So this was definitely going to be my best Christmas ever. Not only had I found the perfect gift for my parents, as an extra bonus I am going to upstage my idiotic sister & her stupid gift at the same time. Things are going to be pretty sweet.
I mean, I know we are both grown adults and at a stage in our lives where childish rivalries should be long forgotten, however one would never know it when Xmas comes around. Each year, we always try to out do one another when buying gifts for our folks for some unknown reason, but it has always been that way ever since we were both young kids and this year is still no exception.
Usually each year Sis 'wins' for lack of a better term, being that she actually puts thought into the gifts she buys, as I tend to always shop at the last minute and end up getting whatever crap is leftover sitting in the stores. This year however, the annual victories will be nothing more than a cold and distant memory for my poor delusional sister, I am quite sure of that.
You see a couple of weeks back, my pal John tipped me off about an upcoming 'Police Auction' that had a number of brand new large screen LCD televisions amongst other electronic devices which had been seized and now being auctioned off at huge discounts.
As I already have a big screen TV myself, I realized that this would be a perfect gift for my folks for a number of reasons. First, they definitely need a new TV since the one they own is probably older than I am (it still even has the rabbit ears!) and second, Dad would no longer need to be dropping over to my apartment unannounced every time a soccer match he wanted to see was on the TV. Yes, this would be a excellent gift for both them and by default, me.
I attended the auction the following Saturday morning and surprisingly won the auction with a low-ball bid, getting a brand new 50 inch TV still in the box, at a huge discount.
During this time, my headstrong sister had gone out and foolishly purchased season tickets to both the ballet and the theatre for my parents. Probably a nice gift for most people, but definitely not for my father. He really hates that kind of stuff.
Mom has always been an outgoing person who loves the theatre, plays and opera but Dad is very much the opposite. His idea of a good evening is to stay at home and watch television or listen to the radio rather then go anywhere.
Sis knew this fact as well as I, but despite these realities of life, she went ahead and purchased these tickets for them anyway. Undoubtedly believing in her crazy head that after 75 years, Dad had suddenly changed his ways and was now some kind of social butterfly with a newfound passion for live entertainment.
I spoke with her on the telephone a couple days before Christmas when she was desperately 'fishing around' trying to get me to reveal what I was buying our parents this year. But I was not going to budge, this was going to be a well kept secret.
"Sorry Sis" I said smugly into the telephone. "The simple fact of the matter is you just can't keep a secret, never could. You'll just have to wait till Christmas and see. The evidence being that you just told me what you had purchased for Mom and Dad and I didn't even ask you."
My sister knew by my tone that she would get no further with me and finally changed the subject & asked if I thought that Mom and Dad would like her gift.
"Oh, I am sure they will." I lied into the phone, quickly suppressing an evil laugh. "In fact I heard Dad mentioning the ballet just the other day in passing."
In actuality I did hear Dad comment on the ballet last week when I was over there. A commercial for the Nutcracker came on the television and my father claimed that "no one in their right mind would pay good money to watch those 'wet nappy wearing nancy-boys' twirling around."
I thought it best not mention Dad's comments to Sis, why spoil the surprise. Yes, it was going to be a very good Christmas indeed!
We traditionally open our gifts on Christmas Eve at midnight and just like clockwork at the pre-arranged time of 11:00, John and one of his friends dropped off the television which was wrapped up nicely with a big bow.
They had a couple of quick 'Egg-nogs' before departing but throughout their stay & all the way up till midnight, Sis stared at the large wrapped box with a strange look of contempt on her face.
My little six year old nephew 'Mikey' was circling around it cautiously, clearly dying to see what was inside this huge box for his Grandpa & Grandma.
We finally began opening our gifts once midnight struck and the usual 'Thank you's' and 'I needed that' were muttered no matter how foolish the gifts actually were. (another pair of gloves for me from my Sister. How many pairs do I honestly need, she gives me a new pair almost every damn year. Oh well, I'll do what I did with the last couple pairs and drop them off in the Salvation Army clothing box on my way home!)
Mom was extremely thrilled with the Ballet/Theatre tickets as we knew she would enjoy going however I could tell by the look on Dad's face that he would be having no part of it. Every time the word 'ballet' was mentioned, he seemed to cringe a little and turn away, already the gears in his head were turning & plotting to come up with excuses why he cannot attend.
He put on a good front though and no one but me (and undoubtedly Mom) knew how he felt as he heartily yelled thank you to my sister, Doug her husband and little Mikey.
They finally got to opening my gift and as we all took it out of the box, the entire family gasped in astonishment at both my thoughtful gift as well as my extravagance.
Mom seemed very pleased to be rid of their 25 plus year old TV and Dad looked as giddy as a schoolboy. This was definitely the most perfect gift, ever!
It was extremely easy to set up and my father was nearly teary-eyed with joy as he began flipping from channel to channel, now mesmerized and totally unaware of the goings on around him.
Victory was obviously mine as I looked over at Sis and she had the most bizarre and strange look on her face. Clearly this was the look of total defeat. She had been beat and beaten bad this Christmas by my very considerate gift to my parents.
Being a mature individual, I knew there was no need to gloat or flaunt this huge victory...no, I was much above this. My sophisticated smile and knowing glances towards her surely said it all. No words were necessary.
And then suddenly everything fell apart, the perfect gift, the perfect TV, the entire evening.
Sis stood up and slowly said four words which would change the course of the day, the week, the year...well pretty much everything. Those infamous words she spoke "I'm expecting in July"
Mom, who had been sitting across the room appeared to jump up & sprint, in Olympic record fashion, and was suddenly hugging Sis, muttering..."Oh my dear, what a blessing."
Dad who we all thought was completely & totally hypnotized by his new television was immediately right in there like a dirty shirt, laughing aloud & slapping old Doug on the back with congratulations and commanding that he 'hug my wee little girl.'
I turned away and glanced down, noticing the remote control lay alone and desolate on the carpet, thrown to the ground in the all this excitement.
I then looked around the room, both dazed and stunned at this total unexpected bombshell. I couldn't believe it, that bloody cow had upstaged me once again, as I sat there with my jaw hanging open.
This was not meant to happen. I actually planned this year and put a lot of thought and effort into my gift. I spent big bucks on a 50" television. And now this. What a screw job!
I thought Dad had finally come to his senses and realized that Sis being pregnant was not such a big deal as he stopped hugging her, however he just looked over his shoulder and yelled 'turn that bloody TV down a bit, I cannot hear your dear sister over all that noise."
Mikey suddenly came over to me and picking up the remote from the floor, advised me "It's okay uncle, I don't think having a new brother or sister is a big deal at all. I would rather hear more about this big TV, it looks so cool."
I once again looked around bewildered as the sickly hugging and laughter continued between my folks, Doug and Sis.
Slowly I regained my composure and looked over at young Mikey.
"What the Hell" I thought.
"Okay Mikey." Showing him the remote, I continued. "This button when pressed will give you a 'picture in picture' definitely not to be confused with this 'zoom in' button...."