The General Manager
walked around The Dirt Company office yesterday afternoon handing out
long slim envelopes to everyone, like the Lord of the Manor passing out
Christmas sovereigns to the help. "Happy Holidays," he said,
beaming, and he handed me my envelope.
Inside: my Christmas
Or -- more accurately --
the dead check representing
my Christmas bonus. Since I'm signed up for automatic deposit, I'd
technically received my bonus at midnight the night before. (And you'd
better believe I was shivering in front of the computer at 5:27 a.m.
Friday morning, verifying that the bonus had landed in my checking
account, as promised).
I thanked him and
tucked the envelope into my purse. "The
bonuses have been bigger in previous years," the General Manager said,
apologetically. "Things were a little different this year."
"Hey," I said. "Usually
I get a jar of spaghetti sauce."
He thought I was
kidding, I'm sure. But it's true. This is the first *real* Christmas
bonus I've ever received, in my twenty-something years of
administrative assitude. I've received cookies and coffee mugs ...
fruit baskets and frozen turkeys ... grocery store coupons and gift
bags of Ultra Snooty Napa Valley Spaghetti Sauce. (Although last year
"Franz" gave the senior administrative staff members a Macy's gift
certificate, which you may recall I used to buy a wristwatch.) But this
is the first monetary
Christmas bonus I've ever gotten.
And I don't mind telling
you that I'm pretty darned happy about it.
David was excited, too,
and he immediately started yammering on and on about mutual funds and
utility stocks. He views unexpected financial windfalls like this as an
opportunity to save for our future. *I* of course, went in another
direction entirely. I opened that envelope on Friday morning and looked
at the numbers on the dead check -- it amounted to roughly half of one
of my regular paychecks -- and I said:
my digital camera.
extraordinarily kind to the
household this year -- especially that very naughty (and
generous) young Santa who lives in TicTac -- but the one Christmas
dream Santa wasn't able to fulfill this year was Secra's new camera.
was OK: Santa knows that a camera is one of those things that Secra, in
her infinite and annoying pickiness, would sort of prefer to choose for
herself, like underwear, or husbands, and he stuck to nice *safe*
presents, like fuzzy socks and Simon & Garfunkel CDs.
So now that I had this
unexpected lump of money sitting in my checking account, what was it
going to be: doing the smart, responsible thing? Or blowing the wad on
a groovy new toy?
What a delicious
Eventually I ended up
splitting the difference ... and
the Christmas bonus. I wrote a big check to my broker last night while
David looked on, beaming. And then I went online and placed an
for my camera. I had to scale back my expectations a bit -- I didn't
order the Ultra Super Deluxe *We Do All The Work (So You Won't Have
To)* model I had my eye on originally -- but it's a decent little
*beginner* camera and it will get the job done. (As long as my refrigerator
wind up on the Internet, I'll be happy.) There's still a little
money left over, too. I can chip away at the holiday credit card debt a
bit, maybe. Maybe replace my laptop battery finally, or swap out our
crappy broken phone for something that actually works.
Maybe pick up a Dummies book on digital photography, so I can at least
pretend to know what I'm doing.
Or maybe I'll just buy
myself a jar of Ultra Snooty Napa Valley Spaghetti Sauce.
throw a rock