Note to Mom: Please donít read this to Dad. Iím just venting and Iím sure it wonít be the last time but he doesnít need to hear it. Iíll get over it. It just turned into a rant that felt very good! So Iím keeping it.
Well, my side of the family went very well yesterday. We ate until stuffed and talked and talked and then exchanged presents.
My brother Dan made me promise not to buy Dad a bottle of schnapps. Dan is concerned that heís drinking too much and of course since Dan has been sober for a year ANYTHING is too much, but I humored him. Dad loves Schnapps and itís not like a rich man canít buy his own bottle, but itís the principal, in my brotherís eyes. I bought Dad shirts. Dan bought him pants. Our brother Bob bought him PJís in size X-Large. I told him to tell Dad they were a Large (long story further down). My youngest daughter bought him the bottle of schnapps *shrug* Oh well.
Dad is difficult to buy for and itís not just because he has everything he wants. Itís because he is never happy with your gift. I bought him a 200 dollar trench coat one year and he wanted me to have it tailored into a car coat length. Impossible, the zip out lining would have had to be completely replaced. The cost would have made it cheaper to just buy a new coat.
The next year I bought him pants. Heís about 6í2Ē (hasnít really shrunk that much with age) with at least a 32Ē leg but he wants not a 30 length but a 29 Ĺ leg because he wants to wear them down on his butt. How many stores sell a 38 waist with a 29 Ĺ leg?
This year my sister tried to give him some PJís. Dad is real proud that heís lost some weight in recent years so he asked for a size Medium. This is a man that needs an extra long arm that a medium will never provide. But he thinks heís absolutely skinny because he weighs near what he weighed in the service. NOT!! He lost a lot of muscle and some fat but he still has plenty of fat and the length of his arm will never change.
So what does he do? Does he say Thank You and silently admit he made a mistake? Does he ask for the name of the store so *he* can make an exchange? Does he throw it back on my sister by shipping it back for HER to exchange? No he takes them off in the middle of the night because heís so uncomfortable and throws them in the back of his closet so heís certain to never wear them again and then asks her for a SECOND gift of PJís in the correct size.
So when my brother who also bought him PJís but in X-Large told me the size I told him to tell a white lie and tell Dad they were a large or heíd have them handed back to him for HIM to exchange and heíd never be rid of the damn things if he bought them on sale and none were left to exchange for. I guess Northern Manufacturers make them a little roomier than down south. *cough cough*
What ever happened to basic courtesy? I have never in my life handed a gift back. I have never failed to say something appreciative of my gift even if itís just a simple Thank You. I have never said, ďI donít want thisĒ or ďI canít use thisĒ or ďI will never wear thisĒ even if itís true. I have never ridiculed somebodyís gift. Even if I KNOW itís going in the Goodwill box the moment I get home.
The absolute worst thing that I would do is ask for the store so *I* could exchange it (not them) and I would make a point that it would be over the size not the horrendous taste of the article in question, even if it was true that it sucked and I would only do that with someone that I knew had a tough skin and/or I felt comfortable enough to be naked in front of. That leaves my daughters, my Mother and my husband. Everyone else gets a THANK YOU just because they thought of me. Thatís the true gift.
Iím sorry but this is a real sore point with me. You donít give someone a gift and expect it to be critiqued or summarily handed back to you. My brother Dan could use this lesson too. I handed him a Butt Out which is a 7 dollar joke gift for dressing deer that could be used but mostly itís a JOKE and he handed it back to me saying he had one and to give it to someone who could use it!!! Then he spent some time wondering if the car seat cover would fit his car that our Mother gave him. I said, ďJust say thank you for Godís sake!Ē Why donít people get that the gift is the thought? Functionality has NOTHING to do with it!
Oh! Oh! And this is the next sore point. You want to share in the joy of watching them open your gift and see a smile and/or collect your Thank You. Now my Dad wonít even allow us that pleasure. He wonít open our gifts at the family get together. He takes them all home where I just know he still wonít open them and theyíll probably just collect dust in the back of his closet, unopened, because he has NEVER called me afterwards and said Thank You for the shirt (which is the ONLY thing heís never handed back to me except for that bottle of schnapps. Thatís why itís all I give him now.) This was the fate of a very expensive electronic gift I gave him that would change the TV channel via voice command that I thought would be useful for a blind man but he never admitted that he couldnít set it up and asked for help because then heíd have to admit that something was wrong with him and NOTHING is ever wrong with him even when heís in the hospital for something that is WRONG with him!
Then he wonít listen. I brought him home from yesterdayís Christmas get together and by a small miracle he actually asked for some help and wanted me to find the volume button on his new phone (which is what I wanted to buy him but he bought one himself even after I told him that was what I wanted to get him after we had a series of disconnected calls because his old phone wouldnít charge anymore) I tried to tell him that it wasnít that simple and that the volume was a choice under another Menu. The button had different functions depending on where you are in the menu.
He wouldnít even let me finish. He started yelling over me ďNO MENUS!! NO MENUS!! WHICH BUTTON IS THE VOLUME!!!??? THATíS ALL I WANT!!Ē
Well what can you do? I showed him the button that would do it and tried to emphasize that I thought it would only do that function WHILE he was talking or he could get some loudness by placing it in speaker phone function otherwise he could be anywhere in a menu.
He acted like I was withholding information from him and pushed my hand away as I was pointing to the button that would, if he was in the act of talking, increase the volume, saying, ďGet you hand out of my way.Ē Like I was offending him by pointing it out and leaving my finger there, as a guide, until he found it on his own (heís almost totally blind).
Anyways poor Fred had to listen to this stupid crap all the way home. I was so mad. Donít get me wrong. My Dad is not the devil (yet!) and heís very generous with us financially and I know he loves each and everyone of us and heís very proud of who and what each of us has become and heís ALWAYS helped me when I needed it but sometimes he just makes me spitting MAD!!! And I guess this is one of those times but really am I wrong? How do you feel when someone hands your gift back to you? Critiques it? Or insists that it be altered or exchanged? Or deprives you of sharing the joy of the gift by not even opening it?
Just writing it down gets me all worked up!