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I’ll Just Blame it on the Dog

Still recovering from my whirlwind trip down the red carpet in my Vera Wang gown, I find myself back in the real world once again tasked with the mundane.  Today’s challenge – wrapping a baby shower gift.

I am the Worse Wrapper in the World.  Note the “w” in “wrapper”.  Because I can totally rap, I’m telling you.  As long as no one is watching me.  But I can’t wrap to save my life -with or without an audience.

I am good about buying the gift ahead of time, but that’s where my planning and foresight usually end.  I focus completely on finding the perfect gift.  Wrapping it never crosses my mind while I am actually at the store where I could, perhaps, find some suitable attire for my well-chosen present.  Because I generally skip that step in the whole thinking ahead process, I typically find myself frantically turning the house inside out as I look for appropriate packaging an hour or so before the event.

This baby shower gift is a perfect example.  I actually did momentarily pause in the gift wrapping aisle on my way to the register.  But I told myself that I did not need to spend more money on its dressing than the gift, and besides, I had the perfect bag in which to place the gift at home.  I don’t know what possessed me to think this.  My only daughter is nine.  Since I never buy bags, and it’s been nearly a decade since I’ve received any baby gifts, why would I have a BABY SHOWER bag in my closet?

After hesitating over using a quite salacious Abercrombie and Fitch bag instead, I settled on wrapping paper.  Amazingly, there was a roll of appropriately patterned paper in the closet.  And, there was just enough left on the roll to wrap the gift.

Or so I thought.

The other dumb thing I tend to do when buying gifts is purchase irregularly shaped gifts.  Which is not a major problem when using a gift bag, but completely overwhelms me when I am wrapping.  Completely.

And the pressure was worse because I knew I only had one shot.  If I messed this up, the only thing left was the A&F bag.  I briefly considered covering the A&F bag with duct tape.  But that stuff is expensive.  MacGyver may have an unlimited budget, but I live on a teacher’s salary.

I am hopeless at this.  The only thing I’m worse at is cooking and, oh joy, I am supposed to bake a dessert to bring tomorrow, as well.  Do these people not know me, by now?  Do they just hope, as time goes by, that I’m going to improve in these areas?  Or do they just revel in watching me squirm over things I find impossible?  Probably that.

I think that they are jealous of my Award Shelf, and feel like I must be put in my place on a regular basis to keep me humble.

Well, that’s not gonna work.

So, I was cruising for pics for this post (I had one of the actual bad wrapping job I did, but somehow deleted it), and I came across an actual service that DELIBERATELY wraps things badly - called, appropriately enough, CrapWrap. You could pay them - or have me do it. Your choice.

The Xbox Kinect Debacle of Christmas 2010 – Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of this edge-of-your-seat drama, you can click here.  Or, you can be satisfied with this summary:  I ordered a 250 GB Xbox Kinect last November from Microsoft.  They told me it was on its way, and then they told me I was never going to get it because they found out that I have a house full of Apple products.  At least that is the reason that I suspect.

Resolved to get the Xbox Kinect with 250 GB of memory (because the 4 GB version just seemed too easy to acquire and it not worth buying if it’s not a pain in the rear to find), no matter what, I resorted to eBay.  Normally, I love eBay.  But I had avoided it at first b/c I think ordering expensive electronics that way is full of potential pitfalls.  Also, it was about $150.00 more.

After much research, I found someone with 99.2134567% customer satisfaction who had been a seller since I was a baby, and hadn’t had any complaints in the last 6 hours at least.

I won’t tell you how much I paid.

Back on track again, I sighed, and stretched back in my office chair as all of the other poor late-shopping fools raced around looking for the perfect Christmas gift.

A couple of days later, I got my e-mail that the Xbox Kinect 250 GB game was on its way from my super reliable eBay seller.

The next day, I got an e-mail from Microsoft that my Xbox Kinect 250 GB game that I had ordered from them (the one they had said was CANCELLED and would never be sent to me even if I paid them a million bucks and danced naked in Times Square) was on its way.

Let’s summarize – 1 Xbox Kinect from Microsoft, then 0 Xbox Kinect from Microsoft, 1 Xbox Kinect from eBay, AND 1 Xbox Kinect from Microsoft.

For those of you without my mathematical genius, that would be 2 Xbox Kinects.  500 GB of memory.  And a credit card bill for $100,000 give or take.

In the meantime, I had been worried the whole time that Cap’n Firepants might have ordered one to surprise the family – making a total of 3 Xbox Kinect games – one for each person in our household.  This would kind of defeat my whole purpose of bringing the family together to play.

In full panic mode, exacerbated by the fact that I could not mention the reason for my increasing anxiety to Cap’n Firepants, I wielded my wonderful assertiveness on the phone to Microsoft, with the goal of getting a free Xbox Kinect.

I managed to get two free Kinect games to play on our potential 3 boxes.

Both Kinect systems arrived within a day of each other.  I wrapped the one from eBay and put it under the Christmas tree.  I glared at the other one, and finally stuck it in my perpetually full dry-cleaning basket with the intention of one day finding it a home at an exorbitant price through Craig’s List.

Christmas Day arrived, and the Cap’n and Dimples were suitably impressed by the gift.  In fact, Dimples said, “This is so cool!  I’ve never seen anything like this before,” once it was set up.

“What do you mean?” I asked.  “You and Dad saw it on a commercial, and said how great it was.  You both couldn’t stop talking about it!”

“We did?” they said in unison.

It turns out that I had wasted my time for two months.  I should have been looking for a family with more memory instead of a game system with more memory.

Thanks Otacon 9944 on Photobucket!


The Curable Romantic

After I dated my Cap’n Firepants for a year, I started expecting a ring.  I even knew how he would pop the question.  We would go back to Fredericksburg, where we had gone on one of our first dates, and head out to the peach orchard.  He would chivalrously offer to pluck the peach tree with the highest branches, leaving its particularly heavily laden neighbor for me to harvest .  I would begin collecting peaches when, suddenly, I would spot, dangling delectably from one of the branches, a gorgeous engagement ring.  And the Cap’n would get on his knees and proclaim his everlasting love.

That didn’t happen.  Oh, the peach pluckin’ occurred.  Just not the ring gathering portion of my daydream.

Six months later, it was Christmas time.  And now I was really certain this would be the moment.  I spotted a nicely wrapped package under the tree, and reasoned that, though it was far too large to be a ring box, he would certainly want to surprise me, thus placing it in a larger box.  Not exactly original, but still romantic.

It was a cell phone.  Practical.  Not romantic.  Very thoughtful, of course, since he was concerned about my safety in the somewhat antiquated jalopy I was driving at the time.

I said, “Thank you.”  I think most women reading this post know that is not whatimeant2say.

Fast forward into our marriage. (He did eventually pop the question, though not in quite the elaborate manner I had pictured.) Cap’n Firepants, unlike most men, remembers every special occasion with a carefully chosen card and somewhat thoughtful gift.  Things started to get a little too generic, though.  One day,  I tell him that I would be fine without the gift, but I would be thrilled if he would write something in his own words on a card.  On the next occasion, he gave me a particularly elaborate card.

On the inside he wrote, “I really mean everything this card says.”  Not quite the flowery words I was requesting.

A few years later, the Cap’n, who had apparently forgotten my blatant lack of gratitude the first time, took the chance again of giving me a phone I didn’t ask for.

But this time, it was an iPhone.  And I learned to like it real fast.  It was almost better than a diamond ring.

I liked the iPhone so much that I bought myself an iPad.  By that point, I was so giddy with gadgets, I didn’t even care that we did nothing special on our ten-year anniversary.

I saw Cap’n Firepants looking wistfully at my iPad, and gave him my blessing when the new one was unveiled. I was a little jealous that he would have the camera and the Smartcover, but I figured I could hold off until iPad 3 rolled around.  Cap’n Firepants, in his usual meandering manner, didn’t order the iPad 2 right away, however.

One night, he finally admitted that he had broken down and ordered one.  Then, he casually stated that he had ordered two of them – one for me, too.  We were at a bar, and I leapt out of my bar stool and commenced to produce a very public PDA.  Cap’n Firepants loves getting himself a little DA, but not so much the P part.  Nevertheless, I think he was satisfied by my reception of his gift.

And now, my birthday is coming up.  I asked for an iPhone 5.  Surprise and/or other romantic trappings not necessary.

Although it would be really, really perfect if I could stream The Princess Bride from Netflix on my new, very practical gift.

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