Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Dad the Non-Consumer

My dad doesn't shop.
He doesn't want anything. He doesn't need anything. He doesn't buy anything.

Window shopping. A foreign concept.

It's no stretch to think that us kids are adopted so that he would have someone to help him buy mom's Christmas gift.
Because that is exactly what happens.

My sister and I were usually enlisted to help him find a gift for Mom.
When my sister died, the job fell to me and my sister-in-law. We used to alternate the task each year.

One year, we forced an embargo. Dad, you've known the woman for 35 years. Man up and buy a gift.
That ended in disaster. Poor mom was nearly heartbroken.

A couple of years ago, I was totally on top of things. I had finished my shopping three weeks before Christmas. Everything was wrapped.
Then, the week before Christmas Dad called and asked me to help.

Oh man! Dad, I'm done shopping. I am NOT going back to the stores!
But I couldn't let him down. I told him I'd call him when I figured out what to get her.

The next day he called again, wanting to know what I decided.

"You're getting her a new watch. The watch she has is more than 20 years old. It's a quality watch but it's starting to come apart."

Okay, dad says. Why don't you go to W*lM*rt and... ?

I interuppted -

"NO! Dad. Seriously. You can't afford the finders fee I would charge if I had to go to W*lM*rt the week before Christmas! Besides. She has a Se!ko. We're not replacing that with a T!mex from W*lM*rt!"

He was worried. He just hates spending money and he knows my taste so he knew he wasn't going to get off cheap.

I shopped and shopped for the right watch. Finally, I told him the damage.
A heavy sigh on his end of the line, even though I'd done really well. Frugal but quality.

Then came Christmas Eve.
When my sister-in-law saw that Mom was about to open a gift from Dad, she panicked. Leaning over she whispered, "I didn't help him. Are we okay?"

"Yeah. I took care of it."

Mom was thrilled!
After we cleaned up all the damaged wrapping paper, she sat next to me admiring her new watch.
"I just love it." she said, "It's so pretty."

and then
"Has Dad seen it?"


milissa said...

Oh that's funny. :)

Doris said...

Oh my God, I am LOL! My Dad was exactly the same way, he's been gone eleven years now, but every year (as the eldest girl child~) I could expect a call saying "I put $xx in your bank account today, can you pick out something nice for your Mom?"

I too tried forcing him to do it himself one year... D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R!!!!!!

Andi said...

Oh, TRS, this is EXACTLY how it happens in my family, too.

It usually goes something like this. It's Thanksgiving night and Mom and I are perusing the sales papers and plotting our course for Black Friday.

Mom, pointedly: I'd like your Dad to get me ______ for Christmas.

Later that evening:

Dad, in a bad stage whisper: You gonna get your mom something from me?

Me: Of course.

Dad: Here's a $100.

Then I purchase the gift, wrap it, sign his name, and none of us really acknowledge it but nor do we pretend any differently.

Ah, the holidays and family are a HOOT!

Laura said...

You've been living in my house, haven't you?

This year, it was a team project. Mom tells me she needs new leather driving gloves. I pass the info on to Dad. He finds a nice, but inexpensive pair, and decides he wants a bracelet to go ON one of the gloves, so it's sparkling when she opens it up (way to go, Dad! Didn't know you had THAT in ya!) But he HATES (capitalized, bolded, italics, underlined) jewelry, so could I pick something out?

I find something online, check to see if it's at the store near them. Dad can't get away, so Big Brother goes and picks it up.

Niece will wrap it.

Mom will be thrilled.

Dad will be happy that her hands are warm when she's driving around.

All the ladies at Christmas will whisper to each other, "He went to Jared!" and drive my dad up a wall!

tootie said...

That's hilarious! I love the last line. Your mom is a smart woman :)

Bobbi said...

I love it! That is exactly what happens at my house. I have helped my dad shop for my mom since I was a teenager.
He called me yesterday wondering if we could go shopping on CHRISTMAS EVE for my mom's presents! (He's out of town for work)

My mom does the same thing, asking me if my dad has seen the gifts beforehand, or my dad will look at her gifts and say "wow, that's nice, who got that for you?"

PaulaW said...

Ha! I so know where you are coming from. Dad's gotten a little better the past couple of years ... he usually has at least an "idea" of what he wants to get, but I have to take him to the right store and pick out the right color / size / price etc. But it's a little "dad and me" time so it's ok. (My folks have been married 48 years).

Blue Castle said...

This is hilarious! When my sister and I were kids my dad always made us go out with him on Christmas Eve and help him find something for my mom. Either that or he'd give us money and send us out. But, it was always at the very, last minute possible. :)

Anna said...

That is so funny.

Thankfully no one has called me up like that in some time.

auntie said...

such a cute story! i love that she knows the way he operates and it doesn't bother her a bit.