Taking the long way!

'My darling', said I, waltzing into the living room, addressing its bald occupant.  He was splayed across the sofa and knocking back a gin and tonic and Gup Shup peanuts at a rather alarming pace. I checked the time - 11 AM.  "You just had breakfast an hour ago, and your third cup of tea twenty minutes ago!  When did you manage to get through all that right after?"  Appearing confused, he displayed his frustrating habit of answering my questions with a question, "What do the two have to do with each other? 11 AM G&T's are the best bubz."  I decided that there were worse vices in men than drinking appropriate amounts at all sorts of hours, and continued with what I had come to inform him.  "This year bubz, we are making the effort. No short cuts at festivals - we're going old school. Hand written notes and posting cards, home made goodies as gifts, creating our own little boxes and wrapping paper. I want people to feel the love! No one makes an effort anymore - and buying a gift is always less meaningful than receiving something a person has poured their heart and soul into!"  He paused in between a mouthful to take in my resolve, and said hesitantly, "Oh I don't know Bubz, this sounds like a lot of work.  I know you hate short cuts and SMS language, but it's such an effort. I mean...". I cut him off. " It's not a language, it's laziness and it's all related! We don't make an effort anymore, we are all in such a blazing rush that we can't even type out 'I love you', leave alone say it to the person. I mean what the hell is 'I luv u', it even looks ugly!" I paused to catch my breath, and before I could start off again, Sid hastily jumped in, "Fine fine bubz, effort it is then. If it means that much to you, of course...make away, I am sure everyone will love it...and I don't mean 'luv' it, I mean the real deal, the four letter word, L-O-V-E it."  I was touched. To get him to agree so quickly was an achievement, there were usually no short cuts involved when persuading Sid, and this had been quick and painless. In fact, a bit too quick and painless. I looked at him suspiciously, "Oh no you don't! I am not just going to "make away", WE are going to make it together.  What was all that hotel management and training in the kitchen for, if you are just going to waste it by sitting on the counter and swinging your legs while I make stuff".  He sighed and dragged himself up, "Alright then, but I'm going to need something stronger than a gin and tonic then." I stared daggers at him, "It's 11.15 AM now, how much more fortification is required at this hour?!" He pranced off to the bar, "I'll be done in a jiffy darling, something festive I'm thinking. I know! I'll make us caipirinhas, they're not too strong for the day, but strong enough to get us through whatever you have planned. I'll be with you in a tick my love!" I threw up my hands in despair and lunged towards the kitchen, determined that his procrastination would not hinder my efforts.

Fifteen minutes later I was happily ensconced in the midst of flour, eggs, mounds of cocoa, whiffs of
vanilla and almond extract putting me in a happy place.  Sid was still to arrive with the cocktails, but had made several appearances trying to take away the sugar, rushing down to buy mint, asking for the blender, arguing with Sarina because she had used some glasses from the bar to fill loose change in, and so on.  He finally came in, laden with our liquid sustenance and I had to admit, they were very good and did put one in an even more festive mood! After stirring some melting chocolate, poking an egg, sniffing a bowl, licking some left over batter, buttering a cake pan and feeding Molly some mint leaves and her own tail, he declared himself exhausted.  "You've been here exactly five minutes! How can you be exhausted?" He distracted me with a yelp, "Oh look bubz, your glass is empty. My, my aren't you a speedy little engine...chugged that one away, didn't you! Can't have that, I must make you some more". I calmly slid the empty glass towards him, "That's yours", and then pulled my rather full glass away from his fingers clenched around it, "And this beauty is mine. You finished yours two minutes ago and grabbed my glass".  He feigned amnesia but disappeared again muttering something about "sharing" and "doesn't matter who's glass it was but it should always be full, it's called being an optimist".

I continued through the afternoon, mounds of good stuff piled up along the counters and the dogs lucked out on lots of crumbs and some fallen bits and pieces. Sid emerged once in a while, but I found him a few hours later snoring in front of the television sandwiched between Mia and Molly. All their mouths looked a bit sticky around the edges.  Evidently Sid had been helping by doing some tasting, as I saw four cupcake liners drizzled along the coffee table. I was about to shake him awake, when I noticed sheets of craft paper scattered on the floor with paw marks all over them in red and blue.  He had decided to give the home-made wrapping paper a go and thought a pattern of paws would do well. It was rather sweet, though the pattern looked a bit crazed and erratic, the dogs having obviously rushed along the papers and chewed a few bits here and there. I decided he needed the rest and stole out to buy a few cards and note paper.

I returned a while later and after being almost run over by two monstrosities of fur, teeth, lethal tails and ghastly paws of red and blue, I managed to extricate myself to reach the refrigerator.  After pulling out a bottle of water, I noticed a post-it sticking on the door with a friendly scribble from Sid. "Bubz, gne 2 play baddy, mke me grilled cheez sandwchs pls. Luv u...cold coffe wl mk me luv u more. See u soon." At the end of the note he had crammed in a comical sketch of Molly drinking a gin and tonic and eating canapes.  I was very amused with the sketch, but the note itself made me cringe!  After packing all the stuff up, writing a few notes and then sending all the gifts off to their recipients, I sat down with a large glass of wine and turned on the television. Sid came in a few minutes later and exclaimed, "My god bubz, drinking again...seriously?!" I glared at him and he plopped down cheerfully next to me, "Just kidding! Give us a sip"  As he took a long swig, he asked " So how was your evening, what did you do?" I stared at him amazed, "I packed all the stuff I made, sent it out and sent a little note from 'us', though you had nothing whatsoever to do with any of it!"  He didn't seem to be paying attention, his eyes glazed over, "What do you mean all the stuff. Where's
my share...I can't believe you didn't save me any!"  I took off on a tirade with no pause which deflated him a bit and he sat looking quite depressed.  After ten minutes of making him feel bad, I slipped over to the fridge and pulled out a cake and handed it to him. "Here, I saved this for you".  He whooped in delight and started eating it straight from the bowl.  "Oh bubz, this is really nice...I get what you're saying now, making an effort does pay. This cake is so much sweeter because of all the love you put into it"!  I took another sip of my wine and said "Actually it's Betty Crocker, I knew you'd whine if I didn't leave anything for you, so I just popped this in the microwave before I left".  He was stunned, "Betty bloody Crocker. Everyone else gets all the effort and I get 5 minute cake out of a box". I patted him on the head and said, "Chill bubz, next year we'll just buy ready made stuff, I'm exhausted. Screw the effort!".  He smiled and said "Words of wisdom. There's the girl I know...let's drink to that!"


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