Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm starting to feel a little merry.

Got the last of the gifts bought today, and wrapped about 2/3 of them in a single setting. Only three remain, dress-up clothes I bought for the girls that need to go into gift bags.

I've slid into the hell of fake trees. They are, quite simply, cheaper and shorter than real ones, both of which are vital considerations right now.

I started out the season with last year's tree, but I had to replace it because pieces of the base had gotten lost. That one cost $10; I replaced it with a $13, 32" fiber optic tree. I don't have to string lights! I hate stringing lights. My ex-husband commented that it's a little short. So is he, but I put up with him many years anyway. Besides, I needed a tree that would fit on top of the dresser.

Little Boy loves it. He thinks the ornaments are dangling kitty toys. I filled up a squirt bottle this morning after he knocked the tree clear off the dresser.

Each daughter is getting four individual gifts. There are also three group gifts--one for each girl to open. I got the Rose Petal Cottage off Amazon for $30 (plus free shipping); that's been set up already in the kitchen. With that exception, only one gift cost more than $10--I bought them a miniature dollhouse for $16. Most gifts cost around $6/each. I bought them a couple each week starting in November. I got my mom a gift, and one for Rob from the girls (a t-shirt, $7.50). Each girl got a $5/gift budget to pick out gifts for each of her sisters. You can see the "from" notations on some of the gifts in the photo. (The gifts are back in the top of my closet, by the way; the cats would eat the wrapping paper if they had half a chance.)

Robert, to my knowledge, hasn't yet bought them a thing. We talked about this about a week or two ago. He plead poverty. This was a few days after he bought a wireless internet fob for his laptop from Cricket, the company we both have our cellphones through. Spent $135 on it. The other day he picked me up after my Psych exam and while I was with him spent $9 on Mountain Dew at Valero. He is even worse with money than I am.

I don't really mean this as an indictment of him. He doesn't mean to be selfish. He is just not used to having to give consideration to things like Christmas gifts. Throughout the course of our marriage & years as parents, he thought to buy exactly one gift for a child. This was in January of 2007, so that meant...let me add...four birthdays for Bobbie...two for Linda (it was her 3rd birthday he bought a present for)...four Christmases for Bobbie...three for birthday for Esther...two Christmases...Sixteen gift opportunities, altogether? Is that right? Anyway. It's just not something he's used to thinking about. It was something he always delegated to me. Oops. Actually, there was another birthday for Bobbie before we split up, so seventeen opportunities altogether that he didn't think to do anything for. I'm not certain I believe he bought them anything for their birthdays/Christmas last year and early this year. He did buy Esther two birthday presents this year, but not without calling me from the toy store for help for one and dragging me around the Disney store for help with the other.

I blame his parents. Mainly because I don't like them. But also because he was their golden child, the only bio baby, born after 5 miscarriages. Hell, I'd have coddled him too. (Oh, I did coddle him, come to think of it.) That said, I'm certain they will think to buy the girls Christmas gifts. Still and all, you'd think the guy working full-time would do better at getting presents.

I've heard tales of children of divorce who absolutely cleaned up at Christmastime and on their birthdays, as both parents were competing for their affections. I am confident I am not; this is what I do for them whenever I can. I overcompensate in other ways. I am not certain why I'm the one acting out of guilt for the breakup of their family when I'm not the one who broke it up, but there ya go. I've got way too much guilt for a Protestant. And their father, while loving, is way too clueless to try to buy their affections. Which is probably a good thing, because it means they get an authentic father, even if they don't get him as often now.

On a completely different subject, I am adding The Stupid Shall be Punished and No Slack, Fast Attack to my blogroll. The latter posts only about as often as I do, if not less, but any man who makes fun of the Navy working uniforms so much is a man after my own heart. This post of his from earlier this month says about exactly what I think of both the utilities and the new camos. The switch from dungarees to utilities (which I think look about like a janitor's or bus driver's uniform) came only a couple of months after I got married, but I am glad Rob missed the switch to camos. He liked it when he got to wear the greens (there was a time whenever the men standing topside watch while on duty were authorized 'em, allegedly to make it look like they had real, live Marines up there), but these? Looks like a design the Air Force passed over as being too twee. And WTF is the point of another uniform the junior/midgrade enlisted cannot wear off base? Everyone else gets to, even the Marines.

Here's a picture of Linda helping decorate the tree:


TBeck said...

There's absolutely nothing wrong with small, artificial trees. Ours has served very well for many years. It's non-flammable, relatively cat-proof, and folds into a compact little box for the other forty-six weeks of the year. If I want a face-full of pine needles I can always go try to pry my Angora out of the evergreen in the front (it's amazing how many things a snow-white cat can find to roll in or climb through).

My wife was looking very hard to find a copy of THE CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS SPECIAL to watch with the girls (9 and 8). I finally found a copy on EBay for $10 and ordered it. We sat down all together to watch, hoping to create a new holiday tradition.

They say that you can never go back. What used to be a fun little cartoon when I was a tween now featured a bipolar, obsessive compulsive boy whose dog had given up on him, surrounded by the meanest bunch of little bitches to ever grace celluloid.

"You're a blockhead, Charlie Brown."

"You can't do anything right, Charlie Brown."

One these days Charlie Brown, known since middle school as "Chuckhead", is going to buy a trenchcoat and go all Pvt. Pyle on those punks.

And Lucy, give it up, already. He plays a piano because his hero is Liberace.

Now I'm afraid to watch those clay-mation specials narrarated by Burl Ives. God only knows what I'll see in them today. I guess we'll stick with BARBIE NUTCRACKER. I've always enjoyed listening to Tim Curry's voice.

Murphy said...

Hmm, no money for kiddos but plenty for other stuff? Pfffft.

Yeah, the guilt thing... sure you're not Catholic?

Li'l cutie!