Friday, December 03, 2010

IT'S OK, BABY, I CRY OVER MY BUDGET, TOO

Working on her budget
So, the monsters' school held their annual fundraiser, a holiday gift shop, which included trinkets and chincheria from a quarter up to $17.

But new this year was a little budget envelope that accompanied the flyer.  On it, were three columns: Name, Amount Budgeted, Amount Spent.  And then the whole thing was divided up into categories, like Family, Friends, Pets, and Others.

So, the kids sat down and started listing the folks they wanted to pick up gifts for.  It started out with 8, and ended up somewhere around 15.  Each. Mommy and I huddled to determine a reasonable budget max.  Then huddled twice after that to adjust and re-adjust it.

Upwards.

Is that a genetic trait? Spending?

Anyway...

Working on his budget
with Mommy
Gift Shoppe day finally arrives, which is clearly meant to be a charming holiday experience, as evidenced by the intentional use of the Old English spelling of "shoppe," with its aggressively quaint double p, and, therefore, providing implicit permission to thoroughly enjoy and spend at will, as opposed to "shop," which clearly means a bunch of flea market crap we got donated to us and are trying to hock to your children for their allowance money using the classic marketing tools of guilt and compassion.

Two. Hours. Later.  And Saia finally appeared to be done. I checked and rechecked her calculations, and was pretty pleased to see that she'd come in under budget by $5, which she promptly pocketed. :)

Santiago, however, took his right up to the very last penny. Not that there's anything wrong with that. He absolutely got his money's worth, and at least he didn't go over.

The 5th graders provided complimentary gift-wrapping with purchase, so the monsters insisted on getting the gifts that they'd bought for Mommy and I wrapped before we headed home.

When Saia was done, she came right up to me with a half-smile on her face.  She looked nervous. Something was wrong. And then she said, "Mama, you know that little jewelry box we picked out for Sally?"

"Yeah, baby."

Waiting to check out
"Well, did you like it?" she asks, forcibly stretching the corners of her mouth into an eerie joker-like grin.

"Um...yeah, I liked it fine, sweetheart. I think it's a perfect choice for Sally," I said a little tentatively.

"Well, good," she says, "because I wrapped it for you instead." Big cheesy smile.

"Wait. What?"

"I couldn't find the gift that I thought I bought for you, so I just picked out another gift from my bag and they wrapped that one for you. See, here it is," she rushes out.

"Oh, baby. I don't want something you picked out for someone else," I said. "I mean..."

But it was too late. The tears had begun to pour. Her cheeks flashed red. Her nose crinkled. And I began looking for a place to duck. Fast.

Getting her gifts
wrapped
I ushered her around the corner of the building just in time for her to burst, and then she let me have it.

"BUT, MAMA! IT'S A GIFT FROM ME!" she exclaimed. "HOW CAN YOU NOT WANT A GIFT FROM ME??!?!?!"

"Okay, okay, now, wait just a second, baby," I said, getting down onto my knees and trying to get her to focus on me and away from the hundred little demons perched on her shoulders ready to pounce.

"Clearly, you thought you'd put something for me into your bag, but maybe you set it down accidentally," I explained. "That would certainly explain why you had that $5 left over when we thought we had accounted for all of it, wouldn't it?"

"BUT MAMA!!!" she heaves. "WHY CAN'T YOU JUST KEEP THE ONE I WRAPPED?!?!"

"For two reasons, mama.  One, you picked that out for Sally. And won't you be disappointed if you can't give that to her? And two, you had something else that you wanted to give to me. That you picked out for me. From you. And that's what I want from you. Not something intended for someone else," I say, suddenly realizing that I'm describing my own penchant for re-gifting with painfully stinging accuracy.

"BUT MAMA!?!? I DON'T WANNA GO BACK IN THERE!! THEY ALREADY SAW ME LEAVE!!"

"Oh, oh, oh..." I say, finally starting to get it. "Baby, there's nothing wrong with going back into a store to get something that you forgot. Mama does that ALL THE TIME.  And you have that money in your pocket already, so all you have to do is go back in, pick up the item that you probably set down, and get back in line to pay for it."

[Sniffle. Sniffle.]

"Are my eyes red?" she asks, wiping her cheeks.

"No, no," I say, blowing softly on her face, "You can't even tell you've been crying," and I kiss her red bulbous nose.

So, she smiles, turns on her heels, and skips off all Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydish back into the shop.  About a minute later she comes running out...without a gift...money still in hand.

"Mama, can I have another dollar?" she says.

"What? No. That'll put you OVER budget now, babe," I whine.

"BUT, MAAAAAMAAAAAAAAAA!!!! IT'S FOR YOUUUUUUU!!!"

Oh, for pete's sake.  And I just handed over the damn bill.

Chago's Shopping Spree
...

2 comments:

sonia said...

Hilarious.

Not that I expect a present, but I better not get that little jewelry box either. I'm just saying.

JO ANNA GUERRA said...

Oh, damn. Too late. ;P