Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sending a Valentine's Day Card to My GYN

It's a beautiful day out and I have not yet sent out my Christmas/New Year/Whatever-Holiday-Comes-After-That Cards.

I've finished half of my cards, the easy ones, the ones replying to people who still sent us Christmas cards even though we missed last year entirely. They are easy. These are the people that like me no matter how much I procrastinate or dork up a conversation or the words on the back of our family photo.

I wish I could show you what most of these cards look like. I start out all writing big and pretty and generic with my sharpie pen because it's the only thing that doesn't continuously smear on the back of photo paper. Then, I get real and tell you about what really happened last year and my writing gets smaller and scrawlier. Then, just before the end, I write something stupid about how Nick broke his finger twice, got a concussion, and how I spent Christmas in the bathroom because some stupid medicine I took for my skin made me have a terrible, and according to the online description of the side-effects - a possibly permanent case of raging IBS that would forever keep me shackled to within fifteen feet of a bathroom. Then, as usual, I realize my mistake and run out of room to write. At the bottom of the card, I squeeze in all the right sentiments about how great friends they are and how I hope we all have another fun year yakking at Starbucks together. (Talking, not puking.)

I do that for the first fifteen cards then realize that these people DO NOT EVER want to hear about my potentially-permanent case of IBS even if they are really good friends and I figure out that if I keep out the last card I wrote and look at it while I write, I can skip that part and the whole thing goes a little smoother except that I'm still writing myself into a tiny little corner of the card and I barely fit our names at the bottom.

So much for neatness.

And punctuality, unless these are Valentine's Day cards in which case I'm really on it, people. I am cruising and it's all beautiful because these people will have to put our photo onto their refrigerator for a while and, if they're like me, that photo could be there until the next Advent season comes because they've already taken down their Christmas cards for this year.

Unless our photo goes straight into their recycle bin. You know you can't recycle photo paper, don't you? In which case I wish I'd never sent you a card to begin with if you don't look at our loving faces for more than a day or two before you recycle us.

I always have Mike order too many cards. One year, we had about twenty left over when I got done with the people I really cared about and I sent a bunch to people who almost definitely recycled us after looking at us for all of three minutes when they realized they couldn't read my crazy Sharpie handwriting anyway. And they must have been wondering why I sent them a Christmas card since they didn't send me one, would never consider sending me one. Some of those people, the nice ones, put us on their Christmas card list for a while, but dropped us again after we missed last year entirely. They only know that we didn't send THEM a card, not that we missed the activity completely. I find I want to explain this to them, that it wasn't personal. But do I really pay attention to who doesn't send me a Christmas card? I barely notice after three years that my brother and his wife send me two cards every year because I imagine somehow I've gotten onto both of their independent lists and they don't want to mess up by not sending one at all but they don't communicate to each other who they're individually sending cards to. They too could order about twenty fewer cards, I imagine.

I always say I'll never order too many cards again, but this year, I have about ten more cards than I needed and Mike was right about how many we would actually use and I'll have to try to find some kindly places for our extra cards with people who are willing to adopt us onto their fridge for at least a week before they toss us into the proper bin.

I hate imagining our faces at the bottom of that pile of inner cereal box linings, kitty litter, and uneaten salad from Nick's lunch. I hate it. Even stacked with junk mail and envelopes from bills is better than the bottom of the garbage can even though you're not supposed to recycle photo paper.

So, here are my requests regarding our Valentine's Day card. Don't bother trying to read my messy message on the back of our photo unless you want to hear TMI about potentially permanent IBS that wasn't in fact permanent. If you're not going to look at our faces on your fridge for the next month, if you're going to recycle us directly or worse put us at the bottom or the limp salad and kitty litter, don't add us to your list of Christmas cards next year. If you do discard us immediately, just smile discreetly when you see me next and fake it for all of our sakes. I will know we ended up in the kitty litter. I will just know. And I promise, I vow that I will not send Christmas/Valentine's Day cards next year to my veterinarian, my GYN, or my mammogram technician.

Thank you for listening, jb

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