This post has been inspired by Jenny Pellett over at Characters from the Kitchen, who wrote about the plethora of “practical” items that keep showing up at this time of the year. Thanks, Jenny. It has also been inspired by a conversation that I had last night with M. Thanks, M.
I was in a long-term relationship with a man who was probably the god of practical buying. He provided me with everything from a remote car starter to a set of gingham kitchen towels. One year, he even bought me an expensive vacuum cleaner.
He wasn’t cheap but there also wasn’t a romantic bone in his body.
But I’m digressing. Here, without further ado, are my top ten Christmas suggestions for that significant lady. You still have time!
But, but, but, you say. “I don’t know her size, her tastes; I’m completely helpless with this sort of thing!” In this case, a gift card may be appropriate – personally, I like gift cards – they sure beat kitchen towels. But if it is not appropriate; for instance, if she sees gift cards as the height of laziness, she will appreciate the effort you have put into finding something non-practical, just for her.
1. Jewellery. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does require effort and some thought to find something that she will like.
2. A large, soft scarf in her favourite colour. And if you don’t know her favourite colour, you’re in more trouble than I thought. Hint: if necessary, ask her best friend what it is.
3. Her favourite perfume or cologne. See # 2 above if you don’t know what it is.
4. A massage session. Who wouldn’t want one of those?
5. A pedicure or manicure. If you’re flush, buy both.
6. A written promise that you will make her a three-course meal, including clean-up. She gets to pick the date.
7. Her favourite bottle of wine or her favourite gourmet food item(s) or both. Again, see # 2 above.
8. If you can afford it, a weekend at a great hotel. You can make this as fancy as your pocketbook will allow and can add dinner at a great restaurant and/or a show and/or a spa.
9. A large bouquet of her favourite flowers.
10. A nicely framed photograph of the two of you. By nice, I mean something that suits her home decor and isn’t an Ikea special.
Under no circumstances – unless she has specifically asked – should you buy the following: anything for her car, anything for her kitchen, or anything that is remotely connected to cleaning and/or yard work.
There are lots of things that I don’t like and they seem to fall into two categories – those things that I don’t like but have to put up with, necessary evils, you might say, and those that I don’t see any reason for putting up with at all. Today I’m going to whine about the “necessary evils” category. In no particular order, here are the top ten irritants that can really get under my skin and make me grit my teeth in irritation (clichés, anyone? I’ve got lots.)
1. Housework. I HATE housework. It doesn’t help that I also hate dirt and clutter and feel compelled to clean it up. As M says, I’m a bit of a germophobe. There’s probably a psychological explanation for this but I don’t know what it is. OCD, maybe? Maybe I’m turning into Howard Hughes? Hope not. He was weird. Actually, I think I’m better than I used to be – I can now tolerate a little slobbery.
2. Politicians. If ever there was a necessary evil, they are it. Most of them don’t give a hoot about the job they are supposed to do and only care about re-election and/or getting a plush post-political job somewhere. They can interfere – and often do – in the democratic process by throwing up obstacles to change and improvement in order to further their personal agendas and those of their cronies/henchmen. If the alternative wasn’t so dire, I’d advocate getting rid of them.
3. Tax Abuse. I actually don’t mind paying my taxes. We need schools, roads, hospitals and lots of other things. What pisses me off, though, is when I find out that some politician has used my (and your) tax dollars to stay at an incredibly expensive hotel while attending a conference that she didn’t attend. Then she has the nerve to change to another, more expensive hotel because she can’t smoke in the first expensive hotel. What are we running here? A smokers’ playpen?
4. Shopping. I am definitely not one of those women who can “go shopping” all day. It’s boring, crowded and hot. My mother loved to “go shopping.” As a kid, I sometimes had to go with her. She could do it all day, from store to store to store. She might come home with some mundane item such as a pair of hedgerow clippers, or most frustrating, nothing at all. I like to get in, buy what I need and get out, as efficiently as possible.
5. Big Box Stores. This is closely related to the above. They are gargantuan, crowded and hot and you can lose your car in the parking lot. (Gosh, I’m starting to wax poetical!) I can never find what I’m looking for and store employees don’t seem to know, either. All they can focus on is to get me to sign up for some thing or other that I don’t want but will only cost me $10.99 a month. I usually leave empty-handed.
6. Christmas Shopping. Noticing a trend here? I did a post about this one.
7. Airport Security Lines. You practically have to undress. No shoes. No belt. No this. No that. I once watched an elderly couple being put through this indignity and really felt for them. The man was in a wheelchair and they made him stand up. They at least could have done this in private. Now they want you to undergo some sort of looky peeky right through your clothes and skin in that machine that looks like it’s going to teleport you to Venus. What’s next? Taking us apart piece by piece?
8. Eating Fruit. I like my vegetables. I really do. But I’m not much of a fruit eater. I have to make myself eat this stuff. Some people think that this makes me crazy. Maybe I am and living in some sort of Matrix world. Knowing my luck, however, I’m living inside a cheap snow globe.
9. Doing Yard Work. The outdoor version of #1. And to add insult to injury, I don’t have a green thumb, but at least I don’t have to do it year round.
10. Working with Someone Who Drives You Batshit. I REALLY hate this one. It’s likely someone who wants to be your friend, too. They’re needy and often not very good at their jobs. I feel sorry for them. I try to be polite without being encouraging but this usually doesn’t work. Then I try to avoid them, a difficult proposition if you have to do a project with them. ARRGH!
What necessary evils make you want to scream into your pillow at night??