“Dad bought that TV we were going to get them!”
“Crap.” I sighed. “Who the heck buys themselves a present the week before Christmas?”
“Our Dad, apparently.”
My sister Karen is on the phone. Dad has been talking, since Thanksgiving, about the flatscreen TV he wants. He's described the size of the screen, the wall anchoring system, what the “HD” stands for, eventually drifting off into a description of the very first TV he ever saw, and finishing up with a prediction regarding facial pores and their future on the big screen.
We had assumed that all of this was a long, elaborate hint and had, in a series of sometimes obscene and occasionally misspelled e-mails between the three of us, agreed to split the cost.
Now, less than a week before Christmas, Dad’s gone ahead and bought a flatscreen TV.
In the same conversation, I have learned that our oft-repeated and never-brought-to-fruition resolution to have a drawing to see who-buys-for-whom has met an untimely end as well.
“So just go ahead and buy for everyone,” Karen says.
Nine people more people to buy for, not one? Why not, huh? I have until Friday!
“Get ‘em gift cards,” was the lunchroom response at work. Now, I’m not against gift cards, but do children really like them? We’ve produced nothing but boys in my family. Last year’s post-festivities clean-up unearthed three gift cards amongst the crumpled, discarded wrapping paper. I’ve a suspicion that the boys aren’t all fired up about future shopping trips given as a present.
Well, I’ve got a couple days to figure it out, anyway. Plenty of time to sign them up for tap or quilting or something.
As for the loss of the flatscreen TV as a gift for our parents, it seems we’re on our own.
I called my mother. "Dad bought a TV? A week before Christmas?"
She sighed. "He wouldn't shut up about it..."
"Yeah, but what do I do now? I thought it was a done deal."
"You know," she said, "He could use a nice shirt."
"A shirt? Instead of a TV?"
"A nice one."
"So would the wrinkle-free part of the shirt count as a gift for you?"
"It would, unless of course I have children who love me. If my children love me, however, the gift to me would be costume jewelry."
"Not expensive, but not plastic. A little on the heavy side."
"Something with a nice clasp."
So it is settled. We've gone from $170 or so for my parents' gift to maybe $70.
As Dad likes to say, you can tell someone from the family, but you can't tell 'em much.
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