Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The easiest Christmas present ever

One of my biggest failings it’s that I’m really bad at buying presents for people - not that I don’t buy them but just that I have literally no imagination. If someone tells me they want “x” for Christmas then they’ll get exactly that. If only things were that simple all the time. I hate shopping as well - I don’t “browse”, I know what I want when I go into a store and I will buy exactly what I’ve gone in for. 

So Christmas is usually hell on earth for me - I have to come up with a list of people to buy for and actually use some of my grey matter to come up with thoughtful presents. Bollocks - I’m trying to slowly kill my brain with beer intake. Then I actually have to go shopping, which means other people generally getting in my way whilst I’m trying to get in and get out without going insane. 

But I’ve just been asked for a specific present that saves me some time and effort. It’s by my mother - and the reasonings behind this present are more insane than you could possibly imagine. Now if you’re a regular reader you might have read my entries featuring my mother, they usually involve her being as mad as a box of frogs and doing randomly batshit insane things that can’t be explained by science or logic. 

My mother constantly complains that I’m always getting on a flight when she calls me - sometimes this is true but other times I use this as an excuse to get her off the phone. She’ll often call up, witter at me for over an hour whilst only pausing to draw breath every couple of minutes so by the time she ever gets round to saying anything remotely interesting I’ll have fallen asleep or just stopped listening. But bizarrely she was pretty succinct the other day as she told me what she wants for Christmas - it’s a new cat flap for her house. Fine - easy as pie but why in fuck’s name do you want a new one? Actually don’t tell me now - text me because I’m just getting on a flight (I was - honestly! It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving and I was trying to multitask at the airport - by multitask I mean finish lunch, watch football and polish off a couple of drinks ahead of a flight back to NY with Mrs AC). Her response was I don’t need to text you - I’ll tell you when I’m coming down next week and I can tell you in person. Brilliant. Not only is she coming down uninvited (as much as I complain about it she comes down to see the cost centres and it helps me out, especially if I’m not home on Fridays to pick them up) but she’s going to have a batshit insane story to tell me. I honestly can’t wait to come back now.

Like most people of a certain age she’s obsessed with the past - everything was better then (despite my favourite game when I see her of getting her to name anything, she’s yet to name a single thing), people had more respect and you could leave your doors unlocked with no repercussions. When were these halcyon days? Never - that’s when. But anyway - back to the point of leaving her doors unlocked. She’s fanatically obsessed with safety and security - she’s got it into her head that the streets are populated with marauding gangs of thieves that are just waiting for her to leave the house before going in to rob the place. Firstly - there aren’t these supposed gangs, especially where she lives which is a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. The nearest they get to a crime is when one of the neighbours put the wrong recycling bins out one week - they honestly talk about it years later as if it were the crime of the century. Secondly - because she lives in a village that has literally nothing in it (and I mean nothing - no shop and no pub) the people have nothing better to do than spy on their neighbours (who are doing the same because they’ve got nothing better to do as well) so any potential crime is spotted by the entire village who are all effectively spying on each other - when she first moved there and I first went to visit I was stopped by a police car whilst driving her car as it had been reported by a nosy neighbour that a strange man had been seen driving my mother’s car. Thirdly - what sort of treasures does the average pensioner have in their nondescript house anyway? The last time I checked no one is particularly interested in stealing 4,000 plastic tubs, none of which has a matching lid, or the world’s largest collection of frilly cushion covers. No self respecting burglar would even waste their time on the place - doubly so given she’s got a very noisy dog that would scare anyone daft enough to break into the place off. 

But none of this common sense matters when it comes to my mother and her home security - she’s fanatical about it which is why she needs a new cat flap. Now in a lot of houses you can lock yourself out if the door closes behind you and you haven’t picked up your keys. But not in my mother’s house - you need keys to lock all the external doors so she didn’t get locked out that way. She’d locked all the doors from the inside then used the garage to exit the house - the garage has an electric door that is operated by a remote control so when leaving the door shuts and the house is secure, too secure in fact. Because when the power is cut the electric door doesn’t work and you have to use the main front or back doors. That’s on the assumption that you’re not mad as batshit and have your keys with you. 

So my mother arrived home one day recently and the power was off and she didn’t have any other way of getting into the house - which is why she needs a new catflap. But wait - is your mother the size of a character from the Borrowers or is her cat the size of a small horse, necessitating a catflap that she was able to crawl through I hear you ask? Nope - my mother is normal old lady sized and her cat is a normal sized cat. But this didn’t stop her from dismantling and then breaking her catflap trying to reach the key in the back door so she could let herself in. But now this gets even more insane - the catflap is about 6 feet from the back door so how in fuck’s name did she think that she was going to be able to reach it? I have no idea. She claims she’s been able to do this before but when? I know age causes people to shrink but I never remember her being 13 feet tall when I was a child. Maybe she thought she had some sort of previously hidden Inspector Gadget style go-go gadget arms or a Mr Tickle ability to elongate her arms at will? I have literally no idea what has gone through her head - I’m not even going to ask as it’s going to be the most insane conversation I’ve ever had with her (and I’ve had a few). Why she didn’t just wait 10 minutes for the power to come back on or even just pop round to her neighbours who have a spare key as they look after her cat and dog when she’s away I have no idea - there’s really no point in me asking this though as I’m sure it will involve something even crazier. 

But at least it’s a tick on my Christmas shopping list - if only they were all this easy. 


  1. My wife got smart - she sees things she likes and sends the links to me or her kids. I just got off a website and ordered some gifts for her. Easy for me, she gets what she wants. Winner winner chicken dinner!