So last Monday night I am over at my sisters place just visiting and playing with my little six year old nephew Mikey, being that it was the last weekend before school begins for another year.
Our fun was interrupted around 8 PM when my sister announced it was time for Mikey to get ready for bed being that it was now a school night. After a lot of whining and begging, poor Mikey reluctantly went upstairs as ordered.
I could have saved him about ten minutes of begging had he asked me, since my sister has no concept of fun anymore. Actually she was always a buzz-kill now that I recall it.
I figured it was also time for me to take my leave as well since honestly, if it weren't for Mikey, I would never step into my crazy sisters house to visit. I mean between her general lackadaisical attitude and her dullard of a husband Doug, there really would be no point.
"Before you go there is something the two of us need to discuss." My sister stated in a rather bossy tone.
Already on my guard, I joined her at the kitchen table and waited to hear what "craziness" was on her simple mind tonight.
"You know it is Mom and Dad's 53rd wedding anniversary at the end of September, don't you." she asked in that obnoxious way in which she already presumed I had forgotten.
"Of course." I responded, lying through my teeth. I really had no idea it was my folks anniversary. A busy man such as myself cannot be expected to remember every insignificant date on the calendar. I mean I knew that they must have an anniversary sometime, I just never think about these things.
"Guys never remember anniversaries." Sis replied, dryly. "It's like Doug, he completely forgets things like that. He almost forgot our 8th anniversary back in June."
I wanted to comment that it is lucky that Doug can even remember where he lives at times. I mean he has never been the sharpest knife in the drawer. I figured I better keep that comment to myself since I wanted this conversation to end sometime this year.
"Anyway" My sister continued, obviously not buying into my lie. "I was thinking that since it is such a milestone, we should buy them a very special gift this year. That is one reason why I took my part-time job. I wanted to give them something special."
"Sure thing, Sis." I responded, reaching for my wallet. "I agree with you. Get them something special. How much do you want $25 or even $50 bucks?"
"Read this." she responded, once again using that bossy tone she usually reserves for her son Mikey. She then handed me some dog-eared travel brochure about trips to Europe.
Before I could even open it, Sis went into her long & unwelcome narrative.
"I thought that since Mom and Dad had such a wonderful trip last year in Scotland and England, we could send them back there for a month, all expenses paid. We could have a party here and invite Aunt Rosemary over from London. She has never been to Canada before and then they could all travel back together on the same plane. I think Mom and Dad would really love this since they are always telling us how nice their trip was. It is the most perfect idea."
Just as my goofy sister was finally taking a breath from her extremely long run-on statements, I figured it was time for me to interrupt and get the only details here that mattered, that being the cost of this little initiative which she is proposing.
"Well," Sis responded, excitedly. "Including the airfare for Aunt Rosemary, Mom, Dad, accommodations and the party, I think I can probably pull the whole thing off for under $7500.00, so your portion of the bill would be only about $3750.00 or so."
They say you are suppose to count to ten before responding to a statement which sends you into a rage. Unfortunately tonight I could only count to two before I exploded.
"Are you completely insane, woman?" I yelled, feeling my blood pressure rising at break-neck speed. "$7500.00 for an anniversary party! Do you think I am made of money! I mean it isn't even a monumental year, it is their 53rd anniversary. I thought the gouging for all these kinda things was over once they celebrated their 50th."
My sister seemed rather surprised and taken aback by my reaction. Clearly being so self-centered an individual, she probably just assumed I would be writing her a cheque as soon as she stuck out her greedy & bony claw. Well she obviously needed to learn the facts of economics, and fast.
I continued my rant.
"I mean 53 years of marriage is nice but certainly not worth $7500.00." I spat. Then I kind of pushed my luck with a little white lie. "I actually think once you get past the 50th anniversary , the counting starts over again, which would make this year '3' and therefore the appropriate gift is Leather."
"50th is gold and 55th is emeralds." My sister interrupted to correct me, in a very matter-of fact and know-it-all tone.
"I disagree." I responded sounding confident, knowing I had to perpetuate my lie just to end this horrible conversation. "I believe it is leather, so a nice wallet or belt would be a very appropriate gift. Especially since Dad has been on this diet lately. Had you even bothered to check this out in a wedding or anniversary book, I am sure you would know I am right."
With that, I stood up and attempted to leave before this crazy conversation could continue.
"I did check it out." My sister responded, staring at me angrily. "I went on the computer and verified it. If you want to be so inconsiderate and cheap, just say so. Don't bother making up silly lies about anniversaries starting over and Dad needing a belt."
"Stupid internet." I thought to myself. "I never figured that Sis had the brains to even use it. Probably little Mikey showed her how."
"Okay." I responded reluctantly. "I'll admit it. I can't afford it and even if I could, I still think it's ridiculous & far too expensive a gift. If you want to do that, you are on your own to do so. Or, if you want to do it for their 55th, I may consider that but I won't make any promises."
My sister was obviously quite upset that I didn't go along with her psychotic gift idea for this year. I guess she means well, but she never thinks these things through properly. Just an overall kind but brainless individual.
For those of you reading this, it may appear on the surface that I don't love my parents being that I am refusing to go along with this ludicrous scheme my sister conjured up. Well let me assure you, it is quite the opposite. I realize in this day and age where marriages only tend to last a year or so that 53 years may be considered something quite incredible. I agree, it is a milestone and should be celebrated. But let us all as a family do it with some ounce of sensibility.
There are a number of reasons to take a step back. I mean, aside from the astronomical cost there are other relevant factors to be considered here.
First off, older people don't like surprises. Both Mom and Dad are in their seventies and if they want to go anywhere, they will go. They have the money. They don't need their kids paying their way for anything.
Next, I have never even met my Mom's younger sister, Aunt Rosemary. I am sure she is a lovely woman. I mean I get Christmas cards from her each year and have spoken on the phone with her many times, but that certainly does not equate into a free trip to Canada at my expense.
And finally, last year when my parents did go on holidays, I was forced to live at their place for a month & look after their demonic geriatric dog Charlie, and also ensure that no one broke in and stole their valuables. Which by the way, I have never seen in my life as yet. It was a terrible month for me.
( read here for that post: Welcome Back ).
All of this put together, although seemingly self-serving on my part, certainly plays into my decision making process. Of course to be honest, I really didn't need to go past the price tag to reach my conclusion.
So now my sister is mad with me and on top of that, I also need to go out and find some ridiculous anniversary gift for my parents for their 53rd anniversary. I really have no idea what to buy for that occasion, although I am leaning towards buying a couple of nice fashionable leather belts or wallets.
Now if I can just figure out from my sister what specific day in September their anniversary is, everything should work out fine.