Tuesday, November 26
After another long day at work, Landon found himself standing in the aisle of a store, staring at the variety of programmable kitchen timers hanging on the wall. He glanced at his cell phone screen to try and match the picture to the physical choices.
"Sorry, darling, but I'm not buying five separate times," Landon said to the phone. He cleared the text and shoved the phone in a pocket.
"Can I help you, sir?" a friendly male employee asked, stepping over with a bright smile.
"I need a programmable timer for at least 10 hours and over five different timers with recall for my partner. He's in charge of dinner," Landon said. "He wanted me to buy five different ones, but no, I'm simplifying this process."
"Okay. We have several choices. How much do you want to spend?"
"What's the range?"
"They go anywhere from twenty dollars to over a hundred."
"Over a hundred dollars for a timer, are they crazy?"
"They're the high-end ones made for commercial kitchens or professional chefs."
"How about mid-range?"
"I would recommend one these for you." The employee picked up two different boxes. "This one is an 8-in-1 programmable timer with memory recall and several more options. This one is portable 4-in-1 timer, also programmable, and a little cheaper, but you'll need two of them."
"Which one is more popular?"
"The 8-in-1 is more efficient and popular."
"I'll go with it."
"Good choice. Good luck."
"Thanks, I'll need it to stay sane this holiday."
After paying for the timer, Landon made it home, grumbling as a light dusting of snowflakes started to fall. He opened the door, stepped inside, and went through the hanging ritual. He stopped short and backed several steps and stared. He blinked several times. The image didn't change.
"What? What happened? Are you okay?" Max said, running out of the kitchen, half covered in an apron, a towel in his hands.
Landon pointed a finger at the mountain of bags on the sofa. "What is this?"
"Those are new decorations and supplies for Thursday. I realized we have nothing to decorate for the fall, harvest, or Thanksgiving. We have Halloween and Christmas galore, but not for this one. I didn't want to have an empty decorated home. I went out and found all these wonderful things on sale," Max said with a grin.
"Yup. I need you to put them up. I got those cool new removable hangers to stick on the walls."
"Why did you get decorations?"
"We needed them."
Landon slapped a palm to his face and dragged it down. "Max, this is going a little overboard."
"No, it isn't. We decorate all the other seasons and holidays. Now we need this for Thanksgiving and the fall season."
"Don't go crazy and purchase a new set of china or dishes."
"No. No. I'm using the ones we have."
"Good. We can't afford new dishes."
"I know, silly, these were all on sale at the party store. Did you get my timers?"
"I got one."
"What? No. I need at least five."
"Relax. It has eight different settings." Landon held out the bag.
"All in one timer. Oooh." Max reached in and pulled out the box, sitting on the sofa to open and check it out.
Rolling his eyes, Landon shoved a hand through his hair. "I'm going upstairs to change. Lay out where you want me to hang the stuff."
"I designed everything on paper."
"Of course you did," Landon said with a groan as he disappeared upstairs.
Taking fifteen minutes upstairs, Landon returned downstairs. He saw the numerous plastic bags holding decorations spread across the length of the sofa and coffee table along with a pile of hangers.
"Come over here for dinner. I made Monte Cristos, sweet potato fries, and a salad," Max called from the kitchen, able to see him thanks to the open floor-plan.
"Those are my favorite."
"Of course I know, silly."
"We didn't buy the ingredients on Sunday."
"No. We didn't, but I brought them anyway. I wanted to do something special for you," Max said. "Come and eat."
Walking over, Landon snatched Max in his arms and kissed him hard. "I love you," he whispered against his lips.
"Love you too." Max pressed several more kisses against his lips. He pinched Landon on the ass and pushed him toward the kitchen table set for two.
Finishing the unexpected, delicious meal, Landon moved to help clean, but Max waved him away. He pulled a piece of paper from an apron pocket and held it out.
"This is what I want to go where. I pulled out the stepstool for you," Max said.
Landon opened the paper and stared at everything. "This is only for downstairs, right?"
"Everywhere, but the kitchen. I have towels, potholders, and a few magnets."
"Okay. I'll do my best."
"I know. Put on the TV or use the docking station and have fun."
Silent, Landon pulled out his phone, plugged it into the dock, and selected one of his multiple playlists he saved. Moving his hips to the music, Landon headed to the sofa, stared at the precise directions and design, and the various decorations. He selected several bags and the coordinated hangers. He opened all of them, taking them to the position Max wanted, measured, marked, and stuck the hangers in place.
Giving those hangers time to stick in place, he decided to gather the rest of the hangers and design and positioned them first. He returned to the first set, he position the trio of wreaths and leaves. Various fans, paper lanterns, and leaves were hung from the ceilings, chandeliers, and archways.
He positioned several groupings of pumpkins, leaves, gourds, and candles on every available surface. He pressed several sets of harvest gel clings to the windows. Stepping back, amazed at the amount of stuff he added to the room, and saw several more things on the coffee table. As he looked through, he noticed they all went on the table. Scooping up everything, he carried it to the table and dropped them.
"Hey, how's it going?" Max left the kitchen and moved to his side.
Landon pointed his thumb over his shoulder. Max turned, his jaw dropped, and his eyes widened with surprise and delight. At the moment, all the hours of hard work disappeared at the sight of his pleased partner. Landon grinned as he watched Max.
"It's even better than I thought. Oh, you did it perfect." Max spun and clung to Landon. "This is going to be the best holiday."
"Yeah, I'm sure it'll be perfect. Do you want to help me set the table tonight?"
"Let's wait for tomorrow so everything stays nice. It's late and you have work tomorrow."
"For half a day, yeah, but I'll be home after one."
"Fabulous. We'll finish the decorations and preparations. I'll prepare whatever dishes I can ahead of time to a certain point. The turkey is defrosting nicely."
"What do we do now?"
(TO BE CONTINUED)