Friday, January 02, 2009

A Christmas Story

So, I decided to get my husband a new guitar for Christmas. (Yes, I am a seriously AWESOME wife.) He had his eye on a Gibson ES335 or an Epiphone for many many years, but never bought one. I've always loved the look and sound of hollow-bodied guitars, so I was willing to support him in this endeavour. So one day he comes home and says he'd just played some Japanese version of the ES335 in a used guitar store and the owner of the store told him that this particular company succeeded in creating such GOOD knock-offs (considered by some experts to be superior in sound to the Gibsons) that Gibson sued them, and now they're unavailable in North America except used. My husband played it, loved it, and came home chatting about how he was going to do research. That night after spending an hour or so on the Internet, he was even more excited about the guitar. Everything the guy said had checked out, and he saw these things going for way more than the guy wanted in the store. Meanwhile, I'd come up dry in my hunt for a guitar for him and had moved over to something else that I was going out to pick up on Christmas Eve. But now... I was going to buy that guitar.

My brother came over and stayed the night, and the next day I knew the store was opening at noon. We left around 11:30 (even though the store is a stone's throw from our house) to throw my husband off the scent, and he told me to hurry back because he wanted to go and get that guitar. So off we went and I walked into the store and immediately knew which one it was (cherry red, hollow-body... it was a thing of beauty). Clerk was dealing with another customer, and then wandered over to me. I said, "My husband was in here yesterday and said he played a Japanese version of the 335." The guy stood there for a moment, swallowed hard, and said in a low voice, "Is he in trouble?" Totally not the reaction I expected. I said, "Uh... what?" "Is he in trouble? Usually when the wives show up this is bad news for the husbands." I laughed and said no, I just wanted to see the guitar. He hesitantly led me over to it, and started in on the history of the guitar when talking to me and I began asking the questions I knew my husband still had for the guy, and then asked him if his price was firm. I'd seen my husband haggle over guitars before, and I wasn't going to be the dunce of a wife who would be taken advantage of. He said yeah, the price was pretty firm. I stared at him, mentioned that one of the knobs was missing, he feigned surprise and then said it would be no problem to order me in a new one, and then he came down in price. Then offered strings and other bells and whistles to throw in, and I knew that was as low as he would probably go. So I said to him AFTER the negotiation (since I didn't want him to know this sale was a sure thing beforehand) that I needed a favour from him. "When my husband comes in this afternoon, you need to tell him that it was bought yesterday, and by a MAN." Dude says, "No problem; in fact, I'll tell him that someone else was in the store and heard him playing it and bought it right after he left!" We had a good laugh over that one, told me my husband was a very lucky man, I agreed, and I bought it. I stopped by a store on the way home to buy a big red bow.

I smuggled it into the basement as my brother distracted my husband, and then my hubby left to go look at the guitar again. My brother and I giggled behind our hands and said, "Have fun!" Then an hour went by. And then another. I started to sweat. I was shaking. I thought I was going to be sick. Just my luck: My husband is going to go to the store, not find it, and buy ANOTHER ONE. I sat in the living room playing with the kids and sweating bullets (the guitar was non-returnable, and if my husband bought one it would be non-returnable, too). See, I had faith in my guy, but there's another bigger guitar store just a few blocks away from this one with clerks who don't know this poor wife had just attempted to pull off the surprise of the century. I mean, who buys an expensive gift for themselves the day before Christmas?! Oh right... MY HUSBAND.

Two hours later, I heard him pull up and raced to the door. No guitar. My heart slowed its beating again. He walks in and says, "You're NOT going to believe what happened. I was playing the guitar in the store yesterday and someone else heard ME playing it and really loved it and then they bought it!" "You're kidding," I said, putting on my Oscar performance. "No. So I went up to the other guitar store... but I didn't buy anything because the guy at the first guitar store assured me that it wasn't a guaranteed sale and that the other guy was given four days to play it, and wants me to call him on Saturday because he might have it back. So I'm going to wait because I loved that guitar."

I really need to go back to the store and kiss that guy. He took my pitiful lie and turned it into a beautiful work of fiction.

"Wow, that totally sucks," I said, and then asked him if that Japanese guitar would be available elsewhere after this. He said not easily, and then seemed a little glum about it, but said he'd start checking eBay and craigslist to see if he could find it.

That night I tried to figure out how I'd display it, and decided to just leave it in the basement on the guest bed because he wouldn't be down there. I opened the case, hung the red bow on the top of the case (I didn't want to stick it on the guitar for fear of scratching it) and blew it a kiss. The next morning the kids were spoiled rotten by Santa (I had NOTHING to do with it) and we all sat opening gifts and my husband didn't have anything to open except one small one from the kids. Then I said I ran out of wrapping paper so I just left his in the basement. We all walked downstairs and went into the back room and I turned to see his reaction... and it was sort of like Sayid when he first sees Nadia after all those years: he stood, blinked hard, stood longer, and had no words. He had resigned himself to never seeing the guitar again. I shouted, "I was the man who bought it after you played it!" and laughed and laughed. He looked at me like I was speaking Martian, and still hadn't put it together. So I told him the store owner and I had come up with the story together. A look of understanding came over his face, but it still took another second or two before he could step forward and actually touch the thing. But he did, and now he's obsessed with it.

I got to feel what it was like to be Santa, and my husband got his Red Rider BB Gun.


Unknown said...

What a great story. I love happy endings. I agree with the salesman; your husband is a very lucky guy.

By the way, extra points for Sayid/Nadia metaphor. I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who relates everything in life back to 'Lost.'

Lisa-Maladylis said...

Nikki, that was the best story ever !! My bf walked in while I was finishing it and I almost didn't say hi to him because I was busy reading the finish of it. He's one lucky man and good job on the trickery lol (and bringing it back around to a Lost theme)

Lisa-Maladylis said...

btw, you do need to go back and bring that sales man a gift or something for his awesome help he did. then when something like that happens again, he'll be more than willing to do it again.

Anonymous said...

That is an amazing Christmas story.

Might make a nice script too, if ya know what I mean, writer girl.

Anonymous said...

So, what did he get you!? *grin* Beautiful story. Lots of kudos from Scarborough UK. I didn't get a guitar!

Nikki Stafford said...

Thanks all! Glad you enjoyed it. :) It was just too insane not to share it. And while I was writing this I was working on my ongoing blog (that I will post soon) of my year-end faves, and I'd just been writing about the Sayid/Nadia reunion, so it was fresh in my mind. And it's totally the look he gave. :)

Rocky: I should add that I'm a very lucky gal, too. :)

Lisa: The salesperson was also the owner of the store, so he was extra motivated not to let this fall apart! But I have to go back to pick up the knob he ordered in, and I'll probably take a bottle of wine with me.

redeem: Hmm... wanna come with me for the pitch? I hope Angelina Jolie is available to play me... for authenticity and all.

Hello anonymous person in Scarborough! I was spoiled, too, actually, which is weird: there are some Christmases where we just buy something together and call it a merry Christmas, and others where we buy one small thing. For some reason this year we both decided to spoil each other. I love my new car. (Ok, totally kidding...)

I hope E. was spoiled, too! ;)

yourblindspot said...

Great story! I love it when a plan comes together... Glad you and your family had a good Christmas.

Speaking of gifts -- your holiday goodies haven't hit the post yet, as a downed copier at work temporarily foiled my art plan (and pretend that wasn't a hint at the larger mystery, Lost watcher), but Xerox willing, I'll be sending it out this week.

And now to the more important business at hand: are you caught up on 'Battlestar' yet?

Nikki Stafford said...

Josh: OMG, creepy creepy... I was JUST saying to a colleague not one minute ago that I realized I hadn't finished the half-season of BSG and still have viewing to do, and then you asked me again. No, haven't watched it. It's on the sched for this week! :)

Now off to ponder the mystery of the art plan. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm caught up on BSG. I watched the last two and a half seasons in a week (and I worked over the holidays).