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Here's why its better to give than to receive... a humorous true story

Posted Dec 20 2008 7:14pm
It was Christmas 2002, the first Christmas in our new home. A hard Christmas, our first without my Mom. It was bittersweet, having Christmas at Miraflores Stables, our beautiful horse farm, but without my favorite person present. However, this isn't a sad story, its an amazing story about the absolute CLUELESSNESS of the man that I love.

Christmas Eve found me racing around after work like a mad woman. I was an interior designer at Ethan Allen and had to work at the store until 6. As soon as 6pm hit, I headed out the door, heading straight through the ice and snow, barreling down M-43 at lightning speed, to Meijers. Meijers is a chain with headquarters in Grand Rapids, MI that is comparable to Wal-Mart, but with fewer stores. Meijers is one-stop shopping for everything and I needed some quick wrapping paper, bows, a few bottles of wine for Christmas Eve guests coming over, and probably something else but I don't remember what anymore...

During my quick and speedy drive to the store, I called my husband to find out how his day was going, had he remembered we invited friends over? No answer. Darn!

I ran through the doors of Meijers, just to hear over the intercom that "the store would be closing for the holiday at 7pm". Drats, only 30 minutes to get in and out of the store... I knew it was plenty of time, but I don't do well under pressure. I started flying through the store, collecting my items, all the while hitting redial on my phone. I had to get ahold of David and make sure that he was out of the barn and home to receive the guests that would surely arrive at the house before me! As the phone rang in my ear, something strange happened....

I could hear his familiar ring about 2 aisles away!

No, I thought to myself, he is NOT in Meijers doing his last-minute Christmas shopping! He better NOT BE! See, David loves Christmas for the festivities and the merriment, but gift giving is NOT one of his strong suits. He waits until the very last, possible moment to shop and then buys something impersonal or impractical, and feels bad that he didn't plan in advance. Happens every time....

He answered the phone 2 aisles away and I could hear him both through the phone and in person, "Hi Amor!" he answered.

I swooned. I would never, ever get sick of him calling me 'Amor' - his love. My nickname. I melted, but only for a moment as I remembered my growing anger.

I carefully spoke into the phone, "Hi David, where are you? You're not in Meijers, are you?" Of course I knew he was, but I was setting up his lie for him.

"No, of course not!" Just then the voice over the intercom said, "Folks, we'll be closing in...." and suddenly his phone was muted. I chuckled. I knew exactly where he was and he had no idea... how would I play this?

"Well, if you ARE in Meijers, I hope its just to grab last minute appetizers for Tammye and Jerry coming over tonight and not to BUY MY PRESENT. I don't want anything in Meijers, but you should have already known that!" What on earth could he be buying in Meijers? The only person he had to buy for was me, this was still a Christmas before little D would enter our lives...

He stumbled. I caught him. He was indeed, buying presents for me. He gave me some excuse about buying tools and said he was leaving the store right then. He still had no idea where I was, that I was just a few short aisles away from him.

He must have run out of that store because I never did actually see him.

The next morning, we were sitting around the Christmas tree, ready to open presents with my Dad, my Aunt and Uncle. In our family, everyone takes turns opening and oohing and aahing over each present in front of the crowd. Its nice to see what everyone receives and share this special time together in front of the tree on Christmas Morning. The coffee was on, we were eating our traditional Cinnamon Rolls and enjoying our time together.

It was suddenly time for me to open a rather square, thinnish box of substantial weight. It was from my husband.

I thought initially it was an art book, you know, coffeetable type. It was oversized and heavy, but I knew better. He doesn't touch books. Must be something else. I knew that it was from Meijers, therefore it wasn't something purchased on Oak Street in Chicago (I had hoped for a new Kate Spade purse) and so I had to think.... what could it be?

I was 3 months pregnant at this time and beginning to gain weight. I was alarmed (rightfully so) that I was going to grow to gigantic proportions (I gained close to 100 lbs with my pregnancy) and it was scaring me. I had mentioned it several times to my husband, reminding him that my petite Mom had tipped the scales over 200 the day she delivered me. Would I be the same?

Imagine my disgust, embarassment, and downright anger when I opened my Christmas present from my loving husband to come face to face with.... a bathroom scale.

Show me a woman that would be excited to open a bathroom scale as a gift on Christmas morning from her loving husband? Lets not forget that he ran out on Christmas Eve to Meijers and bought this scale as a last minute, ditch effort as the store was about to close (he still doesn't know that I was there too!)!!!

Needless to say, it went directly into the trash. I was outraged by his little 'hint' of what he thought I needed. A scale? Merry Christmas honey, I thought you needed this? Are you kidding me????? I wanted a bathroom scale to remind me of my growing weight like I needed a hole in the head...

Its been 6 years since that Christmas and he still hasn't lived down that fatal Christmas gift. Since then I have prepared myself for the worst, and am pleasantly surprised when he does something more thoughtful, more appropriate, more me. Maybe its because since that dreaded Christmas morning, I have left explicit notes explaining exactly what I want, if anything, where it can be purchased, the clerk's name he should ask for, and every possible detail he might need. Of course there is no surprise and excitement come Christmas morning, but there's no doom either.

This is just a little story as to why I truly believe "tis better to give than to receive"... HA!

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