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Sunday, December 9, 2012

There Should be Rules; or Dad'll Get a Tie and He'll Like It


“He what?”

“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 three weeks before Christmas, Dad’s gone ahead and bought a flatscreen TV.

I call my mother. "Dad bought a TV? A week before Christmas?"

She sighs. "He wouldn't shut up about it..."

"Yeah, but what do I do now? I thought it was a done deal."

"You know," she says, "He could use a nice shirt."

"A shirt? Instead of a TV?"

"A nice one."

"OK."

"Button-down."

"Sure."

"And wrinkle-free."

"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 will be costume jewelry."

"Jewelry."

"Nice jewelry."

"OK."

"Not expensive, but not plastic. A little on the heavy side."

"Heavy."

"Something with a nice clasp."

"Gotcha."

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.

33 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

So frustrating.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

So Cool, and so right on! That's Christmas in a nutshell--along with the nuts.
Merry Christmas, Pearl!

TexWisGirl said...

i could hear your scream from texas! :)

terlee said...

My mother used to do this every birthday and Christmas! She'd go on and on about something, we (three sibs) would agree to pool the funds, then just before the event, she would get it for herself!

I can't tell you how many presents over the years we've had to return, then run around like crazy people trying to find her a new gift at the last minute.

Douglas said...

Adversity offers opportunity... Think Blu-Ray player or surround sound system. Or a game system.

Or a tie and some Old Spice.

Linda Myers said...

At least you hadn't shopped for them yet. Nothing like lugging a TV back to the store for a return.

Sioux said...

Or some DVDs that will look especially looming on a big screen. You know...long-legged boobage for Pops...

jenny_o said...

Hopefully Mom doesn't go out and buy herself that nice jewelry too ... but if she does, then it's time to get a gift certificate to a nice restaurant for both of them and call it done, guilt-free. Sometimes parents just bring these things on themselves, by, you know, having kids in the first place :)

Mitchell is Moving said...

Oh, I don't know. You may want to rethink the price of that costume jewelry. My mother bought herself an "imposter" necklace a few years back for $300 -- and hers was very much on the light side (but maybe heavy is cheaper). Can't believe your father!

vanilla said...

A genetic proclivity to hard-headedness?

fishducky said...

That would drive me up the wall!!

NotesFromAbroad said...

This sounds like my husband .. he says he needs nothing but the week before Christmas, after I have finally figured out what to get for him, he will go out and buy one for himself. He has done this with clothing, shoes and televisions.
Now, I take him shopping with me .. or give him wine. That man is always happy with a nice bottle of wine. I got a good one :)

My step-dad gave my mother a set of steak knives for her birthday one year ... and we wonder why they are divorced ?

Joanne Noragon said...

Such a typical family, asking mom what dad wants for Christmas. It can't be any other way, can it.

Perpetua said...

What makes them DO this, Pearl? I feel your pain from here. No-one can have too many shirts, but I'm with Mitchell in thinking that even costume jewellery is no longer cheap.

Linda O'Connell said...

My husband did the same thing with a lap top. He can buy his own shirt now, too :)

savannah said...

i feel your pain, but you know, i am also laughing out loud, sugar! i tell the krewe one thing that i would like for my birthday. most of the time, i get it and it still always surprises me! (that doesn't help, does it?) xoxoxoxox

Amber Star said...

I liked Douglas' suggestion of the surround sound or blue ray player. Let us know what you three decide. :)

Geo. said...

Sounds like you'll find a solution. This year our present to ourselves will be a new washing machine to replace the one that, with me, grew old and quit agitating.

skoots1mom said...

are you sure he's not my hub's twin brother? my husband does things like that...then we are all dangling from a very frustrating thread of "what are you thinking?"

Daisy said...

My husband does the same thing. Drives me crazy!

Juli said...

I think it's a man thing. Tony ruins his gifts all the time.

My dad's getting a new flashlight. And he'll like it. :)

R. Jacob said...

us dads are like that!

HermanTurnip said...

Hey, it could be worse. My wife's parents still use one of them console televisions that's actually a piece of furniture. They refuse to upgrade, instead remaining satisfied with having to get up and change the channel every time they want to watch something different.

jeanie said...

We eventually circumvented that by taking the suprise out of the presents - if something is "hinted" we advise that it will be a gift and they are not allowed to purchase it.

Of course, the problem with that is when it is promised, you don't buy it and then they don't get it as a present...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Oh, that is so funny. Aggravating, too. But, hey! At least he saved you some money. Reminds me a little of something my father did years ago. He kept saying he wanted an electric razor. So we got one. Guess we didn't hide it well enough, though. When he opened it on Christmas morning, some of his whiskers were already in it...

Eva Gallant said...

I hate it when that happens!!

The Elephant's Child said...

My partner has a birthday in early January. More years ago than I care to think about I had to institute a rule that he would not buy himself any presents from late November until after his birthday without consulting me. I still get caught out one year in three. These days I try and make him return the duplicate. Not always successfully.
None of us ever had the remotest idea what my father would like, so he got to buy himself whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. We did tell him that hints were fine - but he didn't get the hint.

Pat said...

'You have it Pat - I'll
never wear it!'

This from my mother who wore mainly faux jewelry all the time,
on receiving an antique brooch from me one Christmas.
Parents!!!!!!


























wear it!'

River said...

Don'tcha just hate people who buy the gift you'd planned for them! I used to get this from my son. Now it's gift certificates from everyone, for everyone.

Suldog said...

By federal law, there should be some sort of warning given by retailers from Thanksgiving onward - "Are you sure someone else isn't planning to buy this for you as a gift?"

Amanda said...

I feel your pain! My father-in-law does the exact same thing! He ends up getting at least two ties every year because of this.

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Pearl! Yes, I'm familiar with this one. "You know that music I said I wanted for Christmas?" - Yeeeeees - "Don;t bother, I bought it, and it's awesome! Would have been a wonderful present! I'm so happy!", etc. Bastards. Roth x

Roshni AaMom said...

how can she not count wrinkle-free as a gift?!!