Sunday, December 31, 2006

Over at A Mama's Rant is a contest for stories about the worst Christmas gift ever.

I don't know if my story is the worst one, but it is definitely MY worst one. So here goes...

The Mighty Hunter and I married roughly one week after Hurricane Andrew wiped out Homestead, Fl, and parts of Louisiana. Grand-daddy was (and is still) employed as a claims adjuster/manager for a major insurance company. He specialized in catastrophe claims (ie: hurricanes, large hail storms, large wind storms, etc.) He was immediately sent to the Miami area to work after Andrew but was able to return home for the weekend of our wedding. Thanks A------- Insurance! After the wedding, he returned to Florida to work and also worked a good length of time in Louisiana.

This type of work required him to stay near the catastrophe area for extended periods of time. 6 months was usually the maximum. It was also possible for my late Mother in Law (MIL) to visit him and spend time there.

MIL was one of the most frugal (my nice way of saying CHEAP AS CRAP) people I've ever known. She was famous for it. She was proud of it. She bragged of it. She rubbed it in your face. She felt superior because of it.

But she was also OC and more than a little anal retentive. (12 LARGE, un-opened! tubs of Vaseline is all I have to say.) As The Mighty Hunter and I helped Grand-daddy sort through her things after her death, we discovered her obsession with saving EVERY! SINGLE! FREE! ITEM! SHE'D EVER TOUCHED!!

It was our first Christmas as husband and wife. We were sappy and gross the way we held hands and called each other "sweetie" and "baby". Christmas morning breakfast was/is a big deal in their/our family. We gathered at their house the night before so that we could get up and help cook the traditional artery-clogging meal.

After breakfast, we exchanged gifts. The Mighty Hunter and I were seniors in college (War Eagle!), so naturally we were broke as sticks. So I had cross-stitched (I swear on my life this is the truth!) a towel for MIL and The Mighty Hunter had done something similarly crafty but less needley and more manly for his dad. We had no money to buy gifts, but that didn't stop us from working hard to express our love for our family.

MIL? not so much, I guess.

I cannot tell you what anyone else got for Christmas that year. But MIL gave me one for that will live forever...

A shoe-box FULL of hotel soaps, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, sewing kits, shoe polish kits, etc. Whatever the house-keeper brought into Grand-daddy's hotel room each day was quickly hidden away in MIL's bag so that it would be completely replenished, lest someone call management and I not have a Christmas gift!


It was clear that MIL had forgotten that I would be there for Christmas morning. It was NOT the first Christmas morning I had spent there with them. We dated 2 years before this and I had spent BOTH of those with them.

I opened the box and immediately regretted sitting so close to her.


"Yea! I loved using these soaps and stuff while staying at the hotel in Miami."

"Yea, I'll bet. mmmmmmmm They smell good too." I tried to be nice, really. I don't think the shock showed TOO much.

"You can use these whenever you and The Mighty Hunter drive back and forth to school and stay here or at your parents' house. You won't have to carry your full-size bottles around with you!"

"Yea. Great idea. I hadn't thought of it that way!"

"Yea. I save all my hotel soaps and stuff for just that reason."

No joke.

I got a shoe-box FULL of free hotel soaps, etc. from my MIL the first year of my marriage to her older son. God rest her soul.

I wonder if she saw us from up in heaven throwing all that crap away after she died.


Karianna said...

Oh, wow. Forgive me for laughing.

Of course, we got a quarter and a tiny hammer from my MIL: "A quarter pounder!" heheh.

knowhimwell said...

What a horrible Christmas present. One year my hubby's cousin gave us some hotel soaps, tissues, and a bunch of other junk. There was actually 2 handy dish rags in the mess too. The hotel soaps had a "W" on them and our last name starts with a "W". So, I don't know if she thought we would know any different or if it would appear that she bought them just for us. I'm not quite sure what she thought. She works for a pharmaceutical company and makes good money. I remember that year she also gave my daughter some stuffed animals with the names of drug manufacturers printed on them. I think she got a zebra with Zopenex on it or something like that. I'm not sure what gets into people sometimes.