I’m not sure what to call this post-Christmas communication. “Debrief” sounds like we’ve just smuggled a defector out of Beijing. “Report” makes me want to write about reindeer with a No. 2 pencil in a Big Chief notebook. “Summary” is something that you deliver once you close the quarterly books, and “After Action Report” implies that we’ve just overrun a Nazi battalion in some unfortunate Belgian village.

How about “Reckoning”?

While this holiday launched a few more challenges at my people than we generally see, we managed fine. We all came out of it alive, with our health no worse than when we started, and loving each other as much as we did on December 24. That said, I feel obliged to settle the score regarding my wife’s Christmas gift. I of course refer to replacing the squatty wooden chair that I destroyed a few weeks ago, as if I were a Grimm’s fairy tale character with three teeth and a size 96 chest.

I received a lot of comments about trying to repair her old chair, since it was so charming, and any other chair I could find must suck in comparison. I admitted that might be true. My wife accepted it too, and she hinted that she expected a plain, utilitarian chair. In fact, those exact words might have come out of her mouth. But I judged the old chair to be as thoroughly obliterated as Lot’s wife and thus beyond repair, so I went chair shopping.

I stalked a new chair, killed it, brought it home, and wrapped it. I think I did a nice job of supporting the fiction that a wrapped chair should be unidentifiable as a chair. I also think that my wrapping job managed my wife’s expectations down to the lowest common denominator, as you can see here:

Which holiday package contains a squatty wooden chair?

Festive, right?

My wife unwrapped the thing after five minutes of work with a sharp knife and some other implements that might have included a spatula. She saw that the disinterred new chair differs from her crushed squatty wooden chair in several respects. The seat is an inch and a half higher. The whole chair is two shades darker. The new chair is not held together with strategic bungee cord structural supports, and the new chair has a blue shirt hanging over the back of it:

On the left, the old squatty wooden chair. On the right, its successor.

My wife smiled, kissed me, and made other positive overtures, which leads me to think I’ve done well and needn’t fear being eaten by wolves.

By the way, my wife gave me a stellar gift. She knitted me a scarf, patterned after one she screwed up in a neat and creative way a few years ago. But she made this one in manly colors, so I can wear it without fear of testosterone depletion. Here it is modeled by Lola, our articulated artist’s mannequin that sits behind our bar, a gift from my sister some years ago:

I'm only a little threatened that Lola looks more butch than me wearing this scarf.

And speaking of my lovely sister the artist, she painted a fantastic painting for us. You can see it here both with and without cat, just to give you a sense of proportion:

Painting with cat
Painting without cat
So the Reckoning is made, and the holiday season moves into the cherished past. It’s time for New Year’s resolutions, something I’ve never been good at. I can only think of one right now. I resolve to keep my huge ass off the new squatty wooden chair.