Part One

1 February
I have to laugh when I open my eyes this morning. I had kept them closed when I felt the imp climb up on my chest. She pinched my nose to make me wake up so I took a deep breath and held it until she stuck a finger in my mouth. I was waiting for that finger. I grabbed her and rolled over and tickled her until she begged for mercy.

It is February and in our house February is *chocolate* month. It's not as if she doesn't get enough chocolate throughout the year but this is Valentine's month and somehow Sar and chocolate and Cupid and Valentine's Day all sort of go together. It never crosses my mind not to indulge her. She doesn't eat quite as much chocolate as she would have you believe but she does eat a bit of it every day. She can afford it - she's slender and burns calories faster than most people.

I keep forgetting to ask the docs to test her for tapeworms.

When we come back down to earth, Sar starts the conversation off with predictable words. Do you know what day it is she says.

Uh huh I say and try not to laugh because she's serious. Food is a serious subject for my wife and chocolate is a *very* serious subject.

And what are we having for breakfast she says next.

I suggest chocolate pancakes and she smiles and kisses me. One of the few breakfast concoctions I'm good at is pancakes and adding chocolate to the fixings is easy enough. I make a few stacks while she makes coffee. In honor of February she tells me she's added Belgium chocolate chips to the coffee beans. It's a good thing I love this woman cause I prefer my coffee strong and black.

We take the rott and mastiff for a long run about mid day and when we stop for a breather Sar says she's not sure she can make it back home without some nourishment. This is my cue because it's February. I ask if this will help when I dig into my pocket and come up with a butterfinger bar. She says is that all when she eats it. I come up with another one and she eats that one too. I'd like to mention that she didn't offer to share them with me. I split 2 king size granola bars with the dogs.

When we get home there is a package in front of the door. It's from David. He sent her a 5 pound box of chocolate turtles. She has played so many tricks on David that she makes me eat a couple at random to make sure they're not tampered with. When she sees that I haven't keeled over she has a few to "stave off the hunger pains till lunch" which is less than an hour away. You might think February is a short month but trust me when I say it's a very long one.

2 February
I leave Hershey kisses on the pillow when I leave this morning. Sar is still asleep and I have an early appointment. I left the coffeepot on and put a chocolate nougat stick in her coffee mug and set it by the coffeepot. There is a note attached that will make her blush.

She calls my cell about an hour later. I am at the gym and decide this is a good time to take a break. As soon as I say hello, she tells me what she has planned for the rest of our day. It is only 2 February - not sure I'm going to have enough strength to make it through the rest of the month.

3 February
We sleep in this morning. I don't report back to work for a couple more weeks and am taking advantage of late weekday mornings with my sweet wife. Waking up with her in my arms is a necessity. And at the end of the day I expect to fall asleep with her in my arms. It is important to me that I touch her and I touch her often even when we sleep.

The phone rings early and it is David telling us to rise and shine. The man has always had a poor sense of timing. He will be stopping by later and wants to know what Sar is cooking for lunch. I ask her and half asleep she tells him he can take us out.

I wake her completely in an age old way. If I live to be 100 I will never get enough of her. She teases me in the shower and I give her tush a swat to remind her that David will be here soon. This does not deter the imp. I have no choice but to play her game or she will embarrass me later. After a bit more play I have her wrapped in my arms with a big towel around her and I'm using the end of it to dry her hair. In between that and some quality cuddling, I'm tickling her. I love lazy mornings with her.

David takes us to a favorite fish house that looks out over Lake Washington. The view is spectacular and we are enjoying the rich tasting meal of all you can eat prawns and Dungeness crab. David is preoccupied teasing Sar and she is smiling at his jokes but stealing all his prawns. He doesn't notice. I move my plate a little ways from her wandering hands. I like prawns. When the dessert tray comes around Sar points to the lemon cheesecake and the chocolate mousse pie. The waitress asks which one. Sar takes both of them. David and I are used to this and choose a dessert for ourselves. No, she didn't offer to share but she didn't make a fuss when we helped ourselves to a bite of hers.

Later we took a long leisurely walk around the edge of the lake where David did his best to embarrass the imp by begging her to be his Valentine loud enough for everyone to hear. She finally had enough and threatened to smack him if he didn't behave. This only encouraged the jarhead. She falls asleep in the car on the way home and David tells me what a lucky son of a gun I am. I look at the imp asleep with her head on my chest and I agree.

4 February
There is a big red heart shaped box at my plate this morning. Sar gestures for me to sit down and then leans over my shoulder while I open it. There's a pair of black silk boxers that have hearts all over them and when I pick them up for a closer look, I spy the heart shaped red thong that is imp sized. Sar suggests we wear them when we go out this evening. I am taking her to a supper club where we will make love on the dance floor in front of the patrons. We are going to dance the dance of love. We are going to tango. Knowing she is wearing a red lacy thong under her dress-- we may have to cut the evening short.

I have errands to take care of and Sar wants to work on an art quilt that she has been commissioned to make for the tsunami relief fund. It is shaping up to be a magnificent piece of wall art and will be auctioned by a major corporation here. The company will match the winning bid. If it brings in $10,000, they will add an additional $10,000 to the fund. Sar is gifted in this field and I feel certain the quilt will bring in a large amount of money. When I come home she is napping and I am pleased. She will be well rested for the evening ahead. I lay down beside her to hold her for a while. This helps me relax and I spend a few minutes watching her sleep. She smiles when she opens her eyes. It is a wondrous thing to hear your wife of over 20 years tell you that you are the best thing she's seen all day.

She asks if I have a preference for which dress she will wear tonight. I pull her onto my lap and hand her the box I hid under the bed. To the day I die I will cherish the look on her face every time I give her a gift and one that is unexpected. She is careful with the wrapping paper which makes me laugh. I tell her we do not have to save it but she folds it carefully anyway. I do not know what she does with it but by now she must have boxes of it stored away. When I ask her she smiles and says *memories*.

The inside wrapping paper is pushed aside and she holds up the dress I bought for her. I like to buy *tango* dresses for her. The sales clerk said the color is called steel gray and is *piped* with a wine velvet trim that goes down the side of the dress. It is also on the bottom of the dress. *Piped* is an odd word for a dress but since the sales clerk had blue hair, I know better than to argue with her.

Sar is happy with my choice and wants to try it on but I tell her it is too early and there is more in the box. She finds the chocolate covered cherries and we share one and then her fingers find the new ribbons I have bought for her hair. They will go in the small basket that sits on the side of the bathtub and I pick one to hold her hair up off her neck. We will share more chocolates and a bath before we go out this evening.


~ End Part One ~

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