Saturday, August 23, 2008

the birthday non-surprise

The Sober Husband and Iris Uber Alles have birthdays just four days apart (indeed, as Iris was late, the Sober Husband had great hopes that I'd deliver her up on the correct day. "Where is my baby?" he demanded. "It's not UP TO ME; tell the damn baby to get out," I retorted crabbily). I did my shopping for them both this year at, a website I recommend highly for anyone with a geeky loved one.

When the package came, Iris Uber Alles was happily engaged in ranting at her visiting cousins, and I whisked the big box upstairs and started wrapping her presents. Unfortunately her little sister Lucy came in before the big present, a radio controlled dalek, had been wrapped. I swore her to secrecy in return for letting her help me. Lucy was in heaven, putting a "Knock First" sign up on the door and insisting to Iris that she stay out.

"You must be wrapping my presents!" said Iris presciently.

"If you come in, I'm keeping it for myself," I said.

"Oh, you ARE!" shouted Iris happily. Lucy giggled crazily.

As soon as we were done, Iris was in, prodding the package. "Can I pick it up?" she asked.

"No! Leave it alone!" I insisted.

"Lucy, give me a hint!"

"Lucy, I want you to just say to Iris, ' Sorry, I'm sworn to secrecy.'"

Lucy made an important face. "Sorry, Iris, I'm SWORN TO SECRECY."


With continual hounding and rapid fire questions like "Have I wanted this for a long time or a short time?", Iris got out of Lucy such admissions as "It ends with a K,", "You want to do something with the cats with it" (the girls are a huge fan of that subgenre of Youtube videos, radio controlled daleks vs. cats), and "You could find it on" Iris grabbed my laptop without permission and started combing, mumbling over and over again, "What ends with a K?" and "Lucy, I'll give you a dollar if you give me another hint."

"LUCY, don't you dare tell your sister any more! Tell her you're very sorry, but your lips are sealed!" I was getting genuinely cranky at this point.

Within less than five minutes of the present being wrapped, Lucy had given it up to her big sister. "It's a radio controlled dalek!"

Iris left and opened up an IM window, typing in to her father, "Lucy is a blabbermouth! She just told me I'm getting a radio controlled dalek!"

"Whoo hoo!" typed her father, safely away at his office.

Emboldened, Iris opened my email and started reading a rather sensitive email out loud. "Iris, YOU DO NOT DO THAT!" I snapped. "You are driving me INSANE! First you get Lucy to tell you what your present is, and NOW YOU'RE READING MY EMAIL! I DID NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION! CLOSE THAT COMPUTER NOW!"

"But I'm IMing with Dad-dude."

'CLOSE IT NOW! AND LEAVE YOUR POOR MOTHER ALONE!" The children tiptoed out of the room and ran downstairs. "I'm getting a radio controlled dalek!" Iris shouted to her visiting cousins. "Lucy told me!"

"What is a 'dalek'?" asked her non-geeky cousin blankly.


Silliyak said...

Is there time to substitute (even briefly) another present? A radio controlled beet?

hokgardner said...

Even *I* know what a dalek is.

Silliyak said...

I had to look it up....and I'm still not sure.

Captain Steve said...

Stupid question: What's a dalek?

Anonymous said...

How frustrating... makes me hope that I never treated my mom like that.

hughman said...

i think you should switch the box. maybe replace it with a framed picture of iris and lucy! TOGETHER FOREVER!

Silliyak said...

Hope this isn't too late, but I have an idea to save some of the "surprize". Hide the gift, and leave a trail of clues each leading to another clue until it is ultimately found. This might put some fo the fun back in the gifting.

hughman said...

sillyak - "ciues" are no good if you already know what the result is!


Silliyak said...

They can be hard clues (as to where the gift can be found), and no solve, no present. Also I assume these things need batteries. When the Dalek is found there can be a note in the battery compartment with a new set of clues as to where batteries can be found.
I think the uproar over a substitute would not be bearable for our poor DH.

hughman said...

au contraire. i think sweet justice would be a good laugh for the DH against iris's insistance and a good way of underlining the iris/Lucy's silly conflict, then again, i'm a trouble maker. any chance for an extended sibling rivalry would be gold entertainment to me,