It’s the thought that counts.

I do not deny that I am difficult to buy for. If there’s something I want, I get it for myself. But I am learning that when a family member asks for gift ideas, it is in my best interest to pony up. Otherwise, I run the risk of receiving the same kinds of things I have received in past years:

  • A big Pepto-Bismol pink calculator made of flexible plastic that one can roll up like a sleeping bag (or use as a sleeping bag, for that matter). I’m contemplating busting out this bad boy during my Monday morning project status meeting. Palm Pilot, be damned.
  • Three days of the shits (aka a chub of summer sausage). I can now attest that The Burning Ring of Fire has nothing to do with rings or fires.
  • A series of religious novels about a ragtag band of Quakers (at least, this is what I think the books are about, given the cover art). C’mon people. Perhaps I was not clear. I do not read anything that does not feature a de-frocked maiden, assless chaps or a naughty vicar on the cover.
  • A gently used Tupperware container. OK, so I received this for my wedding. But I could not pass up the chance to call this to your attention. It was USED, with scratch marks and everything. It was my “something borrowed.” I don’t know what’s worse — the fact that someone gave me used Tupperware, or the fact that it’s currently in my fridge, filled with sweet potatoes.
  • His and her copies of “The Purpose Driven Life” (one for me, one for untitledhusband). Duly noted, people. Duly noted. But I can assure you that I indeed have a purpose, and right now, it has more to do with the battery-operated device in my bedside table than it does with this shitty-ass tome.
  • A t-shirt with a blurry photo of untitledson ironed onto it that says “I love my Mom.” While I couldn’t bring myself to throw away anything with my son’s face on it, this creation did inspire me to make a t-shirt for untitledhusband — one that features MY face on it. I make him wear it to work on casual Fridays, that is, when I’m not using his lifeless ballsack as a coin purse.
  • A teddy bear wearing what can only be described as a blue doiley, a faux pearl necklace and matching earrings. The creature came perched in a little wicker chair and looked like a crusty old drag queen who’d spent the entire weekend smoking Misties and watching the Bette Davis movie marathon on Turner Classic Movies. And here I thought bears plugged their buttholes with pine needles and hiberated during the winter. Oh wait, that’s me.
  • Enough black soot to soil every wall in our home (aka an industrial-sized box of vanilla scented candles from the dollar store). We use them to light up our jack-o-lanterns during Halloween.

Given my past luck, I left no room for error this year. I was specific. I asked for a set of Lancome makeup brushes (which I got), a giftcard to a specific salon (which I got), a hand blender (did not get), a sports watch (did not get), and any of the Post Secret books (did not get). But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit weepy about not receiving crocheted can coozies or season six of “Murder, She Wrote.”

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