My sister is not always known for her proactive behavior relating to gifts. When we were younger and our non-imagintive relatives would buy us the same darn gift at Christmas, I wrote a thank you card and Al signed her name. If we need to give a major gift (graduation, wedding, etc) I choose a gift and Al writes me a check for half. Minimal creativity and brain power involved.
Anyway. The point of this is not to tease my sister. It is in fact to sing her praises. This year, just after Christmas in fact, Al approached me. Boue, she said. She calls me Boue, pronounced Boo, as in ghosts. Have we talked about this? Boue, I have a really good idea for a gift for Mom and Dad. You know how you do Apple photo calendars at Christmas? Well what if for Mother's Day and Father's Day we made them a book that is pictures of us when we were little?
CREATIVITY AND BRAIN POWER RELATING TO A GIFT! What an excellent idea! The catch? Al was bound for the airport to fly back to her home in the big city. I was still in Ohio. Which meant....... I had the dubious honor of sorting through literally more than 20 photo albums full of family photos. Luckily my mother is OCD about organizing photos. Like crazier than me OCD. She has every photo since her wedding shower in 1978 in chronological order in albums. It is quite impressive.
So I spent much to long curled up on the floor of the living room sifting through photo albums. I had to be covert because this was a surprise and Mom tends to pop up at all the wrong times for surprises. She is notorious. But through some small grace of God I was able to grab what I needed, throw it in an envelope and take it back to Ithaca with me.
Then! I spent hours and hours and HOURS scanning 1980s photos. It was not particularly enjoyable. But I would do anything for my sister. After the worst was over, I got to also gather the digital photos I've been taking since college, and arrange the darn things in a book. How to approach it? Chronological? Al pages and Boue pages? Photos just with mom? Family photos together? All Christmas pics on the same page? The combinations were endless.
But finally it was finished and I placed the order. I ordered the book in early June after we got back to Florida. Logic here: Ship it to my house so I could hand carry it home in July for Grandma's 80th and present the gift in person, with Al. I did not want to risk it arriving at home and my mother, who we know spoils surprises at times, to be tempted. Plus- I wanted to see it!
I obsessively tracked the order and shipping. Finally it was delivered as per the FedEx site. I went onto my porch and --- my doorstep was empty. (not really- there was a welcome mat) So I paused a moment and came back inside. Michael did not hear the bell ring nor did I. I checked the ground below the porch. You never know. Nothing. So then I took a walk around the neighborhood and checked homes whose addresses are the same digits as ours but in different orders. Nothing. So I came back home and called FedEx. This resulted in a very thorough detective search between customer service managers on the corporate level and local level and all sorts of folks in between. It was a mess and lasted more than a week.
I explained the gift was for my parents, not an iPod. The item was sentimental and had no street value, so to speak. It was time sensitive because of the impending trip home. Blah dee blah. Well, turns out the box was delivered to the wrong house. The driver came back out and drove to the house where he dropped the box and.... it wasn't mine. At least he admitted it. But since we live in a resort community and he dropped it off at a rental property I couldn't even ask a neighbor. That house has no neighbor.
Good news: I called Apple and had the book reprinted and shipped to Ohio. Of course at this time the darn book was going to arrive AFTER our July trip. Darn it. C'est la vie. It did arrive the following week and Mom and Dad loved it.
Flashforward: Today Michael saw a package on the porch. It was the original book its cardboard sleeve- not original box. So here we are 4 months later and the poor sap who thought he was getting a free MacBook Pro opened the damn box and saw it was a book of a bunch of crazy midwesterners with bad 80s fashions. So I guess they - covertly? - dropped it off today. Neither one of us saw anyone. Um way to be late, poor sap.
So I am keeping it. I have a new coffee table book. It's just like my parents' book and it's awesome.