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This isn't humorous, but true. Some of you gents who are considering giving the significant other the usual candy and flowers might consider another option.

You may remember that I had foot surgery almost three weeks ago. As a result, I had to stay off my feet as much as possible for the next week or so. As a result, my wife Barbara had to serve me meals in bed, bring me ice packs to reduce the swelling, and she even rubbed hand lotion into the skin after the cast came off, to reduce the dryness. In short, she was an angel and I wanted to let her know how much I appreciated it.

I decided that she needed a little pampering in her life. (Barbara is a self-employed carpenter who spends many long days alone in her shop, getting splinters in her hands and generally getting beat up from the wood and tools.)

So I went to Wal-Mart last night with a mission. I was going to buy whatever I could think of to make her feel relaxed and pampered. So I started with bubble bath, bath oil beads and sea salt body soak--all with various pleasant scents. Then I found a nice scented lotion to use after the bath. Then I picked up some scented candles, a small box of chocolates, and a nice card. Finally I located a wicker basket large enough to hold everything, and some colored moss to pad the basket with, and arranged everything nicely. The total cost was less than $50--less than a dozen roses, a box of chocolates and a card would have cost. (I wasn't trying to be cheap, but that's all it came out to--it doesn't have to be expensive.) It was my own version of Aromatherapy. I could have included a CD of classical music or ambient sounds (waterfalls, crickets, birds, waves crashing, etc.) to complete the sensory package, but I knew that we already had a number of them at home, so it was unnecessary.

Originally, I was going to hide the basket of goodies until Valentine's Day, but I realized on the way home that there was no way I could effectively hide the aroma the basket was exuding, so I decided to present my wife with it when I got home.

I had her close her eyes (I could see her sniffing already!) and handed her the basket. When she opened her eyes I could see the puzzlement. I explained that I wanted to express my appreciation for everything she had done for me since the surgery and indeed for as long as I had known her. I wanted her to feel as pampered as I had the last few weeks. The bath ingredients were so that she could soak peacefully in the tub to relax her tired muscles and soften her work-roughened skin. The scented candles were to mask the usual household smells and open her sinuses so she could breathe deeply and relieve her tension. The small box of chocolates (small so that she couldn't complain that she was going to get fat!) was to nibble on while she was soaking--the height of luxury. The scented lotion was to moisturize her skin and leave her with a pleasant reminder of of her brief absence from the "real world". Then I told her I loved her.

By the time I was done, there were tears in her eyes. After dinner, Barbara had a long soak bath, with lighted candles. When she emerged, she had a relaxed smile on her face and looked much more at peace with the world than she had before the bath.

Guys, we tend not to express our appreciation for our wives and girlfriends as often as we should. A small gesture like this one goes a long way to making them feel wanted, loved and appreciated. It's up to you. You can take the easy route, and buy the old standby candy and flowers, or you can take an hour (or less) out of your day and pick up a few inexpensive items that will show that you cared enough to go to the effort.

Plus, unlike flowers, this gift will last for weeks, if not months, and she'll think of you fondly each time she uses one of the products. It's the gift that keeps on giving (and receiving, as I found out later in the evening! <g>). Think about it, but don't wait too long--Valentine's Day is upon us.

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