Yippee! I finally returned the last of the presents I bought for people in my family who didn’t want them, and the ones they bought for me that didn’t work out.

Presents are so delightful to open. How exciting to wonder what’s behind that pretty reindeer paper. Then I open the box and slide the tissue over to the side to discover a sweatshirt that’s a size too large and I’ve seen on my mother-in-law. Not that she doesn’t have good taste. She dresses more fashionably that a lot of other women her age – at least her tennis shoes are clean and her spiffy sweatshirt and elastic waist pants match. She dresses for comfort, and I don’t have a problem with that. I’m just not there yet.

My husband always feels compelled to buy me a nice piece of jewelry. By nice, I’m talking about anything over $49. I happen to enjoy cheap jewelry. If I lose it, I don’t have a conniption fit, and if I get tired of it, which I will, I can give it away without any remorse. A piece of fine jewelry – something with a microscopic diamond or two – will most likely wind up in a tiny velvet bag somewhere. I forget I have it, what with my extensive faux collection.

What’s amazing is that I’ve tried to take these more expensive pieces back, but the jewelry store won’t refund my money. They gladly offer to make an exchange for something else, even if I have the receipt, and even if I don’t see a thing in the store I want. Every time I end up going out of pocket to get a piece of jewelry that I might wear sooner or later.

Okay, you’re going to say I’m a b-word and should appreciate what I get. I am a b-word, yes, but I’m a darn thrifty one, and I don’t want my closet full of clothes I know I won’t wear or jewelry that hurts. Yes, hurts. The better quality earrings have thicker posts. After years of wearing cheap stuff, my ears cry out in agony, absolute agony, when I force those thick earrings in that tiny earlobe hole. Can I help it if I’m sensitive?

And if you’re thinking, “There’s nothing pleasing this b-word,” au contraire! I would be most pleased to receive a simple gift card to a store of my choice. It’s not as much fun to open, but at least I could try things on and make sure they fit and look nice on me. Back in the day I looked good in anything – even my mother in law’s sweatshirts. But now I’m fighting a cutthroat battle with Father Time, and he’s got me in a half nelson as it is. I can’t afford to give him any slack at all. I must be on guard at all times, vigilantly choosing attractive colors and the right fit to make my skin more lively, my jaws less saggy, and my spare tire less noticeable over my caboose. This takes hours and hours of shopping, and even then I may come home empty handed and fighting off tears. Those dressing room mirrors can be so cruel.

If you’re not feeling sorry for me yet, why not? My husband returns everything I give him. I’ll give him 4 or 5 items that I’ve lovingly shopped for, wrapped, and hidden until Christmas, and then he opens them and says, “I’ve got a shirt just like that,” or “Mmmm,” or “Pleats, really?” and so forth. I’m lucky if there’s even one thing doesn’t have to be taken back. I have to take my daughter with me to shop because I’ll end up returning all of my presents to her if I don’t. People can be so picky. My son is the only one who doesn’t return anything. He’d rather wear something he doesn’t like than do laundry.

One good thing is that all the birthdays and Christmas are done, and unless I forget and re-write this blog again, you may not have to hear about this particular whining for nearly a year. Yippee!