Bodily Fluids: Always Good When You Want To Change The Subject

Sean is in the living room, playing tennis. Where do we live, you ask, the Playboy Mansion? Buckingham Palace? What a thing to be doing in the living room! And in argyle socks, no less.

But no, no nets have been erected between the couch and the TV, no umpire chairs set up. We have hardwood floors, not Astroturf, and really, the blaring neon of those tennis balls would go with nothing else in our color palette. So how has this modern miracle been manufactured, you're thinking, why is he swinging a racket in the spot she normally watches Oprah?

Well, I think you can probably guess.

About six weeks ago, I ordered Sean's Christmas present online while in Singapore. It was not the easiest Christmas present in the world to order, not by any stretch of the imagination, and in fact I had to jump through a whole lot of hoops to order it in the first place. I mean, seriously, you've got to love someone pretty fierce to subscribe to an RSS feed that tells you when the present in question might be coming back in stock. So when it finally did come back in stock, I snapped it up immediately and offered myself a hearty congratulations. But then---bizarrely, bewilderingly---the order got canceled. So, you know, whatever, I ordered it again. And then the order got canceled again. I gritted my teeth, said a few bad words, took a deep breath, and tried to repeat the process a third time. But wouldn't you know it, the present was now out of stock. And all the RSS feeds in the world couldn't help.

And so it was that I returned home to San Francisco after Christmas present-less. Well, not exactly present-less; I'd bought him the aforementioned argyle socks (hey, he'd wanted them) and a book on The Wire (are you watching it? Watch it!), as well as having him some things made in Vietnam. (I was really sneaky about that, actually; I went back to one of the original tailors we'd been to when we were there in August 2006, and found that she still had all our measurements logged in her record books. Together we added a few inches to account for the inevitable weight gain that happens when one is not living off two bowls of rice a day, and she whipped him up a black corduory blazer and a handsome brown winter coat, the total price of which, well...let's just say might buy you a belt in Banana Republic. On sale.)

Anyway, I didn't have his main present, that's my point, and so I decided I needed to get creative. And so after he'd opened all his other gifts, and I'd opened mine from him---red Moleskine planner, orange Le Creuset dutch oven, very hi-tech sleep machine to help me drift off and wake up to the sound of waves and thunderstorms, collection of short short stories, and a whole bunch of delicious stainless steel kitchen implements from Crate & Barrel, in case you were wondering, including a set of cheese knives that I may have kissed on the spot---I presented him with this:

Hmm, I wonder if a (faux) urine sample has ever appeared in anyone's Flickr stream before

(Side note: my mother thought it would have been really funny to have given him a pregnancy test at the same time as well. I thought, yeah, maybe not.)

And when he opened it, I leaped up eagerly from the couch like a coach on the sidelines of a particularly nail-biting soccer game, and said "What is it? What is it?" And he stared at it for a few seconds and said "Piss?" And I said "What else? What else?" And he said "Pee?" And I said "Yes, but what else, what else, what else?" And he said "Wee?" And I clapped my hands together, and said "Wee! It's wee!" and he said "Wee?" and I said "Wee!" and he said "wait....Wii?" And I said "Wii!"


And Internet, if that is not the most creative way to give someone a present you can't actually give them yet---but which you will be able to give them in 14 to 16 days, when the order has processed and shipped and finally shows up at your office---then, frankly, I don't want to know what is.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, it was apple juice.


(Thank you, by the way, for all your lovely emails and comments, which were seriously some of the most kick-ass emails and comments I've ever received. When it comes down to it, the Internetz is truly and simply Good People. Your mamas should all be very proud.)

Jan 23, 2008

Love it -- the entire entry! (And, although you've moved on now, your response to the previous issue was perfect.) What book of short, short stories did you receive?

Jan 23, 2008

I would have been playing hapless charades for hour if I'd been gifted with a labelled urine sample. But it's utterly creative, even if it wasn't REALLY apple juice.

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 23, 2008

Sara, it was a collection of three books called One Hundred And Forty Five Stories In A Small Box. Ah, here it is.

I love short short stories. Dave Eggers used to write one a week for the Weekend Guardian in the UK, and reading them was sometimes the highlight of my Saturday. You can read some of them
over here.

Jan 23, 2008

i have a great collection of adult roald dahl short stories. and i don't mean adult in that way...just not written for children.

love the wee. wii! i would have loved to see the look on sean's face!

House of Jules
Jan 23, 2008

This could be one of the best examples of Gifting outside the box I've ever read; I think half the fun of buying something for someone is exactly this kind of thing!
House of Jules

Jan 23, 2008

Genius! I loved that story. Made me laugh out loud. (and on another note: Le Creuset dutch oven - really, really jealous)

aBd libbing
Jan 23, 2008

I wonder how many people will be giving each other bottles of fake wee now. Awesome story, and glad it was apple juice and not cat pee.

Jan 23, 2008

I completely sympathize as it took us several weeks of stalking Best Buy and various online forums to find a Wii a few months back.

And we may have been so excited to get it that we played Wii Sports for 3 hours straight and woke up sore the next morning. Just maybe.

Jan 23, 2008

Girl, I wish I had thought of this. Clever and creative. Except, my Wii Christmas present was for the kids (14 and 6) and I don't think they would have appreciated getting some wee instead of their main present. So what did I do? I panicked and paid DOUBLE on the black market (also known as eBay). Double the price, and I still regret being that impulsive. I mean, they enjoy the Wii a lot, but any idea how many extra games we could have gotten for that amount of money? Now we'll 'just' be playing tennis for a long time to come!

Jan 23, 2008

I love love love my Le Creuset dutch oven. It's bright yellow and sits proudly on my counter! It's so great to cook in. Also, I think you made the right decision with the crack whore and thought your story was great!

Jan 23, 2008

That is hysterical! I asked for a Creuset Dutch oven for Christmas too! And a moleskin journal! Neat! I'm glad that was apple juice because that looks to be an awfully small bottle to, sorry, wee in.

Jan 23, 2008

Very clever!
Rock Band arrived two days after Christmas, and I just gave my husband a handwritten note in a box.

Jan 23, 2008

That is hilarious!

We got Guitar Hero III for our Wii for Christmas. Yes. It gets its own Christmas gifts.

Jan 23, 2008

That is FANTASTIC. I love it.

Jan 23, 2008

Haha! That is one gift he certainly won't forget!

She Likes Purple
Jan 23, 2008

Yes, you are absolutely the most original woman on the planet. I am so impressed.

And you are SUCH a fantastic girlfriend.

And you should totally take a picture of that planner. I have a weird obsession with day planners. Odd, I know.

Jan 23, 2008

Brilliant. Most original gifting of a Wii EVER.

Jan 23, 2008

Utterly original! That is one way to ensure that your Christmas was truly unforgettable!

Jan 23, 2008

I'm just so relieved that it was apple juice. Although I thought, hey, if it is pee, she's pretty well-hydrated.... ewww

Jan 23, 2008

Ha! The "wee" made me giggle.

And I am jealous of your dutch oven!

Jan 23, 2008

Best present ever.

Jan 23, 2008

What an inventive idea! Wee!!!!! Ha!

And I'd like Sean to talk with my significant other about the proper gifts to buy your loved one. $200 worth of facial products that you'll never use is not the right gift.

Camels & Chocolate
Jan 23, 2008

Genius, Holly. I bought a Wii for my boyfriend and me (mainly me) last summer, and now instead of retail therapy, I indulge in buying Wii games, Wiimotes, additional nunchucks, carrying cases, you get the gist.

Wii Sports is still one of my faves, but Mario Party 8 is fun, and I hear amazing thing about Winter Sports (you can ski from your own bedroom! and do the luge!). When I move to SF (12 days!), we should totally have a Wii party. All the cool kids are doing it.

Jan 23, 2008

LOL! His expression must have been priceless.

Jan 23, 2008

Hi-larious!! That we all could be as creative as Ms. Holly Burns.


Jan 23, 2008

can i ask exactly which sleep machine and if you like it? i have been searching for a good sleep machine to help drown out the noise of my upstairs neighbor waking up at 4:30am and stomping around :(

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 23, 2008

Sara, it's the Tranquil Moments Travel Sound Therapy System & Alarm Clock from Brookstone. The link is here. Sean did a ton of research before choosing this one, because we also have a lot of noise to drown out (neighbors, street, city life etc) and didn't just want something that would be irritating or (worse) break in a few months.

I can say that I highly recommend it. You can set it to turn off after 30, 60, or 90 minutes (I'm asleep before it ever does), and you can also set it to gradually slow down after 20 minutes, so it kind of lulls you to sleep. I don't know, there's all sorts of science and talk of brain waves and stuff in the instruction booklet, but the bottom line is it's helping me sleep through the night. (And it's travel sized! Take it on a plane!)

Plus, you can wake up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore and pretend you're on vacation. NBB Seal Of Approval, two thumbs up, A+ etc etc etc.

Jan 23, 2008

I laughed so hard I almost weed myself. Tee hee.
Very original.

shannon in oregon
Jan 23, 2008

Just be careful and ice the elbow after tennis! :) Wii love our Wii!! Great way of gifting it to Sean. He's lucky.

This year, my husband got an Xbox360 to add to his collection of game machines.

Jan 23, 2008

I bet Sean is glad he didn't ask for a Winnie the Pooh collectible.

I'm sorry.

Jan 23, 2008

I can't see the picture (stupid job), but I got my husband a Wii too (talk about a pain in the ass), and he was in utter shock when he opened it. I think the glow from this gift will last well past next Christmas. Consequently, he is getting socks this year.

Jan 23, 2008

ha! Love the Wii wee.

I second the notion that you must get Guitar Hero III. I don't even like game consoles at all really and we played Guitar Hero for 7 HOURS one night!

Who does that?

Jan 23, 2008

Impressive! When we started looking for a wii a few months ago, it took realizing that we know someone whose second cousin works for nintendo and could get one for us

Jan 23, 2008

Maybe Sean and I are long-lost siblings. I asked for (and got! Yay!) argyle socks for Christmas. Love them.

Jan 23, 2008

So brilliant!! I am SO jealous of the creativity of that. I'm so stealing it if I ever buy my husband a Wii. I promise to credit you if I do.

And at the risk of being really annoying, I hate that you felt the need to apologise for your own opinions on your own website. I love reading you.

Jan 24, 2008

dude, you rock. i just love the way you tell a story.

Jan 24, 2008

I'm doing good if I can get the present wrapped!

Jan 24, 2008

Wii had no money this year so wii just gave each other vials of actual urine. It was so much fun (and free) that wii gave the same thing to everyone in our family.

Tell Sean to be careful - they haven't figured out a cure for Wii elbow yet.

Jan 24, 2008

Wii (haha, get it? wii...we...anyway) got a Wii too this Christmas. It's slowly consuming my life, and I'm beginning to look a bit like a zombie. Totally worth it though.

Me and my sister have made the wee jokes as well. If we're playing and one of us has to use the bathroom, we'll announce our need to "wii" and then crack up. We're very funny people.

Jan 24, 2008


Jan 24, 2008

I would have given him real wee. Because I'm gross and have had a baby and that makes you even grosser.

Is not the Wii the funnest (that is a word when discussing Wii) thing in the freaking universe? I heart Wii bowling, and also you can get all the flashback goodness of Nintendo and Sega and be all mid-80's, too. You could even swap the argyles for slouch socks.

Jan 24, 2008

HYS. FUCKING. STERICAL. Evidence of both great creativity and a sick, sick mind.

Of course, I totally would have done the same thing, except I totally would have used real pee, with the help of my two little boys, who ADORE peeing on things.

Jan 24, 2008

My nephew got a Wii for Christmas....after playing it the first night, he woke up the next morning and came downstairs crying b/c his arm hurt so badly. He may need to toughen up a bit - sure the Wii will make him a man yet!

Love your writing, and the fact that you managed to incorporate urine into gift-giving. Well done.

The Over-Thinker
Jan 25, 2008

Wii!!!!!!!! I love Wii. Unfortunately, no matter how cool Wii is, it's not *yet* cool to have a sore arm (that hinders your ability to even use your cell phone without wincing) from KICKING YOUR HUSBAND'S ASS in bowling. Actually, now that I type that, I feel pretty cool and superior.

Thanks for another great post!

Jan 25, 2008

ROFL! Truly genius. I will never look at a Wii again and not think of your bottled apple juice. ;-)