Friday, June 11, 2010

Boys and their Toys

Like many daughters and wives, I am at a loss what to get my husband for Father's Day. The trouble with shopping for men is that they never have a wish list. If they are like my husband,John, when they want someting, they do their research then go out and buy it. John is particularly annoying in this way--his camera breaks a week before his birthday. Aha, I think. New camera. Two days before his birthday he arrives home with new camera he has just bought!

Like many men John loves his gadgets. A real case of boys and their toys. Our house is full of interesting objects that John bought, telling me how useful they'd be: the machine to turn VHS tapes into digital, the machine to turn old vinyl records into mp3, and to turn cassette tapes into digital files. To scan slides onto a computer. All sitting there on the shelf, never used as yet.

In the kitchen there is the bread machine, the vegetable juicer, the sausage stuffer,the electric slicer, the hamburger maker... and most recently, the professional grade coffee roaster. Yes, he now roasts his own coffee. He hasn't got it right yet so we alternate between drinking bitter over-roasted beans and insipid not-roasted-enough beans. Wouldn't Starbucks be easier? I ask.

The trouble with all of these toys is that John is enthusiastic for about three months. We eat freshly baked breads daily. Healthy juices. Even homemade sausages. Then he loses interest and they go to the graveyard for dead appliances on the bottom shelf of a cabinet. So I suppose I should be glad that he hasn't a wish list for more appliances at the moment. We're running out of place.

Women are wonderful. It's so easy to find a gift that pleases them. Bath products, a cute piece of costume jewelry and we're happy. Give a man something that he doesn't specifically think that he needs at this moment and either it will go back to the store or will lie in a drawer untouched. I once found John's Christmas stocking in August--still full of the candy and little gifts I had so thoughtfully put in it.

Clothes are a complete taboo. He doesn't believe that anyone but he can know his taste in clothes (and given the strange garments he comes home with, that's probably quite true). So the kids have discovered that the only thing that works is a gift certificate to a restaurant, or a promisary note to weed-whack the hill, paint a room etc.

So I think it's going to be a card and a nice dinner this year. Oh, and if you hear about a new and fascinating gadget, please don't tell John about it!


  1. It's FATHERS DAY!!! Oh, gosh. Thanks, Rhys..

    rushing out now..

  2. And I know Jonathan really wants--I mean, really wants!--a Bobcat. One of those riding things that that's used for--whatever they're used for.

    NO way.

  3. ha, ha Hank, where does Jonathan want to go on his Bobcat? maybe you should go in with Rhys and buy it for both your boys? you could keep it in the Jungle Red garage...

    we know one couple who refuse to celebrate mother's and father's day--it's not their job, they say. But I got such a lovely card from the pets this year--and a gift certificate. I'm quite sure John helped them:).

    I usually end up buying a book. anybody have any good suggestions??

  4. A Lowe's or Home Depot gift card seems to work in my family. The men can get lost in either place for hours! I've learned not to go with my husband or to bring a good book to read while waiting in the car. : )

  5. So true, Rhys. All of it.

    I grew up with three older brothers and a completely non-materialistic father. I soon learned the only thing you can buy men are gadgets -- no matter how foolish, really comfortable clothes and sometimes sports equipment.

    My husband only buys himself really, really big toys, like planes, boats and the latest, a Porshe. Given the latest toy, I'm going to buy him a radar detector!!

  6. VHS to digital? Sounds a neat machine. I'm slowly working my way through old tapes and pressing record on the DVD. Trouble is, our "English" video player's on the blink. Maybe that's something to buy him, except he'd know it was really for me.

  7. He's not MY I supposed to get him a gift?
    Rats...when is it..this Sunday?

  8. That's what John says to me. "I'm not your father. You don't have to buy me a gift." He also says that Father's day is a holiday created by Hallmark. He may be right.

  9. You remember that Home Depot commercial with the guy standing in the aisle hugging hammers and saws and drills to his chest? And he just keeps muttering, like he's having this intense pleasure thing: "I love my tools. I love my tools."
    That would be my hubby.

  10. I can beat your birthday camera story. One Christmas, my husband Steve goes shopping on Christmas Eve (yeah, nothing like the last minute, eh?) and buys for himself on CHRISTMAS EVE the gift that I got for him. Bah. I'm at the point of just wrapping money.

  11. I'm clueless, as is our daughter. Plus Spouse really doesn't like acquiring "things." Daughter complains that you can't give men flowers and candy (well, maybe candy).

    We're giving him a new microwave. Yeah, right. And his birthday is coming up in two weeks.

    I agree with Rhys--it's all a Hallmark conspiracy.