I did not buy you flowers this year because of the sneezing and coughing and whining last year. I thought you would think chocolates are too cliche, so I planned a unique and personal valentine gift for you - something of me, made for you.
I decided to take a "love photograph" of myself for you, valentine, partly because I love you, and partly because you complain all the time about my flannel pajamas and bulky terrycloth robe and also about the sweatpants. I wanted you to see the romantic side of me...well, actually the romantic front of me. Well, some if not all of the romantic front of me.
I couldn't quite give up the chocolate part, valentine, so I designed a provocative and delicious pose including partial nudity and several strategically-placed Hershey's kisses. I thought I could maintain some modesty using the candies, and also leave something up to your imagination.
The way I imagined it, the photograph would be me, reclining on a rumpled, red, satin sheet, with nothing on, but some Hershey's kisses in the, um, bikini zones. I thought you would like that very much. I got everything I needed: the camera, the candies, a red sheet. But when I tried to set it up, I realised that I needed more candies than I thought, so I had to get dressed again and go back to WalMart for more, which made me kind of grumpy but I thought, "valentine's day is once a year so let's go for it."
By now, it was close to 3pm, and the kids would be home from school soon, so I hurried up and set things up again. The cat had curled up on the sheet and I had to shoo her off, then the sheet had cat fur on it, but I thought, that won't show up in the picture. I left the wrappers on the Hershey's kisses. I thought that way maybe you could eat them later. Also they wouldn't melt while I got the camera focussed and such.
Then I found out the real problem with this plan. The self-timer on the camera is 60 seconds, and 60 seconds is a very short time to run naked across the room, pose on a red sheet and get all of the Hershey's kisses in place to obtain a dignified pose and stay consistent with a valentine motif. The darn flash kept going off while I was still getting back in place or fumbling for the chocolates around the edges of the sheet. I was starting to sweat. I was also sneezing from the cat fur.
I tried again and again, each time with more speed, and less accuracy. There's one pretty interesting shot of me sliding off the sheet, onto the floor, with Hershey's kisses flying through the air. It's out of focus and kind of arty, but that's not what I was going for. I settled for glueing the kisses together onto triangles of red construction paper, into a kind of candy codpiece and bra, and sticking this to my skin with packing tape. I hoped the tape would be invisible in the photograph, but by now I would pretty much settle for just getting it done.
By the time the kids got home I was dressed, and had tossed the red sheet into the laundry. The kids and I took the camera and memory card down to Costco photo lab. I figured we'd be done and home before supper with a nice surprise for you. The thing is, at Costco I ran into the minister and his wife, waiting in line behind me while I viewed the pictures on the card reader and selected how many and what size enlargement. I thought I was having a hard time explaining to the kids what I was doing, but the minister? Good thing he and his wife were laughing too hard to say much. I paid for the prints and got home as fast as I could.
When I got home I made two discoveries.
1) I forgot to put the Hershey's kisses away. The dog ate all of them, and barfed chocolate with bits of red and silver foil all around the house.
2) In my rush to escape from Costco, I left the packet of prints and the enlargement on top of the car. It slid off somewhere. Maybe in the parking lot, maybe somewhere on the way home. Maybe someone found it. My Costco membership number is on the envelope so I'm sure they could track me down if they wanted to. I doubt they will.
I meant three discoveries.
3) I left the memory chip at Costco. I don't want to go back for it. In fact, I don't ever want to go back to Costco. Perhaps a new memory chip could be my Valentine's gift this year? (some memories you just don't want to hold onto)
Dear Valentine, I hope that you will accept this story in place of the "love photograph" I had planned, and that you will appreciate all of the trouble I went to for you, even though you will never see the results.
After I clean up the dog vomit, maybe we can call for pizza.
Happy Valentine's Day, with kisses.
ps - what would you think about looking for a new church?