Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Further Evidence That Lydia's Family is Special

My grandmom is eleven kinds of awesome.  She lives in a small house in Trenton, NJ.  Visits to my grandmom's house are defined by three things:
  1. Trying to keep my children from setting things on fire.
  2. Eating 12,000 calorie meals.
  3. Being sent home with a car full of presents.
About the presents, they're pretty special.  To get a sense of what I'm talking about - read the thank you note I sent her after our visit at Christmas.  Go ahead, I'll wait...  Ok, so here's the thing about the presents she gives.  She didn't buy them.  Well, that's not true.  She bought them, she just didn't buy them for you.  She gives things she already has in her house.  How did it all get there?  Where is it kept in that tiny, neat-as-a-pin little house?  The world may never know.

There are rules about Grandmom presents:
  1. You can't say no or she will get hurt and huffy.
  2. Each gift is incredibly important, special and absurdly valuable. There is a story about how it was acquired and why she is reluctant to part with it.  The story usually relates to how the item she is giving you is worth about ten times what you would expect to pay for it.  If you *would* actually choose to buy it. Which you wouldn't. Because no one would ever imagine these products actually exist.
  3. If you are not appropriately grateful, she will get hurt and huffy.  Understand that I don't just mean grateful when she gives it to you or when you write her a thank you card.  I mean grateful and effusive, say, eleven years later when she asks you why she's never seen you wear the snow leopard faux fur jacket she gave you during your freshman year of college.   
Recently, my Aunt Mary came to stay with us.  It was great!  Until she gave me The Righteous Sniff.  While she was with us, my Uncle Richard drove up to see Grandmom and stay with her for a few days. Of course, I had to ask what he was given and as it turns out, this list does not dissapoint. 

Aunt Mary emailed it to me and here it is... 
  • Golf clubs for Thumbelina (What golf clubs you ask? The ones your Uncle Richard put in the van and then his mom told him to take out of the van because he might not give them to Thumbelina and give them to someone else.)
  • A 200 watt light bulb in a 60 watt sleeve (Yes, it still works)
  • 1 automobile recharger for an unknown appliance
  • 1 broken Brownie camera
  • 1 ladies bowling ball. Dark grey and pink
  • 2 boxes wide heavy duty aluminum foil, unopened
  • 3 current issues Consumers Reports magazines (June, July and Sept)
  • 15 Time Magazines
  • 1 box ceramic coals for a gas grill. (To my knowledge, your Grandmom has not ever used or owned a gas grill.)
  • 1 wheeled laundry basket. (I put the cat in it, and then the little dog ran from me because he was afraid I would put him in it!)
  • 1 Rubbermaid wrapping paper caddy with 2 rolls of wrapping paper
  • 1 wire brush that will clean individual wires on a grill
  • 1 set grilling tools
  • 1 Rubbermaid bath mat, new
  • 1 good coffee thermos
  • 1 good coffee carafe, also thermos
  • 2 wide mouth thermos jars
  • 1 unused crepe pan with spatula
  • 1 steam iron (might be unused)
  • 1 small igloo cooler
  • 2 pounds hard candy mix
  • 13 plastic spoons
  • 3 plastic forks
  • 2 plastic knives
  • 1 commemorative coffee stirrer, plastic, from the Garden State Parkway.
Please understand that if you were a member of my family, right now you'd be unsurprised, nodding and thinking: "I wish I had that coffee stirrer..."

I would share. But Grandmom will be asking about that stirrer any day now. I have to be ready.

xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. O.M.G. Are you sure your Grandmom and my Grandma A aren't related, somehow?????? Well, mine would be your Grandmom's messy sister. BUT, my grandmother likes to hand out all kinds of random, useless presents too. In fact, when I saw her in May, she gave me her ENTIRE Pfaltzgraf stoneware set. #1 - I didn't want/ask for it, #2 - does not go with ANYTHING in my house.... not even a little bit. I also rec'd my Christmas present from her.... from 2001. A silver bell, from an Avon collection. Did you get that it's 2010 and I JUST GOT MY GIFT from 2001????????????????

  2. OMG! I've so been there. Although, I've never gotten a coffee stirrer....

  3. LOL, I've actually received a gift from my grandmother that my parents had given her, in my presence, the year before. She had either forgotten that I knew where it came from or hoped I hadn't seen it before!

  4. The last Christmas I went to visit my former step-mom, I got some partially used face wash that had been chewed on by the dog & had cob webs in the cap. Her mom used to get my sister & me such lovely gifts, like pads & tampons. To make things even better, my dad would be there with the camcorder...Yeah. Gotta love family.

  5. :-P

  6. Sounds like the remake of my now favorite movie 4 Christmases

  7. That aluminum foil is some valuable stuff! Use it sparingly and think of Grandma every time you cover a casserole in the oven.

  8. The foil, stirrer, wrapping paper/caddy, steam iron, coffee stirrer and thermoses... AWESOME. I actually need each one of those right this second(you can Never have too many thermoses in CO;0) Wait. Did you say *wheeled* laundry basket??? EVEN YESSER!!!!!!!! My 2yo would LOVE. Your Grandma ROCKS. All useful items;0) You know you need the heavy foil, since Turkey Day is coming up. I will make a rock star Grandma someday. LOL

  9. I think my M-I-L is your Grandmom. I'm not kidding. With her, it's all about quantity and definitely NOT about quality. I love it!
    BTW Lydia- Aren't you ALWAYS leaving your coffee mug/thermos/jug on top of the BWT? Just sayin'...

    xo, Dag

  10. My grandma tries to pawn off her old clothes on me. I am a grown 5'6 woman with curves. She is a little (4'11)old lady. It doesn't even make sense. But it's easier to say "Sure grandma, I could wear that" than argue with her.

  11. LOL loved this story ... One time my ex's aunt gave us a half eaten tin of boy scout popcorn and a used bottle of baby soft perfume.

  12. To quote from Monty Python's "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch, "luxury!" My son and daughter will gladly relate to you the annual rite of cheap Christmas gift passage. Each one with the price tag left on (nothing more than $1) passed along with the boast, "but that's not what I paid for it."

    Nikki and Lee, see if you recognize who wrote this and about whom.


  13. When she came to visit for dinner during my tween years (did they exist almost 30 years ago?), she once brought a gift for me: falsies. Yep; had to go try them on in my training bra.
    A few years ago my MIL regifted to us a small Swiss-army-style utility knife my husband had given her the year before. I didn't mind; I have it in the bottom of my purse to this day and use it quite often (scissors, beer cap remover, nail file attachment, etc.). She just needs to keep better track of the gifts she plans to "receycle" the following year!

  14. My Grandmother will give us random newspaper clippings from 30 years ago from our local paper. She can't remember why she saved them, but she thinks it is because there was a picture/article/mention of someone we knew in there. Every. Single. Visit.




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