I did have good intentions. Sunday afternoon I ducked down to Ballantynes in search of a small but perfectly formed gift for Mr T. I forgot the department store was 'on sale', a staged event over three days. The ground floor, where I had hoped to find the perfect thing, was swarming - bargain hunters jostling at specially erected trestle tables brimming with stuff.
It never ceases to amaze me just how alluring thoughtful merchandising and display can be. Of course, the opposite is equally true. Even the loveliest items look shambolic and cheap heaped on tables, and let's not talk about the behaviour of generally decent people unhinged by the prospect of a discount.
I did notice men's fragrances were, on average, $30 - $50 below retail but it was bedlam! As it was over in men's accessories, and menswear in general. Not even a box set of hankies and golf tees survived the snatch 'n grab fest.
I did not venture upstairs to Contemporary Lounge, where the cool(er) stuff is. Firstly, I just couldn't bear it any longer and secondly, I knew full well there would be no Valentine's Day gift from Mr T to me, and I would so hate to embarrass him with a really expensive gift.
So I left the city with one skirt and two long-sleeved tee-shirts for the children (something each), three glass tumblers to replace the three that succumbed during one of the larger aftershocks, and a little something from Eve Lom for me. I was also feeling somewhat resplendent after a skincare demonstration and a triple shot flat white.
On Monday, Valentine's Day, I changed tack and decided to visit the florist after taking the girls to school. The traffic was heavy, the lights were in my favour, so I took the right-hand turn just before the florist. I could easily walk back to select an arrangement of fresh, cut summer flowers. No roses though; just a selection of red hues to honour the day. Or so I thought.
By 1.30pm the boy-child was down for his afternoon nap and I started leafing through my small collection of cookbooks. My new resolve was to make individual sticky date puddings in the ubiquitous heart-shape with lashings of butterscotch toffee sauce.
Just before 3pm (school pick-up) I raced into Taste, a local deli, and seized the first red heart-shape treat I could see. By 3.45pm I noticed the treat's chocolate swirls had melted in the car's glove-box while we were in the library squabbling over how many books a six-year-old could actually read in the allotted three weeks.
At 4pm I dashed into The Cupcake Collection, a divine little shop even closer to home, to snaffle whatever was left. I found this.
Forgive the reflective wrapping, but I did want Mr T to see it was a personalised Valentine's treat, not one of four (or more), the rest of which I had polished off during the course of the day.
Having learned my lesson, I put the "Mwah" cookie in the fridge both to hide it and to prevent the icing from sliding off the biscuit base in the afternoon heat. Whereupon I rediscovered it at 10pm, and offered tea and a biscuit, feeling fully 61 instead of 41.
On reflection, my Valentine's Day planning and implementation could have been better. Or maybe I should resist it altogether. I mean, is it really for married couples? We already know how we feel about each other - no outing necessary, surely?
There was one, truly memorable Valentine's Day though. Just after midnight, a song was dedicated to me on the local radio station. (There were several clues that it was intended for me, not least of which my first and last names). The dedication was from You Know Who and the song was Madonna's Crazy for You. It was 1987, I was seventeen and bursting into tears was my heartfelt response. Later that same Valentine's Day, there was a message in the local paper's Valentine's Day personals column. Again it was clearly to me: this time signed, Your Dashing Young Man. Shrieks!
To this day I have absolutely no idea who sent those Valentine's missives, which might be taking the original spirit of it a little far. At some point a reveal is expected, don't you think? Although I suspect the answer(s) must have been right under my nose. If only I hadn't been so caught up in the drama of it all, I might have worked it out. Unfortunately, the trail is well cold.
Happy Valentine's Day.