Valentine's Day is tomorrow and it is the toughest holiday to deliver upon. I know that some female lawmaker stuck it on the calendar for mid-February to remind all men that they still have to be romantic in the New Year if they haven't been already. You're allowed just enough time to recover from Christmas, and if you're going for an expensive gift, a tax return may be in your near future. Apparently Christmas can't be the last winter-season, mandated holiday to give a gift or at least say Thank You with a Hallmark card. It's been challenging for me to be surprising or spontaneous since Amanda and I began commuting together and downsized to one car. Thinking back on my best romantic ideas, they usually involved some independence of time and access to transportation. Without either, I'm limited to whatever's across the street from my office at Bellevue Square, which could be a lot worse, or whatever I can order online, have shipped to work and carry on a bus. While these don't seem like major limitations, everything that corporate America can offer in Bellevue doesn't usually result in a unique gift.
So, I just have to be more resourceful and creative. No big deal. I had a major win just before Christmas by surprising Amanda with a month of Awesomeness Reminders, a service where a real person will call whomever you designate every day to tell that person how awesome he or she is. I can't take complete credit for the idea. My coworker Tara purchased a month of service for our boss, who was both flattered and perplexed about why she was getting calls from strangers every day. It was fun, random and a perfect gift for Amanda because she's awesome. I set the service up and let the operators know that they should mention that she's the best nanny and makes the world's best cheesecake, just to personalize the messages.
Here's one of the Awesomeness Reminders she received:
At first Amanda thought someone at my office was prank calling her for me. I denied it as it wasn't true. Then after a few days she thought it must have been someone at my work because the strangers calling her had mentioned that she makes "the world's best cheesecake" and at some previous social events for work she had promised making a cheesecake for the office but hadn't yet delivered. After a week she was just weirded out that strangers were calling and she almost always let the calls go to voicemail. I gave in after a week and let her know I had set up the service when she was teetering somewhere between flattered and concerned. I just wanted her to enjoy the compliments for the remaining few weeks.
I felt good about my level of game after that, but then the Christmas Chivalry Fail happened.
I think I have a good date lined up for tomorrow. We'll see. I managed to work around my access limitations OK. For those husbands out there struggling to get creative for your own Valentine's Day mojo working, here's some advice: The difference between the excitement of early dating and long-term relationship dating is the preparation. Something about sharing a bathroom when you're getting ready removes the Wow Factor compared to seeing your date done-up when you pick her up. So, leave the house 30 minutes early and well ahead of her being ready. Drive to the grocery, pick up some flowers and then pick her up back at your home, just like you would have for those early dates. That will surely set the romantic tone.
And that's only the first part of tomorrow Valentine's Day date for Amanda. Sorry guys, but I can't give away all the secrets!