Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Birthday Story, or, More About Karma

Dh has had nearly two months to make this right. Since he hasn't - well, he was warned.

Let me begin by saying I am not a material girl. I am not fond of jewelry, I hate bling, and I am pretty resourceful. Don't get me wrong - I love my 500TC sheets. But I only need one set. I would rather explore new places or lie on an old familiar beach in Hawaii than accumulate things.
This good nature and lack of interest in THINGS has been taken advantage of in the past by dh. And you know what I mean.
Dh is not a shopper and he is not a good planner. So of course it has worked out well for him that I am not counting on 'things' around those general gift-giving times.
In the course of our lives together, I have asked him specifically for one gift: the Elph I love and use frequently. That is ONE gift in over SIX YEARS.
I, on the other hand, do enjoy shopping, and have given dh some killer gifts over the years. Someone was lucky enough to get a video Ipod, just after it was unveiled, for his happy christmas!
I knew enough to give ample notice to him to make it really easy when he wondered what on earth to get me for my fortieth birthday.
My two year old computer is about as reliable as a two year old human. Dh has an obsession with acquiring files and files of movies. Never to be deleted. On my computer. By default, 'my computer' has become 'the family entertainment system' because it sits on our kitchen table and I have no private office. This means that there are frequently arguments over who gets to use the computer. For instance, if I go upstairs to put Bubbles down for a nap, dh puts on a movie for Supergirl. On the computer. But when Bubbles falls asleep, that is mama's only time to work. On the computer. So then I interrupt the movie and take back my mouse, and sometimes Supergirl has a fit and Bubbles wakes up. And then I get very very pissed. OR, the sheer volume of files he has loaded down on the hard drive, is constantly shutting the computer down. While I am in the middle of writing or working. You get the picture.
Also, back in July, I asked dh if I might please borrow his laptop for BlogHer. He said NO! No, because it was 'his whole life, and if anything happened to it...' Well, I just don't like being treated like a five year old. Couldn't use his precious laptop? We had one big can-of-whoopass fight that night!
So, although dh is a techie, I am not. I asked for a simple solution to all that forced sharing: get me a very basic, non-flashy, used, cheap laptop/notebook to use when I have time to work, rather than constantly fighting for access to 'my' computer. I suggested the ubiquitous Craigslist, reminded him that nothing fancy was needed, and made my wishes known. And then in August I reminded him again. And again in late August, and then once more in September before we left for Hawaii. I even said, "Don't blow this. You need to get me a present this birthday. I am turning forty."
His sister called him from Pittsburgh to tell him, "Don't blow this. You better get her a nice gift. REALLY."
I would like to point out, that I was not asking for a laptop as a luxury item. I was merely trying to minimize the fights over the computer and streamline my work hours.
SO....around came my birthday, and out to dinner we went. We went to a 'highly recommended for it's child-friendliness AND good food' restaurant. The kids were incredibly well-behaved, and the food was uncharacteristically good for Hawaii dining.
And then dh handed me a card. And was holding in his hand a small plastic bag. I read the card; it was sweet and thoughtful. And then he presented me with the bag. He also provided this disclaimer, "This is not your present - it's just a part of your present."
I opened the bag, and pulled out a cell-phone charger. What?! Yes, a cell phone charger.
I looked at him strangely. Was this a joke?
He then went on to say, "I am going to get you a new phone! One with a camera! But they are cheaper if you get them with a plan. So we will just do that."
I blinked. And again.
I swallowed. Hard.
I said slowly, "Let me get this straight. You just gave me a cell phone charger for a cell phone that I don't want, we don't have cell coverage where we live, I don't have it on 75% of my commute, but you want me to get a PLAN? I don't want a $40 per month plan. I pay per minute and pay only about $15 per month, because I can never even USE the phone!"
He responded, slightly embarrassed since we were, after all, in a restaurant, and I was not exactly whispering. Well, what was he thinking making some presentation out of giving me a fucking unwrapped cell phone charger in public? Did he want a big kiss? "Well, I didn't know you only pay that much."
I was incredulous, as it was all sinking in.
"You just gave me a cell phone charger and the best thing you could come up with for my FORTIETH BIRTHDAY was a present that I HAVE TO PAY FOR EVERY MONTH???"
And here is where it got special:
"Well, I was going to help you pay for it."

Wow. Wow. HELP. me. pay. for. it.
My birthday present.
My fortieth birthday present.
Help me pay for it....

I gave him the charger and said, "That is pathetic. Try again. I cannot believe you would do that to me."
And he mumbled something about going to 'Plan B' but he would have to order it, mumble mumble.
And I said, "No you don't need to order it. You get it on Craigslist like I told you two months ago."
Then we enjoyed the rest of our dinner, cake and all, with the children being lovely and me giving him narrowed-brow looks. And feeling pissed. And materialistic. Because I was so disappointed.

Later that night, dh discovers that a horrible, insidious worm has infected his laptop, locking him out as administrator, and disabling his every necessary action to continue working to his deadline. He spends hours trying to de-worm the patient, to no avail. He tells me this late on my birthday night, the blue light of the pool flickering behind him as he nervously runs his hands over his perspiring head - this is serious, and his job could be on the line.
But timing is everything, and he should know that too.
So I say, "Wow. That totally sucks. Because if you had gotten me what I asked for for my birthday, now we would have a back-up. Because we would have another laptop. And here's the thing: I would probably even have let you use it."

Watching karma in action. That was my birthday present.

8 comments:

Elizabeth said...

A cell-phone charger. In a bag. For a phone you don't want and can't even use.

Wow. Just, wow.

I'm guessing you didn't LET your husband have sex with you that night either, huh? Because it would have been a cold, COLD night at my house.

I turn 40 in January, guess I'd better start telling my husband EXACTLY what I want for my birthday.

Fraulein N said...

Wow. It was unwrapped. And he was going to help you pay for it, too. I'm not materialistic either, but WOO freakin' HOO, man.

theotherbear said...

Ha ha ha - karma's gonna get you every time!

My birthday is 3 days before hubby's. I never buy him anything until I see what I got. Yes, I am materialistic.

nakedjen said...

so what i want to know? did you get the laptop? or are you still sharing?

if you haven't, you need one. pronto.

will also share that men are incredibly stupid. incredibly!

gwendomama said...

wow is right. it was a cold night.
and no, dear nakedjen, i have gotten NO present for that birthday. and am still 'sharing' if you can use that term....
and stupid. ha!
dh stands for DipsHit.

chris said...

Wow. This reminds me of the year my husband bought me a box of Junior Mints a stack of yellow legal pads for Christmas. They were still in the bag from the 24 hour convenience store.

Now I just buy my own presents, wrap them myself, and then open them up in a very dramatic display.

And, because I am a bitch, I bought my husband a gorgeous dwon conforter and cozy flannel sheets for Christmas last year. And patio furniture for Father's Day.

But, still it would be nice to get a thoughtful present that I actually want once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

I found this when trying to deal with the issue that my husband gave me a teenagers jewelry box, unwrapped, one week early for my 48th birthday. The fact it would not fit 1/5th of my jewelry and that it bore no resemblance to the fantastic jewelry "wardrobe" I saw in a magazine a couple of weeks ago (and showed me) makes me wonder what he was thinking. The whole point was in fact he was not. And I am supposed the be thankful? Well I am not. Like you I am hurt. Big time. And that makes me the bad guy. So I am double hurt.

Redneck Mommy said...

Holy sheeeiiit.

That had to take the cake. That tops even my can of tuna and smushed chocolate bar.

I sincerely hope he has improve with his gift giving skills. Or you have killed him dead.

Smooches, friend.

(And thanks for sharing this with me.)