Friday, May 04, 2007

When I got home last night, I found a large box from HSN (the tv shopping channel) Home Furnishings. My first reaction was a momentary panic - now that I'm 46, am I experiencing black outs in which I shop? Then my brother reminded me of a conversation I'd had with our mother.

Mom - "I ordered each of you a bread box. Now you can keep your bread out on the counter and Hanna won't be able to get it."

This statement, of course, pre-supposes that (1) I want to keep my bread on the counter, (2) that I have room on my counter for a bread box, (for those of you wondering, they are surprisingly big) and (3) that Hanna won't be able to figure out how to open the bread box given the potential reward inside.

As it turns out, all of the above suppositions are false. But in the bigger picture, mom sending this box is a bad sign. My mother's only interests are playing slot machines at Pechanga and shopping, and Mom definitely goes for quantity over quality. Instead of buying one $200 present, she will always opt for buying 20 $10 dollar gifts. So, while you have lots of gifts to open at Xmas, it's unlikely that any are worth keeping. (Last year the emphasis was on what she described as "gourmet food", such as curry flavored salt, and a bottle of spinach dip seasoning. The problem is that by the time these things are shipped to a discount store - her store of choice - they have been on shelves elsewhere for years, and have lost all flavor or have gone bad. The same goes for the bath products she buys.)
So an alarm sounded when she asked me last week if I "still collected tea pots". I never collected tea pots. But a few years ago she went through a phase of buying me tea pots as birthday and Xmas gifts. There is nothing wrong with collecting tea pots; in fact, I can easily imagine doing this. Finding beautifully hand painted ceramics, or pots in interesting architectural shapes . . . what I actually got, however, was a tea pot shaped like a cat wearing an apron. We have very different tastes - my mother's runs to cutesy country; mine runs to anything but cutesy country.

So the question remains, what to do with the bread box? Maybe I'll wrap it up and re-gift it as a Mother's Day present.


Blogger EditThis said...

I take it your mother doesn't read your blog?

That was a very funny description of your mother and her shopping habits. Mine is pretty similar, but I'm usually able to use or keep whatever she buys me.

9:12 AM  
Blogger M-M-M-Mishy said...

"A tea pot shaped like a cat wearing an apron." Um, I think I speak for everyone when I say, "Photo, please"!

I'm lucky that my tastes tend to more or less match up with my mother's. The only thing we can never agree on is my hair... ("It's too short!" "It's too long!" "Why is it so blonde?" "Now it's too dark! You look washed out!" "WHY IS IT ALWAYS IN YOUR FACE?!?!") Good times.

9:39 AM  
Blogger LA said...

OMG, I totally hear you on the 20 $10-dollar gift items instead of one $200 gift you will actually like and use! In the last couple years, we've had a major readjustment of Christmas where we only buy each other one gift. It's working out a lot better.

Edit - My mother found my old blog, and all hell broke loose. I still cringe at the thought. Oh, and she found it on Mother's day. It was bad.

Collections are always dangerous. I finally told mine that I don't collect anything anymore.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Collections are the Devil! I think it makes for clutter and disary!

I hate the bounty of gifts that cost 10-20 dollars. Get me one GOOD gift. Why don't people GET that? Who wants to litter their houses with Crap? Not me, not me.

10:34 AM  
Blogger sage said...

My mother was always giving me just what I needed for my office. Or ties that I'd never wear (I hate the things to start with and when I wear one, it's going to be conservative and not outlandish). She use to always insist on getting lists of stuff you wanted for Christmas and got upset because underwear was always on the list (with the only requirement was that it had to be 100% natural--cotton, silk or wool). I hate buying underwear--and so did my mother, I think... Sadly, when he mind starting going, she stopped bugging me about what to get me for Christmas.

I suppose your mother would like those faux-country Cracker Barrel places too.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Prunella Jones said...

My mother in law is the same way. She loves country craft items. For my birthday last year she gave me a hideous rag doll holding a pink heart which you are meant to stuff with plastic grocery bags. God I hate that country shit! I gave it to Shirley who immediately ripped it's head off. That dog has good taste.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

edit - my mom won't even read her email, and has no idea I have a blog, nor what a blog even is . . .

mishy - oh I get the hair too, except that she always tells me it looks better now, it was too {fill in some complaint here] - photo to follow!

la - the only thing I currently collect is refrigerator magnets - it is impossible to get a bad one of those

ryan - i'm with ya on the clutter

sage - underwear is ALWAYS a good gift!

pru - I agree w/ Shirley - and I can't believe my mom hasn't stumbled across those bag things yet!

12:19 PM  
Blogger GetFlix said...

I am loving this post and the comments. My home is a country craft free zone!

Don't come in here with that! Keep it in the car, please.

But then there is the famous sneak attack, where relatives secretly leave stuff in my shed. (Oh, he'll be able to use it someday.)

6:44 PM  
Blogger NY KAT said...

I have an attic filled with stuff that was given to me by relatives. Now that I live so far away from home, I ask everyone to just give me gift cards because it's easier for them...that's my selling point and it's been working lately!

9:07 PM  
Blogger Ffleur said...

Seriously, I hired a de-clutter expert last year. Expensive but worth it. My mother (& bossy older step-sister) buy me junk. They either think I am eternally 5 years old and want toys, or they give me stuff I have never expressed any interest in.

As much as I ask for just money, it falls on deaf ears.

Great post Diane. Unfortch, I could relate waaaaaaay too much.

Breadbox: good place to hide your potato chip stash when guests come over?

10:36 PM  
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1:04 AM  

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