last-minute shopping.

Josh's birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't have a dang thing to give him. The thing about shopping secondhand is not only do you never know what you're going to find, but you have no idea when you're going to find it. So I might spend the whole year buying lots and lots of thoughtful and appropriate presents for my husband, but then the month of June comes along, and I got nothin'.

The birthday boy is completely unhelpful. I asked him, in my hopefully-charming, straight-forward manner, just what do you want, anyway? And he would wax poetic about how he lacked for nothing, and his life was super great, and he had done nothing to deserve it. In most cases, it is beyond fantastic to be married to an effusively grateful person. It's good for the self-esteem, and I never sweat it when dinner is burnt. It does make shopping difficult.

Without any guide other than a decade and a half of personal history, the weekend before his birthday, I shopped aggressively. I hit every thrift store in town, and I got up extra early for yard sales. This is not always a good strategy, as desperation only entices the thrifting gods to sneer at you. Josh sometimes uses this strategy, and I can always tell, because I receive several small presents that are not quite right. Here, honey, I found this ugly purse, and as far as I've noticed, you are really into ugly purses. I can totally see where he got that impression, but that particular purse was just not the right kind of ugly.

Bad gifts bug me. They make me question my whole relationship with the person. I honestly, like cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die, would rather receive nothing at all than have to make my grateful face while I'm internally having a crisis about whether the other person knows me at all. That's probably my own defect.

Anyway, my last-minute present-hunting came up with bupkis. I bought things, sure, but they were sorta-kinda things for me. While I was very exited about the additions to my collection of Awesome Things, and I was sure that Josh would appreciate their awesomeness, there was nothing personal about them that indicated they were gifts specifically for him, other than the fact that he is also full of awesome. So the day before his birthday, I revealed the things to him, like I would show off any yard sale score, but at the same time feeling out whether these things could count as birthday presents.

But hey, I sort of did okay! I found a magnetic hurricane-tracking map and paid a whopping two bucks for it. He was pretty excited about it.  Okay, so was I.

We have sooooo many maps. I try to space them out around the house, but we are already to the point where every single room has at least one. He wanted to hang this one right below the topographical map of western North Carolina and east Tennessee. He called it "the data center," like we were official types who need to track things, rather than people who are just really into decorating with maps. But whatever, it was his birthday.  He can hang his map wherever he wants.

Hurricane season is just starting, so we don't have anything to track just yet. However, we did make use of a silly crab magnet to re-enact a very bad movie we saw once.


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