My first “official” Christmas in Rochester with Tim’s family happened before we were even engaged and it was, well, an experience a learning experience. Tim’s family has a Samoyed name Leloo (said like the girl’s name on the 5th Element). She’s a big white ball of fur that, among other things, likes to chew on items left on the floor.
Lesson #1: Never leave your panties on the floor.
I discovered Leloo had eaten a pair of my undergarments when I went to pick them up off the floor and half of them were missing. I looked at Tim, not entirely sure how to say what happened and finally just came out with it and was like, “Honey… Leloo umm…ate my underware.” Tim started laughing hysterically and called his parents upstairs to see the remnants dangling from my hand. I think I was about fifty shades of red while the three of them had a good laugh. His mom told me through fits of giggles that she was sorry and felt awful. I told her not to worry. No big deal. I did some forward thinking and packed more than one pair. I’m all set. After everyone got one last chuckle it was mostly forgotten and the festivities leading up to Christmas day continued.
Lesson #2: If the dog eats your panties, keep it between the two of you.
Christmas morning arrived and the whole fam-damily was crowded around the Christmas tree. I was on the couch sandwiched between Tim’s mom and grandmother, Nana. Gifts were being opened one at a time so everyone could see and admire whatever the bearer received. My family did this too…but when it was my turn, I was nervous doing it in front of a lot of people I was still trying to impress. I wanted to fit in and not be weird.
My gifts from Tim were a jewelry box with my initials engraved on the top and a pair of diamond earrings. Tim placed the earring box inside the jewelry box, so when I opened the lid of the jewelry box and saw that little velvet square I started chanting in my head, “I know it’s not a ring. I know it’s not a ring.” I was right – it wasn’t and a wave of relief rushed through me. I put the earrings on and smiled, thinking I had just gotten through the gift-opening-spotlight.
But much to my chagrin my turn wasn’t over yet. Tim’s mom hands me a present to open. I just looked at her like, “Don’t do this to me…I thought I was finished…” The room went quiet as I slowly started unwrapping it. Alarms should have been going off because no one was moving; not a single piece of wrapping paper was being crumpled or a body rearranging to a more comfortable position. I finally get the paper off and open the lid of the box.
Lesson #3: To avoid having your “situation” become a running family joke, watch for warning signs and DON’T STEP INTO THE TRAP.
I think I gave Nana a present of her own that year. She looked into that box, then looked at me, then back at the box, then up at Tim, then back down at the box. All the while the entire room erupted with laughter.
Tim was the photographer in this particular shot and I looked up at him, managing a smile while trying to gain a direct link to his brain to say, “If you knew about this and didn’t warn me I’m going to yank these earrings right out and pierce you where the sun don’t shine.”