About this time last year a package showed up on my doorstep. UPS had delivered it for a staggering sum of $46. The shipping charge was more than the combined total value of the contents, much more. The package was from my mother-in-law.
Many such packages have come our way in the two years since our move away from my in-laws. Granted, we didn't move solely because of them, but it was certainly an added bonus.
This particular box contained a treasure trove of useless possessions, which she passed off as our Christmas presents. Most of our "presents" went immediately into the trash or were garage saled at rock bottom prices last summer. Except for one particularly useless item.......
Let me give you a little bit of background information. My mother-in-law is an elementary school teacher. Many of her students bring her presents at various times during the year. She herself wouldn't allow this stuff in her house, so she boxes up her cast offs and gives them to me. It would be one thing if she did so with full disclosure, but instead she re-gifts them, all the while pretending, with much enthusiasm, to have bought them herself.
I have been the recipient of opened boxes of Christmas cards, missing three or four out of the dozen, collections of envelopes, not one of them the same, gift certificates with the original giver's name crossed out and her own filled in,brownie pans in boxes that are covered with dust from their time in storage, and clothing that has been worn and washed, but is presented as having been purchased with me in mind, just to name a few.
I hate clutter. I will not keep something I do not use. I make occasional exceptions for sentimental items, but they are few and far between as I am not a very sentimental person. My mother-in-law knows this, which is why she sadistically inundates me with junk. It is part of her cold & calculating plan for revenge. Did I mention she is quite passive aggressive?
The worst part is that when she does comes to visit, she inquires about the junk she has sent! Have I been using it? What do I think? Don't I just love it? Many times I have been cornered and forced to confess that actually I do not have said item anymore, that I did not find it useful and so I found it a new home. These conversations do not go over well. In fact, she tends to get quite upset that I have tossed out her garbage for her. Last year she even interrogated my husband about the fact that I no longer possess a toy globe she gave to me six years ago. Of course I got rid of it, it was a singing toy! You'd get rid of it too if you had to hear "People in Mexico are called Mexicans" over and over again!
It should come as no surprise that the most useless item in my house was actually a Christmas present from my mother-in-law. Last year, among the many ridiculous re-gifts she sent our way, was the ugliest, embroidered picture of Santa Claus checking his list I have ever seen. Complete with a faux wooden frame trimmed with gold. It is heinous. A monstrosity. Uglier than sin.
I hung on to it because I know she is going to grill me about it the next time she comes to visit at Christmas. Also, the devil in me really wants to wait a few years and re-gift it back to her.