Allie’s a bird lover. A big bird lover. No, not the Sesame Street one. I mean she loves birds. Always has, always will.
Her favorite by far is the puffin, a.k.a. the Clown of the Sea. As crazy a fan as I am of Captain America, she’s equally obsessed with puffins. Our house is full of puffin goodies from framed pictures to adorable puffin mugs to puffin statues to a puffin whistle!
We use that Puffin Bell every time one of us is sick. Instead of screaming for more chicken soup (which is hard to do when you have no voice), we just shake that little bell for service!
Personally, my favorite puffin item of hers is that wooden puffin whistle that really plays!
We have a number of mugs with puffin pics on them but this is by far the cutest!
Speaking of cold temperatures, I found this really cute puffin thermometer on Amazon just in time for the holidays too. I gave it to Allie as one of her Chanukah presents.
Heck, she spent an entire summer on Eastern Egg island in Maine for the Audubon Society’s Project Puffin, where she helped do research for the cute little guys! Iceland (a veritable Puffin Paradise) was seriously in contention for our honeymoon until we found out that puffin is a normal entree on most menus!
Oh, and there’s the time she got kicked out of an online puffin group because she basically called the group owner a murderer! (Which was true because this woman owned a stuffed dead puffin. Allie pointed out to her, that taxidermists wouldn’t just find a perfectly preserved specimen of a puffin naturally, they would have to hunt and kill the birds in order to stuff them. The husband of the owner actually emailed Allie telling her she’s out of the group and was to never contact his wife again.)
Yeah, my wife is puffin hardcore.
Before we were married it was so easy to buy her gifts. Just find anything (except bracelets, she hates wearing bracelets) with a puffin on it and I was golden. Except, well, I messed up. Big time.
See we had been dating a few years and headed out to San Francisco for a trip to visit my relatives. We spent some time with my Aunt Jean and Uncle Barry and super young cousins Maddy and Rachel. There was a lot of Play-Doh time apparently. I mean, a LOT.
But after visiting the family, Allie and I took a trip down the crazy-windy-but-breathtakingly-gorgeous scenic drive to Monterey and Carmel.
It was at the Monterey Bay Aquarium where it happened. On that one fateful day, destiny mocked me. She mocked me hard.
We had fun walking around the aquarium and ultimately made it to the gift shop. Sure there were all sorts of cute items for sale, including some puffin stuff. But… well…
I’m sorry. It’s still really hard to talk about.
Y’see, there in the gift shop, behind a glass case was… a puffin teapot.
Not a teapot with a puffin painted on it. I’m talking about a teapot in the shape of a puffin. It really was beautiful. It was adorable. It was… pretty darn expensive!
I don’t recall exactly how much but most likely a few hundred dollars. Heck, at that point in my life, even if it was $100, that would’ve been super expensive.
Allie, of course, saw it. And wanted it. And wanted me to buy it for her. And probably half expected me to really buy it.
And… yeah, you guessed it… I didn’t. I mean, she didn’t even like to drink tea back then!
So we didn’t buy it. We moved on. But before we left, she took a picture of it. And she still has the photo.
Here, take a look:
Know where she keeps it? Yep, in her nightstand right next to the bed. Every once in a while she’ll pull that photo out and rub my face in it demanding to know where her puffin teapot is. I’ll admit, ever since I have tried searching for it. I even called the Monterey Bay Aquarium years ago and they had no clue what I was talking about.
Maybe somebody out there will recognize it. Maybe someone knows of its current whereabouts. Or maybe it’s just a lost cause.
But just as Kevin Smith’s Silent Bob lamented the girl he let slip out of his life in Chasing Amy, I’ll never forget the puffin teapot that got away.