RICK MACLEAN: Coming home, after all

Buying the perfect presents for BW impossible, nearly

Rick MacLean comments@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on December 24, 2016

When it comes to shopping, Christmas or otherwise, I’m a commando. I reconnoiter the simple way, I pull out the flyers, then check online and boom.

The goal is to spend the least amount of time possible inside the store, any store. Well, any store that doesn’t feature cycling gear, because cycling gear is cool.

I’m convinced there are X chromosomes, Y chromosomes and the anti-S chromosomes. The latter causes a sudden throbbing pain in the feet when forced to spend more than 10 minutes in a store or mall.

Pain that lets the sufferer monitor their own heart beat by the throbbing ache in the arches. That pain. Oh, and don’t forget the sore back.

So when Beautiful Daughter called asking if I’d bought anything for Beautiful Wife for Christmas yet, it was a rhetorical question. There wasn’t really an answer expected, or delivered.

“Well…” I began.

“I thought so,” BD replied. I could hear the smile all the way from northern Saskatchewan where she works as the principal of a small school.

“It’s just that she’ll be expecting some clothes and stuff, and I don’t do clothes and stuff,” I stammered.

“Do you want some help?”

Another rhetorical question.

Part of our family tradition at Christmas is our annual buy-presents-for-your-mother shopping expedition. The roles are clearly defined. BD brings the ideas and the in-store know-how. I bring my credit card.

Clothes. Lipstick. Eye stuff. Did you know lipstick and eyestuff come in a bajillion colours, but each woman on the planet has only one that actually works for her? I didn’t either.

But this year BD won’t be home for Christmas. There’s the boyfriend and his two kids and it’s a long way and a lot of money. BW eased her separation pain by buying stuff for the kids, a boy, 8, and a girl, 6.

“You’re going to need a bigger box,” I warned Beautiful Wife midway through the process.

“No, it’ll be fine.”

“I’m good at packing and you’re going to need a bigger box.”

By the time BW was done, and my mother escaped the dollar store after her shopping for the great grandkids, it took four boxes. Canada Post got a taste of my credit card too.

Knowing my situation, Beautiful Daughter called to come to my rescue.

“I’ve been looking at some stuff online at Sears that she would like. I can offer some suggestions.”

“Let me give you my credit card,” I replied.

“Don’t you want to know what I found?”

“I’m sure it’s perfect. Do you have a pencil?”

A few days later BW and I were talking to our daughter online via Skype or Facetime, or something.

“So did you do your father’s shopping online for him?” BW said with a knowing glance in my direction.

How do they do that? How do they always know?

“It’s all in the mail,” BD laughed.

Then I pulled out a photo of our daughter and plopped it in front of BW. She looked up, mystified.

“Our daughter’s coming home for a few days right after New Years,” I explained. “I bought her a plane ticket. They were on sale. She and her brother will be here at the same time, for the first time in three years. Merry Christmas.”

BW started to cry.


- Rick MacLean is an instructor in the journalism program at Holland College in Charlottetown.