Each Summer, my husband and his two brothers’ families get together so we can celebrate our kids’ birthdays. Even though the kids’ birthdays are spread throughout the year, we gather in the Summer when their grandad and granny Lori make the 5 hour trip from Charleston, WV for one of their two visits each year.
We head to the community pool my brother-in-law and his family belong to, have a cookout, eat crabs, and celebrate with ice cream cake. My husband and his brothers serve as flotation devices for all the kids.
To prep our family, I’m
usually always in charge of getting some food, our drinks, desserts, swim gear, after swim gear, and towels together for our trek to the pool. I am also in charge of birthday cards, gift purchasing, and gift wrapping.
My husband is in charge of complaining about how much “crap we are dragging to the pool”, and barking his displeasure about the fact that we aren’t “just ordering some damn pizza” for the party. It’s a wonder his party planning business never took off, right?
This year, I asked my husband if he had talked to his brother to find out what the nieces would like. My husband informed me, “I called Paul and he said to just get them gift cards so they could shop for themselves.” I was delighted, since I wouldn’t have to wrap anything this year. And I was euphoric because my husband added, “don’t worry, I’ll take care of getting the gift cards.”
So on the Saturday morning of the party, I had made layered peanut butter bars, picked up baked potato salad and pasta salad from the store, and yelled at the boys because they had left their wet swim suits from camp in a bag on the hardwood floors. Since Thursday.
We packed up the car and started our journey. At an intersection before we were going to hit the highway, my husband got in the left turn lane. I said “where are we going?”. He said, “I need to stop at Walmart real quick.”
It took me all of a millisecond to realize that when my husband said “don’t worry, I’ll take care of getting the gift cards”, it meant “I’m going to totally forget that I said I would do that, so we’ll have to stop at Walmart on our way to the party, which will make us very late.”
I didn’t say anything, but was sure I was going to melt through the seat, given how totally steamed I was. He quickly parked the car, and went inside. The boys and I stayed in the car, watching the People of Walmart come and go. It gave me time to search for a pen so that I could write a note in the birthday cards my husband was busy purchasing.
When my husband returned to the car, he tossed me the bag of birthday cards and gift cards. I pulled out the birthday cards and began to write a note in each. And then I pulled out the gift cards.
I turned to my husband and asked “Did you look at the gift cards as you were sprinting through the check out? Because what you got your 12 and 10 year old nieces are gift cards that have wedding bands on them.”
Captain Last Minute said “well, it was either that or — believe it or not — Christmas-themed cards.”
“Um, perhaps they would have had birthday-themed gift cards if you had purchased them…I don’t know…say…more than 10 minutes prior to the start of the party. Like any time during the past week, since you’ve known about it that long,” I may have snarked at him.
My husband turned to Nick and Alex in the back of the car and said “hey, would you guys care what picture was on a gift card, as long as it had money on it?”.
“No way,” Alex affirmed for him. ”Why would we worry about that?” Nick joined in.
“See,” my husband crowed, “it doesn’t matter what the gift card looks like, as long as it has money on it.”
At that point, I just gave up because: