Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Birthday Mitten

Gather'round y'all. It's time for another story. This is the story of ...The Birthday Mitten

RH: top of hand

RH: palm side

Behold Heather's birthday mitten. This is a Snowfling Mitts, designed by Tanis Lavallee. I love this pattern!

It is a family joke that I have an odd way of  routinely forgetting my sister's birthday. Well, not the birth-DAY, per se, that I almost always remember. What I forget is whether I have sent a gift or card to congratulate or celebrate the occasion. That I often forget. And it is for this reason that Heather may get one or as many as three birthday cards and/or gifts from me anytime during the year. 

My process is that I buy gifts throughout the year.  If I am out shopping in August and see a perfect gift for my sister's March birthday I typically buy it right away. My problem is sometimes I tuck the item away in my box of future gifts to be pulled out in time for her special day and sometimes I am too excited and send the item in the mail right away. My challenge is to remembering what I did with the item or remembering that I bought it in the first place. A smart person would write this stuff down but alas...

My sister has benefited greatly from my forgetfulness on this front for several years now. Having an early March birthday I have often bought her an extra special Christmas gift and called it a joint Christmas-Birthday gift. I gently remind her that she will not get another gift from me in March. (At this she smiles knowingly.) And then I'll send her a card with a cheque in March. And another one in June; for this one I'll be panicking and full of  apology that I had forgot the whole thing in March. 

My sister always reminds me, after the second or third gift or card, that I had sent the other items. She calls me a dumbass, I agree, I say that I am going to write this stuff down better next year, she scoffs and we laugh about it all.  Typical sister stuff.

With all the background above you can perhaps understand why I was so amused that my sister had occasion to forget MY birthday last year. (Ahem, I'm a December birthday, in case you care.) It was a benchmark birthday for me too.  But we had a busy Christmas season where we did not get to see each other throughout the holidays and, in fact, my family had gone away for 2 weeks. So it was deep into January before I had even noticed that she hadn't wished me happy birthday. 

No way was I going to remind her! This was too good of an opportunity. I was going to wait for her to remember and have this as ammunition to tease her- forever- that she had forgotten my birthday. At least I forget by sending too many gifts!

I called her in late January to ask her what her eldest son would like for his birthday when it suddenly pops into her brain that she had forgotten MY birthday. Our conversation went something like this:

Heather: ... You could probably send Q some cash, if you wanted, he is saving up for a...OMG! I forgot to send you A BIRTHDAY CARD!  I FORGOT YOUR 40TH BIRTHDAY!
Me: So cash for Q? Yeah, I can do that. And I know.
Heather: Did you hear me? I forgot to send you a birthday card. I'm so sorry!
Me:  That's okay. Your birthday is coming up soon. As payback I'll forget your birthday on purpose this year.
Heather: Don't you do that every year?
Me: Funny. I do NOT do that on purpose. Just for that you are getting a bag of rocks for your birthday this year!  I'm going to write it down too. Better yet, I'll send you a bag of rocks and only ONE of the mittens that I made for you!
Heather: (laughing)  Sure, send the rocks, I'll use them in my garden. And I'm not worried about the mitten. You'll just forget and send me the second one in June anyways.

Touche. But with that simple silly conversation it was settled. This year she was getting one mitten- and one mitten only.  I sensed a birthday tradition in the making here!

I quickly found a pattern that looked fun, ordered the kit and away I went. The knitting part was easy. It is easy to only knit one mitten- the tough part is making a pair of anything! So it was ready in time for her birthday but I carried it around for a few extra days just to tease her a while longer.

I had her card, with a cheque which was the real gift, and her mitten all ready to go. (I left the rocks out.)  I went to the post office and bought an Express Post envelope for $11. We, unfortunately, live in different cities but I wanted her to get the package quickly. I bought the envelope and was filling out the address portion when I got distracted by a conversation beside me. I double checked that the addresses were written correct and popped it in the mail. Satisfied that Heather would not be so smug this year!

I giddily sent my sister a taunting text about watching her mail the next day. That I hoped it would be cold that week as she would soon have something to keep her warm.

I should have just kept my big mouth closed.

The next day I went to pick up my mail. I was absently wondering if Heather had gotten her package yet. I giggled to myself imagining her reaction to her one mitten. I was chuckling when I opened my post office box and saw an Express post envelope. I got excited for a moment. MAIL! I love getting mail! But that looks just like... the envelope I sent my sister yesterday! FFS!

And, of course, it was. CRAP! I had accidentally put my own address in the TO spot (thankyouverymuch Canada Post for putting that conveniently in the spot where the rest of the world puts their FROM addresses) and Heather's in the FROM. I was cussing as I spend another $11 to buy another Express Post envelope to resend the package. This time I paid very close attention to the addresses. Lesson learned.

I texted my sister to tell her to not to bother checking her mail that day. I told her that I had accidentally sent the package to myself. She howled laughing. I could hear her crying through her snorts of laughter.

I guess I had the last laugh because she didn't laugh so hard the next day when she got only one beautiful right handed mitten in the mail the next day! She called right away to thank me and to exclaim over her one beautiful mitten.

Heather: I love it! But I thought you were joking about only sending one.
Me: Nope. Enjoy that one. It is too expensive to send them in the mail.
Heather: They are a lot less expensive to send if you don't send them to yourself first!
Me: Be nice.  See if I send you 2 or 3 more birthday presents this year!
Heather: (howling again) They'll certainly be easier to keep track of if you send them to yourself every time first!
Me: Fuck off.

And that, right there folks, is why my sister is going to get only one birthday mitten per year for the rest of her life.  Only right handed ones too.

It's a process, Knitter.

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