Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dearest mom: Don't buy me anything at Odd Lots

I remember when I first met my husband I looked behind his couch (because you never really know a man until you've look behind his couch). I found ink pens, crumbs, dust, an empty Cheetos bag (of course!) and lots and lots of odd and sundry items still in tissue paper. The one that really struck me was a plaid farmer flannel. My husband, and at the time some guy from grad school that I was shagging on a regular basis, has never struck me as a flannel kind of guy and never.never. wears plaid (or paisley).

Me: What the hell is all this shit behind your couch? Are these presents for someone?
Him: No. They're random gifts from my family.
Me: for what?
Him: Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter.. I don't frickin' know.
Me: Are you ever going to wear any of this stuff?
Him: What do you think?
Me: Well you should at least give it to a gay and lesbian shelter or something.
Him: I wouldn't want to offend them.

Come to think of it, I have no idea what happened to those items but if you ever see a badly dressed gay man (or well dressed lesbian) in Columbus, they may be wearing his Hanukkah gift.
Now, my parents were also offenders up until about two years ago when I told them that husband doesn't have a job, we barely see each other, we're both exhausted all the time and if they want to spend money on us they may do it in two ways 1) cash. 2) gift cards. I actually said it more like this: "Mom quit getting us shit we don't need. We're on the balls of our ass here and could really just use a free night out." They actually listened although I did get a ceramic cat from my mom last year with a really long tail that is apparently used to store rings. Harleigh couldn't bear the competition so ring-tail cat had to go.

Husband isn't as rude blunt disrespectful forward as I am, so he has yet to tell people that our deepest desires are monetary in nature. I know (I know!) money/gift cards are impersonal and unfun, but it really is what we want most. (Case in point, last year a riot broke out at our work "holiday" gift exchange over a $5 Starbucks gift card. I'm bringing one this year just to see if my boss will slap the accounting lady for it.)

Fast forward to two days before Thanksgiving when we received a giant fruit cake in the mail with a note and directions: must be refrigerated.

Me: What is that huge tin in the fridge? I was keeping it cleared out for Thanksgiving.
Him: A fruitcake. Don't ask.

Don't get me wrong, my in-laws are totally sweet and thoughtful and I'm sure that was the most expensive lump of fruit filled cake that one could buy...BUT we were about to see them, spend a wonderful holiday together, and the last thing we needed was celebratory baked goods.

FIL: Did something come in the mail a few days ago?
Me: Yes, yes, thank you for the fruitcake. It's in the fridge.
FIL: I love that fruitcake. I even have some bourbon in the car to go with it.

[Now, please don't read into the last sentence and assume my dear Father-in-law is a flask-toting alchy, but he does love good bourbon...and apparently fruitcake.]

On the second day of their visit we had this conversation right after I finished telling my MIL how I hate those little bits of fruit that my mother bakes into her famous Swedish Christmas Bread (oops!).

MIL: Brutal honesty question.
Me: {crap!crap!} Yes?
MIL: Do you two even like fruit cake?
[in tandem] Husband: Suuuure. Me: No.
MIL: See David, I told you that was an antiquated gift and their generation doesn't like fruit cake.
FIL: Well I do! Can I have it?
Me: Yes! Of course you can have it. We were happy you thought of us.

Apparently fruit cake went out like 8-track tapes and is not a delicacy enjoyed by the X'ers or Y'ers or whatever alphabet generation we fall into. The bottom line is...we had a breakthrough. That, and the fruitcake is no longer in my fridge. Happy. Day.

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