It’s The Thought That Counts.

Source: Wikipedia

December 25th-I dropped a lot of hints and even made up a list of things I wanted and there were no birds on it. Or trees. And what do I wake up to find? A tree in the middle of the living room with a bird in it. Not the Christmas tree but a great big pear tree. That explains the dirt stains on the rug. At least I got most of the other things I wanted, but what am I going to do with a bird? And it’s not a canary or a parakeet but a partridge. Who gives partridges as gifts? The same sort of person who gives pear trees I guess. But he promised he’ll plant the tree in the yard himself later today.

December 26th-Feeling a little hungover from too much eggnog last night. I stumble into the kitchen thinking, what the hell is that noise? Then I thought it might be the partridge, but, no, it’s two totally new birds. He tells me they’re turtledoves. Nice. I know I married a romantic guy but we’ve got cruise tickets and I don’t think this is the best time to start getting pets.

December 27th-Chickens. What am I supposed to do with chickens? I reminded him we’re supposed to get a permit to keep chickens in the yard. He told me technically they’re French hens. Fortunately we’ve got a neighbor who isn’t using her chicken coop after coyotes took out her whole flock.

December 28th-MORE BIRDS. At least they’re tiny little birds but they’re noisy little things. I’m considering putting them in the same cage with the partridge and turtledoves and letting them all fight to the death. It would be just my luck they get along. He tells me they’re “calling birds”. He’s lucky I’m not calling the cops.

December 29th-When I saw the box I reminded him that Christmas was not only four days ago but this morning the only thing I want is coffee. And for those birds to shut up. He tells me this is an old fashioned tradition. Drinking an Old Fashioned at lunch is getting to be a tradition for me. And then I feel even more guilty when I open up the box and find five diamond rings. Guilty and confused. Am I supposed to wear all five at once? At least I can pawn these for some cash.

December 30th-Silly me. I went to bed thinking this would all be over, but, no, this morning when I looked out the window there were a bunch of geese waddling around the yard. Geese! Just last year we put one of those fake owls on our roof to keep birds away and now he goes and buys geese. He tells me we’re getting them for the eggs. I tell him we can compromise and have foie gras. He goes out to round up the geese and take them back. I would help but I need a drink.

Please let this be the end of this. I know it’s the thought that counts and all that but sometimes he can really overdo it and I end up feeling guilty. Like our first anniversary which everybody says is the paper anniversary. I give him a book and what did he give me? An origami menagerie of twenty-six animals for every letter of the alphabet. Who knew you could fold paper into an aardvark? And who knew the sixth anniversary is iron? Well, I do now. That reminds me: anybody want a Dutch oven?

Barely used. A little rusty.

December 31st-So he goes out to get some champagne for tonight and comes back with swans and a wading pool. Great. What are we supposed to do with swans? Oh, and they come with a “swan wrangler” who tells me it’s okay, it’s just a temporary display and then asks who the happy couple is. He wants to know where all the guests are. The only reason anybody orders swans is for wedding receptions. I tell him we’ve been married for years but that may change. He’s confused. I say “That makes two of us.”

January 1st-Last night I discovered the partridge, doves, and calling birds would shut up if I poured champagne in their water dishes. And everybody thought that was funny until one of the doves keeled over. And that’s the last thing I remember before I woke up this morning with a screaming headache. All I really want is some black coffee and to be left alone, but he makes me go out in the yard. COWS. Why are there cows all over the yard? And a bunch of strange blondes in blue and white dresses are out there milking the cows. “Have some fresh milk!” he tells me and pours it in my coffee. I want to scream “What’s wrong with you?” but instead I just tell him if I die of listeria before the cruise I’m going to kill him.

I know he’s got something planned for tomorrow and I’m dreading it. What could it possibly be? A bald eagle? California condors? Maybe he’s going to have the entire zoo come over. I love starting the year with a credit card bill that looks like the national debt.

January 2nd-I don’t like ballet anyway but I like it even less in the house. How he got nine ballerinas to come to our house is beyond me and at this point I don’t bother to ask why or even how much this is costing us. The good news is one of them knocked over that hideous glass vase he gave me for our third anniversary. The bad news is one of them let out the partridge and now there’s bird shit all over the house. And he still hasn’t planted the pear tree.

January 3rd-A few years ago we went to see the Cirque du Soleil and I loved it. I’ve always said I’d like to do it again, but not like this. Certainly not in the house, and I’m still on vacation and want to sleep late, but, no, we have a bunch of guys in some sort of French 18th century costumes show up and start doing acrobatics in the living room. Will our insurance cover it if one of them breaks a leg? When one of them knocks over the dove cage I start yelling “THANKS! GREAT! NOW GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!” Bunch of weirdos. They all sort of back out bowing and waving their big feathered hats at me. I’m not surprised when they all pile into one car.

January 4th-I couldn’t sleep last night worrying about what he had planned, and it’s a good thing. Six a.m., it’s still dark, and suddenly I hear music. Any other time I’d think it was the stereo but now I’m just afraid and with good reason. In the name of all that’s holy why are there a bunch of kids with flutes out in the front yard? They’re all wearing band uniforms and it looks and sounds like a junior production of The Music Man. And he’s out there acting like he’s directing. “Don’t these pipers sound great?” he says. I tell him if they don’t pipe down the neighbors are gonna call the cops. Again.

January 5th-If I didn’t know better I would have thought it was our neighbor revving her car, but, no, it looks like the same group of band kids, only this time they’ve got drums. Yeah, drumlines can be kind of cool, but, first of all, they should at least have a horn section to add some melody or whatever and secondly it’s nothing compared to the drumming inside my head. I lock myself in the bathroom with a bottle of aspirin and an expensive mineral water. Somehow curled up into a fetal position on the floor I manage to sleep. When I wake up I hear him tapping on the door and asking if I’m all right and telling me he planted the pear tree after the drumline left.

I can’t help it. I love the guy, but I make him promise to tone it way, way, way, way, way down next year. He’s agreed and said next year will be all about comfort and joy and something called wassle. Please tell me that’s not some kind of bird.

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  1. Ann Koplow

    Five golden rings for this post, Chris.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      And those are five golden rings I’ll never pawn.

  2. Jay

    Being this grateful sounds exhausting.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yeah, there’s a reason the narrator drinks so much.

  3. Spoken Like A True Nut

    Now hang on, if he’s going by the Straight No Chaser version then there still might be a trip to Africa in it for you.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      And a dreidel! Okay the trip to Africa tops everything else. And at least it’s not the Allan Sherman version that ends with:
      “On the twelfth day of Christmas, although it may seem strange,
      On the twelfth day of Christmas I’m going to exchange
      An automatic vegetable slicer that works when you see it on television
      But not when you get it home
      A chromium combination manicure, scissors and cigarette lighter
      A pair of teakwood showercloths
      An indoor plastic birdbath
      A pink satin pillow that said “San Diego” with fringe all around it
      A hammered aluminum nutcracker
      A statue of a lady with a clock where her stomach ought to be
      A simulated alligator wallet
      A calendar book with the name of my insurance man
      Green polka dot pajamas

  4. Stacey

    Wow!! What a story…..not sure how to respond to that… Either you have teacups like me (you’d have to read my blog….from the beginning to understand that), or there is some kind of weird animal fetish existing, and apparently not really approved by you. Kinda like that panda that swallowed me. I certainly did not approve a fkn panda entering my home, let alone letting it swallow me. Ahhhhh gotta love those mental fuckerys ???

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hadn’t thought of it that way before but, wow, you’re right, there’s definitely some kind of weird animal fetish going on in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song. At the very least somebody has a thing for birds.

  5. Gina W.

    Well, I’d never really thought about it before but every single gift on that list (with the exception of the rings and pear tree) shits. Humans included. I have to wonder if there’s a subtle message being sent here. Oh hell, not even SUBTLE really. Wow. That’s just mean…

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      You could have said “eats” or “breathes” or even “walks” but you go for “shits”. Which is technically correct but…they’re all carbon-based life forms or they’re all alive. Admittedly that is a pretty funny observation. There’s a commercial for a local used car place where the owner says, “We’ll trade for anything that don’t eat!” Not every time I see that I’m going to imagine him saying “We’ll trade for anything that don’t shit!”
      Either way it’s true.

  6. M. Firpi

    What an interesting narrative. Hope you get well soon!


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