Bucketful of Love

My 5th grader’s Harriet Tubman Project is due this week. The car is encrusted in salt and grime and needs new wiper blades. The dog ate an entire jumbo rawhide bone in 20 minutes, and now has a bad case of the runs. Two days ago, I sprouted a cold sore.

And tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.

Every year, it’s the same thing. We’re engrossed in the hectic pace of normal family life. We’re paying bills, deciphering homework assignments, cheating on diets, reprimanding teenagers, grocery shopping, car pooling, and shoveling snow.

When February 14th rolls around, you can almost hear a collective exclamation — “Oh crap, it’s Valentines Day!” And we rush around to get the proverbial check in the box.

Mustering fresh romance after 17 years of marriage can be tough. Even if we manage to pop open a bottle of bubbly and exchange the obligatory cards with meaningful sentiments (scribbled in the car outside the 7-Eleven,) we still have to fight back the urge to yawn once the clock strikes nine.

It all seems so contrived. As if some corporate conglomerates who market greeting cards and heart-shaped balloons conspired to add more tasks to our daily “To Do” lists, all in the name of Valentine’s Day profits.

A few years ago, I was complaining to a friend of mine about Valentine’s Day messing up my schedule, when she told me about her tradition with her husband. They forgo the convenience store cards, and skip giving nick-nacky gifts like picture frames, teddy bears and Whitman’s Samplers.

She never cooks a nice dinner. He never buys flowers.

Instead, they get out the Hanky Panky Party Pail.

Nothing more than a cheap purple plastic sand bucket, they unceremoniously throw in a few items relating to “hanky panky” – an adult beverage, lingere, anything that will facilitate a Valentine’s Day romp in the hay.

At first I thought, “Well, that’s just disgusting. No hearts? No candles? No flowers? What kind of marriage is that?” But I soon realized that there are really only two reasons our husbands buy us cards, flowers and chocolates on Valentines Day: 1. So we won’t get mad at them, and 2. On the off chance they will get lucky.

And the only reason wives cook and buy cards and ties for our husbands is so that we can say we gave them something, even though we know it’s not what they really want.

So why rush into our salt-encrusted cars to buy silly pre-printed cards and new ties just so we can dash back home to wrack our brains for something meaningful to write inside the cards and search our closets for old gift bags that they have most likely seen before?

Why go through the rigmarole and expense of getting babysitters so we can stand in line for the Valentine’s Day Chicken Quesadilla special at Ruby Tuesday?

Why pressure our husbands to give us flowers when we know they will eventually wilt, drop petals and pollen everywhere, and leave that grody green slimy ring on the inside of the vase?

Why expect heart-shaped boxes of chocolates when half of them are filled with nondescript fruity fluff anyway?

Why not skip all the unnecessary holiday commercialism and get right down to business?

It’s a win-win for both parties. Wives don’t have to cook, clean or find time between orthodontist appointments and school projects, and husbands get what they always wanted.

And if you are my husband, it only takes a few minutes.

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Comments: 15

  1. zmanowner February 20, 2011 at 8:04 pm Reply

    Please dont strike me for saying this…But i love my wife flowers and chocolates. I take her to a high end steak house every year we spend more then we should but i love her dearly. The hanky panky box sounds like a great idea going to have to talk the wife into that….a ready made kit for hours and hours of fun…okay at least a few minutes….lol….zman sends

  2. Lori Boucher February 20, 2011 at 3:18 am Reply

    Hi Lisa,
    I doubt you remember me, but I graduated from IHS in 1986, my maiden name is Vancheri. I married Bob Boucher (brother of Peggy Boucher). Yes, we actually got married after our 10 high school reunion, but managed to escape Indiana. We live in Pittsburgh, but my mother still lives in Indiana and loves your column. She cuts it out and brings it to me every time she visits. She didn’t realize I went to school with you. Bob and I enjoy reading it as well, and you are still so funny as usual. A Bucketful of Love really nails it. Nothing says romance like hurry up and get it done!! LOL!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 20, 2011 at 8:25 am Reply

      Hey Lori! Wow — what a blast from the past! Peggy’s little bro is all grown up and married to his high school reunion sweetheart? How cool! Thanks for reading my column and visiting my blog — tell your mom to keep her sissors clipping because I’ll keep ’em comin’!

  3. Jody Worsham February 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm Reply

    My bucket’s got a hole in it. Did get white roses though. Welcome and keep ‘m coming.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 16, 2011 at 7:24 pm Reply

      Mr. Two Minutes didn’t give me roses, but he knows I am not much for cut flowers. I hate watching them die, and worse, cleaning out the vase. He did give me a heart shaped box of chocolates, but my kids have been sneaking into it and taking all the good ones. No wonder my mom’s favorite thing was always black licorice; it was probably the only candy she knew we wouldn’t try to steal!

  4. Selma Blogbeck February 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm Reply

    Agree wholeheartedly!

    Selma Blogbeck (from the Erma Bombeck writer’s group)

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm Reply

      I read your tapeworm diet piece, Selma — good luck on your new blog!

  5. Selma Blogbeck February 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm Reply

    I agree wholeheartedly! I told my husband I’d be insulted if he got me anything for Valentine’s Day. If we need someone to tell us to love each other once a year (in the guise of lining the pockets of big retail business) – we’d be in pretty bad shape LOL!

  6. Corinne Rodrigues February 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm Reply

    Wonderful! I agree 🙂

  7. Marti February 14, 2011 at 4:21 am Reply

    Hi Lisa! Marti, from the Erma Bombeck group. That was a great piece – funny and true! Happy Valentine’s day!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari February 14, 2011 at 11:55 am Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Marti — looking forward to meeting you all at the next EBWW…

  8. Grace C. February 13, 2011 at 6:50 pm Reply

    I am speechless……..LOL

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