Sunday, November 23, 2008

In Which Gray Charms the Pants off my Mother

Well, here we are at the conclusion of another weekend. This time, we were much too busy for me to lay around feeling sorry for myself. Over scheduling: definitely the key to a tear-free weekend. When I got home from work Friday, Wall*E and the final season of That 70's Show were both sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for me. Too bad nobody was home to hear me squeal with delight. Gray has Fridays off, and on many pay days, he buys me movies or books that I've been wanting but will never buy for myself. I keep telling him it's superfluous, him buying me gifts, since I'm already sleeping with him, but he always mumbles something about how he likes to make me happy, whatever that means.

Yesterday, we set off to go Christmas shopping for our 18 month-old niece, my 10-year-old brother, my 22-year-old sister, and my UNDISCLOSED mother. We're doing Christmas a little early, like next week, since we'll be in Arkansas and it's cheaper to bring the gifts than to send them later. Unfortunately, I had no clue what to get for any of them. The baby is pretty easy, I guess. I mean, I could just hand her a pair of my shoes and she'd be busy for at least 15 minutes, trying to put them on and stand up in them. (I have a picture of my baby brother at about the same age, walking around in leopard print slides. Blackmail!)

My brother? Let's see...I really should have been trying to focus on the last few conversations we had on the phone. He was all, "Bionical blabity blah, Transformers, wah wah wah" and I couldn't make out a thing he said because he talks to damn fast, and he assumes you have a fucking clue what he's talking about. How can ANYONE not know about the new Marvel comic book with ALL the major comics included? I mean, HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW? 10-year-old boys...man, are they ever weird. Fortunately, Gray is into a lot of the same stuff as my brother, albeit the "old school" versions, and by "fortunately", I mean that Gray's a giant nerd. However, it came in handy yesterday when we walked into the toy store.

First of all, holy shit! How on earth do you people with kids walk into a Toys R Us and make it out alive!?! I almost had an epileptic seizure from all the goddamn primary colors everywhere! It was overwhelming. The aisles, they were full of crap. Seriously, I cannot imagine going into that store with kids. They'd be running around and touching/breaking stuff. And how would they ever decide what they want? Gray and I almost walked out of there with a 200 piece Lincoln Logs set, an electronic 20 Questions game, a pink princess digital camera, and a giant robotic dinosaur. That's all stuff that WE wanted for US. Once we got into the store, we were all, "Screw the children! Look at that giant sidewalk chalk!"

I tried to ditch our shopping cart because there were too many people and you couldn't get down any aisles. I figured not having a cart would solve the problem. So I left it and started to walk away, and Gray was like, "Catherine, you're just freaking out a little bit. You have to just take a deep breath and calm down." And I was trying to explain that I only ditched the cart for ease of aisle maneuvering, but then my eyes popped out my damn head and I went running to look at the princess carriage. I guess, perhaps, a deep breath was in order. Turns out we needed the shopping cart, if for nothing else than to transport the miniature pink shopping cart we were considering for the baby. In the end, we decided that since all the fun food toys that go IN the shopping cart are for 3+ kids, she'd have the most boring grocery store ever. We went with something we though she'd like better (read: we liked better and hope to play with it before we leave Arkansas).

The best part of shopping with Gray was that when we encountered a question regarding my brother's preferences and whether or not he already had a specific toy, Gray would whip out his cell phone and call up my mother. And actually talk to her, like, willingly and stuff. It was kind of spooky, like we were in the Twilight Zone, and I kept waiting for him to grow a pig snout or for the nuclear holocaust or something. In fact, I believe the final call tally was 5 yesterday, not counting the times I spoke to her myself. I was worried she might have a stroke and die from all the unprompted child-contact she made. Normally it takes three phone calls and a concerned voice mail ("Honey, is everything ok? I haven't heard from you in a while and am starting to get worried...") before I feel guilty enough to call her back. This frequent contact bodes well for Gray. He is good at the "charming of the mother" stuff. There were at least three times when I could hear his end of the conversation about how wonderful I was and how I deserved to be taken care of, barf, barf, etc. My mother, she hearts him.

So we got all the gifts for my brother and the baby niece, and we only left the store with one thing for ourselves, an electronic version of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader (no) for our upcoming car ride south. (ok fine, I also bought giant sidewalk chalk, but I swore I'd put it in the toys for tots bin. I will, tomorrow.) Then we headed to Target to spend a fortune on the tiny, travel sized items we'd need (god, they seem to cheap until you buy a million of them!) so we won't have to drag everything in our shower, possibly from my mother's house to my sister's and back. I told you my mom was hell-bent on having us stay with her? Yeah, she found a way to circumvent our plans to stay with my sister: She convinced my sister to stay at her house as well, so we'll all be together at my mom's. She's a sneaky bastard, my mother.

We also found gifts for my mother and sister. Gray handled the sister, I'm pretty sure he knows her better than I do. I struggled with my mom's gifts. I wanted to get her the book Catch-22, not because she'd like to have it, but because she made me read it in the 9th grade when she "home schooled" me, and I wrote a really disturbing paper about it, and I thought it'd be kind of sentimental, except for the part with the prostitute and the guy getting cut up by the helicopter. I went another direction in the end, one which involves violence that is more implied than explicit, and which we here in Minnesota are always more comfortable with.

Then Gray decided we need to buy a gift for my step-father, a man with whom I do not get along and have pretty much no relationship with. I was confused, thinking that my having stayed away so long was the gift that keeps on giving. But Gray insisted it would be rude to show up with stuff for everyone else, and nothing for him. See what I mean? He has no idea what he's walking into down there. Anyhow, so he called my mother up AGAIN and asked for ideas. I guess she had to go ask my step-dad himself, and she called back later to report a very specific kind of chainsaw blade would be great, thank you very much. So...ok, I guess we're going shopping for a chainsaw blade! Which we did, although the poor guy at Lowe's had to talk to my mother over the phone before we could determine whether it was an 18 inch paddle or a 20 inch paddle (huh?).

Now all our shopping is finished, at least until after Thanksgiving, and my only chore today is to do about 7 loads of laundry, clean the entire apartment, make snacks for the hoards of WWE nerdies who are coming over for the Survivor Series pay per view tonight, and try to get in some quality time with Mr. King. Oh, and for those of your keeping track...I am happy to report a very successful canoodle on Friday night. Isn't it awesome when you don't have to cry and take aspirin after? Awesome.