A floral dilemma


You know that old saying about not looking a gift horse in the mouth? I am a great looker-in of gift horses’ mouths. I can’t seem to help myself. My birthday was last week, and on the occasion thereof, husband Doug brought me home a big bouquet of flowers. I found them on the kitchen table when I got home from work. They were in a big glass vase, and sitting beside them was … another big glass vase.

“I got a great deal on vases,” Doug said, while I stared in perplexity. One of the vases was identical to one I already had atop the Hoosier cabinet right beside the kitchen table. It’s BEEN atop the Hoosier for, oh, probably 10 years. Okay, so maybe Doug never noticed it. But … two vases? Why would he get two vases? Two BIG, very similar, glass vases?

I decided I’d done enough looking the gift horse in the mouth, and turned my attention to the flowers.

Doug has problems with me and flowers. I admit it; I’m picky. And trying to explain to him what I like is … well, there’s just not room in his memory banks for that sort of information. For many years, he always got me flowers from the same place. “She likes unusual flowers,” I told him to tell the florist, and he did, and for, oh, six years or so, I got lovely bouquets of larkspur and stocks and orchids and lilies from the place. But somewhere along about five years ago, it must have gotten new management, or maybe it’s just that what’s considered “unusual” in the floral world changed. Instead of pretty pastel bouquets, I’d get, say, one big protea with a branch of curly willow and a stem of chocolate-brown orchids. Now, yes, this is unusual. But it’s not pretty, and it certainly doesn’t look very good on my kitchen table, beside the Hoosier cabinet.

So he stopped ordering from that florist, seeing how horrified I was at the increasingly weird offerings. This year’s birthday bouquet was a return to pretty, if a bit boring. There were pink-and-white roses, buff orange chrysanthemums (I’m not a mum lover), and some white-and-green (fake-looking) carnations (but you never know with carnations). It was hard to work up much enthusiasm, especially since I was still confused by the dual vases. But I thanked him as sincerely as I could, and we went on with our lives.

Funny thing. That strange-looking bouquet got prettier and prettier over the past week, as the roses opened and became big and blowsy. The artificial carnations grew on me, too. So as each day went by, I told Doug, “You know, I really like those flowers you got me” with increasing sincerity, which I’m sure confused HIM. But sometimes familiarity breeds admiration, I guess.

Now, the kicker. Doug’s birthday is next week. Son Jake and I went to the mall over the weekend to pick him up some presents and cards. In the Hallmark store, the woman at the counter took the two cards we brought her and said, “By the way, we have a special on glass vases. If you buy two cards, you pay just $15.99 for a genuine Waterford vase.” Which, of course, was precisely what Doug had done the week before, when he went in to buy cards for him and Jake to give me.

So, anybody want to buy any spare vases from me?

Photo by Will Parson.



  1. Marcia said,

    November 6, 2009 at 5:38 am

    Happy late or belated birthday. I have something for you….;-] Another vase! No just kidding, but I do have something for you.

    • mshingston said,

      November 7, 2009 at 3:54 am

      We need a dog walk! It’s been way too long. Saturday or Sunday, for sure. Weather is supposed to be good Saturday. I’ll give you a call.
      (I just want my birthday surprise, really …)

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