Book Excerpt: 'Stories From Candyland'

And, then, hiding in the attic is the really large gift-wrapping area, for the really large packages.

While my downstairs gift-wrapping room is festive, my attic gift-wrapping room is all business, with big boxes, industrial-strength wrapping paper, heavy-duty tape, wire cutters, postage scales, reams of paper with eight-hundred-foot rolls, a shrinkwrap machine, straw, and anything a UPS store would ever need. I have a little kitchen next to it, since once I start wrapping those big packages, I sometimes won't emerge for hours.

By the way, everything in the attic is neatly labeled, cataloged, and stored.

Hand-painted cachepots for orchids, card tables, fabrics for beach house, party favors, refrigerator shelves, drawer pulls, stuffed animals, mah-jongg supplies, hardware hinges, tori's sweet 16 seat cushions, monogrammed hangers, and roofing materials are some of the categories. Seriously.

It you want a sky blue Easter egg, I can point you right at it. Need a wreath that measures 16.6 inches? Miniature flowers? Custom glass for the lampposts at the bottom of the driveway? Plans for every inch of the house in 1/8-, ¼-, and ½-inche scale? It's all there.

Wait. I haven't accounted for all 17,000 square feet yet.

I also have a luggage section. I love luggage. There's every size, lots of different designers, various colors, and they all have special names. I remember while I was growing up my father had the "two-suiter" and "clothing bag." It's much more fun today. I've got too much luggage, I'll admit it. I always pack too much. And I still have more, in case I ever need eighty or ninety suitcases for a family vacation. As I said earlier, we borrowed suitcases from the set of Hotel earlier in our marriage when we traveled. I guess we went overboard after that series went off the air.

I'm very sentimental about everything in Tori and Randy's life. I guess that explains why I've kept almost everything of theirs.

Do you want to see what Randy wore for Halloween in 1982? Got it.

The beautiful mother-daughter taffeta dresses Tori and I wore? Got them, too.

The custom seat covers I had made for Tori's Sweet Sixteen party so the girls wouldn't have to sit on the hard rental chairs? Yup. Right near the luggage.

I can walk through the attic and remember the happy memories just by looking at the boxes. Yes, they're numbered and labeled, too, with a Polaroid picture of whatever's inside attached to every box. It's easier that way, in case Randy wants to see what he wore on his first day of kindergarten. He looked so cute in his little school uniform, with gray pants, a navy blazer, and a red tie. (Aw, come on, Randy, don't you want to see that outfit? Tori, do you remember all those beautiful frilly dresses by Florence Eisenman? I don't know if I can keep them when I move.)

I have quantities of spare gifts like you wouldn't believe. There are very high expectations for a "Spelling gift," and I always used to take the advice of the Boy Scouts to "be prepared."

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