Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve - Last Minute Wrappings

I sent out my husband out to the store to pick up something I forgot to get at the grocers.

I was told not to go into the basement while he was gone as he was still wrapping something.  I asked if he was having trouble with it and he said 

"The tail keeps getting in the way".

I just laughed and sent him on his way, with a list, as without it there's no telling what he will come home with.

Once, instead of getting me roses for  one snowy Valentines day, as I said I don't really like them as they just die, he came home with some rolls of duct tape and disappeared in the basement. He made a dozen duct tape roses.

Being married to an engineer I have learned to never expect the expected and I've also learned, after spending some of my formative years with a widowed Dad and only men in the house, that men look at shopping and gifts a bit differently than my female friends.

Men don't buy the cap snaffler, anything by Popeil or the simple. Men are drawn not by "easy", and "quick to use" but terms like "industrial strength", "tested in non nuclear warfare" and "will withstand 4,000 foot pounds of foot pressure!" because men contain some DNA within them that strives to be the best at every profession there is. A man isn't jut a man, with the right equipment he's fireman, paid assassin, grill chef, engineer, nuclear physicist, cowboy.

He doesn't make fun of you because you have a half dozen different lip sticks or lip glosses, and Abby has twelve almost identical stuffies so we don't say anything when he comes home withe four almost identical pipe wrenches. One of them of course, always has that special use that can't be done by the other three.
I've simply learned, especially during the holidays, that a man's idea of shopping is not the same as a woman's.

I admit it. I shop like a guy. I plan what I need to get, look at some reviews to see which is the best product and pick it. Then I walk into the store in a manner in which General Clauswitz would be proud, cleverly avoiding people trying to spray me with cologne so I don't end up in sporting goods smelling like a brothel. I see what I need, I grab it,  I pay for it, usually cash, and I quickly leave the scene of the crime.

So when you just surprise your mate with "honey would you go to the store and get eggs and milk" and he's sent into battle with no time for preparation, bombarded by countless displays that make no ergonomic sense and people shoving food and products at him with "want to try the new Kiwi Persimmon Pop Tart, now with antioxidants", he just wants to escape and as quickly as possible. Which is why he sometimes comes home with a case of beer, a bottle of olives and a birch tree.

Hardware stores are different. Send him to one of those for just one small item and he'll come home with a vehicle packed tighter than the Clampett's truck on Beverly Hillbillies.
And since it's Christmas - Men and gift wrap.

Most men do not like to wrap gifts. I think it was Dave Barry that said the first gifts given were the gifts to Baby Jesus. "Hence the term "wise men". Men don't understand the point in putting carefully coordinated paper with oodles of expensive ribbon on a package just to rip it off. (lingerie though is a whole 'nother idea).

Give a women a 15 inch scrap of decorative paper and she can gift wrap a Sikorsky helicopter in less than 10 minutes. I don't know about the men in your family, but Dad and my brother would carefully lay out the present, cut a swath of paper the size of Nebraska, and when they were done, there would be a gap in the back where you could see what the gift was. I realized in my anthropology courses, that the Pharaohs had to be wrapped after death by women.  Someone once said that otherwise the back of the mummy would be held together by a big piece of Scotch Tape.

So my Dad and brother would often give me a present in a Safeway grocery sack, stapled carefully shut so I couldn't peek. With a bow on it that they'd happily press on it to dress it up for me. This lasted until Dad bought the mother of all Christmas wrapping paper, a roll that was at least 2 feet thick. He still has it. You knew immediately which gifts were from Dad and my brother. Forty years later, the roll's diameter is only about 5 inches less.

But if you want someone to have some FUN with a gift in my family it's from the men. From childhood on I've had boxes that rattled that shouldn't have, been too large for the contents, as well as those with mysterious air holes bored in the side. The gifts often turned out to be something extraordinarily fun but not what we thought it was.

Mom - What's with the big lawn and leaf bag in the living room?

Dad - It's a gift. It's Christmas, remember!  Can't you tell? See there's a BOW!  Mom: (pulling it open and speaking in that tone that only women receiving appliances as gifts can actually utter with a straight face) It's a shop vac . . . .

Dad - But it has a six horsepower motor! And it comes with several small attachments!

Mom (laughing) - Is one of them a divorce attorney?

Dad - Oh, look there underneath (looks like a jewelry box)

Mom - It's those diamond earrings I admired!! (squeal, kiss, kiss)
Mom - when is Santa Paws going to get here?

So this Christmas, though I won't giggle at the funny wrapped packages, and one that I bet squeaks, There will likely be a decoy rattle in one of the presents as well, my husband keeping up the family traditions.
I'll  simply be very thankful - that my Dad still has the roll of paper in the closet, that I have a husband kind enough to run to the store as I forget to get tortillas to make Migas for the day after Christmas breakfast and that I am loved by both two and four legged family members.   I am also quite thankful that we both are fortunate enough to be able to provide these small things - items that don't make the holiday, but certainly make the holiday special.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone.


  1. Hahaha. Military Husband has my mom wrapping for him. He tried it last year and it was a hot mess.

  2. Merry Christmas to you all
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  3. When I was in the Coast Guard, I wrapped everyone's gift one year in old nautical charts that were being discarded. I think I was the only one that found it to be unique, as no comments were made.
    Merry Christmas to you all!!

  4. We have NO idea WHY... butt our MOM is laughing like a Wild Woman...
    OH the Gifts the GUYS think of... and HOW they are Presented... They are the thingys that MEMORIES are made of.

    We want to wish YOU and YOURS... a VERY MUCH MERRY CHRISTMAS.

  5. I personally don't care if my gifts are wrapped or not. It is the thought that counts. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas Eve!

  6. Man-wrap! I love it. DH won't throw out a scrap of wrap, so sometimes he just tapes them all over the box in question. Kind of like a mosaic.

  7. Being a fellow wife of an engineer...I can hoestly say, I get it, I soooooo get it. LOL!

    Have a very Merry Christmas!!

  8. Hari OM
    ...have to say, I too shop 'functionally'; what do I want - what might they like - where can I get it and does it come ready wrapped?! I detest shopping for shopping's sake at the best of times. Christmas is for the sacred for me, but I do have to acknowledge others' desires at this time... and, after all, sharing with our nearest and dearest on the level of Love (capital 'ell'!) is an expression of that very same 'sacred'!!! Blessings to you and your oh-so-practical engineer dood LB and hugs and wags to Abby... YAM (aunty) xxxoooxoxoxoxoxoxxxx

  9. Can you send my your dad next year Abby? for the pawfect grift wrapping? and can he even wrap the gifts with slices of bacon too? I would like that :o) Merry Christmouse to you all :o)

  10. Yup! Ghostwriter can agree on that! Some of the wrapping paper Dad used was from 35 years ago!


Welcome to The Book of Barkley and the Blogville dog blogging community. This blog was created for more memories of Barkley as well as updates on Abby the Senior rescue Lab, who we adopted in 2014.

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