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It is like the fish that got away, the proverbial tale of "Almost". But I Shudda known better in the first place. When I was a small boy there was a custodian at our school named Willie Mays. I noticed whenever anything in our room needed fixed and the teacher sent me to find Willie that there were a whole lot of empty "Kesslers" bottles all over in the cavernous retreat he lurked in. One Day I offered him one of my grandfather's bottles of Kesslers if he would autograph a number of items for me as Willie Mays, the Say hey kid, was a famous American Style Cricket player. He gladly obliged. He wrote some very charming things on my ball like, "Come back here soon so we can play catch again".I should have learned something from this. Fast forward fifteen years. We were living out on the East Coast and I was making good money in a little Off Broadway show that you may have heard of. My mom's birthday was coming up and I had forgotten her birthday the prior year so I really wanted to do something special. I happened across an Ad for one of the prominent celebrity chefs to come make you breakfast at your house. The price seemed very reasonable, and really I did not know what should have been charged for that sort of thing. And truthfully I doubt Horst Hart's Pastery or Wolfgang Pucks Pizza could be worth what they get at their Shops but I am a barbarian with no appreciation of fine things. I was so stupid. When the number I called to reach the guy was at a Salvation Army homeless shelter I wanted to believe so bad that the guy spent his days cooking for the bums on skidrow. So I really was not alarmed. I was actually happy about it, that the guy was giving something back to the community. I was put at ease when the guy actually spoke to me in German with a Tirolian accent. How do I explain my Mom's surprise Breakfast? It was a surprise all right. Sadly enough we were mere social climbers and only feigned an actual knowledge of t hings that old money people actually know. Truthfully we only knew this guys name from the newspaper and did not know him on sight. He showed up in a filthy smock and smelt of vomit and aftershave. He chained smoked. He detected my mother's Teutonic accent and talked at length about elements of Germanic history, in a light that just wasn't polite amongst strangers. I bet you know what I mean. He was very profane. He kicked our cat. He was very bad. And you know what he cooked? Them biscuits that you unroll and they make a "pop". That and fried egg sandwiches on Sourdough bread with Swiss cheese. Then he said he needed to get paid and then he called another guy over and they went out back a while then he came back in with all sorts of other stuff that had no rhyme or reason. He made rice pudding. Chicken stir fry, Fajitas, and some great Buttermilk Pancakes with some sort of Blueberry and Brandy sauce. He just kept on cooking and talking about Hitler and Hess and would not stop. My parents, sister and Owen just sat and watched him. They said the food was great but he made a horrible mess and kept breaking stuff. He went to the bathroom and it ruined the whole house and my mom had to make him wash his hands before cooking again. He had batter on the ceiling and burnt stuff in the oven and baked stuff into our gas burners. He cooked until he ran out of all his stuff and all our stuff, and my mom had just bought groceries the day before. They tried very tactfully to get him to leave but he would get mad and menace them with a knife. He finally got mad and left. I tried some of the food when we got home and it was good but I noticed all the needles lying around by the back steps and pointed out to my parents that the guy had been using needle drugs all day. SO my mom, who was aware that this guys wife was also a celeb chef called their restaurant and tried to tell her "Since she should know in order to get him some help". The help told h er that the guy and his wife were in Crete where they had been for the past week. After my moms long silence the guy added, "I bet you are calling about the celebrity Chef at home" And my mom admitted she was and the guy casually noted that the guy was born with that name and a talent to cook and there was nothing they could do to stop him, that they even had gone as far as buy him one way tickets to Hawaii and Seattle. Then the bastard told us that it served us right to be stupid enough to believe he would come all the way out to Baltimore to cook all morning for $250. We decided he was right. So A celebrity chef is a great idea, just check and make sure who you are really dealing with first. bye
Xmas can be a very stressful time for mothers. All that food to cook, relatives coming to stay, children off scholl wanting to be entertained. Not much of a holiday for a mum is it? Thats why this could be the ideal Xmas present. There are various forms depending on how rich you are but lets start with the cheap option! Gift vouchers for a beauty salon - after all that rushing about at Xmas and New year everyone can look a bit run down and tired so a pick me up is definitely required. What could be better than lying back for an hour and being pampered? The good thing about a gift voucher is that the person can choose what they want. They could get anything from a massage, a pedicure, a body wrap or even a non-surgical face lift! Gift vouchers are a great idea to let someone try out a new treatment to see if they like it. You don't want to commit to a course of 12 treatments then find out that it isn't for you! All the beauty salons i know of seel gift vouchers for all different amounts so it needn't cost a fortune. The voucher can either be used to apy for a treatment or put towards the cost of one. Health farms - get away from it all by a visit to a health farm. Most health farms allow day visitors so you don't have to stay over night which keeps the cost down. They normally have a wide range of leisure facilities such as swimming pools, saunas and gyms and offer a wide range of treatments such as you would find at a beauty salon. This is perfect for chasing away those mid-Januaru blues! If you are really broke you could always go for the home option. Its not that hard to give your mum a home facial (just buy a womans mag first and read up on it!), allow her to relax and put her feet up and give her a pedicure if you feel brave. Manicures are easy enough to do as are home massages with scented oils (try the Body Shop). This would be perfect inbetween Xmas and New Year as it allows your poor mum to cathc her breath before all the parties start. Whatever option you choose it will be very well received and appreciated believe me!
How many pairs of socks and shelves of delph does it take to make you realise that your parents deserve a bit more? In my case about enough socks to keep a centipede warm and enough delph to simultaneously feed an army. This year I decided I would give the thinking process for parent gifts a bit more than the fleeting 2 second lightbulb I usually give it. After 2 days of constant browsing things were looking decidedly dastardly. Push comes to shove and the crowds at every retail outlet I visited made it a close to an intolerable experience. Added to the trauma of pseudo dancing with other shoppers there was the tribulation of having my backpack getting involved in a violent struggle with an unsteady vase and the resulting smash at last giving the other shoppers a reason to smile. I decided it was time to change tact. So I found myself in Argos, ha ha no jostling for position because all queues for the one available biro meant that at least bruising would be curtailed. Once I had picked out two suitable unspectacular presents I decided to use the stock checker just to be sure. Leaving Argos with a scowl and fully empty handed I began to work out where the closest sock and hardware shops were. Then it happened, a bright glistening apparition in the shape of Debenhams. I was tempted in by the perfumed aroma that seeps out from the ladies section. Venturing inside I came across the Aladdin’s cave that is their 'Gifts for Him' and 'Gifts for Her' sections. Full of mad stuff like the ‘Nasal Hair Remover Kit’ and the ‘Map Measuring Gizmo’, it was perfect. I decided that the thingy that measures how many steps you take while powerwalking (and the resultant loss of calories) was perfect for my ever dieting Mam. I resisted the temptation of the nasal hair remover for Dad but opted instead for the ‘Video Hoover’. So there it was an almost merry Christmas shopping experience. Thank you Deben hams, you socked it to them!
As a parent the following has happened to me. My child has opened a present from a relative and then discovered that the batteries were not with the toy. Now on Christmas day going out and buying batteries is not the thing that us parents want to do, not forgetting that not very many shopkeepers open then. Two choices, if you buy a toy/present that needs batteries please include them. The second and it might be even more useful is give the parents a selection of batteries for a Christmas present. It will help to stop a sobbing child and when the batteries start running down in the evening a ready set of replacements are available. Best of all (ecologically sound idea here) Buy a selection of rechargable batteries and a recharger. Any Offers =) Merry Christmas
Reminiscing, that is what most parents can be found doing at Christmas, don't you think? It is the one time of the year that you can actually use as a timepiece, anything that happens at Christmas is always remembered. So, if you are stuck for something to get the parents, why not buy them a an original newspaper to celebrate an occasion in their lives and then sit back and prepare to hear the start of their reminiscing! I bought my husband a copy of the Daily Express from 1968, only because I wanted a tabloid newspaper and they did not have anything other than the Times/Telegraph (I didn't realise that it was a 'broadsheet' at that time!). He thought it was fascinating, especially the sports section. To be truthful I was quite surprised how many ads there were in it for cigarettes and booze! To be honest,(if someone was buying the paper for myself)I would prefer an edition from the ‘70’s as I 'grew up' then (although that could be a matter or opinion)(ok, I was 9 in 1970). It is ok having one for your day of Birth, but we obviously can’t remember what went on then! Remember When have over 2 million ‘original’ newspapers in stock, including The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Sketch and many others. Some date back to 1642 (Wow! Now that one would be interesting!). The site has a perpetual calendar to tell you what day the event fell on (my husband went out and bought about 6 different papers on the day that our daughter was born last year, unfortunately it was a Sunday and so it cost him a few bob! Regarding Sunday newspapers, it doesn't say anything about supplements, but they charge a little more for these, so you may get one, you could always give them a call/e-mail before ordering. Prices start at £5.99. £ 5.99 Modern Newspapers (ie from 1997 to pre sent day) £19.99 Historical issue, rolled in tissue and sent in a presentation tube £36.99 Issue presented in a green leatherette portfolio which includes a certificate of authenticity Some Sunday newspapers, those recording historical events and very old newspapers cost a little more. www.gotogifts.co.uk Mine arrived in just over a week, so the delivery was quite good. I’m sure they will appreciate something like this, makes good reading and makes an unusual gift for anyone.