Thwarting my Christmas sneak

Sunday, December 11, 2005

SHE SAID: 'Tis the season for scheming, sneaking and flat-out lying to my husband.

See, Bob has a Cliff Huxtable-like obsession with guessing what his gifts are beforehand.

He is not above shaking/sme-lling/weighing wrapped presents or grilling 8-year-old Drew, who -- God love him -- has no idea how to fib to his daddy.

I have taken to sending any Christmas gifts for Bob to my parents' house -- two hours away -- instead of keeping them under our tree.

Drew usually accompanies me on my holiday shopping, because we like to pick out presents for our favorite guy together.

"Drew, remember this is a really big secret and you cannot tell your dad anything," I lectured as we drove to Cape Girardeau last weekend. "It's a secret, so do not under any circumstances tell him what we're buying or what stores we went into or what we talked about or anything at all. Because he's sneaky. He's sneaky, Drew, and will try to get you to talk, but this is a REALLY BIG secret ... ."

As I suspected, Bob started questioning Drew as soon as we called to say we were on our way home.

"Well, we're driving past Dexter Barbecue ... ," I heard Drew say from the back seat.

"No! No, Drew, don't tell him where we are," I shouted, slamming on the brakes. "He's using you! He's sneaky!"

Poor Drew. I think he was scared to say anything at all to his dad for fear of accidently giving hints.

"I can't keep little secrets, but I can keep big secrets," Drew assured me.

We'll see.

HE SAID: Guilty as charged. I'm a sneak. Not to the point of searching through the house, hoping to find my gift or trying to peel back the wrapping paper. But I figure shaking, smelling, and grilling my 8-year-old son is all fair game.

As far as Callie, she seems more interested in shopping and buying gifts than figuring out what she's going to get. (Although she has bought herself several pre-Christmas gifts, a couple of which came dangerously close to some presents I already got for her.)

I try to stoke her curiosity, however.

"You're going to love me," I tell her. And I build up these gifts as if they will be the best ever, as if they will make her eternally blissful.

She says she will like them as long as she can tell I put a lot of thought into them. Which of course I have.

Callie is easy to buy for. She likes lots of different things, the girlier the gift the better. And she flat-out tells me what to get her. Take the sewing machine, for instance. I already gave it to her after a bad episode with our old sewing machine Sunday (long story.) Several weeks ago, she said "I'd really like to have a sewing machine for Christmas."

OK, well that's easy enough. Man, what a woman. (Tip to the ladies out there: It takes a lot of pressure off if the guy doesn't have to read your mind. If you really want something, tell your man. Then everybody's happy.)

The other gifts I got her, she's either asked for or expressed interest in over recent months. You see, we shop a lot. And by a lot, I mean as often as a college kid orders pizza.

And all the wonderful shopping we have done over the past year has come in handy this Christmas season, because I know exactly what she likes. I also know all of Cape's department stores (and parking lots) like the back of my hand.

But come to think of it, I might have been able to save myself some time. While she will love the gifts I got her, I'm not sure anything will make her as eternally blissful as a shopping spree.

Maybe next year, gift cards will be the best presents ever.

You see, Cal? I've already put a lot of thought into it.

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house, tiny bathroom and even the same office. But not always the same opinion. The Southeast Missourian sweethearts offer their views on every-day issues, told from two different perspectives.

335-6611, extension 122

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