The closest to Normal (Illinois) that I've ever been.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More complaining

Danny and I have been married for 14 years. Back in 1993 when we got married, things are not as they are now. There were no internet wedding (and shower) registries, and no national chain stores to register at. So, we got whatever presents people thought that we would like, and we got a variety of interesting and interesting presents.

Of course, nowadays, everyone registers for wedding gifts online. It has been explained to me by a couple of my 20-something friends that it is presumptuous to assume that one could find a better wedding present than the gifts requested by the couple. Also, the guideline that each wedding guest should give a gift at least $50 in value to recoup the cost of the wedding has been recently taken as the law of the land. Although there are plenty of reasonable couples who are grateful for any and all wedding gifts, I have also heard young brides complaining vehemently about guests that either gave gifts not on the registry or of insufficient value.

So, I have been giving out a lot of wedding presents these days. (Yes, I pick something from the registry of sufficient value.) Couples register for plenty of stupid things: $250/ table settings, $50/ Egyptian cotton towels, panini makers, cigar humidors etc. And I always pick something and buy it. But this weekend I snapped. (Sorry Michelle and Rich, it happened while I was looking at your registry. But please don't be offended--your registry was very reasonable. It was just the cumulative effect of so many registries in the last few years.)
I buy all these $50/ dinner plates for other people and then I just look around me and see a house full of plastic and particle board. It's not as though we spent our wedding gift money on some other exotic thing--we mainly spent it on paying for expenses associated with the wedding and our extravagant grad-student lifestyle. (Bart, don't make fun of grad students. They've just made a terrible life choice.)

I have cooked at least two meals a day every day of the week for at least the last 8 years. Where's my All-Clad cookware and KitchenAid stand mixer?

Danny and I are tragically pragmatic---we would like to have nice things, but there is always something more practical to buy than housewares. We have no formal china, nor do we have glass glasses. We do not own a china cabinet, an entertainment center or a coffee table. (On the plus side, Danny's parents gave us some cool Chinese restaurant-pattern melamine place settings, and I love our utensils from Target.) Our kitchen table was a generous give-away desk from our friend Jeff--it needed to be refinished when we got it, and we didn't do such a good job with the sanding. We all sit at this bumpy thing 2-3 times a day, every day. All of the kids' drawings have lumps and divots in them.
So, I SNAPPED. I went out to Meijer and bought some permanent furniture--a beautiful solid maple kitchen table and chairs. I LOVE them! If we are going to be hauling our furniture all around the the country, at least we can get some furniture worth hauling. Now I should be OK to buy some happy couple that $25 ergonomic spatula and $35 eco-friendly reclaimed-wood wooden kitchen spoon.

I also got a computer desk for the kids. They had been using Sam's toddler desk--when Sam sat at it, his knees were at his ears. New chair from IKEA.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Susan! Hey, why don't you and Danny throw an anniversary party and register for THAT? Time has passed and likely people are richer and would be happy to help out such a wonderful family.

Mom said...

I agree with Kim. You should finally register for all the things on your wish list and we'll try to make it happen.

I guess you don't like the character building philosophy of the self-make-woman. Love, Mom

Beth said...

As one of your recently married 20 something friends I can tell you that one of my favorite gifts was from you and Danny. It was not from our registry, it was a total surprise, and so incredibly thoughtful and perfect it touched Matt and I both very much.

And I also think you should register for your anniversary, OR if you buy a house you can register for housewarming gifts!