December 16, 2011

Birthdays with Chef B.

Rob thinks my family is completely and wholeheartedly lame when it comes to giving gifts, and his favorite story to illustrate this is the time I got a can of ravioli for my birthday. My 18th birthday. For the record, however, I would like to point out that I also got a wooden back scratcher purchased from a garage sale that time, too - it's not like the only thing I got was a can of ravioli. (And if you understood just how many people a can of ravioli was split among at our house in the 90s, you, too, would appreciate just how awesome receiving your own can of ravioli would have been.)

It's not like my parents couldn't have afforded to give different things, it's just they were fostering a respect for the little things. Little things like your very own gel pen, your very own box of strawberry Toaster Strudels, your very own used stapler, your very own box of Lucky Charms, or your very own container of paper clips.

Little things that somehow were always connected to either garage sales, school supplies, or food.

Little things that shaped the three most revered things in my life now: garage sales, school supplies, and food.

Little things that Rob thinks make the dumbest gifts known to humankind. He actually gets crabby when he talks about it. Maybe Probably Most likely because it affects the gifts he receives from me, but that's beside the point.

So it should come as no surprise that I asked for an electric pencil sharpener when my mom called this morning to see what I wanted for my birthday. And it should come as no surprise that after an awkward pause, my mom asked me for another idea because she had already purchased one for me. And it should come as no surprise that the anticipation of impending tangy wood shaving smells and electric whirring of internal gears left me so excited that I couldn't think of anything else I wanted.

Except behind-the-neck ear muffs. That I could wear under my bike helmet.

And after my mom took a moment to stop choking on her laughter (and warn me of the disdain I'd face from my sister Jane, who'd be there when I received them), she answered, "Hm...I did see a few of those at St. Vinnies a month ago...I'll go back and see if they're still there." (I should point out that - unlike the year-round sales down here - the garage sale season up north is quite short. Unfortunately, you do have to settle for the higher prices of thrift stores at times. Sigh.)

I'd like to just post this picture as I end this. For no real reason...other than for its inherent delectable deliciousness.
Pssst, mom.
Rob, I see you shaking your head. Cut it. Just let me snuggle with my pencil sharpener and snack on dried apricots while wearing my bike helmet earmuffs in contented birthday peace.

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