But when he calls from the store for Mother's Day suggestions, I cannot convince him this is a good idea.
He thinks he's being set up.
"Oh no," he says. "You've probably got your blog all queued up just waiting for me to walk in the door with a vacuum cleaner."
"Come on," I say. "You'll probably get a cojones discount."
"How about a video camera?" he says. "Or a device that will turn the old video movies into dvds?"
"We really need a new vacuum cleaner," I say.
But he doesn't trust me. He has this paranoid idea, based on nothing more than experience, that we are competing: If he can manage, against all odds, to produce a Mother's Day Experience that conforms to all traditional expectations, he wins. If I can get him to fuck up by, say, getting up early and making breakfast or cleaning the bathroom or in some small way making the day about the children (Who wants ice cream?) then I win.
He is on guard from the moment he wakes up and catches me cleaning the bathroom.
The old vacuum cleaner has been acting up for months. What could be more convenient? He is already at the appliance store.
"Be a man," I say. "Besides, I already have everything I need."
"Right," he says. He smells a trap and comes home to take me out to lunch.
"Anywhere you want to go," he says.
From the back seat, the kids spot the yellow arches. "McDonald's!" they say.
"Fine by me," I say.
"No way," he says.
He drives around for a long time until he finds the kind of restaurant where you can drink white wine over a big salad while sitting on the patio listening to music by Alanis Morissette and Sting.
It is very nice. But I am relentless on the subject of vacuum cleaners. I make another round of appeals to his masculinity. Then I say, "it's not like Valentine's Day. And I am not your mother. It really falls on the children at this age."
I do not meet his eyes when I say this. I am so close.
But after five minutes of trying to compare vacuum features, I am too bored to continue.
"Let's leave," I say. Vacuuming can wait. It's Mother's Day. "Who wants ice cream?"
Mother's Day 2008: All over but the vacuuming