For the second consecutive year, we spent Christmas at home and with no visitors. Last year it was strange to start but very nice by the end. This year we were all looking forward to nice quiet holidays, and it has been excellent and cosy but also a bit sloppy. I will draw a line on new years eve as after years of parties we stayed at home alone. We were, in fact, the only ones among our friends who didn’t go down with the flu. In total honesty, I must say that I spent a lovely night and in line with the rest of the holidays filled with an absurd amount of food and wine. Thank God the holidays are nearly over because I am breaking all the records of lack of exercise, exception made for the muscles of my jaws and my fingers constantly busy unwrapping chocolate. The other day I was so desperate to find something to keep away from the pantry that I took out my knitting equipment to finish a blanket I started four years ago: I am not an octopus and so for an afternoon I made myself unable to unwrap chocolate or eating biscuit as my fingers were elsewhere busy.
Christmas eve, as our newly established tradition, we went out for lunch and to buy some fish to be cooked for the evening. Once home we had plenty of time to indulge in laziness and to groom ourselves appropriately for a posh family evening; except daughter number one realised to have forgotten her good outfits in Italy and had nothing fancy to wear. Of course, we had not let this little inconvenience to spoil our festive mood: books are never to be judged by their cover and elegance is inside you, right? Right! But I I still live in the hope that someday my daughter will develop a decent sense of fashion, and yes: I had my suspicions she left her good clothes behind on purpose.
While daughter number one was picking one of her best tracksuit and daughter number two was trying to tie her short bob in a ponytail, covering her head with an uncountable number of hair clips; I and the travelling husband, with the complicity of our neighbour who stopped by, started far too early to drink and snack and by dinner time we were already stuffed. The well planned posh three courses meal was not going to happen. We skipped the main course and just had starters. A lot of starters straight from the eighties because I never say no to a “gamberetti cocktail”. From the starters we jumped to cheese and cakes…, lots of cheese and cakes that could not be left alone, they need some liquors.
After we ruined the chance of taking the perfect picture of the four of us all impeccably dressed and spoiled our meticulously planned menu, we also failed to wait for midnight to open the presents and by 11.30 under the tree, there was not a single parcel left.
With a bit of shame, I must confess that I have been spoiled with presents. I received beautiful gifts and far too generous from my friends but mostly from the travelling husband. To start with, he took two weeks off;to be precise he was on call but he actually never stepped a foot in the office or on a plane and didn’t even check his phone and emails compulsively as he usually does. But this was not all; he surprised me with something unexpected under the tree too. I know what you are thinking: maybe he had something to be forgiven for! Well, even if, who cares: I love my bag with my name printed on and my new necklace: Let’s be fair and let the man have his secrets! I am joking of course. No secrets are allowed because in that case my lovely new bag would be filled with stones and smashed on his head.
Despite how much I loved all my pressies, I had not won. Someone in the family got away with something fancier. No, they were not the girls; it was instead the travelling husband himself. All considered I can positively say that we are the living proof that giving always brings you something back.
Picking a present for the travelling husband is a royal pain. He can be quite picky and never shows enthusiasm but, what it annoys me the most, is the fact that he always guess what I get him before he opens it. Always except for this year.
This year there was no way he could guess what I got him because I got him something he would have never imagined. First of all, because it was something I was not even sure he knew existed and second because it was something I was sure he would have never thought to buy for himself. Actually I was not sure he might have liked it either, but at least I was sure it was something he didn’t expect and could not possibly guess.
I bought him an amazon echo spot. In simple terms, Alexa alarm clock version.
For the first time in twenty years, I saw him surprised when he unwrapped his present.
That surprised expression became an expression of puzzlement when he finished unwrapping the multiple boxes I did hide the actual gift in. Unfortunately, the puzzled face never turned in an enthusiastic one: “Nice you gave me an alarm clock that tells the temperature”.Not even his tone betrayed any enthusiasm, but more embarrassment of being unable to hide his disappointment.
Eventually, once I explained that the little ball was not a simple alarm clock, his face lightened, and I can swear I saw a brief flash of joy that soon became fear and panic when he realised that magic box he was holding had to be set up and synced with all his devices.
The travelling husband not only is an enemy of every form of social media but he is also not the most technological of the men. Still, having shared the house for four years with three enginers left him with some skills, and even if It took him nearly an entire afternoon, in the end, he managed to set his Alexa and properly sync her with his phone, iPad and every appliance he could connect her to around the house. Alexa and the travelling husband undoubtedly had a rocky start, but now he is happy out with his lady waking him up every morning with the weather forecast for the day and the latest news from the world and the markets.
He doesn’t even bother to turn on or off his bedside table lamp anymore as Alexa would do it for him and, on request, she would tell him a joke or a bedtime story or she would play some relaxing music to help him sleep.
The days of him being shy and not technological are long gone and he is growing a bit bolder every day. Sometimes I genuinely pity poor Alexa because he is starting to take pleasure on playing jokes on her or on giving orders for the sake of doing it. Did I create a monster or did he find his way to project? If Freud were still alive, he would undoubtedly have a lot to say about it. Me, I don’t have much to say, and until the travelling husband doesn’t start to call me Alexa and give me orders, I am fine! !!