A couple of weeks ago, the day Suzanne came by with her van to take me to get my Christmas tree, we made another stop that went unreported at the time. I got the tree at Target, and we loaded into the back of the van so that the top was peeking out from under my arm and resting in my lap as I sat in the front passenger seat. Picture that, and imagine the fresh scent of pine needles. Ah choo.
There was a reason we drove from one end of the shopping center parking lot (Target) to the other end (Best Buy). We were looking for a TV for Mom's birthday and Christmas, and we didn't want to carry it all that way.
I know, I know. If a person has a December birthday, you're supposed to honor that and not give combined presents. Well, guess what. Sometimes if a person has a December birthday, you can give her a TV/DVD/VCR combo that you could never have afforded for either the birthday or Christmas.
It made sense to us to give it to her for both occasions. She's had to deal with it, so any other objections will be summarily overruled.
We are cheerful shoppers, if not overly graceful ones. We found the set we wanted, and we talked about getting a cart, but it was light in weight and the box had handles, so we carried it to the register. People saw us coming and got out of our way, so we hardly rammed into anyone at all.
When the clerk rang it up, we started pulling twenty-dollar bills and pennies from pockets and purses and throwing it on the counter. It was early enough in the season that the clerk was amused instead of irritated. Even the people in line watched us with smiles that didn't look too fake. Then we hauled it out to the van in the same rumbling, bumbling manner, without fumbling once. It even fit in the back with the tree.
That reminds me, I still owe my sister $17.50.
Anyway, Suzanne stored it at her house for a few days and we gave it to Mom on her birthday last week. And then Suzanne stored it for a few more days. She took it to Mom's yesterday, and I hooked it up for her last night. Mom and I always spend Christmas Eve together, and since she makes dinner and gives me presents, I feel it's only right if I take her new TV/DVD/VCR out of the box and make sure it works. So I played with it while she slaved over the hot stove. I guess that's not such a fair trade after all.
Here's something to remember if you're buying one of those combo dealies. Even if everything works (and in this case everything did), it might not have all the features of a TV, DVD and VCR, all purchased as separate units. With this one, she can't watch one channel while recording another on the VCR. And there's no eject button on the remote for either video tapes or DVDs.
Those are minor matters, I supposed, in the grand scheme. You do get a lot of functions in a single package, and it's probably worth the small sacrifices. Besides, she still has her old VCR that she can connect to the new system, so she's gaining more than she's losing.
Obviously, I'm more into this than she is. All she wants to do is record a few programs and watch them after she goes to bed at night. We wanted her to have a DVD player to make it easy on us to pick out gifts for her. If she collected snow globes or action figures, she would have got that. Instead, she got a TV/DVD/VCR, and from now on she'll get DVDs.
There's a ton of old movie musicals available, and by next Christmas she might own them all. For Christmas this year, because we always exchange gifts between the two of us on Christmas Eve, I gave her one of the Judy Garland Show series of recordings. I think she'll like it. (She gave me part of the Dark Shadows series, a four-DVD set. We know each other only too well.)
Mom also gave me a book about weeds — how to identify them, how to get rid of them, and (best of all) how to live with them. Weeds are a big part of my life here in the country. Maybe I can turn the place into a showcase for otherwise unwanted plant life. I don't have far to go. It's the "showcase" part I'm stuck on.
She also gave me a sweater. I've been thinking often lately that I wished I had one. It's been a long time since I've had a sweater, and she was so sure I wouldn't like this one that she included an exchange tag in the box. But I love it, and it fits and it's really comfortable. And I'm not taking it off!