Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Flowers & Vases

So, on Wednesday night Carl and I were watching TV during supper.  As I'm sure you've all noticed if you watch broadcast television at all, the commercials are running rampant as usual with Valentine's Day merchandise.  Everything from heartfelt cards and candy up to diamond pendants, engagement rings, necklaces and so on and so forth.

Tis the season of Love.  Carl and I became engaged to be married on February 14, 1977 when we were both nineteen years old.  Big decision for two kids barely dry behind the ears, but we haven't regretted it so far.  (Maybe I should speak for myself?)

Anyway, Carl is not big on the holiday commercialism.   He feels it's all a big guilt-trip to get people to prove their love by buying something they can't afford.  I agree with Carl.   We have a little tradition: when we're in a store together we both pick out the most gorgeous card and show it to each other.  "This is the one I choose for you.  Awwwww, thank you, I love it," and we smile and then put them back in the rack.  (Yes, we're both cheap, but what do you do with them after the holiday, anyway?)

I remember when I used to work in a big office how tense things would get on Valentine's Day.  In a department with seventy or so women, the competition was fierce.  Which lucky ladies would receive something from their sweethearts?

Calls would start coming in from the front desk early in the morning.

 "We have a package here for Trudy."

 And off Trudy would go, blushing and giggling to pick up her prize as the rest of the ladies sighed and exchanged glances.  In no time at all, Trudy would come sailing triumphantly back to her cubicle with the coveted bouquet of a dozen long-stemmed red roses held proudly in front of her.  Then we'd all gather round her desk and ooh and ahh over the beauty and thoughtfulness of her dear husband. Lucky Trudy, she's loved.

And as Valentine's Day wore on, more and more Trudy's would troop down to the front desk to claim their prizes as well.  Some bouquets had balloons attached, some had candy, oh, it was an exciting day!

And a bit catty, too....some ladies received carnations instead of roses...'Oh, well, how nice that he sent you carnations, but I prefer roses.' 

 'Oh, he sent you a single rose in a bud vase?  How thoughtful, he didn't want to burden you with a full dozen to carry home.'

 (Apparently the logic behind those types of comments were that roses cost more than carnations and a dozen was WAY better than one, so therefore the recipient was loved more?)   I was never sure what the deal was with that.

As the day wore on past lunch, those of us who hadn't received our prizes were getting a bit desperate.  One girl in our department ordered a dozen roses sent to her husband at work.  "If he won't send them to me, then I'll send 'em to him."

Another girl admitted to me that she ordered flowers for herself and had the florist sign her husband's name to the card.  "I can't have people thinking my husband doesn't care."

By 2PM, the calls from the front desk stopped coming in.  No more flowers.  Sigh.  If the flowers weren't there by quitting time, they weren't coming.  There were many long faces. (And I would hate to be their significant others later on that night.)

Many times there would be roses delivered on February 15; some poor guy thinking this would get him out of the dog house.  I wonder if it worked?  You know how some women can be, "If I have to tell you what I want, then you don't love me.  You should just KNOW!"  Yeah, right, he's a mind reader.  Maybe it's just me, but ladies, we have to use our words.  I know I don't enjoy guessing why someone is upset with me, do you? 

And, in case you're wondering, no, I wasn't one of the loved Trudy's trotting down to the front desk on Valentine's Day.  No deliveries for me.

 But I do receive a gift every year, and it's usually flowers, just not the kind an FTD florist would deliver.

Carl is a metal fabricator, so can you guess what I get?
Metal rosebuds.  They'll last a lifetime.
Yes, every year Carl comes up with flowers without fail.  Metal ones.  He makes them during his thirty minute lunch break at work.  He works on these projects for the first twenty minutes and then calls me to catch up on our day for the last ten minutes while he eats his lunch I packed him from home. 

I've got flowers made of copper, or bronze or aluminum or stainless steel.   The silver rose buds in the vase above are actually made from empty aluminum magic marker barrels.  (Did I ever tell you Carl has a 'bit' of a hoarding problem?)  He can see something in everything that most people throw away and I will admit, I do get crabby, ok, livid at times, about his refusal to part with junk, and then he goes and makes me roses out of it. How can I complain?  (Trust me, I still do carp about the junk more than I should...see, I learned how to use my words.  Carl doesn't have to be a mind reader to know how I feel about piles o' stuff.  Now he hides them a little better.)

 The bigger rosebud is made out of hammered carbon steel and heated up to darken the color. 

He's made me carnations:
And lilies, too:
Lots of detail, lots of lunch hours
He's made me so many flowers over the years that the vase he made is getting too small to hold them.

Which brings me back to February 13 and the two of us sitting at the supper table watching the high-priced commercials.  I yawned and said, "Well, another busy day for the florist's delivery trucks tomorrow.  Heaven help the menfolk who forget the 14th!"

"I was wondering when you were going to say something about what I got you for Valentine's Day," Carl said. "It's been in plain sight for two weeks and you haven't said anything about it."

"What are you talking about?  I haven't seen anything...wait, did you add a flower to the vase?" I asked.  "I was thinking I'll have to get another vase soon."

"No, not this year.  You'll just have to wait and see tomorrow, I guess," he grinned.

So this morning when I was on my way to the garage to go to exercise class, I came face to face with my Valentine's gift this year.  
Now, that's a Big Vase!
I stood there in my snow boots with my workout shoes dangling from my hands, staring at my gift.  (And blinking back tears...I know how many hours he puts into these creations.)    When he called me on his lunch break, I thanked him and asked him where he came up with this idea.  He said he saw the scrap stainless pieces from a tank job the shop had lying in the hopper and decided to put them to good use.  A few months ago he was drawing up a plan for something on his computer and when I got nosy he told me to 'never mind'.  I was curious, but let it go.  Carl's always dreaming up stuff.  As it turns out, this vase sculpture was what he was designing.

There's Carl, and no, he's not thrilled about standing in the snow this afternoon, but he obliged me by posing. 
Carl thought about filling it with small stones, and having this be a vase-shaped gabion.
Not a bad idea, or I'm thinking it will make a great trellis for climbing vines.

We'll come up with some idea or other.  Carl said he has enough scrap to make another one.  A pair would be really neat.  Maybe for next Valentine's Day?  (Oh, and by the way, he had hidden the gift behind a cedar tree.)

And what, you may ask, do I get Carl for V-Day?  Well.....not much.  I usually make him his favorite meal.  (Hamburgers.)  Yes, that's right, Carl goes through hours of work to make me a homemade present and I give him hamburgers.  Oh, and I am waiting for a white cake to cool and I'm going to drizzle it with raspberries and cream cheese frosting.  The way to my man's heart is through his stomach.

I hope you all have a wonderful day full of love and laughter, too.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Junebug said...

Oh my Lord!!! You have a keeper in that Carl! Actually you two are so blessed to have each other!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Heather said...

You are indeed truly blessed by your husband's love, what a sweet story... as for the "competition", isn't it true though, some women have a hissy fit if hubby forgets birthday, anniversary, Valentines day... not me... my husband asks me what he should buy me, I usually decline anything, preferring instead he help me with this, that or the other thing... I am not a high maintenance girl so to speak... not a big celebrator of these kinds of events, I too believe certain holidays are waaaaay too commercialized and therefore the whole meaning of the occasion is lost! Made with obligation instead of true heart! So, I am with you! Thank you for visiting my blog and your kind comments. Cheers~

Heather said...

Oh, and amazing vase BTW, I would be filling it with real live planted flowers growing from all would be awesome!

Alison said...

What a treasure your man Carl is! Talented and thoughtful. I'd take one of those metal flowers over a whole bushel of real roses any day.

That vase is awesome! I'd fill it with rocks and make a gabion. You can still use it as a trellis, even if it's filled with rocks.

africanaussie said...

Oh that vase is awesome - I don't think it needs anything. Those flowers every year too - my gosh you are very blessed. My hubby made me a lovely dinner. I don't like "hallmark holidays" and the flowers bought on Valentines day never last. (yours are perfect) Funny we do the same things with cards, but now I love e-cards.

Cindy in FW said...

Those flowers are exactly what I would want. My sweetie says he is going to buy me a welder. (I have a friend who told everyone she got a Lincoln 《welder》for Christmas. Seems the husband makes her treasures much like yours.) Maybe Carl can teach me how to weld on our next visit. BTW - I have an idea he can make for next year. I will find the link.

Happy Valentine's and engagement anniversary!

HolleyGarden said...

Oh, my gosh! I LOVE your metal flowers! So beautiful! So unique! SOOOO much better than real ones! And your vase is wonderful! I like your idea of growing vines up it. I also like your tradition of showing the card to each other, then putting it back! haha We went out to lunch, then to a movie. But I do have a story: My mother used to go pick out her own jewelry (for any occasion), have it gift wrapped, then tell my dad that he needed to go write the check! He never knew what he was "getting" her until she opened it!

Pamela Gordon said...

My goodness Karen, Carl is an amazing man to make all these beautiful metal crafts for you. They are beautiful! And they will indeed last a lifetime. The vase would be gorgeous with vines blooming all over it in summer. What an attractive feature for your garden! Happy Valentine Day to you both!

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

I was engaged at 18 y/o in 1976!! and married in 78' at 20 years old. Joe was almost 24 y/o when we married!! Thanks for stopping by and I entered you in the giveaway!!


El Gaucho said...

You have some great stories and you and Carl are truly what Valentine's Day are about. It's not about spending $100 on long stemmed roses that are imported from South America (since roses don't grow too well here in February), but a thoughtful handmade gift made with love. And those metal flowers? Wow, very cool, what ornate detail.

Lona said...

Oh how wonderful Karen! I love your Valentine vase. Those are gifts that last forever and are constant reminders when you see them. I cannot wait to see what you do with your beautiful vase this summer.

Lana said...

My heart is in my throat. Those metal sculpted flowers are truly priceless. A gift from the heart that will never die. And I think part of your gift to him is sharing his talents with all of us who are blown away by it.

Love is in the air and in the metal!


Betsy said...

What beautiful sculptures. I have never seen anything like the vase or the sculpture flowers. WOW!

mudderbear said...

Oh, that vase warms my heart. It's so beautiful and unique. Your husband is wonderful and so are you for being so loving for him. That's what counts when you're in love. It's a great way to show your devotion.

Zoey said...

Now, that is what I call on romantic husband! You two seem to have a very loving relationship.

I can't wait to see what you decide to do with it this summer.

Sandy said...

Metal Flowers, who would think of
that? I'll tell you, I'd rather
have the metal flowers because your
Mr. put his heart into making them
rather than calling a florest! You are truly blessed and can look back to each and every date they were
made.. Shame he could not have had
them delivered at least once to your
work... I know the feeling.
Lovely Story

Lisa Sall - Sall's Country Life said...

You two were made for each other! Loved your Valentine post! May cupid keep the iron pile full so Carl can continue to show his true love to his one and only!!