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The ancient art of giftgiving

Another Monday morning has magically appeared in my life. How do they come round so quickly when Saturday’s only arrive one every 24 days? I have one more Saturday before I’m boned on the gifts for Christmas. I know that seems drastic and overly dramatic, so let me explain why it is actually logical and not back-flipping-salmon crazy.

Mother f*cker, it's only Monday....

As I said, I wrestled some vacation days away from the company to make my yearly visit back to the folks who ‘dun raised me’. They live south of the middle of Nowhere, about 40 miles from the back of Beyond. It’s somewhat of a trial getting home, short of snow-dogs I use every piece of transport to get there. Also I’ll be leaving directly from work (in fact I’ll be leaving early from work- small fact I haven’t told anyone yet) which means I have to pack light enough to run to and from the office with all the cr*p (see presents and clothes) that I need for my 7 day stint with the oldies.

How will look this year, anyone know where I can get a fez?

Usually packing for 7 days means 2 days of underwear, 2 days of clothes, laptop, phone, mp3 player, chargers and toothbrush. I make do with my old clothes when I’m at my parent’s house, I hate the clothes there, but I hate carrying dead weight more. Also, my vanity is tempered by the fact that the town they live in is barely scraping the 2000 mark when it comes to residents, and most of them are incontinent, due to age, or lack thereof.

This time however I am in trouble. Last time I was home my Mom informed me of how my room has become a secondary  guest room. The reason for this is because it has an amazing view of the sea and the floating dock which has some yachts stuck to it (just as a side note, to those who just got all weird when I mentioned yachts, the house is opposite a boat yard, they make old-school yachts and repair all the fishing boats in the area, we don’t have either of those, we have a rowboat with a vast army of spiders living in it). Anyway, as my room is supposed to have people in it my Ma asked me to empty out some drawers and send some old clothes and books to Goodwill. I had a culling of epic proportions; I threw out  a lot of stuff.

One drawer down, six to go.

Usually I’m quite desperate to hold onto things, but when I have a purge I throw out everything. Regardless of emotional attachment or value. I don’t know why I do it, I think perhaps I get caught up in the mood, and just become a monster. Anyway packing this year will be confusing because I know last year there was a purge, but I don’t quite remember how much clothing is left. So I’m going to have to pack some actual clothes.

It gets worse though. My parents have been undergoing renovations in the house since they moved in about 8 years ago. You would think 8 years would be enough to get the majority of problems fixed. Oh no!  This year will be the first year where the den has both a roof and heating system (YAY! This year we won’t need to wear coats when watching tv!!) Although the den was still the warmest room in the house when it didn’t have a roof, go figure.

It's what you might call a fixer-upper, if you were incurably optimistic.

Ma also informs me that the slanting floors in two of the rooms have been fixed, the stairs have been re-done so there is no chance of anyone falling through them, the basement has been sealed so the sea won’t flood it again and that the ceiling on the top floor is no longer at risk of coming down due to snowfall- this was all the more alarming as several of those issues I did not realize existed.

Back to the issue of packing. I need clothes, laptop, toothbrush, phone and mp3 player, and all the gifts that I couldn’t buy before the 16th. Why the 16th  you ask, well because that’s when my lumberjack/cowboy, pipe smoking, slob, douche of a brother leaves (he’s not always a douche, but he’s always the other things). He has kindly offered to take some stuff for me seeing as he will be on vaca for a month, and I will be on vaca for 7 days.

What my brother looks like with his pipe.

The price I pay for using him as a donkey is that everything will stink of tobacco, and most gifts are likely going to get shaving foam, axe deodorant and a number of gross stuff that lives on the bottom of his duffel bag all over them. If I give him the gifts I can re-wrap them but there is the chance he will crush, mangle or break whatever I give him. I have to think very carefully about what to pack and what to give him, and I have to make it ready by the 15th so he can pack it last minute and crush, spill and generally destroy whatever I give him.

This may sound like I have trust issues with him. I do. He is a nice guy, but if you can imagine someone messing up the most simple of tasks like washing the dishes, or cooking rice and then sulking like a 4 year old when you end up having to do it right. Also he spends all his money on redundant cr*p (like his $650 pipe he bought this weekend, so he could look more ‘refined’). I mean seriously, you think 8 days of stubble, workboots, old jeans and four roses become a vodka martini, top hat , white tie and tails just because you’re smoking a pipe?

What my brother thinks he looks like with his pipe.

Anyway, back to the packing issue, I have to pack the presents. Which I haven’t bought yet.

My dad is easy, books. He also sent me a list with prices, because he is awesome and knows that although I’m an awesome gift-giver, he is my Achilles heel. Nothing I buy him ever makes him happy, and vice versa. It’s ironic as we are the two members of the family who are most similar in temperament and opinion. Yet when we buy stuff for each other it all goes wrong. So we have a system by which we inform the other person months in advance of something we need or want, and then send them a price list and set of stores where it is available. Ruins the surprise but we didn’t do it for his birthday and I gave him a present thinking it was touching and useful, he opened it looked at me sadly, put it to the side and said “Well it’s the thought that counts”, BURN!!!

Wow, this gift is sooooooooo awesome, noooooo I'm noooooooot being sarcastic.


Pop’s is getting the books of his choice which I asked my Mom to get on Amazon for me (as I don’t have an account) and I will pay her back. When I asked my Mom what she wanted she said long socks, black or dark blue, the cashmere ones they sold ten years ago at some store near some place. Riiiiiiiiiight I’ll just go on a quest for these mythical socks, in no particular direction then. So, socks is what she needs. Knowing that she spends all her time DIYing or online shopping, I come up with things that she usually likes, power-tool sets, gardening weapons, or implements, whatever you call ‘em. She also carries a pretty big torch for Cary Grant and Fred Astaire, in fact any black and white movie. Having bought her most of those though, this year I’m chosing a new actor for her, I’m looking for the Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn box set. Just need to find it, if it exists. So Mom-opoly and Pop-sicle are done- aside from the actual purchasing and packing, which is really not the important part of the gig.

Now come godfather, brother and sister.

Brother as I have said is basically a small child, 2 years ago I got him 6 slinkies of different sizes, he loved it. This year I got him the ‘Stuff White People Like’ book, as he doesn’t blog he probably never came across this amazing piece of internet gold. I’m also thinking he needs a watch, he’s 27 and he doesn’t own a watch. What the hell??? Only problem is he now thinks he is ‘refined’ with his unwashed hair, 2 inch stubble, his jeans which are vintage from 1999 (meaning he is too lazy to buy new ones), his grey-white shirts full of holes, and pipe, he probably would prefer a pocket watch. He’s obviously a secret hipster.

He’s difficult because it’s also his birthday 4 days before Christmas, so I have to get him either one expensive gift, or lots of non-expensive gifts.

Birthmas comes but one a year, So with kittens I'll quell your fear.

My sister is kinda complex, she’s 21, dresses slutty, dates emotionally unstable guys who are mildly androgynous, loves dubstep, and is now blonde on the outside as well on the inside. I usually just buy a huge amount of shiny objects and randomly pick a few to give to her. She loves anything that is kitsch as f*ck. Sadly stores this year aren’t quite as full of random shiny cr*p as the preceding years, I’m going have to go deep to find her something truly godawful, that she will love. Although as a girl, I can just buy a bunch of accessories and she will figure out how to make them fun.

Maybe I'll just get her tinsel, yes she is kinda' like the cat.

The Godfather, I think I’ll call him Don Giuseppe for this post, is difficult to buy for, he reads a lot, watches a lot of movies and enjoys a drink. BUT he hates sooo many genres that I am stuck. He hates animated movies, sci-fi, space themed, rom-coms, anything with many explosions, and he is partially blind so has issues with subtitles which means no foreign films. I’m basically stuck with drama, costume drama, and biopics. All of which he probably has seen already. Book wise it’s the same, he liked military history and biographies, but I really don’t know whose he would like. Alcohol wise, he is allergic to some things, and I can’t quite remember what. I know he likes red wine, and port but beyond that I’m stumped.

I’d just like to say “Thanks for bearing with me” this post was mostly to organize a rough list in my head of what everyone is getting, but I appreciate any audience involvement.

What is the best/worst gift you ever got? I’ll tell you mine later.

Thanks, for bearing with me. AHAHHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA I love puns!


About nemhulye

Born circa 1980 something.

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