Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

"Surprise! I got us a second wife to help with cooking and cleaning. Her name's impossible, so I call her Thundercat." - Stan, American Dad


This is probably not a bad representation of Thundercat.

It’s amazing what a three-year-old remembers.

I mentioned Christmas tree, and Pugsley immediately started pointing at the corner where we had last year’s tree. Of course, last year’s tree is identical to this year’s tree, because we’re definitely the “having an artificial tree means you have the same tree every year for a tradition” kind of family and also I’m a “buy a tree once and you don’t have to buy a real tree year after year” kind of cheapskate.

There may be those among you that say that Christmas is no place for cheapskates, but I would wager that had Joseph called ahead for a reservation that there wouldn’t have been any of this manger business. I can only imagine the six layers of abuse that Mary gave him. Me? I think this is the real untold story of Christmas.

But I am not Scrooge, though really it all turned out well for him in the end and he had oodles of cash. I like Christmas very much, and I like it even more now that I’m an adult and on the giving end of presents more than the receiving end. The way that the eyes of Pugsley and The Boy light up when they pull those great chunks of coal out of their stockings? Priceless.

Okay, I don’t do that. I’m not a monster. In reality, we try to keep our holidays here a little less strained than some, and that’s all for the good. I don’t know of any sibling rivalry in either family, but I am attempting to stir some up between The Boy and Pugsley, just to keep the holidays interesting when I’m older. I think I’ll tell each of them that I like the other better. That might do it.

But, sadly, right now I have to deal with small children who believe happily that Christmas is all about love and family, about spending time together, about (Houston version) slightly cooler weather, trees, candy canes, time off from school, and presents. I think they vaguely understand the religious connotations.

Me? I have the problem of selecting gifts. Not for Pugsley and The Boy – I know (and, perhaps, The Mrs. knows even better) what little boys like – Light Sabers® and Legos™ and science kits and soldering irons and books and BB-guns and slingshots. Anything that can put an eye out counts as a big plus.

No, my problem is much deeper, Internet. It’s The Mrs.

Oh, sure, The Mrs. is happy to sit and write the night away, and is happy with her two pairs of shoes and four pairs of jeans and has asked for very little while we’ve been married, but darned if I can figure out what she wants for Christmas.

DVD’s? We’ve got oodles that we’ve no time to watch.

Pez®? The Mrs. has a lifetime supply. The Mrs. even has the coveted Yosemite Sam© dispenser.

Watches? The Mrs. has enough watches for Kali®.

BB-guns? No. The Mrs. would shoot my eye out.

Diamonds? No. The Mrs. is unimpressed by highly compressed carbon. “Carbon’s carbon,” is what The Mrs. says.

So, Internet, help a friend out.

Oh, sure, I can think back to those two Christmases in the past where The Mrs. went online and created a shopping list of things that she would like, printed them, and then handed them to me. I picked from the lists and ordered presents (The Mrs. was kind enough to specify size) and a Merry Christmas was had by all.

Surprise value? Hideously low, but it was outweighed by the “husband’s present not sucking” value, like the time I got her a commemorative plate of the Pope visiting Dodger® Stadium, complete with photocopied certificate of authenticity.

So, Internet, give a guy a hand. Help me with a good surprise, so I can keep using both eyes.
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Blogger DanCyn On The Island said...

Hello from Juneau! Your wife sounds just like me. Which is strange because I thought there was just one of us. I'm hard to shop for because I'm so anti "stuff". We anti stuff people put a premium on experiential gifts. Now I'm not suggesting you take her to the Undertakers Museum there in Houston (used to live around there) or bungee jumping, but maybe a night at a B&B in Galveston (although I don't know if that's a good idea since the storm...Austin's good too.) I tend to be more on the athletic side so horsebackriding, skiing, a visit to a climbing gym, a kayaking class, or a visit to an archaeological dig would be my idea of a perfect gift. Love your blog although I don't comment on these things much. I just laughed when I saw the "carbon is carbon" line which has always been my sentiment about diamonds.
Good luck and Happy Holidays,

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to give out all my good ideas with the off chance my wife will read them later and know who I am, but you only live once. I like to go with "quality of life" gifts, so an ironing board is a good pick there, and you can always upgrade to electronics by getting her an iron to go with it (make one of them from Santa for a real bonus). If your more "practical" then you can go with floor jacks for when you "pimp her ride". I'll stop there for now, give you some time to take it all in, this insight to the female mind is sometimes a burden. Oddly enough, sometimes Christmas is a real quite place around our house after the gifts are opened.....

7:46 PM  
Blogger Dame Koldfoot said...

Dude, whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE HER A VACUUM! This is what will happen (http://www.maniacworld.com/Beware-of-the-Doghouse.html). Doesn't matter if the vacuum has dual bags or a NASA grade .2575 micron filter. As Coldie knows from prior experience, this is not a fun place to be.

But what to get the Mrs.??? After slaving away writing all night, I'm sure the Mrs. would love a nice massage (by a professional named Sven). Or maybe some exotic coffee beans to satisfy her craving for something more than the average cuppa joe.
Would a home brewing kit (without the Wilder add-ons) go over? I mean you can't really hook a brewing crock up to a CO2 canister to speed up the fermenting process.

Best yet, a trip to North Pole. You two can fight over the top bunk in the Buzz Lightyear room.

No matter how well your gift to the Mrs. goes over, she will still appreciate the fact that you thought about her and tried.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*Planned day alone (where you arrange the babysitter)
*Find a friend from high school and surprise her with a visit
*Bowl game tickets?
*My husband bought me an older paper cutter on ebay. A much better present than the 6lb weight set and electric toothbrush.
*Easiest: I really like my new itouch. It keeps me procrastinating for hours.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me? I'd trust CWH. He's in Pre-Med.

10:21 PM  
Blogger John said...

Hello from down here! I am fond of her - the Undertaker's Museum sounds just odd enough to fit the bill - though I hear that business is slow. (You thought I was going to say dead, didn't you?)

I think the floor jacks would make a nice touch, especially since I already have a pair that I can paint and pass off as new. Thanks for the idea!

Dame Koldfoot,
Drat. Now I have to take the vacuum back. I'm not sure I could make doghouse parole (that one was a hoot . . )

I would take her up North Pole way, but the TSA does not allow you to carry passengers kicking and screaming back onto the plane. You'd have to deal with her living in the top bunk for a while . . .

Thanks for the ideas . . . for a second there, I thought it said "iTorch" and thought that a welding set that played music made by Apple would be kinda cool.

Does this mean I have to take the toothbrush back, too??

I thought he was in Pre-Law.

8:14 PM  

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