Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Birthday Blues

Woe is me. It’s that time of year again, the dreaded week when I must find something to buy my dad for his birthday. It’s harder than twelfth grade calculus. Or tenth grade geometry. Or Mrs. Brown’s college grammar class---“You will not guess in this class and pass”. Boy was she right.---Or…oh, you get the picture. It’s not that Zeke is hard to please. Actually, he’s very easy to please. He just doesn’t need or want anything. If he does want something he buys it. And he never gives me any clues about potential gifts. It’s maddening, and I’m running out of time.

What do you get the man who’s satisfied with his surroundings; who’s content with a bag of peanuts and good conversation? Asking mama won’t help. She’ll just say he needs a new shirt and some new underwear, which is probably true, but I am NOT getting him that AGAIN. There’s no surprise in shirts and underwear, no joy in flinging open a box of boxers. I want him to be surprised at the unexpected and thrilled with my creativity. However, I am not optimistic about this. That’s because I have a long list of past gifts that didn’t make the grade. There were socks (again, at mama’s suggestion), house shoes (boring), CD’s (a man can have only so many Hank Williams songs. Besides hearing too much Hank makes mama grumpy. She thinks he’s whiny.) and the hip shirt I thought would drag him into the new century (never wore it). I hate buying him essentials, but he never wants anything frivolous, except a new car every year, and that’s not in my budget.

He plays the guitar but has plenty of music and accessories. Unless I’m going to skip a mortgage payment and buy him some antique Fender-something-or-other, music is a dead end. He likes to tinker around the house but has enough tools to fill a semi. Besides, any new tools that show up at his house eventually wander off with my Handyman baby brother. That leaves Zeke’s only other habits: eating and talking. He may be skinny but the man can eat. In fact, he would eat all day if his diabetes (and mama) allowed. More than anything he likes to spend time with people; talking and shooting the bull. Young people. Old people. Working people. Retirees. Family. Friends. It doesn’t matter. He likes them all and needs human contact daily with the world outside his doorstep. He’s had a variety of part-time jobs since he retired, just for the social contact. Right now, he’s working at a grade school. That gives him 250 people to talk to from 8am to 3pm. It’s great for him, and it keeps him from driving mama crazy.

So what do you buy a talker and an eater? Maybe a gift certificate to Cracker Barrel where he can do both? I said that yesterday as a joke, but it’s not a bad idea. And that’s where I’m headed if nothing else better runs through my noggin’ between now and Friday. That’s three more days of agonizing over this. Why is this so hard? Probably because fuzzy house slippers or a book just don’t seem to demonstrate the depth of my feelings for him. A gift certificate feels like I’m settling, but that’s probably what I’ll end up getting. I’ll be dissatisfied with that for a few days but eventually work through it. Then this cycle begins all over again in a couple of weeks with Christmas shopping. Arrrg! Anyone know where I can buy a 50 pound bag of peanuts?

1 comment:

janjanmom said...

My creativity has led me to a plastic three drawer thingy filled with envelopes, stamps, scissors, tape and a new notepad.

Past years have been: a basket of little debbie cakes, nuts and such; a basket of his favorite shampoo, soap toothpaste, a new toothbrush; a cleaning type basket with dishwashing liquid and the like. My Dad is a tightwad, so these are good gifts for him. He appreciates not having to buy those things.