Monday, May 15, 2006

I suck at Mother's Day.

Well, that's not entirely true. I successfully fumbled my way through the process that turned my wife into a mother, and, hey, I played no small role in helping my mom cement her motherhood, but that's really where my expertise ends. I'm not so good at the present-buying part of it, which appears to be a primary component of the holiday.

Not only am I on the hook to find presents for my mom, and my wife, but somehow that obligation has expanded to buying presents for any mother within present-handing range. Did you raise a kid? Do you lack a Y chromosome? Then come on by and get your gift!

The wife and I went to the mall last week to do our Mother's Day shopping. Since I hadn't yet purchased anything for Hank, I decided that this would be a good time to subtlely pick her brain. I would make up for 364 days of inattention with some clever questions and astute observations.

Me: Hey, what are you looking at there?
Hank: These earrings here. For Liz.
Me: Oh, those are nice.... (mustering all my subtlety) Would you like earrings like that?
Hank: No.

We played this game a few times.

Me: What's that?
Hank: It's a little pill case. I can't decide if your sister would like it.
Me: I don't know. Would YOU like such a thing?
Hank: No.

Doh! This was hard.

(On a semi-related note, we didn't end up buying the pill case for my sister, because we had no idea if she takes any pills. We thought it might be nice to buy her one pre-filled though. Each day she'd get to take a mystery pill. One day it's Zoloft, the next it's Viagra. Day 3 is ecstasy. Fun! This would be a good gift idea for a more adventurous mom.)

A few days later I pinged my buddy, Pablo. I lamented my inability to purchase good Mother's Day gifts. He did some quick typey-typey and found Hank's Amazon wishlist. There was only one item in it, a Simon and Garfunkel album. Since Hank had never mentioned this wishlist to me, or her appreciation of Simon and Garfunkel, this was a pretty good gift idea. It was nice to get her something that she clearly wanted, but had not explicitly asked me for. Score!

It wasn't very romantic though, so I needed something else. I cruised back to the mall by myself and forced myself into Brighton, a store that I detest, but Hank seems to like. Most of their jewelry is ornate, or flowery, or faux antiquey. This is not stuff that I would buy for myself.

If I were a cross dresser, I'd buy very simple jewelry. No hearts or flowers or frilly designs, just clean and simple lines. I guess I'd be a very mannish kind of cross dresser rather than the flamboyant queeny type. I think this means that I'm probably not a woman trapped in a man's body. Really, I'm more of a wuss trapped in a man's body. Well, not exactly a "man's body", but a close approximation. Ok, "close" is a relative term.

But, I digress.

So, I perused all their crazy jewelry with the sales people following behind me asking incomprehensible questions like, "Does she like dangly?" and "What do you really know about this woman?". Eventually they suggested a set that I didn't hate, and that had at least a 10% chance of Hank not hating. I liked them odds!

In the end the jewelry was a success, but the Simon and Garfunkel was a big loser. She stared it at blankly and said, "Oh. Simon....and.....Garfunkel. Ok."

"I found it on your wishlist!" I blurted out defensively.

"I don't recall ever putting that on my wishlist or even making a wishlist, but, thanks."

"It's Pablo's fault!"

In my defense, I'd like to say that at least I wasn't a month late this year, even if my success average was worse. Happy Mother's Day, y'all!


The Tart said...

4 my mom we stick to flowers! It works well ... she knows the florist ... we send the money ... she visits the florist, the yak bout flowers & other things, Mom picks out flowers ... flowers delivered, everybody is HAPPY!

If I were a mom, I would pick out my own gift & have hubby pay 4 it, natch! But I would luv my little kids to pick out something 4 me. The best gifts I would think ~ from the tots.

Hmm. Would Hank go for this? Pick out her own stuff. My girlfriends do this with their guys.

Curious smooch,
The Tart

Anonymous said...

You are so right j. picking your own stuff makes sense... if only there were a mechanism to do that... we could call it... a wish list!


Mike said...

Jocelyn, it sure would be easier for me to just pay for a gift rather than pick it out, but there's not much point in that since we share finances. She might as well just buy it herself. I feel like Mother's Day (and other gifting days) are when I'm supposed to show that I'm paying attention.

Pablo, well said.

The Tart said...

Boyz, I tell U from proven girlfriend happiness, ditch the bogus "wish list" & let the Mom's pick out their own stuff... sides, whether U try to get it right or not, it's all fm the same bank account ~ either way!

BTW, why take chances ... don't ya risk UR marriage perks if U don't get it right, right? *wink*

The Tart
; )

Mike said...

My wife hates shopping. She'd much rather that people bought her things that she likes. That is, of course, difficult for idiots like me.

Velvet Sacks said...

All you need is a shopping buddy, Mike. One year my dad asked me to pick out a dress for him to give my mother for her birthday. She must have told me ten times through the years about how much she loved that dress--not the dress itself, actually, it wasn't her taste, but she loved it because he'd picked it out himself.

Mike said...

Ms. Sacks, I think you're right. How old does Daisy have to be before she can be my shopping buddy? Pablo sure as hell can't handle the job.

zelda1 said...

I think, might be wrong, but for me, gift certificates are the bomb. I like the ones at bookstores. My husband never gets it right. Once he bought me a very expensive ring. Who is this man. I don't wear rings, not even my wedding ones. They bother me. Sounds like you lucked out on the jewels. I'd start early for the next gift holiday, maybe observe her or ask her downright like what do you want? Maybe, she will make it easy on you.

Mike said...

Zelda1, yeah, but what if I get her a gift certificate from Store X when she'd really rather shop at Store Y?

I suppose then I should just give her some cash instead. But, what if I give her $100, and she really needs $105 to buy what she wants?

Obviously I should just remind her that we have a joint checking account and let her shop accordingly.

Janelle Renee said...

Whatever it is Mike you're doing, you're doing it right. Hank didn't seem upset enough last year to say "Hey, bastard, where's my gift!" She seems really cool and easy going. (Does she have a single brother?)

So don't change. Besides, I don't want to be deprived of good blog reading.

Keep up the good work on all fronts!

Mike said...

Woohoo! Thank you, jr! Unfortunately, Hank only has two sisters, and they're zany.

nrd2 said...

and me? i want that pill case filled with an assortment of yummy surprises!

Mike said...

Nrd2, doesn't that sound fun!