Krissie: A week to go

One more week. Gynecologist appointment in the big city on Friday, but that way I can do one more load to Goodwill and finish up anything I need to finish up.
I’ve got a problem. Richie was so incredibly grinchy that I don’t want/expect presents from him. We have so little money that I want to spend on the others, and yet part of me feels lonely and sad and unloved. I want someone to get as much pleasure and joy from coming up with something wonderful for me and damn the cost as I feel toward
everyone else. And you can do it without damning the cost.
But everytime he asks me what I want I get sour, and time’s running out. Someone talk some sense into me, willya? I don’t see my therapist until Thursday, and I’m only hurting myself.
Yikes — okay, now I gotta go 45 miles to the vet to take two sick cats to the vet, tomorrow I go 45 miles to get the car looked at (but Richie follows in the truck and we do some shopping and have a nice lunch) and Thursday I see my therapist and Friday my gynecologist and oh my god I’m going to scream.
Deep breath.
I could put off both the gynecologist’s appt. and the car appointment but it takes me places where I can get last minute Xmas stuff. But it makes me have to rush rush rush.

Ah, well. Kaim will come with me to the vet, so that will be nice. I need a calming hand to stroke my head and tell me everything is going to be all right. It will, won’t it?

Stupid me. I’m making myself crazy. Why?

Mellow out, Krissie.

I’ve got Richard Thompson, John Hiatt Emmy Lou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Sam Bush, and so many others singing “The Weight” in honor of Levon. That’s enough to make me happy.

Tomorrow’s another day.

56 thoughts on “Krissie: A week to go

  1. ChrisinNY says:

    Well music makes you happy and CDs don’t take up a lot of room. Maybe you could suggest some pieces/works/songs that you’d love to have in your collection and let Richie take it from there?

  2. Phyllis Lamken says:

    Buy yourself something special. If your man does not show his love by buying presents, you can’t change him. I am sure that he shows his love in other ways. My husband is the same way. But the guy did build me my dream house with his own hands.

  3. AuntieJB says:

    Men need very specific instructions when it comes to gifts (at least the men in my family do.)

    I will reiterate my fondness for the “experiential gift”. For Xmas I’m going to take my dad and brother “piano shopping” and to lunch. Both of them are wonderful pianists and my dad is longing for a Steinway Grand piano. (Which is a pipe dream for him, really) But we’re going to spend a day hitting all the piano stores in town and basically goofing around. It will be lots of fun and good memories. And very little expense. This is something he wouldn’t otherwise do.

    So I think you should pick an activity that you and Richie can do together that you wouldn’t normally do. Something that’s a treat. And your costs will be limited to the gasoline in your car and maybe a lunch or something.

    A bonus is that you’ll get happy time together without worrying about the costs.

        • Although not too many details, puhleeze! (blush) And you could suggest to the kids that they get the two of you a one night stay at some local B&B. It’s off season so it should be fairly inexpensive especially if they all chip in.

    • Anjemon says:

      I really like this idea. I may to have try and see if I can find something to do with my Dad, who is terribly hard to shop for. But he also lacks hobbies… so we’ll see.

      But this also reminded me of one of my friends. He also really wants a grand piano (preferably a Steinway). So in college a few of us had “crafted” and elaborate and ridiculous plan to steal one from the music hall and get it into his house. It still makes me laugh to think about it. It involved stealing one of the school’s golf carts and pushing it onto a waiting truck…

      • AuntieJB says:

        I love the image… my brother and I are trying to convince my dad that he does have room in his house for one… he can convert the living room into a music room… my mom’s all for the idea because then she can buy new furniture!

  4. Tricia Halliday says:

    He can do something around the house for you, foot rubs. something that you really like that he doesn’t do all the time. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Just a lot of thought.

  5. Deb says:

    Tis the season to make oneself crazy. So don’t beat yourself up for being crazed since it’s practically part of the holiday tradition.

    I don’t think I can talk sense into you regarding Richie and his present…..I totally sympathize. When I was married my Ex would proudly give me my present and I’d open it and think “Wow, you really don’t know me at all.” I’d only think it, but it made me feel so lonely that my husband apparently knew me so little.

    But Richie isn’t my Ex….so maybe concentrate on enjoying family time and that’s the holiday present?

    Good luck at the vets and running around on your errands. Best wishes and just remember to breathe.

      • German Chocolate Betty says:

        Oh, I think there are a LOT more than the THREE of us. My husband has gotten gifts right a couple of times. One, thank goodness, was for our wedding (a beautiful necklace, one I would have picked out myself) and my birthday a month later (the earring to match the necklace). But both before and after that, well, not much thought. One year for Christmas I got a paperback autobiography of Nelson Mandela — nothing against Nelson, but, huh??? I read to relax and to escape, which is why I read Crusie & Co. I can pretty much count on my present each year being a book and a bar or box of choocolate. Sometimes I think he puts more thought into presents for friends and colleagues than for me. My gifts tend to appear to be “after thoughts” (as in, “oh, yeah, I gotta get my wife something too”.

        I smell a book coming again this year: I was reading my Kindle before sleeping a couple of days ago, and he says to me, oh, what are you reading? (Which he never asks, ergo: he’s gonna head to the bookstore on Sat.)

        Last year I got: a coffee table book of the German Baltic (because we were going to spend a week there in Jan), a Christmas coffee mug and a bar of chocolate. I mean, c’mon. I would almost be happier getting the old joke of a new set of power tools (because I do most of the repairs around here).

        I have nothing against getting books as gifts, in fact I love them — so long as they are books which should that the giver has put some thought into my interests. In fact, DH will get a book from me this year — but I ordered something special, which has just come out, and which shows that I am perfectly aware of his taste and interests. I ordered it 2 weeks ago (but it has to come in from the States, so I am not sure if it will make it in time).

        Sorry to bitch’n’moan. I am upset about a bunch of stuff right now.

        On the other hand, today I got a nice little annual bonus. Here at our institute they are never Wall-Street-big, but this one is at the upper end of the spectrum for here. So I’ve got that going for me.

        So, I will focus on the fact that at least my boss and my dept head appreciate me.

        Dunmoaning…

        • Last year I got Steve Jobs’ biography. Really? I love apple and all, but Steve Jobs? I swear he walked in the store, went to the first table and picked up the first book he saw. Not surprising. Not getting gifts is the sad part of Christmas for me. For several years he had each of the kids give me a calendar. Really? I need four calendars? I didn’t even have any place to put them.

  6. Be specific. Think of something not too, too expensive, and on the drive tomorrow just say, you know I’d really love a new red sweater for Christmas, or a silver bracelet, or whatever it is that you’ve chosen. The man did ask. : )And you know if you don’t come out and say it then you’ll get a toaster or a power drill.

    • OMG, Robena! I started laughing out loud when I read this. Someone I know got a vacuum cleaner one year. My husband asked why I was laughing and I told him. He looked at me and said, “I thought that was a given, tell us or we chose.”

      • C.G. Morrison says:

        I laughed at this because I asked my husband for a light over the kitchen sink. I’m not a girly girl and he just isn’t capable of shopping for clothes anyway. He might buy jewelry, except the only thing I wear except for special occasions is the wedding band. I really wanted linoleum several years running, but didn’t get it. LOL

  7. It doesn’t mean you are unloved if your loved one cannot come up with a good present idea by himself. Some people are like that. So I agree with the be specific. Give him some choices — the CD one is a good idea. Let him enjoy picking from your list to give you something.

    And remember to “fake it until you make it” and enjoy what there is to enjoy: you daughter is there; you get to spend time with the man you truly do love; you are helping others by donating things to Goodwill; you are removing things you no longer need from your house. Remember to focus on the positive and keep on smiling. It sounds silly, but I’ve been doing it and it still seems to be working.

    And let the sunshine of the love from all of us ReFabbers fill you with light. It will help buoy you up under this stressful time.

    Take care and be well.

  8. Alis says:

    Sometimes grinchy happens because we can’t do what we really WANT to do, and so nothing else seems good enough. Richie obviously wants to give you something or he wouldn’t ask. (I know lots of men who would never even bother to ask, so that’s a BIG step in the right direction.)

    Maybe he’s afraid to spend money because it would add to your stress. Maybe he thinks you won’t enjoy anything he gets because you’ll say he should’ve spent that money on the “others” the way you have been. Christmas is a HUGE deal to you (by your own admission)… maybe he has performance anxiety.

    He’s a good man–but even good men are lousy at some things. Give him some parameters to work within and maybe that will smooth things out.

    P.S. You look so cute today–like my 7 year old niece after she’s been running around. 🙂 Every picture shows some of the weight (physical and metaphorical) falling away. Yay you!

  9. You do look adorable in today’s picture!

    How about a book of homemade coupons, one hour of his time each, redeemable at any time by you? That way you can get his help with cleaning, sorting, etc., projects around the house that make you crazy and that you shouldn’t have to do alone. Especially when and because it interferes with your writing time. And bonus – you can put on music and talk and laugh while you work together on making your home a more pleasant place to be.

  10. I’m glad you got your problem solved. I always call this the silly season. Should I mention that I haven’t even started shopping yet? The next week will be, shall we say, busy?

  11. I’m late to the party- but my husband and I are big fans of time together activity gift. One year we decided to try cooking Thai food, another year we planned a huge picnic, once we agreed to download a free class on Egyptian history and listen to it together (since we always wanted to go). One year we agree to read the same book and then talk about it. I plan an activity and so does he. He doesn’t have to be spendy at all and it gives you a chance to reconnect.

    • Super like!!

      My best friend is getting a faux-vintage sign that says “Be Reasonable! DO IT MY WAY” The first part is in Time font and the second is in a Western “Saloon” style font. This is for those in her life who plague her with silly demands. (People. Not me 😀 )

      • German Chocolate Betty says:

        OMIGOD, SureThing — where did you get that? My dear departed first husband had a small lucite desktop sign with that saying on it.

        My second husband is even more of a control freak and know-it-all than my first. I have threatened many times to get him one of those signs…. Which he doesn’t find funny. (But those of us who know and love him do…)

  12. You still look cute. Loving the curls.

    Hopefully I hit the gym tomorrow on my way to being “cut.”

    Saw your response, don’t worry, things get that way sometimes. At least you have something by which to measure your status – as your perceptions change, the improvement comes. I guess it’ll be as if your frame of reference is made of lighter wood.

    Love the alone-time-together idea, how about you do a touristy thing you’ve never done in your neck of the woods. It’s a common thing that folks who live in locales take for granted what others travel long distances to see. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Washingtonians do not do White House tours (probably were dragged there on school trips, but still.)

    Hiya Kate!

  13. Sounds like the problem has been solved. Good ideas all. This sort of time/activity together shows when a couple is truly friends and lovers. That’s not always the case so kudos to you ladies who have that.

    No one buys me anything so I’ve been buying my own gifts for years. This time I used my first ever “advance” to get a laptop, printer, and Kindle. Sure, they’re all for “work” and write offs, but I’m counting them as presents. And I bought myself a couple little things and wrapped them so I have something to open when Kiddo opens hers over the weekend. Even if I know what’s in there, it’s still fun.

  14. The problem apparently has been solved. In some ways I totally understand the “if I have to tell you, then clearly you don’t understand me” head trip. However, I’ve learned to tell people exactly what I want and how I want it. Why get into a fight or get my feelings hurt when it can be avoided. After plenty of years training people they finally get it (usually). However, this can also backfire. Do not ask me and then give me whatever the fork you want because I will be peesed!

    • C.G. Morrison says:

      My DH does get me and he does try to buy stuff he thinks is something I’d like but never think of, but in order to make sure there’s something under the tree for me, I buy books and craft stuff all year, as well as any clothes I need, then give them to him to wrap. He blew it big time once and is still paying (we were traveling and he kept saying he’d go shopping, but didn’t.)This way we are both happy.

  15. Shawn R says:

    I’ve found that over time, there’s less & less that I need/want that I don’t just go ahead & get for myself, or that’s too expensive for other people. “I want a sandwich or a roof. Take your pick.” Grin.

    Generally, for my family, I would be perfectly happy with Amazon gift cards so I could buy books forever, but my mom especially likes to actually wrap something for under the tree.

    So a couple of years ago, I got the bright idea of grabbing a catalog full of nifty things that I love dreaming about but will probably never get for myself; I mark a bunch of items that catch my fancy, & tell the family “pass it around, anything that’s marked is good.”

    I make sure there’s a range of prices, usually from $10 to $100. That way, there’s something everybody can afford based on their budget & generosity level. Whatever I get will be a surprise, because I marked a bunch of things. Whatever I get will be something I want, & it will be something I wouldn’t have gotten around to getting for myself.

    The “Signals” catalog is a great one for this — it’s the public television/radio catalog. Clothes, jewelry, tchochkes, house goods, accessories, etc. I actually gave mom 3 catalogs this year, Signals, Serengeti, & something called Gaelsong, full of (go figure) Scots/Irish/Welsh stuff.

    Pass it along around Thanksgiving & there’s plenty of time to order for Christmas.

    With my husband, this year we’ve had so many other expenses (vet trips, a roof patch, etc.), and I hadn’t really come up with anything I wanted, we decided to take a short trip between Christmas & New Years. Because really, almost anything I want, I can get for myself when I want it, & the same goes for him. And we already have so much stuff cluttering the house as it is. But we can go somewhere, just the two of us, & enjoy each others’ company, & see some neat stuff, & eat some good food, and that’s special & romantic.

    If he thinks of a little something to give me (& he did come up with a couple of things, I think), that’s awesome. I’ve done the same this year. But honestly, I don’t expect him to always *know* what I want. He knows me very well, in all the ways that matter, but most of the time *I* don’t know what I want, so why expect him to know?

    And I’m the same way. I always ask for what he wants before birthday, anniversary, Christmas … I might come up with a clever idea on my own, but not always. I’m an even worse mind reader than he is. I love him to pieces, I know who he is in the important ways, but sometimes, presents just confound me.

  16. stephanie says:

    I know others have mentioned this but I’m going to put more on the pile. We’re doing more experiential gifts this year. Time together, events as a family, there’s an exhibit at the art gallery that we want to take Comfort to see and we’re going to do that as a family. Stuff like that. We’ve also asked friends and family that if they want to give the kidlets gifts that they try to make them something that they can experience with the girls – an afternoon picnic, sewing lessons, a slumber party – whatever it is. Part of this is that we live in a small house and it’s at bursting point and part of it is that I want the kids to realize that what we receive by spending time with people is more important than grabbing for gifts.

  17. Cindy says:

    So many wonderful ideas already. Our budget is really tight too, and my husband is probably not going to get me anything. So I thought I would get us a present from Santa. I’m probably going to get us a gift card to a restaurant we both like, and a coupon for a movie alone at home…that will mean TV in our room, no kiddos. I think it’ll put a smile on his face. And like you, I’m looking forward to some time alone with him.

  18. Rachel V says:

    I’ll join in the chorus of appreciating non-traditional gifts. This time of year (not my favorite) is so hyped on spending and gifting and squeezing in social time with people that it is simply hard to appreciate anything. I was thinking of what I would like for Christmas and it was as if a light went on overhead and a harp played; I would like peace and quiet and no obligations. Wouldn’t a day of that be a wonderful gift?

    • Kelly S says:

      ” I would like peace and quiet and no obligations. Wouldn’t a day of that be a wonderful gift?” YES, Yes it would be the best! I was thinking I’m the grinch in this group as I would like to spend less time with the majority of my family, exception being the hubby. So, yes, best gift ever would be peace & quiet w/no obligations or expectations of me.

      • oneoftheotherjennifers says:

        Every year for my birthday I ask for the same thing: a book. I often buy the book in advance and save it for the occasion. The gift part is that I read the book, cover-to-cover, from early afternoon until the evening, with no interruptions. If the phone rings, someone else answers it promptly and allows no one, NO ONE, to speak to me. No questions are asked of me, no matter how simple. No requests for anything. Every single daily chore I usually do is done for me (I have a daily checklist of over 40 tasks, so this is not a small thing). Snacks, drinks, and dinner are prepared and brought to me on a tray beside the couch, quietly.

        This gift costs absolutely nothing. It is always a book I would have bought anyway. But I look forward to it for months ahead of time, and it is possibly my favorite day of the year.

        • Kelly S. says:

          I may see if my husband would be willing to give me this. I think it is a possibility. The gift is more “acts of service” – answering the phone, cooking the meals, leaving me alone. I love it!

          • oneoftheotherjennifers says:

            You know, it’s funny, but I can’t call it “acts of service” or “a day off.” Neither my husband nor my daughter are capable of just not bothering me and taking care of my duties for a day, if that’s how it’s represented. There’s some sort of disconnect in their heads about how if they’re asking for things or I’m doing chores, those things actively *prevent* me from enjoying a little down time.

            However, they can both completely understand wanting to read a book in peace, or watch a movie uninterrupted. This is how “Mama’s Birthday Book” came to be. They can’t not disturb me just to not disturb me, but will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that I am not disturbed while reading my birthday book. 🙂

  19. You’ve got lots of great ideas, but I will throw one more into the mix. What about having Ritchie cook you dinner 1x a week? you could identify some recipes you’ve always wanted to try but have never gotten around to it. Coooking Light magazine is a treasure trove of healthy recipes and the vast majority of them use readily-available ingredients, so not much extra cost (you both still have to eat). You can forgo the cost of the magazine and get the recipes on-line. You could also consider trading back and forth and when one of you picks out the recipe, the other cooks. That way it’s a gift for both of you.

    http://www.cookinglight.com/

    they also have a downloadable app for iPad.

  20. jinx says:

    I don’t know about the experiential gift thing. Sometimes it can be a grand thing, but if you’re a person who loves colors and shapes and tschotschkes & so on, objects matter too, and sometimes a great deal.

    To me, the focus on Christmas is always tied up with symbols, and the biggest one is everybody’s wish for the perfect family they didn’t have. The next biggest is their hopes about fitting into the expectations other people have of them.

    Those symbolic wishes and regrets and expectations are churning around in our own stomach acids, which is hard to take just by itself, but then we have all the social pressures of the glittery surfaces people put up, and the soft-focus, heart-drenched images we see on commercials, holiday specials, and all the other places we hang out in December.

    What I’m not hearing about in this post are two things: shared projects/tasks/hobbies that you and Richie have in common (which brings an informed awareness of things that would give the other person pleasure in that area), and a sense of when you share information about the things you wish you had that would make each of you happy.

    I don’t think lucky guesswork is a good foundation for skillful gift-giving. I may be very wrong about that. But it wouldn’t work for me. I need the conversations and the shared stuff to allow me to improve my own gifting and the accuracy of someone else’s gifting to me.

  21. Some men are just lousy at picking presents. It’s not a lack of love or desire to please us. They just panic at the idea and freeze up. My husband is one of these guys. He’s miserable trying, but he will try, and he’ll get something I won’t like.
    Save yourselves years of issues over this. Tell him what you want. Be specific. Make a list. It’s at this store. It costs this much. Here’s a link or a photo.
    Or just buy it yourself. Life’s too short to worry over something silly like this.

  22. Barbara Cameron says:

    Okay, so I have to be honest and use the term “ex” for the hubby here but just because the relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean he didn’t have some good ideas…one of the things that did work was that he insisted that the two of us open our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve after everyone else went to bed. That way the moment wasn’t lost when the craziness of Christmas morning and kids opening presents overwhelmed us. He did try for a little thoughtfulness and romance then which made up for not the best chosen gifts. He like many men needed some very clear direction on what I wanted.

    We were so broke back then but my favorite “gifts” were when we’d go somewhere for a special time together. It was usually nothing fancy but just a walk together on the beach and we’d take a picnic or buy some cheap food and talk.

    I always liked and appreciated the “gifts” of the time with him more than the things he bought me.

  23. Pipperdo says:

    I know this is about what Richie can give Krissie, but I would like to point out that not only men are bad at picking gifts.

    I have a terrible time figuring out what to get my husband. We’ve been together 21 years and I still suck at it. He’s pretty good at figuring out gifts for me. This year though, we decided that we really don’t need anything and since anything we want, we pretty much get for ourselves (within reason), there was precious little we could give each other. So we bought ourselves a new stove (self cleaning!!) for Christmas.

    Christmas day will be spent together, hopefully doing something like skiing (Xcountry because I don’t do well at downhill).

  24. PhotoCherry says:

    Krissie – A lot of this is about the emphasis you’re putting Christmas – you’re very focused on it being a perfect day, and that puts a lot of pressure on you and everyone around you. You say above that you want someone to get you something or plan something awesome for you so you feel loved, and Christmas is your favorite holiday, but you’re all stressed out about it. Ease up a little. Your kids are home. You’re working things out with your son. His son is still part of your life. Your husband is doing the right thing by not spending a lot of money, but he feels pressured, too. You know he loves you – you *know* it.

    • This is a really good point, Krissie. You tend to live your life in symbols–well, you’re a writer–so that you invest things with a lot more meaning than is necessary and it makes you miserable. I’m thinking New Jersey and Hondas, right off the top of my head. You don’t need to be melancholy every time you cross the state line or see an Accord. And Christmas is not a make-it-or-break-it day, it’s the last day for all that damn awful music. (I exempt The Drifters’ “White Christmas” which I can and do listen to all year long.)

      I think you should move to NJ and buy a Honda. And go out for Christmas dinner and tell Kaim to grow the hell up and stop living her life in symbols . . .

      Wait.

  25. We’ve made it easy for everyone in the immediate family, we only by for the kids, the little unmarried kids, which has simplified Christmas shopping. Gifts are often impromptu, impulse buys throughout the year, like, ‘I knew you were looking for one of these and saw at the market so I bought it.’

    Birthdays are a blast, cakes are made, candles and all. The first time my grand-kids sang happy birthday to me I cried.

    Merry Christmas everyone and I wish you all a Happy and Safe New Year. 🙂 <3

  26. Micki says:

    I agree with the people who mentioned “gifts of time” rather than material stuff, but sometimes it’s nice to have something under the tree.

    It’s a little late now, but is there something your husband could make you in a couple of days? A spool rack for your quilting thread, or a small shelf? If you find something on the internet that’s simple and declare it perfect, maybe he won’t have to go overboard with “improving” it.

    I asked my husband for an earthquake-resistant shelf for home-canned food for my birthday one year, and I got it. Really nice green, and I just love it. Every time I go to the basement to restock, I see it and remember that he made it for me.

    Just a thought. But I think coupons for dinner, or a DVD night, or games for two night might work out better.

    BTW, I found a fabulous book called “Parlour Games for Modern Families.” (-: I’ve only looked at a few pages, but the games we’ve tried out have been so much fun. If you guys like letting your inner kid out, it might be worthwhile. (Australian book, too, so it’s extra quirky for North American audiences (-:. By Myfanwy Jones and Spiri Tsintziras.)

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