night of wine tasting, which she would host in her home’s private “wine cellar.”

My wife thought it was a great idea to involve more families, but she still wanted to stick to her original plan. She wrote e-mails to these ladies welcoming them to the party and asking for their input.

CONTEMPLATING MURDER“Do not send those e-mails,” I said. I typically like to stay out of such matters, but I knew that if my wife sent those e-mails, she’d only be setting herself up for pain and suffering. “Just cancel the dinner,” I said. “Tell ‘em I’m gonna be sick or something.”

“What? Why?” she asked.

“Do you not remember the wedding shower you were in charge of?” I asked. “I mean, do you not remember the wedding shower you were gonna be in charge of until the bride-to-be’s two other friends called and said they wanted to ‘help?’”

“Yeah, but that was different,” she said.

In a very serious tone, I said, “Listen.” (My wife hates when I start my explanations with “listen.” Therefore, I use it only in the most critical of circumstances.) “If you send those e-mails and you don’t cancel the dinner, I am going to kill those people so we can’t have dinner with them.”

I wasn’t trying to be a jerk. I really had my wife’s best interests in mind. And she knew it.

After a lengthy discussion about the deadly dynamics of too many cooks in the kitchen, my wife did what wives rarely do. She said I was right. Then down came the water works. And a line of questioning that sounded more like a hound baying at the moon.

“W-w-w-why . . . d-d-d-doesn’t . . . a-a-a-anyone . . . t-t-t-trust meeeee . . . t-t-to organize . . . anything-ing-ingggg?” she sobbed. “W-w-w-why . . . d-d-didn’t theyyyy . . . just t-t-t-tell us-s-s-s . . . they want-t-t-t-ed . . . other p-p-p-people?”

“Because they didn’t invite those other people,” I answered matter-of-factly. “Those other people invited themselves.”

NEGATIVE BUT NOT SELFISHMy wife’s sobbing came to a halt. “Why are you so negative?” she asked me as she dried her tears.

“I might be negative about this, but you know I’m right.”

“I know,” she admitted. “And I know you’re looking out for my best interests. You’re so unselfish.”

Unselfish? Me? Maybe. I really just can’t handle the bickering and the crying and the lost friendships that are sure to follow any decision to have more than one person plan an event.

After our good talk, my wife pulled herself together, thanked me again for listening to her, then jumped on the computer and sent those e-mails I had asked her not to send.

So I killed the three families involved in the dinner and I told my wife we’d have to spend Valentine’s night alone after all.

COMING CLEANOK, so maybe the “killing” part was a lie.

-February 2009

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