So having just blown the GDP of a third world country on Christmas, the retail/hospitality sector thinks I need to bump my spending to that of a second world country because they’re suffering winter consumerism doldrums, and so another dreaded Valentine’s Day has come and gone.
And yet, we celebrated it, albeit without the undue pressure to “find love” with someone you’d otherwise cunt punt the rest of the year, and without the flagrant retail idolatry.
It’s a tradition that means something to Ken, so I do my best to make it pleasant while giving the church of Hallmark the middle finger. It hasn’t always been particularly memorable (I cannot remember for the life of me what we did last year, but I’m pretty sure we were home by 8:00), but it’s always proved to be a quiet, enjoyable evening, and sometimes that’s a good enough reason to celebrate.
While I love practical gifts more than anything, I was ecstatic over my gift this year. For the third time in our relationship (excluding our wedding), he bought me jewelry. I found a box on the bathroom counter when I went to put on makeup, and inside was a strand of pearls from Blue Nile. I’ve wanted pearls ever since I was a little girl and saw the ones my dad bought for my mom. Now I have my own and they’re hanging delicately around my neck. Also, they’re totally real, or so I was assured when I opened the box and said, “Holy shit, are these real?” to which Ken replied, “I certainly hope so.”
For him, I went the practical route. It’s the only way I can get him to use the gifts I buy him. After Christmas this year, he admitted that it sucked when he was a kid, but socks and underwear are the gift he’s always a little disappointed not to get now. But that’s not nearly ostentatious enough for me, so I went custom with a lot of hand-made touches.
Ken brews his own beer. His first batch came from a Mr. Beer brewing kit I got him for his birthday the year we met. I seem to recall a story of him uncapping one of the first bottles and taking a shot in the eye full of hops and carbonation. But there have been some tweaks through the years and upgrades to the home brewing setup and the last couple batches have been very good. I even insisted that he come up with a brewery name for the home brew, just for fun. He wouldn’t so I did. In honor of my lushy scientist husband, I have dubbed our home brewery the Stumbling Savant Brewing Co. With the frivolous details taken care of, I moved on to the important stuff – where to store the finished product for maximum drinkability.
I bought an old Monster Energy promotional refrigerator from Craigslist that holds about 24 cans and went to the trouble of breaking it down and converting it to a custom beer fridge. I replaced the fluorescent bulb behind the sign plate, and spent 4 hours peeling decals off the side with a hair dryer, razor blade, and Goo-Gone. Then I taped it all down, draped the living room in plastic, and sprayed it down with black appliance epoxy, trimmed it out in a manly crimson color, and even had to sand down the original lexan sign plate because I couldn’t order a new one for less than $250.
The custom details are where all the work went. I drew a custom logo that I feel best defines Stumbling Savant Brewing Co.
Then I ordered custom magnets for the refrigerator with that logo, a custom window decal for the fridge door, and new vinyl graphics for the backlit sign plate. Many hours were spent in Photoshop and the result is a thing of beauty… that is now sitting in the guest bedroom closet since I have nowhere to display it. Well that won’t do, because dammit, there’s a good 40 hours of work in this thing. So I ordered an “entertaining/beverage service cart” on which to display it too. I’m into this project for as much money now as I would have been to just buy a new beverage cooler, only the custom artwork and sign plate are just so damn neat looking.
He loves fridge and I love that we have someplace to store beverages that isn’t my tiny ass apartment fridge. Now if only I could find a place to store it that didn’t look so out of place in my living room…