Look! Is that a horseman on the horizon?

It appears that, once again, the world's ended and everyone forgot to let me know ahead of time.

I knew something had to be up this morning when I woke up and Jeff informed me that 1) he wasn't feeling well and 2) that he was taking a sick day. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the McSpouse that is only slightly more likely than me to continue soldiering on through dismemberment and slight cases of death, actually took a sick day.

I brought him the sandwich he wanted from Publix (foot-long, on white, no mayo, and all kinds of stuff that would keep me from snitching bites like banana peppers / onions / pickles), the particular species of chips that appealed to him, and the makings for more Kool-Aid.

He slept most of the day. We still don't know what's wrong. It's not food poisoning and it's not appendicitis. We're betting on a slightly-annoyed abdominal muscle; it fits with the symptoms and also has the additional bonus of not being life- or canadatrek-threatening.

I'm good about keeping my illusions. First and foremost is that ten days from now he's gonna get on a Northwest Airlines flight with me in the painful wee hours of the morning down in Birmingham. We're gonna play plane-tag with a Memphis airport and then meet up with friends in Seattle, where we'll rent a car and, bluntly speaking, lead a five-geek invasion of British Columbia.

I should note that British Columbia seems vastly more interested in the upcoming elections than the potential impending disaster and doom that would come from our crossing the border. We believe in arming ourselves, of course: we wouldn't be a well-prepared international invasion Force To Be Reckoned With[tm] unless we had

  • Heather's infamous 'torture shirt'
  • my combat boots
  • At least one piece of clothing with a penguin on it
  • geek weapons of mass destruction (currently consisting of a couple of old brassieres with generous cups, fortified by four bottles of wine and powered by three Handspring Visors and one PalmPilot)

Of course, none of this would be complete without my spouse's required airline dosage of Dramamine. Nor would it be complete without Andy's belated yankee-tinged whimpered beggings to the gods of jet lag to either take him home or let him sleep.

He shall, of course, receive neither. The gods of jet lag are brutal, unfeeling gods. (Especially when they ply your geekwomen with lots of cheap beer and loud music.)

But, alas, today is not the day to take over Canananananada. That day is ten days hence. But for now, I must point out another of the four horsemen on the horizon….

…and his name is Thank You Cards.

(Laughing at his name incurs you a penance of death via paper cuts. I've done it. It's singularly unpleasant.)

For the first time since Jeff and I began tag-teaming up for gifts to give to friends and family members who married, the unthinkable has happened. I have actually received an acknowledgement of the gift we gave.

Considering that we're in our mid-twenties, otherwise known as prime-time for those members of homo sapiens so inclined to enter the fabulous world of Monogamy, Marriage, and Procreation[tm], we've been invited to quite a few weddings over the past few years. We show up like the cheerfully obligated friends and family members that we are: with gifts in hand.

We were, after all, singletons, and we distinctly remember that on a scale of one to ten, the suck factor involved in creating a household out of dorm furniture rates a solid ten-and-a-half. With a china pattern and a bullet.

Let me just say that after a few years of forking out anywhere between $25 and $75 per wedding, depending on the closeness of friend or relation or our degree of happiness about the wedding of said bridal couple…I have become quite sick of never receiving any kind of acknowledgement.

Yes, I recognize brides are busy. I was one, remember? (You don't become a wife in this country without going through the tapdancing rigmarole of bridehood.) Between wedding shower and dress fitting and figuring out where we were going to live and bridal pictures and questions regarding how many children we wanted, we got gifts. Due in no small part to my upbringing—and the iron fist of death held over my head by my mother—every single gift got acknowledged.


Because it's nice! Good grief! If someone took me aside and said, "I'm going to take you to dinner at a restaurant, and I'm going to spend $50 on your drinks, dinner, and dessert," not only would I hug and kiss them, I'd remember to tell them thanks.

Just because one is getting married does not give one the abject permission to pretend that the givers of the $50-per-head gifts do not exist while one puts their gifts to use in one's new home.

The adage from my larval years: "Don't use a gift until you've acknowledged it. If you're not going to acknowledge a gift, give it back immediately, because it's not yours until you've thanked the giver."

It's a courtesy. I grant you this, I'm not much on formal and meaningless courtesies. When my guests come over for dinner, they sit on the couch with the rest of we peanut-gallery clowns. They're welcome to argue with the cats over who gets the bathroom first, but the cats will probably win.

However, if I'm going to take the time to wish you well and help you set up your household, the very least you can do is thank me—by phone call, email, or card, I don't care—and be at least somewhat gracious.

As my mother would say during her less-than-diplomatic moments, "It sure as hell won't kill you."