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Mother's 90th birthday tomorrow. This morning was a whirlwind of early deliveries - flowers, cards, parcels, very exciting! One tall cardboard carton seemed to come from a florist, so I thought I'd better open it straight away in case a plant needed water. One dozen helium balloons burst out like jack-in-the-boxes - we jumped out of our skins, breakfast tray went flying, the cat nearly cr*pped herself and hurtled from the room, the dog started barking his head off…

Well wasn't that a lovely surprise. I just hope nobody gets any funny ideas about her birthday cake at tomorrow's posh luncheon party.

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Sodone, you've made me blush a little - not long after I kicked husband out, I also got rid of the t.v. Rots the brain, I said. Also costs too much, I said. Eighteen months passed. The children, I have to say, as well as complaining a good deal, a) dined out on it a lot and b) read a lot; and I saved SO much time you wouldn't believe… Anyway.

Christmas came. My ex - and though he may have his faults I never said he wasn't a smooth b*stard - didn't give the children a television. He gave ME a television. Thin end of the wedge… Your MIL was right!!!

I also resisted cellphones for about 15 years. One year my OH gave me a lovely bottle of perfume, but because he'd wittily packaged it in a Vodafone box it very nearly got chucked out with the trash.

I am also beginning to think that people who send flowers who don't also send vases need to think it through...
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My MIL has always been a TV snob. She's a former college professor who firmly believes television rots the mind. When my husband and his brothers were children, the family had a small black and white TV that was kept in a closet and only brought out to watch "educational" shows on PBS.
Years went by, and she relaxed the TV ban somewhat, although she still didn't have a color television until the mid-1980s, my husband and I gave her our old one.
Later on, she and her boyfriend got a small flat-screen TV that the boyfriend used to watch golf tournaments. MIL mostly avoided it like the plague, although she'd sometimes watch things like "Masterpiece Theater." Husband and I liked to joke that she surreptitiously watched "Jersey Shore" and "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," when no one was around to catch her at it. The TV, was kept in a little room off the main living room, because MIL believes it's "tacky" to have a television in the living room. (Husband and I have a HUGE flat screen TV in our living room, a fact that she probably puts down to my corrupting influence.)
Then one day, about a year ago, when she was out of town, her boyfriend's son thought it would be a nice surprise to buy them a large flat screen TV and put it in the room they use as a library. MIL came home, found it among her "beloved books," as she calls them (she's a major drama llama) and had a shrieking meltdown. It was removed but she still talks about how awful it was to come home and find it. You'd think it was a severed head, the way she carries on about it.
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Worst thing they ever did was take her back to her house "just for a look"
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CountryMouse, OMG that would have terrified me as I am afraid of balloons and being startled like that.... double whammy for me.

I do volunteer work at a local hospital on Saturdays and once in awhile we will get a tall boxes from an on-line florist to be delivered to a patient.... I know the sender meant well, but how on earth is a patient, who is hooked up to all sorts of things, or someone who is elderly, going to open up that box? I wish I could help open the box but one needs tools or brut strength to tear into it.

Some on-line services have direct delivery from a local florist and we get to see the flowers when they come in by the florist itself.... or a person can call a hospital gift shop [if the hospital has one] and buy flowers from the shop to be delivered.
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Oh holy cow, that had to be crazy! I'd have to say that the worst best-intentioned thing happened last month. When my mom lived with me, I would take her to bowling with me every week. She came to know my teammates well. Since she's been in NH, this is no longer possible due to her health issues and the late hour. At my MIL's memorial service last month, she and a friend were talking about her wanting to see everyone but that I can't take her because it becomes late and I have to work the next day. To which the friend sweetly responded "oh that's not a problem...I'm retired...I'll pick you up on bowling night and take you". Sigh....I'll be handling that hot potato when bowling resumes next month.
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My brother giving Mom a puppy for Christmas that wasn't house trained. The caregiver almost quit over that one and we gave dog back to brother.
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Oh my, CM. You have interesting friends and relatives, for SURE!
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