February 17, 2008

Valentines: a Love Story

I always want to blog about my brother, but he is very hard to catch in words. He’s such a unique individual. He is the only person on the planet who is more pragmatic than I am, and he was born with the MAGICAL ability to NOT CARE WHAT ANYONE THINKS. In the good way.

He has a sweet little streak of kind empathy running down his middle, so I do not mean he is CALLOUS, I mean, he is immune to peer pressure. He is probably the most genuine personI have ever known. Not only does he not care to keep up with the Joneses, he is utterly uninterested in even KNOWING what the Joneses are wearing/driving/doing this year. He does not follow fads or know fads are happening. He is not interested in impressing anyone, in any way. He likes people---he is sincerely interested in them, and people seem to feel that. He genuinely enjoys the drooly company of babies and old ladies. Almost everyone who meets him is drawn to him—he is very charismatic.

ON THE OTHER HAND. I imagine it must be difficult to be MARRIED to such a pragmatist. HE totally was down for crazy farm plan with me! He would like to grow a ZZ Top style beard so that he wouldn’t have to shave. He would like to let his wayward eyebrow hairs grow and grow and grow and float merrily ahead of him in the breeze as a sign of wisdom. He would be happy to live in fantasy pants and t-shirts and those old black farmhand shoes---clodhoppers. From boyhood on, he claimed that if he should ever own a home, he would concrete over his yard and paint it green, because MANICURED LAWNS had to be MOWN.

Anyway, SOMEHOW even though he is … refreshingly unique (read: weird) he managed to catch Julie, his wife. I feel the same sort of Divine Intervention took place in the capture of Julie as happened when I somehow managed to snag Scott. Julie is smart and a talented artist and tall and slim and blonde and gorgeous and dryly funny and stylish and SO nice. They are mad about each other, and she is one of the few people on earth whose opinions can sway his. AND she has the moral fortitude to quash my brother’s earnest pleas to vacate their lovely home in favor of a patch of meadow 50 miles from the closest gas station. A lesser woman would have found herself living in a log house by now with one pair of shoes and no TV.

ANYWAY, I spose she knew Valentine’s day was coming, and I spose she knew that Bobby thinks it is a Hallmark Card Invented Faux Holiday, so she decided to get HINTY with him…

It began when she sent him an email from work titled:

My office address, in case you want to send flowers…

The body of the email was her mailing addy at work.

He replied with QUINTESSENTIAL BOBBY-ESQUE silliness, and so she TATTLED on him. She forwarded this mail to me and his parents:

I will be sending you a notice that you can post. It will alert
readers to the fact that, in order to commemorate and honor his
relationship with you, the love of your life has used the money, that
might have otherwise been wasted on decaying plant genitals, to
provide meals for homeless and disabled persons. The notice can be
flower shaped if you prefer.

I started giggling, and I decided it was time to enter the fray. Pragmatic I may be, BUT COME FEB 14th. PLS SEND TULIPS. (which Scott did!!!!) SO the next day, a lovely bouquet of Gerber daisies and suchlike blossoms went to Julie’s office. Here is the card:


Julie IMMEDIATELY scanned it and sent it to my mom and dad AND CC’d my brother, with a note that read, in part, “Bobby! You have been shamed! Bob and Betty, at least you still have Joss to be proud of!” An hour or so later, Bobby responded:


Julie duly forwarded, and I shot back a note that said, “If you can get the kid for the same price as the flowers, go for it. He is about the right size for factory work.”

Lightning may strike me for that one…

That’s the last I heard, but I wonder if he DID make her that notice for Valentine’s Day. I wouldn’t put it past him. If he did – I bet it is intricate and flower shaped and quite lovely, because 1) he is a professional artist, and 2) silliness aside, he is just plain nuts about her.

I hope you spent this V-day with someone who is nuts about you, and if you did not, then I wish for you to find each other or find your way back to each other before next year.

Posted by joshilyn at February 17, 2008 4:45 PM

Great story!

Posted by: Jill at February 17, 2008 5:14 PM

Wonderful story! I have to say, when put like it was on the flowers vs. homeless child card, it's kinda hard to say no to the child. Still, she can always ask him that any time he wants to eat out or buy something that she disapproves of.

Posted by: Caryn at February 17, 2008 6:46 PM

Fabulous story!

My husband works retail every Thursday night. On his way out, he checks his voicemail, and then proceeds to TELL ME what it said. "Hey! Work said I don't have to come in!" Pause. Me: "you're going anyway, aren't you?" Him: ....

So I went to do laundry as his parents's house, from whom he apparently inherited his lack of romanticness, since they didn't mind at ALL that I did this. I tell them I am going to CLOCK their son for his insensitivity.

An hour later he comes home and surprises me, saying he just wanted to check with work to make sure it was okay since he hadn't called them back, and then he thanks his MOM for not telling me he was coming back! *jaw, meet floor* I apologize for my earlier comment, and his dad says, "You should still clock him. Want me to hold him down?"

See? Completely unromantic. :D

Posted by: Jess at February 17, 2008 8:47 PM

You are a great sister-in-law!! This is too funny!

Posted by: Heather at February 17, 2008 9:28 PM

Aww. I can't get my Valentine to understand the allure of flowers either. Maybe flowers are like scratching fingernails on a chalkboard to "practical" men? I dunno. I want pretty flowers. Good for you for sending them.

Posted by: aka nik at February 18, 2008 3:51 AM

We're so lame that we BOTH forgot Valentine's Day until the last second, and it's our anniversary too. :-(

Your brother sounds great, except for the wanting-to-grow-a-beard thing: they immediately absorb the smell of what you're eating (if not the fallen actual bits of food), thereby making the man completely unkissable until he's had a full beard wash n' dry.

Posted by: Brigitte at February 18, 2008 7:19 AM

Your family is FUN! And although we are very low-key about Valentine's Day, we do exchange cards and small gifts. It's much more important to me to love well and be loved well every day, so I don't care about the grand gesture so much.

As for flowers: I'm on the practical side, although I do like a few surprise flowers now and then. Valentine's Day 2002 I had a 2 1/2 month old newborn who'd been colicky and plagued by intestinal ailments for two months by that point. My husband gave me flowers. "I don't want FLOWERS!" I nearly cried. "Clean the house! That would be a great Valentine's present!" (Do I even need to explain the postpartum mess I was in?) It was over FIVE YEARS before he brought me flowers again.

Posted by: amy at February 18, 2008 8:42 AM

I heart your family, Joss. :-)

To Bobby: From one pragmatist to another, might I suggest a live, potted flowering plant for next Valentine's Day? (You can get potted spring bulbs like hyacinths or tulips, or shrubby things like hydrangeas.) It still looks all blooming and pretty and romantic, but in the spring it can be planted outside where it comes back year after year, putting lovely oxygen back into the atmosphere and reminding your true love of your gift every time she sees it. Just sayin'....

Now how about someone forward this to my husband, who didn't get me a potted plant OR decaying plant genitals OR a donation to the homeless!!! :-/

Posted by: DebR at February 18, 2008 8:59 AM

Oh, I love this post. I have been on an internet fast this weekend, and I cheated, stopping by here. So glad I did.

And your family is so charming...

Posted by: Lisa Milton at February 18, 2008 11:45 AM

Oh, that's fabulous!
I hope he gave to charity *and* bought flowers...

Posted by: diane at February 18, 2008 12:47 PM

I find flowers charming but less edible than chocolate, myself...

Posted by: Amy-Go at February 18, 2008 3:34 PM

i got four small golden monkeys. see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil and have no fun -- which around here stands for my blind-as-a-bat daughter, my other daughter (who we WISH would speak no evil), my deaf-boy husband and ME! How's that for romantic?

Posted by: dramamama at February 18, 2008 7:03 PM

Hmmm...your brother sounds very much like mine, who also experience his own divine intervention in the form of my new sister-in-law.

Oddly enough, we also have sort of a crazy farm plan.

Posted by: jessica at February 20, 2008 11:24 PM