Monday, April 09, 2007

What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate

Since 1986, my parents have hosted Sunday supper at their house. That was the year that we moved and left the two eldest boys behind in the house in the city. Since they were 24 and 23 at the time and had packed social calendars, my parents wanted to ensure that we'd see them more than once a year. How do you attract the company of twenty somethings? With food, of course. And thus the weekly tradition was born.

Twenty years later, my parents are slowing down a little, and would like to move from a weekly tradition to an every-other-weekly tradition. The grandchildren are getting older and starting to have their own myriad obligations, so this will make life a little easier for everyone. With two sticky exceptions: birthdays and holidays. My mother wants to accommodate these days, which means that we don't have a neat and clean alternating week schedule. Nope, it's turned into a two weeks on, one week off, one week on, two weeks off madness.

To lock it down for everyone, I wanted to kibbutz with my mother and a calendar and a list of birthdays to hash this thing out. Mom would slap the calendar on her wall, and I'd e-mail the dates to everyone. The linchpin in all of this is the calendar. I really wanted a wall calendar, not just printouts from a computer calendar program or day planner pages. The printouts would get lost (remind me to tell you about the cyclones of disappearance that plagued my childhood), and Mom wouldn't reference the dayplanner. Hence the need for a wall calendar. Since Hubby was going to Target to pick up some miscellaneous household supplies on Friday, I added a wall calendar to his list. Seems simple enough, right?

Well, here's the conversation that we had on his way home from the store:

"Did you buy a calendar?"

"No," Hubby said. "I looked all over the place, but all I could find were girlie calendars."

"What's the problem with that?" I said, rolling my eyes. "My Mom won't care. And it's not like she'll know that you purchased the calendar." Sheesh, I thought, I didn't realize Hubby was this concerned about his masculinity.

"Really?" Hubby sounded doubtful that my Mom would care about the pictures of the calendar. I, on the other hand, know that she's never put intense thought into color coordinating window treatments with, say, the walls. I decided to emphasize this point.

"Yeah, really. Mom won't care if it's got flowers and puppies and kittens and fairies all over it. I just want something where I can write events and circle dates and then tack it up over her desk, so it doesn't matter what it looks like."

"Oooooooohhhhhhh," says Hubby. "I didn't mean that kind of girlie. I meant Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model kind of girlie."

I pause.

"Yeah, I think you're right. She wouldn't care for that kind of calendar."

"I know! I couldn't understand why you thought she'd be okay with that. And I couldn't figure out where she would hang it."

And then we collapsed in a fit of giggles, tears streaming from our eyes. Well, mine anyway. I couldn't see Hubby, but I'm pretty sure he was in the same state.

I'm still on the hunt for that calendar, though. I'm thinking I should be able to get a good deal. Tonight, I'm off to Office Depot.

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