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A Turkey Tale November 23, 2011

Posted by Kimmothy in Baptists, Fam Damily, Holidays.
3 comments

How did it get from the first football game to Turkey Eve already? That was a quick minute; damn.

I feel like I’ve been so lucky this past year, I honestly can’t think of any thing I want right now. “Thing,” of course being defined as material item; I’m always going to wish for more time with family and friends, more time to travel, more time to read…so maybe if I can find a good Black Friday deal on a time hoarding machine, I’ll spring for that. 

A private jet would work well too, but I hear they’re starting to tax private jet owners a lot so that won’t work for me.  

But instead of getting sappy/nostalgic (there’s still a lot of holiday time left for that), I’ll share a Mother-in-law story, because mine is always good fodder for a giggle.

Cooking and Iris go together like [insert cliche’d metaphor here]. She’s always prided herself on it, but when she retired a few years back it became even more front and center in her identity. That’s not news; it’s that way with a lot of women, but around holiday time, she not only goes all out, she goes all out of her damn mind.

In August, friends of theirs asked them to join them on a five-day cruise. Knowing they wouldn’t be getting home until the day before Thanksgiving, she was a little hesitant, but it was months away, she’d never been on a cruise before and she figured she could handle most of the food ahead of time. She asked me at that time if I thought it would be too much trouble for me to go over there and take the turkey out to defrost the Saturday prior to the holiday.

No problem. In fact, I was eager to help with something, because the only contribution from me she wanted for the holiday meal is Brown ‘n Serve rolls, the kind that come in aluminum foil trays that you remove from plastic bags and warm in the oven for a few minutes. Because apparently that’s where she believes my cooking skills begin and end. She happened to ask me that in front of my sister a few weeks ago and Sister was all, “Oooh, burn.”

Yeah, I know.

The day before they left for the cruise, I got the phone call I was fully expecting.

“Hey, Key-im, are you still going to be able to take the turkey out on Saturday? Because if there’s a problem, let me know and I’ll figure something out. We can’t have Thanksgiving without a turkey!”

Me: “Yes, no problem; I’ll be heading over there tomorrow.”

Her: “Do you still have your key to the house? Because I can leave a spare key somewhere if you don’t, or give you the garage door code, or, or…”

Me: “Got the key right here on my keychain; no problem.”

Her: “Well, I was thinking about just taking it out tomorrow morning before we leave, but I’m worried that might be too early…”

Me: “Nope; wouldn’t want to take a chance on that.” (Thinking: No way in hell would she deviate from the timeline that was established  in her head since August.)

Her: “I just don’t want to chance it. But only if you’re sure you can make it over!” (Laughs nervously)

Me: “I’m sure.” (Sure that this isn’t the end of this conversation, not by a long shot)

Her: “Okay. Well make sure you take out the right turkey; it’s in the deep freezer and it’s the nineteen pound Butterball, because you know I only use Butterball for Thanksgiving.”

Me: “Got it.” (As opposed to accidentally taking out the small turkey breast or deli sandwich slices?)

I don’t have the energy to transcribe the entire forty-minute conversation that went down, but I have to included that she did call back ten minutes after we’d hung up to give me the garage door code “just in case,” and to remind me to make sure the refrigerator door was shut all the way, because sometimes that old fridge out in the garage, well, the door doesn’t always want to shut by itself.

I’ll skip the suspenseful part and just say I managed to get the job done.

Visual proof:

Because the holiday would have to be cancelled without this

They were supposed to dock and disembark the cruise ship at 8am this morning. At approximately 8:30, my phone rang. Do I have to tell you who it was? Further, do I have to tell you what she asked?
 

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Forty-two February 13, 2011

Posted by Kimmothy in Experience, Fam Damily, Foodies, Holidays, Home Life.
3 comments

Birthday reflections:

Ten years ago today when I turned 32, I was unaware that the year would bring separation from my husband, leaving my home to live like a nomad for several months and losing my dad. At least I was oblivious to all that on my actual birthday.

Twenty years ago today when I turned 22, I was in love with Delorme and making preparations to leave home and move with him to South Carolina. It was a heady time and several friends with birthdays near mine threw us a combined birthday party, in which I happily and drunkenly told a lot of people we were moving away.

Thirty years ago when I turned 12, I didn’t know it at the time, but that year would bring pivotal things like my first period and moving to Inverness, the small town where I spent the majority of my formative years – I started seventh grade there, graduated high school there was a slacker a couple of years post high school there and consider it to be my hometown, in the John Cougar Mellencamp sense.  

I don’t remember exactly what was happening the day I turned 2, but I’ve seen the pictures and it looked like it was fun, except for the singing of the Happy Birthday song to me, which always made me cry and I still do not enjoy to this day. The center of attention has never been where I want to be and that’s pretty much the epitome of it, besides walking down your wedding aisle but that’s so surreal it kind of puts the terror on the back burner for those few seconds.

Today we’ll be going out to lunch at a place called Country Buffet, which I enjoy mostly because of the self-explanatory name. His mom made me a cake, so we’ll go to their house to eat that (Her cakes are something I’ve tried to replicate for years and have failed – homemade icing, for hell’s sake) and then the rest of the day Brian said is whatever I want to do. It’s sunny and the high’s are getting into the mid-60’s, so even though I haven’t quite made up my mind yet, I’m sure it’s going to involve being outside a good bit.

He’s usually fairly deferential to me, but way moreso around my birthdays. Last night, I asked if we could go out to eat since Red Lobster is heavily promoting that Dinner for Two for $30 campaign and even though going out to dinner isn’t his favorite thing, I know the promise of seafood makes it more attractive to him. As we very slowly made our way through town, inching along in traffic and seeing all of the full-to-bursting parking lots at the chain restaurants, I realized with a sinking feeling a lot of people probably had the thought We’re out-smarting those suckers who are planning to eat out Monday night for Valentine’s Day. As we attempted to pull into the Red Lobster parking lot where there wasn’t an empty parking space in sight, he looked at me and said It’s up to you, baby. And right then, I glanced over to the restaraunt’s front door with the many people spilling out of it and pictured us waiting and literally felt my stomach growl and said No. He laughed with relief and we got the hell out of there and went to a fast food place that has great fries and were eating within fifteen minutes. I loved the fact he was willing to do whatever would make me happy, but I’m not a moron.

I’m ignorant as to what the next year will bring, but I’m hopeful as always good things will prevail.

Happy: Not Just a Perfume by Clinique December 22, 2010

Posted by Kimmothy in Holidays, Home Life, Life, Moods.
6 comments

Heather & I were chatting online today as we often do, discussing whatever as we often do. Among sharing the ups and downs related to the holidays, the subject of general happiness came up. We agreed that while sometimes it takes actual (and sometimes even heroic) effort, it *is* in fact within our power to choose to be happy most of the time and though there are always plenty of assholes around every day that may detract from it (especially this time of year for some reason), we both think the choice to be happy is worth the effort.

One of the biggies for me at the end of every year lately, besides the fact another year has seemingly flown by which means I am one year closer to not being able to hide things with make-up, is that we still haven’t figured out a way to become parents. And you know, tick-tock – every year that goes by where that doesn’t happen, the odds of it happening drop dramatically. I didn’t bring it up in my post the other day because there was plenty enough bitching in that post as it was and I do try to keep it to a minimum if possible, if only to prevent myself from cringe-worthy moments later on. But this time of year, which let’s be honest, is certainly aimed at/about/involving kids. So whatever kid thoughts residing in the back of my mind come skipping to front and center and remains lodged like a popcorn kernel in a tooth: annoying, painful and difficult to remove.

But something weird happened today I couldn’t help but notice. I was in the middle of running those endless pre-holiday errands, dealing with the crowds and lines and major traffic fuckery, and one of my favorite songs came on the radio. You know how even though you have a song on cd or mp3 or whatever but you still get excited when it randomly surprises you. As I was pulling out of the CVS parking lot, I actually found myself singing in the truck, one of my favorite pastimes but one I can’t remember the last time I did it.

That simple little act, on a lovely cold cloudy day a few days before Christmas driving around the town I love, was enough to make something click. It wasn’t an earth-shattering epiphany, but I have the feeling it was significant even if that only means that was the moment I snapped out of a funk I was barely aware I was in. The song is beside the point but it’s Wasting My Time by Default if that matters at all. Which it kind of might because the song was out during the worst period of time of my life yet it made me happy even then. Maybe that’s what started it – thinking of how thankful I am it’s not Christmas 2001 when for the first and only time in our fifteen years together, Brian spent the holiday with someone else and I spent the day doing anything I could to avoid being conscious. Yes, that’s one holiday season I can safely say I never get nostalgic for, and man it’s nice nine years have passed since that hideous time.

So, yeah. Whatever the catalyst, I’m happy to be happy right now. There are people who have more than me; people who don’t know what it’s like to have financial worries, women whose lives are complete because they are mothers, ones whose air-dryed, productless hair hangs long and straight and glossy. There are also people – people I personally know even – who are dealing with things like breast cancer and the recent sudden death of a beloved spouse. It’s always been and will always be this way; I’m fully aware of that. Measuring your fortune against those of others isn’t a productive exercise though, and I really try to avoid that – it changes absolutely nothing about my life.

But I want to be happy. And it’s something I actually have some control over and I’m going to do my best to keep on striving to reach for no matter what. Which makes me even happier.

Not So Much Blues as Blahs December 14, 2010

Posted by Kimmothy in Fam Damily, Holidays, Moods, Youth.
6 comments

As is fairly common for people this time of year, the other night I was stressed and foul and disgusted with humanity. It was however quickly remedied with stringing the little white lights through the ficus tree and over the mantle, Brian getting a good fire going and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. I’ve never made it through Linus’s Bible quote without tearing up and it’s impossible for me to be in a bad mood while hearing that music. Above all the Christmas specials, that one is my childhood for me.

I said, “Remember when Christmas used to be exciting? It’s so NOT anymore.”
He replied, “Damn – I better step it up with the presents!”

And not to be totally cliche, but I said it has absolutely nothing to do with the presents. Yes, I do realize I’ll never again have that exquisite joy of excitedly trying to sleep on Christmas Eve and waking up to a tree buried in gifts, but it’s so much more than that. My parents made a huge deal out of the holidays for us (I very much appreciated the fact, even then, that besides lighting a candle for the menorah each night of Hanukkah, they felt Christmas was a lot more fun for kids and went the Santa Claus route for us). We had the usual traditions – going for the Christmas lights ride, visiting our Italian friends who opened their presents on Christmas Eve (I used to strongly campaign for that for us to no avail), eating bagels, lox and cream cheese on Christmas morning…yeah, that one was probably just ours, but still.

For me, the entire month of December used to be one long anticipatory stream of glee and that lasted well beyond high school. Even after I went away to college, that month meant school breaks and reuniting with friends to drink beer in the woods and really it felt like one long party. And I know obviously part of this whole current malaise is because we no longer have my dad – he made everything more fun, let alone the most fun time of the year. And I also realize I’m not unique in missing a loved one during the holidays. I can easily identify the reasons for these blahs; the challenge is in trying to figure out how to fix them. Or if they’re not fixable I guess learning ways around them? Something.

I just reread all that and like always, I feel guilty for even giving voice these “problems.” Awww, I’m not EXCITED anymore – go tell that to the homeless people down at the bus stop freezing their asses off this morning and see how much sympathy it produces. I know I’m lucky to even have the luxury of being warm right now, being at work and not working, drinking my sweet sweet coffee. And I have been actively trying to remind myself of all the good things I have so as to knock the meh out of me, which does work to a certain extent.

But still. I want some Christmas magic, damn it.

A Very SPECIAL Thanksgiving November 27, 2010

Posted by Kimmothy in Baptists, Fam Damily, Holidays, Home Life.
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At this point the months are flying by like on a bad movie where they show calendar pages quickly flipping past to simulate time passing.

I’ve stayed pretty busy with work: my day job, helping Brian with foreclosure stuff and proof reading. With the dismal unemployment statistics, I feel very, very lucky we have full-time jobs and also these extra sources of income. That scares me though; if we’re finally doing okay financially, that certainly must mean some sort of apocalypse is nigh. It’s fun to think like a Jew – you should try it sometime.

Even though stores have now given up any pretense and now blatantly display Christmas decorations right along side their Halloween candy, I don’t feel like the Holidays Have Arrived officially until Thanksgiving dinner has been consumed. There was a big crowd at the inlaws’ this year and it’s always fun for me to see Brian’s extended family together in a group. Fun because I do actually enjoy his family and also fun because: WEIRDOS GALORE. I’ll break it down:

Aunt Janice – the family’s Official Cat Lady. At this point they have so many cats crawling all over the inside their house, she’s not even sure how many are there at this point. It’s come to the point her family refuses to enter her home anymore and prefer to sip their tea on the front porch or in the driveway, including her beloved son Josh who now sleeps at his grandmother’s house when he comes home to visit. She’s a good cook but no one wants to eat her food anymore; the cheesecake she gave Brian and I to take home had actual cat hair stuck to the container. It would normally pain me to throw away cheesecake – not this time.

George’s Brother Frank – I’ve talked a lot about George’s oddities. Frank makes George look completely normal. These people somehow missed out on the social gene that makes interaction with other human beings easy. At one point I felt someone holding onto my hair and turned to see Frank touching it and looking like he’d never seen something so amazing. I said, “Um, you’re touching my hair?” He said, “It’s pretty! It’s red!” I knew right then it was time for us to leave.

Cousins Josh & Brooks – I’ve known these two since they were little and I’ve always liked them. I’m the type who usually prefers to hang out with kids rather than adults at family functions because the kids are more interesting and don’t tend to discuss politics, so they’ve always liked me a lot. Brian made the comment he thinks they still like me a lot, as they were following me around all day. Yes, Josh does have some creepy stalker qualities, but at least he’s progressed to showing interest in females other than his mom, though it’s mostly all his girl cousins. Hey, progress. He text’s me quite often, and Brian made the comment the other night, “He never text’s ME,” and I said “Because you’re not a girl cousin.” That’s okay; nice boys, both of them.

Other Aunt Janice – (this family has two Janice’s, two Iris’s and twin, two Kim’s and twin uncles Boyce and Royce) She’s a mousy, shy school secretary who all of a sudden busted out with appropos of nothing, “I could wear leather chaps to work and carry a whip but no one would even notice!” Closet family freak – all right!

Cousin Scott – we haven’t seen him since Christmas Eve of 1997, because he’s spent most of the years in between either in jail, missing, or at rehab. He seems better, but “better” is a relative term with him. Crack is a hell of a drug and you can’t ever get those brain cells back. Brian hesitantly gave him his phone number when he asked and we didn’t even make it home before Brian’s phone rang, he turned to show me who was calling and then hit the Ignore button. We’re both happy Brian kept it very vague when Scott asked him where we live.

So, a fun holiday and plenty of fodder for my evil sense of humor. I’m in no way insinuating MY family is normal by any means and I know every family is crazy in their own way. But Brian admits the ratio is larger than normal in his and he loves them all anyway. So do I. And I’m really looking forward to the Christmas get-together.

It’s been real, it’s been fun, but it hasn’t been real fun December 31, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Celebrities, Experience, Holidays, Life, Travel, Vacation.
6 comments

As the minutes tick tock toward the new year, we’re looking forward to a quiet evening tonight. It is exactly what I prefer for this particular holiday, especially since we’re heading home tomorrow and that drive dictates you be in top form or suffer the consequences. It’s been a great vacation, one I knew would go by way too quick, one where I wouldn’t get to spend as much time or even see everyone I wanted and one that is already starting to blur together in my head. No complaints though; it’s been a blast.

Most people I know are saying they are damn glad 2009 is over. Between the economy, losing a freakish amount of celebrities, political embarrassments and disappointments and personal crap, it has been a mighty challenging year for a lot of us. I don’t like wishing time away, but I am pretty stoked we’re about to start nice fresh clean calendars tomorrow.

Of course my personal quest to become a parent was what took up the majority of the first 3/4’s of it and I dealt with a lot of big disappointment because of it. But Brian and I were talking the other day (many consecutive hours together in a vehicle makes that easy) and he said one of the things he’s always admired about me is that instead of just bitching about a problem or giving up, I usually find a solution for it. Sometimes it may take me awhile, but if it’s important enough, I do it. That was one of the best compliments I’ve ever received from him or anyone else. And he’s right; if I want this as badly as I know I still do, I will find a way. Without reenacting a live version of Raising Arizona, I will find a way.

So, I’m not one of those resolution people, but I will say this. I do have some GOALS for this coming year. A few small ones and a couple of doozies. It’s intimidating, but without a challenge what is all this for, anyway? My worst fear is becoming complacent and stagnant, an object at rest. It’s up to no one else but me to make sure that never happens. I’m up for it.

See y’all on the flip.

Out with the old, in with the Jew!

Makin’ Like Jack Kerouac December 26, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Fam Damily, Friends, Holidays, Travel, Vacation.
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Why yes, I am sitting here procrastinating like crazy when I should be putting the last-minute touches on the frenized Packing for Vacation Extravaganza. Why is it I can only find unmatched socks and ugly underwear whenever this happens, why? Regardless, I’m going with whatever I washed and dried yesterday and hoping Florida’s schizophrenic climate will work with me. It looks like high’s will only be in the high 60’s/low 70’s this week, so that’s way more acceptable than when I was down there in October and temps were still reaching well into the 90’s.

We have a 7 to 8 hour drive ahead of us, depending on traffic and how many times Brian lets me and the dog get out to pee. Which doesn’t excite me, as both of us seem to have picked up a nasty cold situation in the last two days – of course we have. Did we really think Fate would allow us something as simple as a problem-free vacation? Oh, it is to laugh. But that’s okay. At the end of today’s journey we will land at my best friend’s house, one of my most favorite places to be on earth, and it’s there we’ll spend most of this next week.

Mother passive-aggressively assured me she understands it’s “so much easier” for us to stay at Grace’s and that she’ll just be happy to see us drop in every so often. Well, thank you, Mom, for understanding that each time I enter your residence, a little bit of my soul seeps out, never to return. Sister gets credit for that one. Because it’s so true.

We’ll be doing some inter-traveling with a couple of day trips planned spanning the greater Central Florida area of Tampa and Orlando as well, to try to fit in seeing as many people as possible. Always a challenge. Always worth it. It means a lot of time spent in the vehicle, but luckily the vehicle has new tires and (*crosses all fingers and toes*) is running better than it has in years, thanks to some pricey mechanical fixes.

All in all, though I can’t really breathe and everything on my body including my skin and eyeballs hurt, I’m really excited for this trip. It’s been over two years since we took a real vacation together and I’m thrilled to be going down there without having to miss my man and my dog while I’m there.

I’ll be checking in sporadically, but I hope everybody is having lovely holidays.

My Top Ten December 23, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Holidays, Lists, Movies.
10 comments

I’m a sucker for both lists and end-of-the-year round-ups, so imagine my delight when I came Paste Magazine’s fifty best movies of the decade. Jon has a list of his own as well. While these things are totally subjective, I was pretty impressed with myself I’d seen eighteen of the movies Paste listed and while Donnie Darko still makes me want to punch a kitten, I agreed with the greatness factor of most of the others.

Out of that list, here’s my personal top ten:

10. The Departed – Scorsese. DiCaprio. Damon. Boston accents. Loved it.

9. Junebug – You may not have heard of this quiet little thing, but it’s the first thing I saw Amy Adams in and what made me start liking her even though I’ve heard she’s not really a nice person and I can kind of see that about her.

8. No Country for Old Men – You can just go ahead and put every Coen Brothers movie on every top ten list as far as I’m concerned.

7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Trippy, kind of suicide-inducing, but creative and proof Jim Carrey can do more than make weird faces and stupid noises.

6. Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2 – For awhile there I thought Quentin was in an early retirement, but this proved he’s just as badass as he ever was. This also confirmed my suspicion he’s obsessed with Uma, but I can’t blame him for that; for awhile she was my number one If I Ever Switched Teams girl.

5. LOTR Trilogy – I fought this for a long time and I’m glad I waited to watch all of them with my movie club successively over a three-week period. Yes, it was a twelve hour movie of a long walk and then a ring getting tossed into an abyss at the end. So what.

4. Little Miss Sunshine – In my humble opinion, this is pretty much perfection in a movie.

3. O’ Brother Where Art Thou? – This came out during my Bad Time and it was one of the few things that proved to me it was still good to be alive. The soundtrack is still never too far out of reach in our house.

2. Juno – I used to want to be Tina Fey. Until Diablo Cody came along.

1. Almost Famous – I was amazed this movie arrived technically in this decade because it sort of feels like it’s been around my whole life. I can’t say anything about it that hasn’t already been said, but I will say it’s probably not just my favorite of the past ten years, but pretty much my favorite of all time. I did not see Kate Hudson’s career going in the direction it has after this though.

I’m sure there will be a deluge of these types of lists over the next few weeks – it’s what pop culturists live for. And I’m also pretty sure I’ll stop and read each one of them. Except did we already technically hit the end of a decade when 2009 started? That always confuses me a lot.

One of the traditions I loved and wish I could implement again is going to the movies on Christmas Day. How perfect is that – you’ve opened all the presents, eaten a bunch of food and already spent way too many “quality” hours-days with people you’re related to. One year my mom was being a total bitchface about something and I was feeling murderous toward her but it soon didn’t matter because we got the hell out of there and went to see Titanic. Movies are supposed to be about escapism and what more do you ever need to escape than your family at the holidays? Those evil Hollywood geniuses know this of course, which is why a movie always premieres that day – how convenient!

I’m hoping to fit a movie in somewhere between now and when I go back to work. We shall see.

SCHWING in the New Year December 17, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Fam Damily, Holidays, Marriage, The Man, Uncategorized.
16 comments

Don’t say anything, but I bought Brian a naughty magazine as a surprise stocking stuffer. (And no, I can’t write that without thinking, “Heh heh – I bet after that he’ll stuff my stocking”) Besides a subscription to Playboy that has recently lapsed (and by the way Hef, sending me renewal notices starting three months after we got the first issue is a really quick way to piss me off and you were already on my shitlist for letting Holly get away), it’s been awhile since I’ve purchased anything naked-related, so I was shocked, SHOCKED, to see that the price for one magazine was $11.99. I relented because well for one thing, this is actually a Hustler and I suppose the ratio goes up according to how much action there is and also it includes a bonus dvd – oo-la-la!

I had this whackjob of a friend once who completely flipped out when she found out I “let” Brian look at those kinds of magazines. Let him. I never realized I was in charge of what he can or cannot look at. This girl wasn’t a religious fanatic, or anything like that – she was just one of those weirdos who freaked the hell out if she and her husband were out in public and an attractive woman came within a three mile radius of her eyesight. Her husband wasn’t the type to ogle other women; in fact he went out of his way NOT to notice anyone, lest feel the wrath of Crazypants, and always tried to let her know she was beautiful, the only woman for him, blahblahblah. Of course irony won out in the end like it always does and she ended up cheating on him with three or four guys in the course of about a year, one of them being his brother.

I will admit that of course I have some insecurites. I’ve always pretty much assumed that comes along with being a human and a female. But getting seriously pissed at Brian if a pretty girl walks by? I just don’t have that kind of time. We kind of moved past that when both of us slept with other people and then decided to stay married anyway. And anyway, what usually happens with us is like a little private fun joke: the woman passes by and Brian looks at me because he knows I’m looking at him and smiling, then he smiles at me and I say, “What are you smiling about?” and he says, “What are YOU smiling about?” and so on. It’s retarded and fun, like most relationships’ little games are. I don’t know; I guess I just have a pretty laid back attitude about all that stuff. Especially pictures in a magazine or images on a TV screen. Some people aren’t comfortable with it; I am – pretty simple.

Tomorrow is my last day of work and then it’s sweet vacation action for the next seventeen days. I’m pretty excited. Of course I have a list of stuff I want to get accomplished in that time, but considering a week or so will be spent down in the Sunshine (and still stupid hot) State, we’ll see how much actually gets done. I know I will be dragging my warm & toasty ass out of bed bright and early Monday morning to hopefully finish up my shopping.

Which reminds me of a question. If you’re a dude (or just know what dudes like), what’s a good ten dollarish gift I can buy for the family gift swap? I have the girl thing already (a candle – mindless and boring but effective) but I’m downright stumped as to what would be a good cheap man gift.

I’m thinking a Hustler probably wouldn’t go over very well.

The Politics of Gifting December 11, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Fam Damily, Holidays, Shopping.
11 comments

The other day Heather Jo and I were discussing gifts as you do, and the topic of re-gifting came up. I know not everyone thinks so but we agreed it’s a good thing. I’m not in the business of trying to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I am part Jew and if there’s one thing I can’t stand is a mis-appropriated gift. Why should I keep something I (A) Don’t need, (B) Don’t want or (C) Don’t have room for when I can pass it along to someone who (A) Might like it, or (B) Use it for a re-gifting situation of their own. I mean, technically yes – this line of thinking could cause the same fruit cake (do people really still give those?) or bath set to float around the world indefinitely, but is that really so bad? As long as it’s not taking up space in the limited storage spots in my smallish residence, I really don’t care.

I think we started talking about it because I received my first gift in the mail the other day, a set of glasses. There were eight of them, I’m guessing to correspond with the number of reindeer Santa owns, since there was one on each glass. There is nothing bad about these – they came from Pottery Barn. There’s nothing offensive about a drinking glass in general, at least that I know of. But if you could see the cabinet we keep our glasses in, you’d be as confounded as me as to where to put these things. Sure, you could argue, they only really need to be used one month out of the year, so couldn’t you store them in the Christmas bin all year and then make room by clearing out some of those millions of coffee cups for the time being? Yes I guess I could…OR…I could keep them nicely packaged in their fancy Pottery Barn box and re-gift them to someone I know will use them much more than I would. We’re not the Pottery Barn entertaining types. Our house doesn’t match Pottery Barn glasses. But I know a few people whose houses do. Ergo: re-gift and no harm and no foul.

A gift ritual I didn’t grow up with but Brian’s family always does is the large family gift swap. On one hand it’s a good thing because instead of buying for many puzzling, seldom-seen distant relatives, I only have to buy for one. For awhile, one of his girl cousins and I rigged it so we’d get each other every year. That worked out amazingly well, as Ashlyn is in her late 20’s, just like where I still am in most of my tastes. It was easy to pick stuff out for her and also I knew I could count on getting something from the Gap. Unfortunately the family finally figured out what was going on and squashed our brilliant plan. Now the best I can hope to accomplish is pick out an appropriate gift card the recipient will actually use and to receive one in return.

Which brings me to another oft debated gift situation – the gift card! I don’t think I realized until just now how much controversy surrounds gift giving. Personally, I’m very easy to please. I get excited when Brian brings me home an interesting rock or bug. He’s benefitted greatly from this over the years, which has frankly made him a little lazy, but whatever; that’s not the point. The point is, I love a damn gift card. Giving and receiving and seriously, how many things in life can you really say that about? Some people see it as lazy or a lack of imagination; I see it as giving someone the gift of choice and freedom. Which is priceless, even though you actually do have to decide a price to put on it.

And getting one myself? It doesn’t matter if it’s clothing, restaurant, grocery, gas card – I welcome them all. All that possibility and potential! All those decisions: do I space it out over a few visits or do I blow the whole thing at once (too easy but I can’t help it: That’s what she said), going so crazy so as to even have to add some of my own money to cover the final bill? (This will happen with a Barnes & Noble card every single time, no exceptions) For some reason, a gift card excites me more than even good old fashioned U.S. currency. I know what it is. With cash, there’s always the temptation to do something fun-opposite, like deposit it in the checking account and pay a bill. You receive a gift card and that choice is completely taken away. And there aren’t many situations for me where all guilt is removed.

That’s not to say I don’t love love LOVE it when I stumble upon the perfect item for someone. I think that’s the ultimate level in present buying, so exciting because it happens so rarely. One of the (many) reasons I’m looking forward to being off of work the week before Christmas is because I’m planning a couple of very low-key shopping trips for myself. I’m envisioning casually strolling around various shopping villages, plazas and maybe even a mall, cup of steaming coffee in my gloved hand while wearing comfortable clothes and footwear and happily throwing change into the Salvation Army Santas’ buckets while regularly checking items off of my list. Coming home and turning on the twinkly little-white-lit ficus tree, listening to Christmas music while I wrap all my gifts and stick those fun To/From labels on them.

I’m pretty sure I have this same plan every year. Sometimes it even works out. If not, I hope everybody likes their gift cards.