The wife does not read this column. If she did, she'd know I'm hiding several cars throughout town. And the big box in the corner of the garage (the one with the old carpet on top of it) is full of assorted bits I've acquired for future projects.
Or maybe she does know and chooses to ignore the fact. That's either very sweet or very scary.
I know she hides clothing purchases. If I mention a new pair of shoes sitting in the closet, she'll say something like: "These things? Oh, they cost three dollars at Target... I've had them for years." Then she'll change the subject.
I've noticed everything she wears is quantified with a purchase price, like it's going to make me say: "Only three dollars? Gosh honey, you should have bought 10 pairs. It's not how much you spend, dear; it's how much you save."
There are tricks to camouflaging purchases from a significant other. My favorite is having them delivered to the office, so it helps to play nice with the guy in the mailroom. Every few months I bring Jorge, our mailroom guy, a bottle of his favorite hooch. That ensures deliveries are placed in a locked office, hidden from righteous eyes. Then I can dispose of the packaging and prep the product with an "age patina." A few scuff marks, some powdered graphite, and the stuff looks five years old.
Introducing it into the house is also critical. I bring it home in brown paper bags and place it in my studio as haphazardly as possible. The trick is to make it look like junk, or something you don't really care about. Let it lie there a few days. Do my best to ignore it while secretly lusting over its hidden goodness.
A few weeks ago I ordered a few goodies from an online retailer. Moments after I pressed the "pay now" button, I realized they'd be delivered to my home address. Changing the order would have caused a delay, so I figured I'd track its movements online and dash home once it got there. This has worked before and Lisa has been none the wiser.
The day arrives; I get the delivery notification on my Blackberry and head home. A long lunch will give me time to unwrap the goods and dispose of the packing materials. Damn, I am one smooth dude.
Turning into my neighborhood, I notice a silver Eurovan heading down the street. The blonde driving it looks a lot like Lisa, my Lisa. No matter what I do, we'll arrive home at the same time. My revised plan will be to simply ignore the box and busy myself with the pool filter. If she asks, I came home to fix the filter motor.
We reach the front door, exchange a quick, awkward kiss, and do our best to not notice the two boxes on the porch. One of them is way too big to contain the bits I bought.
I grab a hammer and a can of WD40 and start making loud noises by the filter room. I figure this will fake her out (like she knows hammers and aerosol lubricants will fix 50 amp motors). I whack away at an old coffee can and throw in a few curses for good measure. Just an average Joe fixing his pool filter, that's me.
I hear the water go on in the kitchen and some rattling under the sink. Good, she's busy, now's the chance to strike. I dash to the front door and grab my box. It's sitting there alone; its larger cousin is gone. I peek through the window and see water running in an empty kitchen. That's weird.
I chuck my package on a pile of garage detritus and split. This whole thing has left me somewhat shaken. I can't help but think the wife is far craftier than I ever imagined. Underneath that sweet, sexy exterior could be a master smuggler.
That evening, things are totally normal. As we sit down to a nice family dinner, I'm avoiding eye contact with Lisa and notice she's doing the same. We finish eating and leave the kids with the dishes. I hear her scamper upstairs as I bolt for the garage. I need to dispose of the packaging evidence. I'll shove it between old soda cartons. What a brilliant plan.
Inside the recycle bin I find a neatly tied bundle. Sandwiched between several Diet Coke cartons is the box from this morning. It has been "weaved" into other bits so it's nearly impossible to separate.
This chick is good.
The reality is that I don't really care what Lisa secreted into the house. If it makes her happy it's worth every penny. I contemplate telling her about the smoking deal I got on these awesome JE pistons.
That's probably not a good idea. Best leave this one be, a Détente of sorts. Let sleeping smugglers lie... or something like that. It's worked for the last 25 years.