Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: A throne for my wife |

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: A throne for my wife

What to give the girl who has everything?

This was my dilemma a few weeks ago, and once again I was determined to not fail in the category known as “Memorable Birthday Gifts” for wives to talk and brag about at the all-important cocktail party or Friday nights at their favorite bar-bitch session in Edwards.

I pledged myself to not disappoint.

I thought – and I thought long and hard – about what to surprise her with, and then it occurred to me, “Hey, dummy, why don’t you just ask her this time? Instead of trying to surprise her like you always do, just find out what she wants and actually get it for her.”

Nah, that’d be too easy.

So I tried to concentrate on her wants-needs-complaints of late, ignoring those involving personality traits of her husband and maturing issues (read: Xbox) of the 14-year-old we happen to share living space with for almost a decade and a half.


Too little.

Trip to Bora Bora?

Too much.


Too cliche.

And then it hit me. Our house is about 20 years old, and a few things (besides paint) are starting to show a little wear and tear on the inside, and one of her favorite complaints involves what I believe to be the most actively used piece of shiny decorative furniture in the entire house.

Usually found in the drawing room, or what some call the water closet, the porcelain privy goes by many names, including potty, cistern, can, crapper, commode, John or even loo if one is from Europe. Here in the good ol’ US of A we call it a toilet.

But either way, I thought, “Hey, what a surprise it’ll be. … She’ll love it!”

Sometimes I think I think too much.

So off to Home Depot I went, where I quickly asked Mr. Helpful Salesperson, “Show me the most expensive toilet you have!” (Of course, most expensive does not necessarily mean the highest quality, but hey, have any of you ever met my wife?).

With the help of the 14-year-old, we set it up in the garage after she fell asleep on her birthday eve, wrapped it with a with pink ribbon, highlighted with a pink bow, and completed with two brass numbers (2 and a 5) strategically placed with tape as the icing on the cake, so to speak.

I’ll let you guess the number order.

Anyway, the next morning came, and we led her out to the garage, blindfolded, and trust me when I say you wouldn’t believe the response.

OK, maybe you would.

Yes, I could have waited and surprised her with the shiny throne as an anniversary gift instead, given the obvious fact that we both partake in its usage, but sometimes a gift is just so good it refuses to wait, if you know what I mean.

Either way, it was indeed a memorable birthday gift, and one that will continue to give (or take, I suppose) for years to come, with my wife being repeatedly reminded of the sweet smell of romance forevermore.

I can’t wait to see what she gets me next time.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at

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